The German program at Johns Hopkins is among the most distinguished in North America. It has been a leading force in literary criticism with recognized strength in the intersection of literature and philosophy from the Enlightenment to the present. The faculty is committed to the study of works of art in conjunction with political theory, gender and sexuality studies, environmental thought, history of science, religion, anthropology, psychoanalysis, and media theory. The interdisciplinary orientation of the program has led to important contributions in the study of phenomenology and poetry, romanticism and gender, early modern science and baroque literature, the modern novel and print history, cognitive aesthetics and literary affect, among many other topics. A further interest lies in the problem of representation with an eye toward the aesthetic, epistemological, and political implications of this overarching topic.
The program values the interaction between students and faculty at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Undergraduates work closely with faculty to develop their linguistic skills and cultural competence. Graduate students enjoy the regular input of the faculty in developing original research topics that draw on developments in the field.
In addition to its own distinguished faculty, the German program has numerous collaborative ventures with other departments, universities, and international partners. It also hosts regular visitors from European universities and facilitates active graduate exchange programs with the Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, Freie Universität Berlin, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn, and Universität Hamburg.
The program also hosts the Max Kade Center for Modern German Thought dedicated to exploring the political, cultural, historical, and philosophical developments associated with the German discourse on knowledge. The Max Kade Center invites a renowned visiting professor every spring. The Center also sponsors lectures and awards summer travel grants to undergraduate and graduate students research, internships or study in the German-speaking world.