Founded in 1968, the Max Kade Center, promotes the study of the language, history, and culture of German-speaking immigrants, and their contributions to American society. With its valuable collection of more than 20,000 books and manuscripts that focus on emigration and exile, the center enables students and scholars to conduct research. Through lectures, colloquia, symposia, publications, and exchanges, the center achieves outreach to both the academic community and the general public.
Digital humanities projects
This project set out to collect, annotate, and analyze a longitudinal corpus of university students’ writing in German as a Foreign Language at low proficiency levels. This project contributes to Second Language Acquisition (SLA) research by facilitating analyses of longitudinal language development both in groups and individuals, whereas most of SLA studies have been either cross-sectional or small-scale longitudinal (tracking 1-2 participants over time). Moreover, this project is novel because the corpus data have been collected: 1) from beginning learners of German (as opposed to the majority of studies focusing on intermediate to advanced proficiency levels); 2) from learners with a homogenous native language background (overwhelmingly American English); 3) from learners with an equal type and amount of exposure to the target language (mostly restricted to the classroom and instructional materials); 4) at dense time intervals (3-5 weeks); 5) in response to real-life classroom instruction tasks; and 6) with multiple types of task and learner metadata.
Germanic Languages and Literatures faculty support KU's faculty-driven Open-Access Policy by depositing versions of their published research articles, where they have been able to retain sufficient rights to do so, in the KU ScholarWorks digital repository. The international open access movement aims to make peer-reviewed research available freely to the scholarly community and the public. The Germanic collection includes both faculty publications as well as a growing retrospective collection of its theses and dissertations, the oldest dating to 1887, a senior thesis by Cora Kimball on The Niebelungenlied.
Housed at the Max Kade Center, Germanic Languages under the aegis of Professor William Keel foster research on the German dialects of Kansas in the LAKGD, including maps, contemporary recordings, and historical materials.
In collaboration with Hochschule Offenburg, Germanic languages (PI Emeritus Professor Frank Baron) maintains a growing and dynamic digital database devoted to the travels and discoveries of Alexander von Humboldt. The HDL reflects Humboldt's holistic interest in the natural world: “The principal impulse by which I was directed was the earnest endeavor to comprehend the phenomena of physical objects in their general connection and to represent nature as one great whole, moved and animated by internal forces." – Alexander von Humboldt, in the preface to Cosmos.