Peter U. Hohendahl
Todd III
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The Past, Present, and Future of Germanistik

From Henry Mayhew, "The criminal prisons of London and scenes of prison life." General Research Division, The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations.
To deal with the past, present and future of a discipline that emerged in the early nineteenth century within the format of an essay is daring to say the least. Possibly it would have been wiser to avoid the loaded term "Germanistik" altogether by choosing the more neutral term German Studies for the discipline that deals with German language and literature and, at least more recently, with German culture in general. However, this cautious avoidance would only displace one of the crucial problems of the field that tends to come up with great regularity, namely, the relationship between German Studies in this country and Germanistik in Germany. From the point of view of our German colleagues, American Departments of German Studies are part of the discipline of Germanistik, but located in a foreign country. Thus the common term for all German departments outside of Germany is "Auslandsgermanistik" (foreign Germanistik). This concept implies not only an emphasis on the geographical and cultural location but also the presupposition that "Auslandsgermanistik" should be seen as an extension of "Inlandsgermanistik." We are dealing, so to speak, with branch offices that have been opened in foreign countries to disseminate the results of research and pedagogical theory. The underlying assumption is that the discipline originates in Germany. Its object of study has been demarcated by specific linguistic and cultural boundaries which have provided the field with its cohesion and identity. In this version Germanistik is defined as a self-representation of the German linguistic and cultural tradition from its beginnings to the present. Consequently, the study of this tradition becomes also the task of German departments in the United States and other foreign countries. It should be mentioned that this model is not peculiar to German Studies. English departments in Germany look as much to England and the United States for orientation as German departments in this country used to look to Germany. In fact, in the case of English Studies in Germany, the problematic nature of this orientation has not yet come under intensive scrutiny. American teachers of German language and literature, on the other hand, have been less than content with this model. There may have been a time of peaceful symbiosis in the distant past. However, as long as I have been part of German Studies in the United States, that is, for the last thirty years, the German paradigm of Germanistik has been challenged in various ways.1 New Critics have attacked German philology and historicism, radical Marxists have blasted conservative German notions of poetic autonomy and, more recently, postmodernists have criticized traditional concepts of high culture. The relationship between American-born and European-born colleagues working together in American departments has been stressful.

Frequently, these tensions have been channeled into a binary opposition that grossly simplifies the complexity of the configuration by pitting Americans against Germans. In these exchanges,  usually neither side has provided an adequate understanding of the disciplinary history and its legacy for the present and future.

Because of its lasting impact on German Studies in the United States, I have to say a few words about Germanistik in Germany. The complexity of its history has to be stressed. The structure of German Departments as we know them today emerged only in the late nineteenth century.2 It was after 1870 that their rather heterogeneous components began to merge in the structure of the "Germanische Seminar." More recent studies have amply demonstrated that our conventional ideas of a unified field of study that originated in the Romantic period reduces the complex configuration of medieval studies, historical linguistics, legal and cultural studies to a simple linear development in which literary criticism becomes the main task of the discipline.3 In fact, it should be noted that literary history and what today would be called literary criticism frequently developed outside of Germanistik.4 What held these various parts together was the search for a national identity in the realm of culture, which was politically unattainable before 1871. The formation of a literary canon of great authors and the idea of the evolution of German literature from the early Middle Ages to the present provided the building material for a narrative in which nationhood becomes the ultimate telos. For this reason, Germanistik was a political discipline even when it had no major impact on the political development or, for that matter, on the conception of the German university during the nineteenth century. The growing institutional strength of Germanistik in its more limited literary and philological version during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries was closely linked to the increasing importance of German Studies at the secondary level of education, i.e., at the level of the Gymnasium.5 The emergence of German literature as a central part of the curriculum, replacing Latin and Greek, reinforced the relevance of Germanistik at the university level. In practical terms it meant that the discipline of Germanistik was (and still is) in charge of training large numbers of teachers for secondary education. To a large extent the needs of the high school have determined the self-understanding and the curriculum of German Germanistik. This has been one of the reasons for its stability and its relative conservatism. Consequently, the reform of the Gymnasium during the sixties and seventies, which included a radical critique of the traditional literary canon, impacted the curriculum of Germanistik as well.6 By the same token, the decline of this reform during the eighties, the search for affirmative values, left its traces on the contours of German Germanistik. While German Studies in this country are in a process of substantial transition, Germanistik in Germany appears to be in a holding pattern with no clear direction.7

