The Department of Germanic Studies is situated in the College of Arts and Sciences, the traditional center of the ancient academy and modern university. We learn, study, teach and debate different, more or less formal systems of expression; we develop and employ methods of linguistic, literary, social and cultural analysis; and we explore the circumstances, means, contents, and goals of particular cultural manifestations.
The university in general, and the College in particular, is a place in which ideas and concepts are investigated, examined, tested, contested, affirmed, and rejected by way of spirited but civil and respectful argumentation. As students and scholars, we learn to reason and speculate in a variety of ways, using our imaginations as well as empirical, statistical, and conceptual evidence. We engage with each other on the basis of aesthetic, logical, and rhetorical modes of communication. In the humanities especially, the back-and-forth of distinct modes of verbal argumentation and creative expression is paramount.
At the core of our undertaking is the classroom, where exploratory and critical reasoning requires mutual respect for all participants, no matter their social identity. This identity may be characterized by age, color, religion, disability, race, ethnicity, national origin, sex, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, marital status, veteran’s status, or other markers. Please see here and here for the Indiana University student code on the right to freedom from discrimination and harassment; and here and here for Indiana University policies on Non-Discrimination/Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action and Sexual Harassment. Germanic Studies faculty and students come from a variety of backgrounds. This variety gives us the multiple perspectives with which to understand and advance the diversity of the societies, cultures, and languages we study and live in. We strive to attract, retain, and include students and faculty from a diversity of backgrounds, being especially mindful of underrepresented groups.
The history of German-speaking Europe has taught us necessary and unforgettable lessons about what happens to society and peoples when basic rights are violated. We know that mutual respect is fragile, especially in societies as diverse as ours. It is incumbent on all members of our department, and the IU community of which we are a part, to cultivate a climate in which opinions can be freely uttered, heard, and debated.