Coffee Hour & Movie Night

The German Department welcomes all students to practice their German during the Coffee Hour and Movie Night held in the Bishop Quad -- Every Wednesday!

Here you'll meet other students and share interests like music, films, writings, poetry, games, etc.

Location: Bishop Quad, Leupp Hall, Hogwarts Lounge.
Time: 7pm - 10pm
[Coffee Hour: 7pm - 8pm]
[Movie: 8pm - 10pm]

Craig Young Scholars Series

The Rutgers German Department is excited to introduce a lecture series devoted to young scholars of German!

Generously funded by Dr. Charlotte M. Craig and her husband, Bob Craig, the Craig Young Scholar Series aims to provide advanced graduate students, lecturers, and junior professors of German with the opportunity and venue to present their research to the public. Each semester, the German Department will invite young scholars of German from around the country to present a public lecture at the university.

Fall 2016

For the inaugural year of this series, the department is pleased to welcome:

Anna Henke, Rutgers University- New Brunswick

"Beautiful Communities of Souls: The Exception-Become-the-Rule in Butler and Agamben"
October 12, 2016, 12pm-1:30pm

This essay is an exploration of Judith Butler and Giorgio Agamben’s conflicting relationship to the exception-become-the-rule, a turn of phrase that can be traced back to one of Benjamin’s theses in “On the Concept of History” (1940). The juxtaposition is productive because, though both theorists are staunchly left-wing, they adopt opposite positions with regard to it. Agamben, with Schmitt in mind, condemns the exception-become-the-rule while Butler, thinking of reciprocal forgiveness (read: reconciliation between members of her public sphere), lauds it. Indeed, for the former, the exception-become-the-rule points the way to a dystopia that transforms the public sphere into a concentration camp; for the latter, it inaugurates a utopia. 

Anna Henke photo 10.12.2016



Michael Auer

"di Leier, die keine Kringe sang": Aesthetics and Politics in Klopstocks Ode "Der Jezige Krieg"
November 7, 2016, 12pm-1:30pm

Klopstock’s marginalization in German Studies is greatly due to the persistence of a powerful narrative linking literary autonomy and de-politicization. And indeed, his revolutionary odes, and the free rhythmic Der jezige Krig in particular, challenge such a narrative inasmuch as they engage an alternate paradigm of autonomy, one whose scope remains expressly socio-political. The talk will explore the subversive potential this paradigm has for the tradition of panegyric amplification as well as for the politics of Klopstock’s time. And it will show that the metrical irregularities of the free rhythms give rise – and ‘voice’ – to an unprecedented form of both lyrical and political self-organization.

Michael Auer photo 11.07.2016Michael Auer is Wissenschaftlicher Assistent in German at the LMU in Munich currently visiting as an Assistant Professor at Harvard. His present book project examines the aesthetic and political commitments of lyrical poetry, with a particular focus on the 18 th century ode (working title: Autonomie als Anlass. Die Ode zwischen politischer und ästhetischer Moderne). He is co-editor of Metzler’s forthcoming Klopstock Handbuch and author of the monograph Wege zu einer planetarischen Linientreue? Meridiane zwischen Jünger, Schmitt, Heidegger und Celan as well as the award winning article “Auf die Verlierer! Heines Nordsee-Oden.”

David Kim, University of California, Los Angeles

"Kafkas private Öffentlichkeit: Kritik einer politischen Imagination"
November 16, 2016, 12pm-1:30pm

Why is it that Kafka's works repeatedly serve as inexhaustible fictional backdrops against which writers and scholars alike denounce basic human rights violations in modern society? From Walter Benjamin and Hannah Arendt to J.M. Coetzee and Ayten Gündoğdu, countless thinkers turn to Kafka for inspiration, as they criticize totalitarian regimes. The aim of this lecture is to explain this intellectual genealogy by taking a close look at theblurring of boundaries between private and public in Kafka's novel Der Prozess and other fictional and autobiographical texts. Scholars have long explained this negotiation as Kafka's writerly attempt to overcome personal struggles and redefine himself in the world. Instead of reiterating this claim, I demonstrate how an even more paradoxical phenomenon--that is, a private public--constitutes the core of Kafka's significance for political imagination in (post)modernity. Lecture in German, discussion in English.