This brings me to my second point: the German-American divide which has been discussed mostly in national terms (presupposing stable definitions of German and American) has been anything but stable. Since World War II the boundaries have shifted several times. This is particularly true with respect to the question of approach and methodology. Phases of relative harmony were followed by phases of conflict and tension. For instance, during the fifties and early sixties German Werkimmanenz and American New Criticism, while certainly not identical, were by all means compatible. Among other things they shared a gesture against contextualizing and an aversion to political readings. In the political climate of the Cold War, literary studies on both sides of the Atlantic were assigned the conservative task of preserving the cultural tradition.8 The centrality of Goethe and classicism in the curriculum of German Departments attested to this function.

In West Germany, Werkimmanenz was challenged during the late sixties by radical historical and philosophical approaches, either through Critical Theory or through more orthodox versions of Marxism.9 Similarly, literary studies in the United States during the seventies began to move away from new critical approaches and turned to Critical Theory. In this context, the radical search for a new materialist paradigm resulted in a transatlantic exchange in which the theoretical similarities were more important than the differences. While Herbert Marcuse was adopted by the German student movement, Benjamin and Adorno made their appearance on the American scene.10 The early years of the journal New German Critique (1974-) were typical of this symbiosis, which more traditional American Germanists frequently decried as an unwanted import from Germany.

It seems that this radical alliance did not survive the eighties. During the last decade the gap between German Germanistik and German Studies in this country has widened. It is not only the theoretical and methodological positions which are no longer compatible, it is the self-understanding of the discipline that has accentuated the difference.11 While Germanistik in Germany, before and after unification, has returned to more traditional historical paradigms, that is to say, resolved its crisis by reaffirming its older task of providing the basis for a politics of cultural identity—a task particularly crucial after the unification of 1990—American German Studies have responded to their crisis during the seventies and early eighties by revamping the traditional concept of German Studies as literary studies.

This process, which by the way is still incomplete, deserves closer scrutiny. First of all, we have to note that it was driven by outside events more than by internal methodological considerations. The radicalization of American German Studies during the early seventies in the wake of the student movement certainly helped the transition, but it would not have been strong enough to have an impact on the mainstream, had it not been for the language crisis of the early seventies. It was the abolition of the traditional language requirement at the college level which drastically changed the fate of foreign language and literature departments in the United States. The study of German was no exception. In fact, as Willson and van Cleve have pointed out,12 the losses in German were heavier than in other languages. The rapidly dropping enrollment in language classes threatened the very existence of German Departments, since their entire structure depended on the enrollment in basic language classes. Especially graduate programs were dependent on language instruction. In most departments teaching assistantships for graduate students supplied the material base for graduate studies.

Initially, the crisis of German Studies in this country was an institutional rather than a methodological or theoretical crisis. How did German Departments respond to their shrinking enrollment base? The strategy used to make up for losses in language instruction was for the most part a strategy of supplement. German Departments by and large kept their curricula and their traditional self-understanding, but they introduced new courses in order to make their programs more interesting for a new generation of students that was no longer obliged to take basic language instruction. Literature courses in translation, film courses, and specialized language courses, which addressed particular needs (for instance those of the business community) were part of the new model. In the seventies these film courses were taught by faculty members who had no formal training in film studies. They branched out by showing German films as documents for German history and culture. There was an amateurish quality about these beginnings, which would raise critical eyebrows in the more sophisticated professional climate of the nineties. Still, these film courses usually had high enrollments and thereby filled the gap left by the declining language enrollment.

