In 2019, the Institute of German Studies celebrates its 50th anniversary. The institute pioneered new forms of research. When it was founded, the study of cultural phenomena was an innovation still in its early stages. Students flocked to the courses offered under the institute’s umbrella because they promised new interdisciplinary approaches. Today, the first generation of students who earned their Ph.D. in German Studies have retired from successful careers. I have just been contacted by Jay Rosellini, professor emeriti at Purdue and Suffolk University, who announced the publication of his latest book with the speaking title, itself a quote, “In Germany I became a Freethinker.” To look back at this past can fill us with pride and with confidence for the future.
Words from the Director
While cultural approaches to German culture and literature have become integral to the field of German Studies today, the institute has shifted its tasks. Today, it sponsors a distinguished Visiting Max Kade Professorship that brings excellent researchers from German speaking Europe to the United States. It allows five graduate students to devote themselves exclusively to academic courses during the first year of their career at Indiana University. Through its fellowships, it makes overseas study in German speaking countries more affordable for College and high school students. And, it is the main sponsor of the German Theater Project under the directorship of Troy Byler—a successful part of our outreach program that offers high school students exposure to German culture through an immersive experience of theater. It therefore holds an important place in today’s world of German Studies.
Beyond the academic, German gains in relevance. Not just because German is—ahead of Spanish—one of the most frequently studied languages worldwide. But primarily because in a shifting global world, Germany increasingly holds an important place as a leading country at the center of the European Union. The Institute will accompany these developments and open access to them for students, faculty, and the public at large.
Director of the Institute of German Studies