The goal of our graduate program is to train scholars who will be able to practice radical interdisciplinarity. By radical interdisciplinarity, we mean work across and beyond traditional disciplinary boundaries that is guided by faculty with deep methodological training and experience not only in language and literature, but in other fields as well. Our department is unusual in having been able to incorporate such a wide array of interdisciplinary expertise into its own faculty.
In addition to training in German Studies proper, members of the Department hold advanced degrees in History, Comparative Literature, Political Science, Film Studies, Linguistics, Sociology, Philosophy, Business, and Music. Most are jointly appointed in the corresponding units. One of the largest in the country, Michigan's graduate program offers outstanding training not only in literature and literary theory, but also in German history, politics, film, philosophy, music, gender studies, sociology, art and architecture, and – a newly emerging strength – Turkish-German culture.
Faculty and students at Michigan are engaged in a lively, interdisciplinary dialogue ranging across the humanities, the social sciences, and the professions that nevertheless coheres as a curriculum, due to the faculty's shared interest in historical, cultural, and aesthetic questions. Traditionally, departments of "language and literature" have sought to provide rigorous training in literary criticism, literary history, and linguistics. We are strong in all these areas, but we are also able to incorporate these more traditional approaches into a broader vision of German Studies that includes the social sciences and the professions. Seminars offered in the different areas of German Studies cover a wide array of historical and theoretical concerns across the disciplines while also emphasizing the distinct textual and analytical skills required for this kind of work, from close textual reading through film analysis to the study of architectural form.
Thus our program is able to offer a sustained reflection on the literary in relation to other disciplines and modes of representation. We take it for granted that the term "German Studies" should refer to both high culture and popular culture. We also remain committed to full historical coverage of German culture from the Middle Ages to the present.