Dennis JohannssenArea of study: Johannßen explores new encounters of German and Jewish culture in contemporary literature, film, and philosophy, focusing on questions of memory, trauma, and representation after the fall of the Berlin Wall. He also is interested in environmental humanities and media theory, and he is completing a book on linguistic violence in the works of German Jewish writers in exile.

Fall courses: Elementary German II, Transnational German-Speaking Cultures, and Trauma and Testimony in Post-War German Film

On the impact of COVID: “I hope to accommodate as many of my students’ needs and circumstances as possible while keeping their motivation up and encouraging genuine enthusiasm for the German language, German-speaking cultures, and critical film and media studies. In the spring, I worked with collective reading and annotation tools, live video streams, and low-stake assignments to create a diversified and interactive learning experience.”

On fostering inclusivity: “During the spring semester, I noticed that students had a strong desire to discuss the social and cultural ramifications of the COVID pandemic, anti-Black racism, and discrimination against undocumented individuals and communities across the globe. It is unclear how these crises will shape the educational and political institutions in the future, but the last months have opened space and opportunity for very much-needed conversation, re-evaluation, and change. COVID and the social disparities it exposes prompt us as intersecting communities of learners to find ways of not only debating and analyzing, but also acting in response to the blatant injustices that constitute our societies.”

My moment of zen: “Becoming an assistant professor at Lafayette was the highlight of my year. A few days after I accepted the position, the COVID pandemic prompted my wife, our two-year-old son, and me to go into quarantine and spend a lot of time inside. The balcony of our third-floor apartment became a kind of sanctuary. One afternoon, we had sunglasses on and tangerine popsicles in our hands, while our son was splashing in his kiddie pool in the shade. He looked at us, smiled, and said slowly, emphasizing each word, “I like it!” His laughter, evolving words, and joyful disposition break through even the most daunting events, bringing larger transformations, hopes, and challenges into view.”

What I like about Easton: “I enjoy running in the hills, taking walks on the arts trail, and eating the fresh produce from LaFarm. Above all, I appreciate the respectful and supportive communities of friends and colleagues on College Hill.”


  1. says:

    Dennis, look forward to spending time with you, once this madness passes. Incredibly fascinating research area! Also want to get back to Germany, whenever possible. So glad you have joined the Faculty! Hugs, bob

  2. Dennis Johannssen says:

    Hi Bob, Thank you for your kind words. I am very happy to be part of the Lafayette community. I hope you and your family are well, and that we can find time to continue our conversation soon. With best wishes, Dennis

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