Why Goethe needs German studies and why German studies needs Goethe

Brent O. Peterson, Martha B. Helfer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Brent Peterson demonstrates how a German Studies approach is essential to the study of Goethe, while Martha Helfer examines disciplinary shifts within German Studies that affect the study of the earlier time periods, and considers the institutional framework within which Goethe is essential to German Studies as a discipline. Several years ago, the executive committee of the German Studies Association decided to streamline the program committee for the annual conference by eliminating the eighteenth century as an independent category and creating one grouping for all pre-nineteenth-century topics: Medieval/Early Modern/pre-1800. The reason for this reconfiguration was pragmatic: it is easier to have one point person on the program committee for the earlier time periods, which traditionally receive far fewer submissions than do the nineteenth-, twentieth-, and twenty-first-century categories. In its move away from the study of canonical literature, German Studies has to some extent moved away from sustained close textual analysis-an essential skill for sound scholarship in all areas of German Studies.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)470-474
Number of pages5
JournalGerman Studies Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - Oct 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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