Why I Majored in German Studies

Denson Camp ’24

When I first heard that I would have to complete a language requirement at Pomona College, I was slightly put out. My experience with language learning in high school had been less than ideal, and I thought to my myself at the time, “I might as well get this immediately out of the way.” I decided to take Elementary German 1, stemming from a vague interest in the culture and language.

Four years later, and I am an enthusiastic German major at Pomona College, with some of the most wonderful experiences of my life having resulted directly from this decision. Majoring in German at Pomona has allowed me to explore an incredibly fascinating culture and language with some of the most empathetic, warm and knowledgeable faculty and students I have ever had the pleasure to work with. The history, culture and modern significance of Germany (and other German-speaking nations) has a bounty of riches to offer, from the artistic and philosophical tradition to the contemporary benefit of studying one of the world’s strongest economies.

My experience studying abroad in Freiburg, Germany, for a semester was not only an enriching cultural learning experience but one of the happiest times of my life. Majoring in German at Pomona College allows for the perfect, well-rounded liberal arts experience, where one can dive deep into the passions of the major, while still having time to explore other interests and fields of study that Pomona has to offer. I can’t imagine having made any other decision, and I look forward to going into the world with the lessons and skills my German major has given me.

Alexej Latimer ’24

I was drawn to the German Department within my first semesters at Pomona College during our full remote learning-based year.

Rooting myself in both present-day and staple literatures within the discipline, I am drawn to the power of German in poetic and theoretical frameworks. Focusing cultural and institutional rigidities within central Europe have angled my intellectual inquiry towards the careful bilingual marriage of sources drawn from the fields of critical legal, neocolonial, abolitionist and Africana studies alongside rich historical narratives of pre-Enlightenment to contemporary German philosophical and cultural scholarship and archive.

I wish to complicate the systemic structures in Western society through educational and demographic considerations. More than ever, the evolution of Europe is dependent on how conventionally overlooked or illegitimated histories render within the collective consciousness. The Pomona College German Department along with the Brueckner Summer Travel Grant have fostered my capacity to generate interdisciplinary work on such histories and their relevance for cultural, political and economic life today.