Centre of German Studies
The Centre began its teaching and research program in 1971. This span of four decades has seen radical shifts in global political and cultural systems, bringing with them the need to rethink the focus of academic programs. The teaching and research program of the Centre creatively manifests these global shifts – while a decade ago, the end of the Second World War and of fascism in Germany, as well as post war thought and literature in German speaking countries were a focus of research at the Centre, today the historical landmarks defining research at the Centre are the fall of the Berlin wall, the reunification of the two Germanies, and the present day location of some of the German speaking countries within the EU experiment, as well as the related cultural, social, and political expressions of the same. It is this framework that informs our teaching and research concerns today, seen in our BA, MA, MPhil, and PhD programs, as well as in the diverse teaching and research interests of faculty members. Besides these programs of study, the Centre also offers a 4 Semester Optional in German Language to B.A. students of other Languages.
The BA program
While equipping our students with a sound knowledge of the German language, we seek to expose them to the cultural, political, and literary history of German speaking countries. Through a multidisciplinary approach, the BA program serves as a foundation for harnessing students’ interests to open avenues for further postgraduate study and research. In the first year of the program students are offered intensive training in the German language, along with a tool course in the cultural and political history of German speaking countries after 1945, taught in English. In the second year, along with training in the language, students complete courses in cultural and political history of German speaking countries in German, a tool course in English that deals with cultural history of the region, beginning with the early modern period, and an introduction to post Second World War literature. In the third year, following upon our multidisciplinary framework, we offer introductory courses in linguistics and translation, along with literary and social history.
Apart from the core courses in the discipline as mentioned above, students are also expected to complete a minimum of 22 credits in the form of optional courses. These courses are offered by departments within the School and by the School of International Studies and the School of Social Sciences, as well as other special centres. The University has made this special provision for undergraduate students of our School with the objective of exposing them to other disciplines, and in keeping with the academic framework of the University which sees itself as fostering interdisciplinary research. We find that these courses enhance students’ academic as well as cultural and social experience within the university.
The MA program
The Centre of German Studies is among the first departments to offer separate degrees in Literature, Translation, and Translation/Interpretation. Translation studies and intensive courses in interpretation are among the strengths of our Centre. These specializations are offered at the beginning of the program, when students choose one of these areas of specialization.
Courses offered as part of the MA in Literature engage closely with contemporary literatures from German speaking countries. They also focus variously on particular authors, literary movements, genres, and periods in literary history. Courses in theories of literature provide students with the opportunity to read critical texts which also form the theoretical basis of the literature curriculum.
The MA in Translation and Translation/Interpretation offers a broad spectrum of courses, ranging from the conventional to the innovative, thereby providing students the choice of becoming professionally competent translators/interpreters or entering the equally challenging and rewarding arena of research in Translation Studies. Many skills acquired in the course of fulfilling the requirements of the programme, facilitate entry into related areas, such as technical writing and editing. Students are not only exposed to issues in translation of both specialized and non-specialized texts, but to considerations in literary translation. Courses in the theory and methodology of translation seek to fortify the practice of translation with a grasp of historical debates within translation studies. Students who choose to specialize further in interpretation, are offered courses in both consecutive and simultaneous interpretation.
Within this program, we also offer a range of common courses, which seek to consolidate and supplement what students learn in their respective specializations. Keeping in mind possible avenues that open up before students, and the choices they may seek to make, courses in didactics of the German language as well as literature are offered. Another strength of the program are the courses in the cultural and political history of key periods in the history of German speaking countries as well as on the location of Germany within the European Union. In continuation of introductory courses in the final year of the BA program, the common courses include also an introduction to contrastive linguistics. New courses in culture studies, including folklore studies are also offered.
Over the third and fourth semester of the MA, students are expected to write a dissertation on an area of their choice.
Academic cooperation and other activities of the Centre
Apart from permanent faculty members whose teaching interests span literary, cultural, and political history, translation studies, history of ideas, linguistics, and didactics, the Centre also hosts a full faculty member through cooperation with the DAAD, as well as a language teacher.
Recent years have seen intensified collaborations and academic cooperation with universities in Germany and Austria. We have student and faculty exchanges with, amongst others, the Universities of Köln and Wuppertal, the Freie Universität, Berlin, and the University of Konstanz in Germany.
There is a range of short term scholarships for students to pursue courses in German universities, some of which have resulted from our academic cooperation, both at the Centre and University level.
We also have a small theatre program, through which students, particularly of the BA program, are encouraged to stage a play at the end of their academic year.
The Centre has a small reference library with around 5000 books. Books in this library have been given to the Centre either by individuals, or acquired through other co-operations, like the German Research Foundation and the Passage to India cooperation funded by the German Academic Exchange.