David Kim photo 11.16.2016David D. Kim is Assistant Professor in the Department of Germanic Languages at UCLA. He is the author of Cosmopolitan Parables: Responsibility and Trauma in Contemporary Germany (Northwestern University Press, 2017). His publications include, among others, Imagining Human Rights (De Gruyter, 2015 with Susanne Kaul) and The Postcolonial World (Routledge, 2016 with Jyotsna Singh). Kim received his Ph.D. in German Studies from Harvard University.


 Spring 2016

For the inaugural year of this series, the department is pleased to welcome:

Barbara Natalie Nagel, Princeton University

"Coquettish Sovereigns - Flirtation and Gender Inversion in German Realism (Storm, Fontane)"
January 27, 2016, 12pm-1:30pm

"In saying no and saying yes, in surrendering and refusing to surrender themselves, women are the masters," Georg Simmel marvels in his seminal essay On Flirtation (1909). According to Simmel, this female empowerment is the result of a queer role-switch occurring in heterosexually-structured scenes of flirtation: the woman "takes on his decision, even if only in a symbolic and approximate fashion." The talk on Coquettish Sovereigns traces the literaray-historical emergences of this complex constellation in realist German language writers and shows that to some men these role-switches can be quite unsettling if also erotically intriguing.

Barbara NagelBarbara Natalie Nagel is an Assistant Professor at Princeton's German Department. At the moment, Barbara is working on a monograph Ambiguous Aggression. Flirtation, Passive Aggression, and Domestic Violence in Realism and beyond. She has published articles, book chapters, and handbook entries on authors including Tacitus, Luther, Jean Paul, Büchner, Melville, Fontane, Jensen, Kafka, Stifter, Hauptmann, and Robert Walser. Her book publications include Der Skandal des Literalen. Barocke Literalisienungen in Gryphius, Kleist, Büchner (2012) and Flirtations: Rhetoric and Aesthetics This Side of Seducation (2015).

Gabriel Trop, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Attraction, Individuation, Indifference in Goethe and Schelling
March 23, 2016, 12pm-1:30pm

Schelling's Naturphilosophie construes nature as a system characterized by localized physical-semiotic operations: movement, resistance, attraction, repulsion, expansion, contraction, binding, dissolution, permeability, and passage through zones of indifferentiation that make possible state changes or changes of identity. This talk proposes that some key works by Goethe—above all, Die Wahlverwandtschaften and Faust II—aestheticize and existentialize the representational strategies of Schelling's Naturphilosophie. Identities become consolidated—and in certain cases, suspended or transformed—through a series of naturphilosophical operations that transcend subjectivity and that nevertheless become constitutive for a subject's sense of self.

Gabriel TropGabriel Trop is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. In addition to articles about Hölderlin, Goethe, Wieland, and other authors, he has written a book entitled Poetry as a Way of Life: Aesthetics and Askesis in the German Eighteenth Century, published by Northwestern University Press (2015).


Annie Pfeifer, Rutgers University-New Brunswick

Talking Trash: A Genealogy of the Ragpicker
April 6, 2016, 12-1:30pm

In her 2001 film, The Gleaners and I, Agnès Varda redefines "gleaner"—a person who collects leftover crops from farmers' fields after they have been commercially harvested—to include anyone who thrives off something others leave behind. Varda herself proclaims to be a gleaner, inserting herself into a rich artistic tradition of ragpicking or junk collecting which already begins with Walter Benjamin and Charles Baudelaire. Analyzing the ragpicker as an important critical and creative force, the talk makes a case for gleaning as a practice of redeploying waste with transformative aesthetic and political implications.

1-Annie PfeiferAnnie Pfeifer is a Visiting Lecturer in the Department of Germanic, Russian, and East European Languages and Literatures at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. Her research focuses on twentieth-century German and comparative literature, with a special interest in the areas of literary theory, aesthetics, visual and materials culture, new materialism, and museum studies. She is currently completing her book manuscript on modernist practices of collecting. In 2014-2015, she was a lecturer in German Studies and Comparative Ltierature at the University of Bern, Switzerland. She has forthcoming articles in The New German Critique, as well as in the edited volume Que(e)rying Consent.

