German Department


The Thesis in German

The writing of the thesis is the culmination of the German major at Reed. It allows students to bring the analytical skills and cultural competence acquired at Reed and (in most cases) in Germany to bear on a specific project of their interest. The small size of the department enables us to work closely with students and help them devise highly individual projects. Thesis topics may be chosen from any literary or intellectual German tradition. The two different tracks (German literature/German culture studies) do not imply two entirely different sets of themes and methodologies. The culture-studies track requires a greater knowledge of another discipline while allowing students to work primarily with German material in English translation. Students of both tracks are encouraged to try interdisciplinary approaches and, most importantly, engage in critical self-reflection on their approach.

Recent Thesis Topics

Tales of Origin: The Märchen and its Discontents (2006)

Sensuality and Intellect in Thomas Mann’s Early Stories (2006)

Teleology, Morality, and Reason in Kant’s Philosophy of History (2005)

Ice and Snow in the Works of Adalbert Stifter (2004)

Philosophies of Greek Tragedy from Schiller to Nietzsche (2004)

More Than Just a Trend?  Reflections of a New Generation in Contemporary German Pop Literature (2004)

Subjectivity and Estrangement in Exile Lifewriting (2004)

Resistance and Reform in Christa Wolf's *Kassandra* (2003)

The Function of Humor in George Tabori's Holocaust Plays (2002)

Impossible Women in the Work of Arthur Schnitzler (2001)

Revelation and Catastrophe—A Benjaminian Historical Materialist Perspective on Paul Celan: Collecting the Past Moment by Moment (2000)

Ambiguity in Heidegger’s Philosophy of Language (2000)

The Poet's Autumn:  The Depiction of Nature in the Early Poetry of Stefan George and Rainer Maria Rilke (2000)