Branching out was clearly the motto of the day. A more systematic attempt to cope with the crisis of the seventies was the shift to Landeskunde or area studies in the undergraduate curriculum, an approach that received strong support from West German institutions such as the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).13 The area study approach deemphasized language and literature and focused instead on social and political aspects of both Germanies. This shift led to a significant influx of historical, sociological, and political material into the undergraduate curriculum. Again, the question of expertise played an important role. In this context, the experts were located in neighboring departments. Hence the Landeskunde paradigm would call for closer cooperation between disciplines as well as for an increase in the cross-listing of courses. A major in German Studies would typically consist of a number of preselected courses from participating departments taught by experts in the field. German literature was only one option among others. In this configuration it was not impossible to earn a major in German Studies without ever taking a course from the German Department.

The Landeskunde paradigm has not been as successful as originally expected. It was a reasonable strategy during the seventies when most faculty members in German Departments were either philologists or literary critics, that is, teachers with no or little training in broader historical and cultural issues. In the long run, however, this approach has failed because of its aggregate nature. It took existing courses from various departments and reassembled them for the purpose of a new major. Fundamental methodological and theoretical problems were typically not addressed. The disciplinary compatibility was rarely questioned. Rather, it was assumed that the accumulation of courses would have an enlightening effect on the mind of the student. Also, it was never clear which discipline should serve as the base for the joint enterprise. Was it history or sociology?—in any case not literature, which was treated like a stepchild. Moreover, Landeskunde did not necessarily improve the situation of German Departments. While the German area major attracted new students—students who for the most part would not have chosen a literature major—it did not solve the fundamental enrollment problems, which were caused by the shrinking numbers in the language program.

While the Landeskunde model ultimately failed, it definitely had an impact on the self-understanding of German Departments. For one thing, they learned to look outside, to come out of their isolation, which had been the result of the traditional conception of Germanistik where the home was either Germany or at least, and this is particularly true for the political emigrés of the thirties, the canon of German literature. Secondly, through German Studies as area studies, German Departments learned to see themselves as different from German Departments in Germany. We began to look at the curriculum developments of our French and British colleagues who were concerned with similar problems. As long as the study of the literary canon had defined the core of Germanistik, the nexus between German Departments in this country and Germanistik in Germany (East or West) had been perceived as natural.

As I mentioned before, the eighties witnessed a widening of the gap between German Studies in the United States and German Germanistik. By the end of the decade the established paradigms, while clearly still overlapping, pointed in rather different directions. Whereas German Germanistik retreated from the radical experiments with working class culture and popular literature and by and large focused again on canonical literature, American German Studies branched out in different directions. As far as I can see, it is no longer possible to describe these experiments in terms of a unified paradigm. In this respect, American German Departments have become rather similar to English Departments, where the theoretical and methodological changes of the 1980s also can no longer be described as the result of a general paradigm shift.14 To put it differently, during the eighties, German Studies in this country moved closer to the mainstream of American criticism, aligning itself with theoretical positions which had emerged during the late seventies and early eighties, among them versions of deconstruction, new historicism, feminist theory, colonial and post-colonial studies, to mention some of the options. 15 Obviously not all German Departments have adopted these new approaches, but this is of course equally true for English or French Departments. Given the smaller size of German Departments, we can speak of pockets of poststructuralist theory or postcolonial studies in some departments. It seems that today the intellectual profile of the German Department at a specific university or college is determined to a larger extent by the general intellectual environment of that institution than it was twenty years ago. To be sure, this does not exclude German peculiarities, among them the lasting impact of the hermeneutic tradition and certain forms of Western Marxism (Frankfurt School). But even in these cases it can be demonstrated that the recent American discussion has taken on its own momentum and has moved in directions for which there are no parallels in contemporary Germany.16 Moreover, the intertwinement of German and American theory has been complicated by mediation through other cultures. In some instances, the infusion of poststructuralist theory has come via Germany, yet there are also examples where German scholars have appropriated French poststructuralist thought through American intermediaries. Another intriguing moment in this transfer is the hermeneutic element in the New Historicism derived from cultural anthropology (Geertz), which had been under the influence of the German hermeneutic tradition.17 In short, the more recent map of German Studies is much harder to read, since there are many heterogeneous elements to consider which can no longer be grasped as part of a unified paradigm.

While during the seventies German Studies in this country broadened its horizon with the help of the area studies concept, which called for the cooperation of various disciplines, during the eighties the ideas and conceptual apparatus of cultural studies began to infiltrate the discourse of German Studies. With them came a more acute awareness of cultural difference and of positionality both within a given culture and vis-à-vis other cultures. In this new intellectual climate Germany and German culture emerged as an object of study which not only is different in a common sense understanding (a difference that the student of German culture then might wish to overcome and eliminate), but has to be seen as a theoretical construct depending on the position of the investigator. An anthropological notion of cultural difference encourages one to perceive German culture as the Other that helps the observer to define the boundaries of his or her own cultural identity. This anthropological perspective has tended to undermine universalist projects—as they came either in the form of social categories supplied by the Marxist or the Weberian tradition or in the mode of a formalist aesthetic tradition in which the concepts of literature and art remain abstract and therefore strictly universal. This shift, I feel, has also impacted and slowly redefined the feminist agenda in German Studies, which two decades ago began as a cooperative project between American and German feminists based on the unquestioned assumption that the situation of women could be universalized and therefore grasped through a unified theoretical approach.

German women's studies in the United States is an interesting example of the process of restructuring that took place during the eighties. From the very beginning it had to cope with two divergent theoretical and political traditions. While women's studies in West Germany emerged during the early seventies as part of the New Left, its North American equivalent derived a good deal of its strength from the liberal tradition, which ensured the connection with the larger mainstream of the American feminist movement. This tension left its traces in the orientation of the most important organization in German women's studies, that is Women in German (WIG). It is noteworthy that Sara Lennox's recent assessment of feminist scholarship within German Studies, while definitely critical of mainstream Anglo-American scholarship in this field, refers mostly to American scholars outside of German Studies and also has relatively little to say about the contributions from Germany, which strike her more or less as a repetition of poststructuralist approaches that have also dominated feminist criticism in this country during the eighties.18

One therefore might conclude that in the field of feminist criticism we have found a common theoretical ground defined by various modes of deconstructive criticism. A brief glance at the yearbook of WIG and the actual curricula of German Departments in the United States will quickly dispel this notion. When looking at the empirical evidence, it is difficult to recognize a common German-American front under the banner of French theory. The evidence points to a more fragmented pattern where one finds a number of competing approaches, which reflect various stages of feminist criticism. There are courses that deal with the role of women in German literature; there are courses that are concerned with literature written by and for women; and finally there are courses dealing with advanced feminist theory and its consequences for the interpretation of literature and culture. What is interesting and revealing is the simultaneity of these different (and conflicting) approaches.

Similar configurations can be observed in fields like mass or popular culture, film studies, the study of minorities and minority literature. These are areas that have clearly transformed German Studies in significant ways by making use of a variety of innovative approaches which have emerged under the heading of cultural studies.19 At the same time one has to realize that the scholarship as well as the teaching in these fields reflects diverging interests and theoretical positions. For this reason we should not expect a single overarching theoretical paradigm in the future—the way reception theory was hailed as the new paradigm that would solve all the problems of literary studies in the early seventies. While one could possibly argue that systems theory is beginning to emerge as the dominant theoretical model in Germany—at least in the eyes of Luhmann's disciples, who make strong claims for its theoretical superiority over competing models20 —the idea of a single paradigm seems to be less appealing and less realistic in the North American context at this moment. The intellectual climate of the late eighties and early nineties has not favored hegemonic claims, and this is certainly also true for German Studies, which have to negotiate their self-understanding more and more within the context of American criticism. Therefore we will be faced with a greater heterogeneity of agendas and approaches, which will selectively find their place in an individual German Department and define its unique intellectual profile. Especially with respect to graduate studies, I foresee a greater degree of differentiation. Given the extremely tough competition of the top departments for the best students, a more individualized theoretical profile and thematic agenda (feminism, multi-cultural problems, media studies, semiotic and psychoanalytic methods) is almost inevitable, since most German Departments are too small to offer the full array of the presently available options. That is to say, the institutional constraints and the diversity of theoretical and methodological paradigms will reinforce each other in the formation of more specialized German Departments at the level of graduate studies.

There are additional reasons why future German Studies will depart from the past and the present. One of the legacies of German Germanistik that is still with us is the unity of the field stretching from medieval studies and historical linguistics to modern literature and cultural studies of the postwar period. The boundaries of this field were always defined more in institutional than in theoretical terms. The redefinition of literary history as Geistesgeschichte during the early twentieth century, for instance, focused more or less on the modern period and barely touched medieval studies, which continued to be dominated by a philological approach. During the last twenty years this institutional coherence has come under a lot of stress. Not only has the teaching of historical linguistics (Gothic, Old High German, etc.) suffered under the impact of structuralist linguistics, but also medieval literature has been increasingly marginalized. Even the early modern period (Reformation and Baroque) is clearly receiving less attention than two decades ago.

Since I have no hard empirical evidence, my analysis must remain sketchy; however, it seems to me that the emphasis of teaching and research in German Studies has shifted towards the late nineteenth and the twentieth centuries. To put it differently, the historical dimension of the field has been shortened to make room for experimental models that go beyond the traditional literary canon. The study of post-war minority literature would be a case in point. But there are other cases as well: film studies and the intersection of mass media and literature, colonial literature, gay studies, etc. The slow but growing destruction of the traditional literary canon also has undermined the cohesion of the field as a whole. While German Germanistik still holds on to a definition of its institutional mission in which the classical period (Goethe, Schiller, and, by extension, the Romantics) defines the center, this is no longer true for the United States. Today American German Studies clearly cannot be conceived of as an extension of Goethe criticism.

Why is the loss of the traditional literary canon so relevant for the entire field? Could we not simply talk about this change as a shift in which different authors and materials are foregrounded? The question of the canon is so important because the established canonical order (however contested certain authors may have been) has at the same time defined the coherence of the field as a whole. This is the legacy of the nineteenth century when the literary canon was needed for identity politics. The age of Goethe in particular served this purpose; it marked the climax of German culture, a moment of plenitude to which later generations would have to return in order to understand their own collective identity. However, once the canon is deconstructed, the cohesion of the field of German Studies is threatened. Under these conditions, the field might well break up.

The connection between medieval studies and modern German literature, for example, is no longer secure and self-evident. There is not only the linguistic barrier, i.e., the familiarity with Middle High German, which has deterred students from this subfield, but also the nature of the material itself, which is much less compatible with a modern conceptual apparatus than nineteenth-century scholars were prepared to argue. They tended to erase this difference in the name of a modern national identity—a constellation which is not very relevant anymore in the American context. For this reason, I would not exclude the possibility that medieval studies will go their own way and form new alliances with medieval programs in other national literatures. Even scholarship on the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries might eventually find its home in a comparative Renaissance program guided by a neo-historical approach, an approach which has revitalized Renaissance Studies in English. What is left in terms of periods, i.e., the span from the eighteenth to the twentieth century, represents modernity in a Habermasian sense.21 Here we are dealing with processes of cultural differentiation that are of relevance for the contemporary situation (whether our students know this or not). The shorter chronological depth is compensated by a broader definition of the field, which, I believe, will not follow the traditional path of literary studies along the lines of canonical authors.

Recently, in a severe critique of German Studies in this country, Leslie Willson and John van Cleve have suggested that the American canon of German literature has to differ from the German one, that only a critical assessment of the canon can save German Studies from extinction.22 I agree with some of their criticisms, but I don't believe that a different version of the literary canon, in which author A is replaced with author B, will be the recipe for survival. It is the notion of a national canon itself, a notion which Willson and van Cleve do not seriously challenge, that is problematic, since it replaces a German national identity with an American one and thereby replicates the model it wants to critique.

A critique of the national literary canon is frequently understood as an attack on literary studies in general and as a polemic against important German authors in particular—a Germanic version of the dead-white-male syndrome that lately has haunted the humanities. By calling into question the traditional canon, I do not want to argue in favor of simply eliminating important German authors from the field of study. Rather, I want to suggest that in the future they will be examined from different viewpoints and in different intertextual configurations. Feminist criticism was the first one to explore these possibilities. In short, the American agenda will no longer be preoccupied with German ideas of a collective cultural identity as part of its self-definition. Instead, this nationalist German preoccupation is something that ought to be studied as symptomatic since canonicity is a moment of a national culture which deserves the intensive attention of the cultural critic.