Kristina Mendicino, Brown University

Undoing—Creating—Anew: One Else Lasker-Schüler's Der Siebente Tag and the Neue Gemeinschaft
April 20, 2016, 12pm-1:30pm

Before the avant-garde movements with which Else Lasker-Schüler would be associated during and after her collaboration with Herwarth Walden on Der Sturm, she participated in the Neue Gemeinschaft, a collective that should have been, as its members repeatedly proclaimed, at the vanguard of a new life, and at a nigh-immeasurable distance from the political and physical spaces of contemporary Wilhelmine Germany. Unlike her contemporaries Gustav Landauer and Martin Buber, Else Lasker-Schüler never presented a programmatic statement for the Neue Gemeinschaft, nor did she share its participants' emphatic insistence upon the new. But in Der siebente Tag, the cycle of poems she published one year after the collective had dissolved, she poetically engages some of the main preoccupations of the group, setting the collection under the auspices of the second book of Genesis, which beings on the seventh day, when Creation would have been complete and set to rest—only to be told yet again, differently, and to become profoundly troubled. Through close readings, the talk will trace how Lasker-Schüler's poems expose alternative ways of thinking through the aporias of the former avant-garde movement and impart some of the most radical articulations of the problems of creation and novelty at the turn of the century.

1-Kristina MendicinoKristina Mendicino is an Assistant Professor for German Studies at Brown University and former Assistant Editor for The German Quarterly. She has published articles on Brecht, Hegel, Celan, Nietzsche, and Hölderlin. Most recently, she completed a monograph on the rhetoric of prophecy in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century German writing entitled Prophecies of Language: The Confusion of Tongues in German Romanticism, which will appear with Fordham University Press.




“Beautiful Communities of Souls: The Exception-Become-the-Rule in Butler and Agamben”

Professional Development Registration

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Personal Information

School Information:

Registration Fee

Registration for this event is $40 per participant. Please send a check made payable to "Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey" to the address below:
German Department, attn: Department Administrator
Rutgers University
172 College Avenue
New Brunswick, NJ 08901

Registration deadline: Please submit your registration by April 1, 2015.

German Excellence Initiative

Welcome to Rutgers German! Vibrant undergraduate and graduate programs, award-winning teaching, innovative courses, state of the art language instruction, cutting-edge research, a distinguished visiting professorship, an artist in residence program, two premier lecture series, a top-tier study abroad program, professional development opportunities for teachers of German, and outstanding job placement – Rutgers German is committed to creative, interdisciplinary approaches to the teaching and study of all facets of German-speaking culture from the Middle Ages through the twenty-first century.

For more information about the German Excellence Program, please visit our website.

Drama and Poetry Declamation Competition

The 87th Annual Declamation Contest for local middle and high school students of German will be held on

Thursday, April 27, 2016 at 4:30pm on the College Avenue Campus. Parking will be available without a permit in Lots 26, 30, and the College Avenue deck.

This year, the Declamation Contest will take place in conjunction with the Department End of Year Awards Ceremony & Graduation Celebration.

Please make sure to register by Friday, April 14, 2017! 

Click here for the registration form.

 Contest Guidelines:

  1. Students are encouraged to recite a poetry or prose selection OR to perform a dramatic scene or song.
  2. Selections should be appropriate for the student’s interest and ability.
  3. All selections must be delivered in German.
  4. For group performances, each participant must have a speaking role.
  5. No amplification is allowed.
  6. Each performance is allotted a maximum of ten minutes. Time will be kept.
  7. No student who has had more than three years of German-language schooling in a German-speaking country should compete.

Each teacher is allowed to register up to two performances in each competition category:

BEGINNER: students in their first year of German study
ADVANCED: students in their second year or higher of German study


Judges will score the performances in the following three categories: memorization and preparation; clarity and pronunciation; and feeling and presence.

For each category, the performance may receive a maximum of 10 points and a minimum of 1 point. The maximum total number of points a performance may receive from one judge is 30 points. The maximum total number of points a performance may receive overall is 90 points.

 Click here to see photos from previous years' Declamation Contests!

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