Welcome to Germanic, Slavic & Semitic Studies!
The philosopher Franz Rosenzweig once wrote that as many languages one speaks, as many times one is a human being.
Our mission is to teach German, Russian and Modern Hebrew, and to research and teach the literatures and cultures of the peoples living in these languages. We offer classes that address the highly complex histories and cultures of German speaking countries, Slavic countries and of modern Israel. While our classes are steeped in the histories of these different literatures and cultures, our faculty believes that studying the past has an impact on the present, and that studying the diversity of literatures helps our students understand the present in its complexity and with the many challenges of a globalized world.
About a decade ago, the Report of the Presidential Humanities Commission of the University of California noted that the humanities “can help all members of the university community, but especially students, learn how to negotiate our culturally diverse contemporary world in ways that are both knowledgeable and sensitive.”
It is such knowledge and such sensitivity that the acquisition of other languages and the study of their multi-faceted literatures develop and foster in depth; in ways that deeply impact the learner’s and researcher’s life.
We invite you to join us in our endeavor and passion!
Elisabeth Weber, Chair