Traditions and Transitions: German Curricula

Waterloo Centre for German Studies
University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario
August 26 - 28, 2010

In 2010, the Waterloo Centre for German Studies (WCGS) hosted the international conference “Traditions and Transitions - German Curricula” at the University of Waterloo. The conference brought together scholars from North American and European universities whose research investigated various facets of the postsecondary curriculum for teaching and learning German as a foreign and/or second language and culture.

Keynote speakers:

  • Claire Kramsch, University of California, Berkeley
  • Alice Pitt, York University, Toronto
  • Dietmar Rösler, Justus-Liebig Universität, Gießen


Currently, the potential new influences on the discipline of German seem many and varied. New digital technologies, the information economy, globalization and multiculturalism, altered international spheres of influence, the changing manner of communication, the internationalization and corporatization of universities, the rise of cultural studies especially in the English-speaking world, second language acquisition research, and critical applied linguistics are just a few of the current external and internal influences. As a result, many traditionally widespread ideas and approaches in German postsecondary curricula have recently been challenged. German Studies in the 21st century has to acknowledge a very different geo-political situation, a new generation of students with different expectations, and an advanced and far more complex understanding of its subject matter—German language, culture, and history.

The conference provided a forum for discussing the challenges of current transitions and their impact on German curricula.
The conference made a major contribution to the global discussion about the learning and teaching of German language and culture at university.


Selected papers from this conference have been published with Wilfrid Laurier University Press as part of the WCGS German Studies book series. The book can be ordered online: Traditions and Transitions: Curricula for German Studies.