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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Chaucer and Beowulf in Germany and the Survival of International Medieval Studies


Johnston examines the lessons to be learned from the precarious position of Medieval English Studies in Germany. While German universities are attracting a growing number of English-speaking graduate students, Medieval English Studies in Germany has been increasingly modeling itself on programs in leading Anglophone universities and increasingly hiring non-“German” faculty. Consequently, the gap between the scholarly community in Medieval English Studies and that in Medieval German Studies has widened, leaving Medieval English Studies untethered to either German medievalists or Anglophone medievalists. Ironically, because funding mechanisms value cross-disciplinary collaboration, Germany’s Medieval English scholars frequently work across departments and programs, establishing collaborations that they might otherwise overlook. Because a truly global Medieval Studies requires engagements outside nationalist interests and across multiple perspectives, the collaborations forged by German scholars focusing on Medieval English Studies may provide a model for ways we can actively engage with and learn from one another.

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