The Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst (DAAD) Center for German & European Studies at the University of Minnesota was established jointly in 1998 with the University of Wisconsin Madison. From its inception, the center has been devoted to educating the next generation of specialists in the study of Germany and Europe by supporting the research and teaching of its affiliated faculty and graduate students across the arts, humanities, and social sciences.
The center developed two programs specifically to foster the research of German and European studies: research collaborations and Trans-Atlantic Summer Institutes. Research collaborations, generally of two years in duration, are designed to create research opportunities that would not otherwise develop at a single institution. Since the center’s founding in 1998, research collaboratives have assumed many different forms, including lecture series, workshops, mini-conferences, and semester-long trans-atlantic graduate seminars. Most recently, research collaboratives have analyzed transnational Jewish culture; the media and immigration; surveillance, privacy, and cybersecurity; environmental humanities; and the challenges of performing Bach in the 21st century.
Trans-Atlantic Summer Institutes (TASI) were originally created for advanced graduate students to engage in an intensive two-week seminar on a topic related to their dissertation projects. Over the past three years, TASIs have been offered on the dynamics of social inclusion and exclusion and reframing mass violence in Europe and the Americas. These two programs were offered in partnership with the Hebrew University, the Universität Bayreuth, the Rachel Carson Center of the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, the Universität Münster, and the Europa Universität Viadrina.
The center has also recently designed educational programs in Germany for undergraduates with an interest in Central Europe and local outreach activities to inform the professional community and general public about current German and European issues. The Minnesota Center also offers the WorkArt Program, a four- to eight-week internship at Kunstvereine in Germany.
The center’s current permanent director is James A. Parente, Jr., Professor of German, Scandinavian, and Dutch and former dean of the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities.