German Language and Literatures
Department Chair:
Elizabeth Hamilton

Administrative Assistant:
Polly Bratton

Department Email:

Phone: 440 7758650
Fax: 440 7756355

Peters Hall 222
50 N. Professor St.
Oberlin, OH, 44074

Office Hours: 8:30a - noon and 1:00p - 3:30p

Guest Lectures

Guest Lectures

  The Department of German Language and Literatures invites you to a lecture by Professor David Chisolm, the Max Kade Distinguished Lecturer in German for 2012:

“Woyzeck and Wozzeck: from Georg Büchner to Alban Berg.“

Saturday, September 29, 2012 at 4 p.m.

Max Kade German House Lounge

Professor Chisolm will discuss the evolution of „Woyzeck“ from the historical figure who was publicly beheaded on the market square in Leipzig in 1824 for murdering his mistress in 1821, to Georg Büchner’s play of 1836-1837 (based in part on medical evaluations of Woyzeck’s mental condition submitted to the court after the murder), to the first publication of the play as “Wozzeck” in 1879 and another edition in 1909, its first performance in Munich in 1913, and the premiere of Alban Berg’s opera “Wozzeck” in Berlin in 1925.

We will view or listen to excerpts from the opera and discuss the relationship between the fifteen scenes selected by Alban Berg (from the published editions of Büchner’s play) and the musical structure of these scenes. Professor Chisolm will also show how Berg’s use of “Sprechstimme” and “rhythmical declamation,” as well as both atonality and more traditional tonalities, is particularly effective in evoking the moods and feelings of the characters in Büchner’s deeply moving and intensely emotional play.


David Chisholm studied at Oberlin College, the University of Erlangen, the University of Chicago and Indiana University, followed by a year as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Cincinnati. He is currently Professor of German Studies at the University of Arizona and a faculty member of the Arizona-Leipzig joint Ph.D. program in Transcultural German Studies. He has also taught at the University of Hamburg, the University of Cincinnati, the University of Illinois and the Deutsche Sommerschule von New Mexico. His teaching and research interests include German literary-political cabaret, interrelationships between music and German literature, German lyric poetry, versification, and linguistic approaches to literature, and he has lectured on these topics at various universities in the United States and Europe. He has held Fulbright and Alexander von Humboldt fellowships for research in Germany, and currently serves on the board of directors of the Executive Board of the Arizona chapter of the Fulbright Association. Among his publications are books on Goethe's Knittelvers, literary concordances to Goethe’s Faust, Erster Teil and the poetry of Conrad Ferdinand Meyer; and articles on a wide variety of topics including German cabaret, interrelationships between music and literature, and linguistic aspects of German and English poetry and prose. He has also translated German poetry, prose and radio plays into English, and is a contributor to the Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics and the Columbia Dictionary of Modern European Literature. He is currently working on a history and anthology of German Knittelvers from the Middle Ages to the present.



The Department of German Language and Literatures at Oberlin College invites you to the Max Kade Distinguished Lecture for 2011 Professor Alvin Rosenfeld

“‘Is it Possible to Understand the Germans?’ The Life and Writing of Primo Levi.”

Professor Rosenfeld’s lecture will be held in English.

Sunday, November 13, 2011 at 4:00 p.m. Max Kade German House Lounge

104 South Professor Street, Oberlin, Ohio

Alvin H. Rosenfeld, Professor of English and Jewish Studies at Indiana University, Bloomington, holds the Irving M. Glazer Chair in Jewish Studies and is Director of the university’s Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism. He founded Indiana University’s well-regarded Borns Jewish Studies Program and served as its director for 30 years. The editor of William Blake: Essays (1969) and the Collected Poetry of John Wheelwright (1972), he is also the author of numerous scholarly and critical articles on American poetry, Jewish writers, and the literature of the Holocaust. Indiana University Press published his Confronting the Holocaust: The Impact of Elie Wiesel (co-edited with Irving Greenberg) in 1979 and, in 1980, published his A Double Dying: Reflections on Holocaust Literature (the book has since appeared in German and Polish translations; a Hungarian translation is forthcoming). With his wife, Erna Rosenfeld, he translated Gunther Schwarberg’s The Murders at Bullenhuser Damm, a book on Nazi medical atrocities published by the Indiana University Press in 1984. His Imagining Hitler was published by Indiana University Press in 1985 (available also in a Japanese translation). He edited Thinking About the Holocaust: After Half a Century (Indiana University Press, 1997), a collection of articles by 13 scholars, which includes his essay, “The Americanization of the Holocaust.” His The Writer Uprooted: Contemporary Jewish Exile Literature appeared with Indiana University Press in 2009. His most recent study, The End of the Holocaust, is due to be published in 2011. In recent years, he has also written about contemporary antisemitism, and some of his articles on this subject have evoked intense debate. He is also editor of a series of books on Jewish Literature and Culture published by Indiana University Press.



Guest lecture:  Gert Niers

German-Jewish Women Authors in Exile.  Metaphors of Loss and Persecution

in the Works of Margarete Kollisch, Ilse Blumenthal-Weiss, and Vera Lachmann.

February 17, 2010 at 4:30 p.m. at the Kade House Lounge


The Annual Harold Jantz Memorial Lecture

Professor Mark W. Roche, University of Notre Dame

April 14, 2010 at 4:30 p.m.

More details coming soon.

The Department of German Language and Literatures
invites you to the

Thirtieth Annual Max Kade Lecture

Jefferey Herf

"Ideology into Narrative: Nazy Germany's Anti-Semitic Propaganda in Germany and the Middle East - and its Aftereffects"

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

4:30 p.m.

Max Kade German House


The Günter Grass Scandal:
The Writer's "Crabwalk Toward His Past"

Professor Judith Ryan
Professor of German and Comparative Literature
Harvard University

Saturday, April 14, 2007
4:30 p.m.
Hallock Auditorium
Environmental Studies Center
Oberlin College

The Department of German Language and Literatures has been pleased to host these annual Max Kade lectures:

Twenty-Ninth Annual Max Kade Lecture

Leroy T. Hopkins, Jr.
Professor of German
Millersville University

Black Prussians: African Americans
and German Higher Education, 1849-1933

Friday, February 16, 2007

The Twenty-eighth Annual Max Kade Lecture

Michael Hofmann
noted writer and award-winning translator
On Translating Franz Kafka
(in English)

Saturday, November 12, 2005


The Twenty-seventh Annual Max Kade Lecture

Professor Leslie Adelson, Cornell University

"Remembering the Future: The Turkish Turn in Contemporary German Literature"

Saturday, November 9, 2002


The Twenty-sixth Annual Max Kade Lecture

Professor Todd Kontje, University of California, San Diego

"Günter Grass and the Literature of Migration: Between Heimat and Diaspora"

Saturday, November 3, 2001


The Twenty-fifth Annual Max Kade Lecture

Professor David Chisholm, University of Arizona

"German Literary-Political Cabaret during the Weimar Republic"

Saturday, November 4, 2000

Annual Max Kade lectures are made possible through a series of generous grants to the German Department by the Max Kade Foundation (New York).

Other Recent Lecture Events

The Annual Harold Jantz Memorial Lecture

Professor Anton Kaes, University of California at Berkeley

April 13th, 2005

Elizabeth Oehlkers, Poet and Translator

"From the Spirit to the Letter: Translating Zafer Senocak"

Monday, March 19, 2001