Black Lives Matter. Say Their Names. I Can’t Breathe. These three sentences express the racism that has contaminated our society since our founding, forcing every black person to embark on a hideous journey of fear for themselves and their loved-ones. And now we have a president eager to have our military violate the constitution by unleashing its force against the peaceful protests on American soil. The societies whose languages and cultures we teach in the Department of German, Russian and Asian Languages and Literature have all endured horrors of racism and slavery historically. Our students frequently study the artistic and literary representations of those dreadful experiences. How do they connect to the experience for black people in the United States? The members of GRALL commit to raising these issues in our classrooms. Today thousands of people on our streets are directly documenting our own society’s horrors by recording videos on their phones. Our congressionally unchecked President, a “low-rent Lear raging on his Twitter heath” (in the words of one of the few conservative voices to speak out) is increasingly seen to be a malicious, insecure, cruel, wannabe emperor with no clothes—a heartless, ridiculous buffoon; the suffering of millions of black people and people of color in our country and at its borders is at the center of our minds, our discourse, our experience, our personal lives.
The Department of German, Russian and Asian Languages and Literature (GRALL) includes the German Studies Program, the Russian Studies Program, the Chinese Language Program, and the Japanese Language Program, as well as language courses in Korean.
The German Studies program is inherently interdisciplinary. We encourage students to explore German language and culture through a variety of lenses, including history, political science, Jewish studies, linguistics, philosophy and cinema. Because our faculty and classes are small, you’ll be sure to develop close relationships and receive the mentoring Brandeis is known for.
The Russian Studies program enables students to explore a wide variety of cultural, literary, social and political aspects of Russia and other post-Soviet states. Scholars in our program study the Russian language in its cultural context. Our graduates develop a deep understanding of the diversity and complexity of human thought and world views, and to apply Russian perspectives to texts and ideas beyond the study of language and literature.
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