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Languages and Literatures

Congratulations to the Class of 2013!

A somewhat belated congratulations to the Russian majors and Russian, Central and Eastern European Studies (RCEES) concentrators in the class of 2013!

We wish all the best to Russian majors Addie Anderson ’12.5Sydney Devine-Rausch ’13Jacob Goldsmith ’13Sahar Nahib ’13, and Christopher Squier ’13, and RCEES concentrators Doug Dobrzynski ’13 and Adam Lauretig ’13.

We wish them all the best as they embark on new adventures and journeys beyond Grinnell. Поздравляем с окончанием и желаем больших успехов!

About Us

At Grinnell, all studies take place within a liberal arts framework, focusing on the study of German literature and culture through the contexts of the arts, history, social history, philosophy, and politics.

McKibben Lecture 2013: John Oakley

John H. Oakley, Chancellor Professor and Forest D. Murden Jr. Professor in the Department of Classical Studies at the College of William and Mary in Virginia, delivered the eighth annual McKibben Lecture in Classical Studies on April 25, 2013. His talk, entitled "Athenian White Lekythoi: Masterpieces of Greek Funerary Art," discussed the scenes found on white lekythoi and what these scenes tell us about classical Athenian perceptions of and reactions to death.

Professor Oakley received his B.A. from Rutgers University in Ancient History, and, also from Rutgers, his M.A. in Classics and his Ph.D. in Classical Art and Archaeology. He has taught at the College of William and Mary since 1980, with visiting appointments at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, Princeton University, the University of Freiburg in Germany, and the University of Brussels. He is an expert on ancient Greek vases who has published a dozen books, including, with Cambridge University Press, a work on white lekythoi entitled Picturing Death in Classical Athens. In addition he has published over seventy-five articles and chapters, and he has lectured very widely. He is a longtime contributor of service to both the American School of Classical Studies at Athens and the Archaeological Institute of America. 

The McKibben Lecture in Classical Studies is sponsored by the Department of Classics and honors Bill and Betty McKibben, whose combined service to Grinnell College and to the greater Grinnell community totaled more than a century.

Srinivas Aravamudan becomes the Fifth Connelly Lecturer in Fall 2012

Srinivas is a Professor of English and Dean of the Humanities at Duke University.  He has also served as President of the CHCI (Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes).

Srinivas Aravamudan gained his PhD at Cornell University and has taught at the University of Utah, and at the University of Washington. He joined the Duke English Department in the Fall of 2000. He specializes in eighteenth century British and French literature and in postcolonial literature and theory. He is the author of essays in Diacritics, ELH, Social Text, Novel, Eighteenth-Century Studies, Anthropological Forum, South Atlantic Quarterly and other venues. His study, Tropicopolitans: Colonialism and Agency, 1688-1804 (1999, Duke University Press) won the outstanding first book prize of the Modern Language Association in 2000. He has also edited Slavery, Abolition and Emancipation: Writings of the British Romantic Period: Volume VI Fiction (1999, Pickering and Chatto). His book, Guru English: South Asian Religion in A Cosmopolitan Language was published by Princeton University Press in January 2006, and republished by Penguin India in 2007. A new book-length study, on the eighteenth-century French and British oriental tale, Enlightenment Orientalism: Resisting the Rise of the Novel, has just been published by the University of Chicago Press (2012); another on sovereignty and anachronism is forthcoming. His edition of William Earle's antislavery romance, entitled Obi: or, The History of Three-Fingered Jack appeared in 2005 with Broadview Press.

His specialties include: British Literature, Eighteenth Century Literature, Postcolonial Literature, Critical Theory, Modern to Contemporary, and Novels

His research summary includes: British Literature; Critical Theory; Postcolonial Literature

2012-2013 Distinguished Author: Natasha Trethewey

Natasha Trethewey is the 19th United States Poet Laureate [2012-2013]. In his citation, Librarian of Congress James Billington wrote "Her poems dig beneath the surface of history - personal or communal, from childhood or from a century ago-to explore the human struggles that we all face." She is the author of Thrall [2012], Native Guard [Houghton Mifflin], for which she won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize, Bellocq's Ophelia [Graywolf, 2002], which was named a Notable Book for 2003 by the American Library Association, and Domestic Work [Graywolf, 2000]. She is also the author of Beyond Katrina: A Meditation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast [University of Georgia Press]. A memoir is forthcoming in 2013.

Russian Department

Students of Russian at Grinnell embrace the subject in all its complexity, mastering the language and exploring Russian culture through off-campus study, Russian Table, the senior seminar, and courses in history, political science, gender and sexuality studies, the fine arts, philosophy, and film.

German Department

German is more than a language — the curriculum studies German culture, history, philosophy, literature, arts, and film. Majors go on to graduate study and careers in education, interpretation, media, law, economic development, government, tourism, finance, and more.