The positionality of this cultural critic—whether American-born or German-born—is of great importance for the future of German Studies in this country. In this respect the mere distinction between German Germanistik and the efforts in other countries ("Auslandsgermanistik") does not suffice to demarcate the project and the contributions of German Studies in the United States. We have to note that the cultural aspect contained in the term "cultural critic" as opposed to "literary critic" or "philologist" has a double edge. It not only refers to a broader agenda in which literary texts are not the exclusive objects under scrutiny, it also speaks to the relationship between the observer and the observed. It is the culture of the observing and thereby intervening critic that comes into play and thereby defines the boundaries of the field. The recent development of German Studies has brought this moment into the foreground. If we understand the broader theoretical and methodological debate of the last two decades in this country as a—mostly indirect—reflection of more general cultural processes, then the noticeable transformation of the professional discourse of American Germanistik can also be recognized as an indication of a new intellectual and professional self-understanding. One of its moments is an openness towards interdisciplinary projects that did not exist a generation ago.23 Yet this growing awareness that the study of literature and language cannot be isolated from their larger cultural context differs from the Landeskunde model of the seventies. This more recent cultural turn of German Studies is grounded in textual exegesis rather than a compilation of separate disciplinary discourses. While the Landeskunde paradigm attempted to integrate a number of disciplines through the subject matter, i.e., German history, the culture model seeks to integrate interfacing disciplinary approaches through metatheoretical reflections. In metaphorical language it is the switch from compiling to weaving.

One of the unexpected results of this development is a potential shift in the conceptualization of language teaching. The acquisition of the German language has always played a major role in the traditional model of German Studies. Linguistic competence has been a prerequisite for the study of the canon of great literary works as well as for the potential assimilation of the American student into German culture. This learning process has been perceived as a sequence of stages: the study of the language precedes the study of the culture. Among other things, it was this strong emphasis on the acquisition of German that isolated German Departments in this country, since it designated the German Department as foreign territory, whether its faculty members were German-born or not. Under the auspices of the cultural model, on the other hand, this relationship can be renegotiated. Working with the premise that the goal of the project is the cognition and ultimate integration of the other, the priority of the German language becomes less central. To put it differently, in the American context, the use of English as a medium of self-orientation is as important as the use of German. Without the interface between these two languages cultural transfer is not possible. Hence the concept of an actual interface and interplay becomes a crucial step in the process of mediation because the foreign language, in our case German, contains the very alterity that the student wants to grasp in the medium of English, just as much as the seeming familiarity of the English language is subverted through the intervention of the foreign language.

It seems to me that in this project there is room both for American-born and for European-born scholars and teachers; in fact, their cooperation is required for the previously mentioned exchange, but not in the spirit of "Auslandsgermanistik," in which we anxiously await the cues from Germany. Since the field of study and its mission in North America is a different one, the hierarchy implied in the seemingly neutral term "Foreign German Studies" is no longer useful for the American project of German Studies.

Peter U. Hohendahl



(1) For the most recent critique see John van Cleve and A. Leslie Willson, Remarks on the Needed Reform of German Studies in the United States (Columbia: Camden House, 1993).

(2)  See Bärbel Rompeltien, Germanistik als Wissenschaft. Zur Ausdifferenzierung und Integration einer Fachdisziplin (Opladen: Westdeutscher Verlag, 1994), especially 203-228.

(3)  See Klaus Weimar, Geschichte der deutschen Literaturwissenschaft bis zum Ende des 19. Jahrhunderts (München: Wilhelm Fink, 1989); also Jürgen Fohrrmann, Das Projekt der deutschen Literaturgeschichte. Entstehen und Scheitern einer nationalen Poesiegeschichtsschreibung zwischen Humanismus und Deutschem Kaiserreich (Stuttgart: Metzler, 1988).

