Skip navigation

LLC28: Re-Imagining the Discipline: German Studies, the Humanities, and the University


This working group examines the disciplinary and institutional contexts that make up Anglo-American German Studies in our day. Since the 1970s, the field has developed a unique profile as an umbrella term for interdisciplinary endeavors that have driven critical conversations informed by the German intellectual tradition, helping frame momentous trends that in the last decades have reshaped humanities studies and the institution of the university in North America. This historical trajectory makes German Studies an optimal lens for appraising the state of the humanities in the current landscape of higher-education, as they meet the challenges and seize the opportunities created by profound changes in the structure and funding of the university; the technological and institutional developments that have reshaped the ways we teach and conduct research; the diversification and stratification of our student population; and the shrinking support for public education displayed by politicians and the public at large.

Open to New People

Active since: 2019

  • Cornell University
  • Colgate University
  • Hamilton College

Collaborative Goals

The collaborative goal of LLC28 is to leverage the diversity of institutions across the corridor -- from larger research units like Cornell, Syracuse, and Rochester to the smaller liberal arts colleges like Hamilton and Colgate -- to probe, reflect on, and advocate for the future of smaller fields like German Studies within the humanities landscape of the 21st century. Some are independent departments (e.g. Cornell, Colgate), other are programs or parts of larger units (Syracuse, Rochester, Hamilton). This diversity of institutions, perspectives, and programs is a source of strength in addressing a field in its diversity of instantiations.

Group Organizers

Franziska Schweiger

Assistant Professor of German Studies, Hamilton College

Matthew Miller

Associate Professor of German, Colgate University

Paul Fleming

Taylor Family Director of the Society for the Humanities; L. Sanford and Jo Mills Reis Professor of Humanities; Professor of Comparative Literature and German Studies, Cornell University

Peter Gilgen

Director of the Institute for German Cultural Studies & Associate Professor, Cornell University

Group Members


  • Peter Gilgen (Cornell)
  • Franzi Schweiger (Hamilton)
  • Matthew Miller (Colgate)
  • Paul Fleming (Cornell)
  • Patrizia McBride (Cornell)
  • Ethel Matala de Mazza (Berlin)
  • John Hamilton (Harvard)
  • Bruno Bosteels (Columbia)
  • Devin Fore (Princeton)

Graduate Students:

  • Stephan Brandle (Berlin)
  • Ron Sadan (Princeton)
  • Dennis Wegner (Cornell)
  • Christian Struck (Harvard)
  • Madeline Zehnder (Berlin)
  • Thomas Howard (St. Louis)
  • Nora Siena (Cornell)
  • Chiara Sartor (Berlin)

Group Outcomes

I think a few of the more significant impacts were: a) this may sound silly, but simply bringing together so many people in-person again after the pandemic; b) the robust engagement with graduate student research from many disciplines (not just German) -- this was especially important after many of them had not presented live for 2 years; c) keeping in mind the importance of small forms for teaching, which could reverberate throughout the many campuses involved.