Director of the Summer Language Program
Lecturer on German
- Undergraduate education, MA, University of Augsburg (Germany)
- MA, PhD, Brandeis University
Karin Grundler-Whitacre, a native of Germany, started her teaching career in German language and culture, pedagogy, and philology as a doctoral student at Brandeis University in 1995. She received her master’s degree in Women’s Studies and Comparative Literature and her doctoral degree in Interdisciplinary Literary Studies (with a concentration on modern German and American Jewish comparative literature) for her dissertation entitled: “Islands in a Sea of Exile: The Life and Works of the Writer and Painter Barbara Honigmann” in 2002 from Brandeis University, Waltham, MA.
Before she came to study in the United States with a scholarship from the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD), Karin completed her master’s degree in American Studies, Politics, and Communication Sciences at the University of Augsburg (Bavaria, Germany) in 1994.
In 2004, Karin started to teach in the Summer Language Program at HDS. She has been teaching the SLP German every summer since 2004, and as of 2006 has also been teaching first-year German translation courses during the academic year at HDS. With additional staff and administrative changes, Karin took on the administration of the regular-year language program and the language qualifying exams at HDS. She has been the Director of the Summer Language Program at HDS since 2009.
Her teaching focuses on instructing students to learn how to read and translate German into English by using original texts, poems, newspaper reports, works by Paul Tillich, Karl Barth, Max Weber, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Dorthee Sölle, Argula von Grumbach, Immanuel Kant, Martin Luther, and others. Her classes also regularly visit the Harvard Divinity School Library to view originals and pamphlets dating from earlier centuries, including the Reformation era (1521), to learn how to read, interpret and translate Fraktur script.
Her teaching method combines German culture, contemporary topics, history, “oddities,” film, food, holidays, and fun facts as well as very little emphasis on grammar (or only as much as needed) to make encountering language patterns and methods of translation easily accessible to everyone in the class, even for less grammar-inclined students.