(4) See Peter Uwe Hohendahl, Building a National Literature: The Case of Germany 1830-1870 (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1989) 104-139.

(5)  See Hans Georg Herrlitz, Der Lektüre-Kanon des Deutsch-Unterrichts im Gymnasium: Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der muttersprachlichen Schulliteratur (Heidelberg: Quelle und Meyer, 1964); see also Sussan M. Ameri, Die Konstruktion eines neuen deutschen Menschen und die Sprachbewegung im Wilhelminischen Reich (diss., Cornell University, 1986).

(6)  See Ansichten einer künftigen Germanistik, ed. Jürgen Kolbe (München: Karl Hanser, 1969); also Marie Luise Gansberg and Paul Gerhard Völker, Methodenkritik der Germanistik (Stuttgart: Metzler, 1970).

(7) We have to distinguish, of course, between the mainstream of the profession and particular instances of theoretical work that has kept up with the international development. See for instance Neue Literaturtheorien. Eine Einführung, ed. Klaus-Michael Bogdal (Opladen: Westdeutscher Verlag, 1990). The volumes contains essays on Foucault, Lacan, Bourdieu, semiotics, systems theory (Luhmann), deconstruction (Derrida), and advanced hermeneutics. Thematically, though not in emphasis, it mirrors the recent American discussion.

(8)  See Jost Hermand, Synthetisches Interpretieren. Zur Methodik der Literaturwissenschaft (München: Nymphenburger Verlagsbuchhandlung, 1968), especially 120-160.

(9)  See Jack Zipes, "Die Dämmerung der amerikanischen Germanistik," Diskussion Deutsch 33 (February, 1977): 84-103.

(10)  Symptomatic in this context is Fredric Jameson's extensive discussion of the Frankfurt School (Benjamin and Adorno) in his Marxism and Form (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1972).

(11)  See Jeffrey M. Peck's introduction to the special issue of the German Quarterly 62.2 (1989): 141-143, on Germanistik and German Studies.

(12) . Van Cleve and Willson 1-13.

(13)  See Deutschlandstudien I and II, ed. Robert Picht (Bonn: DAAD, 1975).

(14)  The "cultural turn" of literary criticism in the United States during the 1990s is heterogeneous in terms of its theoretical base. For an overview see Cultural Studies, ed. Lawrence Grossberg, Cary Nelson, and Paula A. Treichler (New York: Routledge, 1992).

(15)  See for example the essays by Hinrich Seeba, Sara Lennox, Jeffrey M. Peck, Sander L. Gilman, Anton Kaes, and Peter U. Hohendahl in the special issue of German Quarterly  62.2 (1989).

(16)  For a more detailed analysis see Peter Uwe Hohendahl, Reappraisals: Shifting Alignments in Postwar Critical Theory (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1991) 198-228.

(17)  See Peter Uwe Hohendahl, "A Return to History? The New Historicism and its Agenda," New German Critique 55 (Winter, 1992): 87-104.

(18)  Sara Lennox, "Feminist Scholarship and Germanistik," German Quarterly  62.2 (1989): 158-170; but see also, with a different emphasis, the response of Azade Seyhan entitled "Prospects for Feminist Literary Theory in German" in the same issue (171-177).

(19)  See for example Eric L. Santner, Stranded Objects. Mourning, Memory, and Film in Postwar Germany (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1990); Richard W. McCormick, Politics of the Self: Feminism and the Postmodern in West German Literature and Film (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1991).

(20) See Harro Müller, "Systemtheorie und Literaturwissenschaft," in Neue Literaturtheorien, ed. Klaus-Michael Bogdal (Opladen: Westdeutschen Verlag, 1990) 201-217. From an American perspective see also the critical review essay by Robert Holub "Luhmann's Progeny: Systems Theory and Literary Studies in the Post-Wall Era," New German Critique 61(Winter, 1994): 143-59.

(21)  For Habermas's understanding of modernity see his The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1987), especially 1-22.

(22)  Van Cleve and Willson 65-70.

(23)  For a more detailed analysis of this project see the essays mentioned in note 15.

© 1998 Stanford Humanities Review unless otherwise noted.