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Neil H. Donahue

Vice Provost for Undergraduate Academic Affairs and Internationalization
Professor of Comparative Literature, Languages, and Linguistics


PHD, 1987, Rutgers University; MA, 1983, Rutgers University; BA, 1979, Rutgers University


I have taught at Hofstra University in the Department of Comparative Literature and Languages since 1988, after one year as Assistant Professor in the German Department at Columbia University (1987-88) and one semester as Assistant Professor in the Department of Comparative Literature at Rutgers University (spring 1987). I received my Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Rutgers in January 1987. Though my degrees are in Comparative Literature, my main work as a scholar has been in the field of modern German literature and culture, and I understand my area of specialization as Comparative German Studies or German Literature in Comparative Contexts. At Hofstra I have had the opportunity to maintain that dual identity in one department, teaching courses in both Comparative Literature and in German literature and language. Since arriving at Hofstra, I have been the coordinator of the German Program, and from January 1999 until August 2005, I served as Chairperson of the Department of Comparative Literature and Languages. From April 1, 2006 - January 31, 2007, I served as Acting Associate Dean of the Honors College (HUHC), where I was also a faculty mentor from 2004-06; since April 2007 I have continued as Associate Dean. Also, I serve in additional positions at Hofstra as Coordinator of Undergraduate Research and as Inter/National Postgraduate Fellowships adviser. I am also the adviser to the Hofstra chapter of the Golden Key International Honour Society.

My research in twentieth-century German literature and culture has been specifically devoted to the literary genres of prose fiction and poetry. I have written or edited six books as well as many articles on twentieth-century German literature, and reviews of both contemporary German literature and of current scholarship. In all of my work I try to link formal analysis of the work, based on close reading or close textual analysis, with the social, cultural, intellectual, artistic and literary history of the work and its author. My work usually relates the two dimensions of aesthetic form and historical context(s), of analytical formalism and New Historicism, through an understanding of critical theory.

For my research I have received grants and fellowships from the Fulbright Program, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), including also an NEH Summer Institute at Harvard University, and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. My first book Forms of Disruption in Modern German Prose (University of Michigan Press, 1993) was awarded the Lawrence Stessin Prize for Best Scholarly Publication at Hofstra University in that year, and also at Hofstra, in 2000, my article on Victor Klemperer received the Peter Herman Literary Award.

In August 2007 I will direct Hofstra's first Study Abroad program in Germany, which will take place in Munich during Hofstra's Summer Session Three. I myself have lived in Munich for a year (1996-97) and visited many times for shorter periods and am excited about introducing Hofstra students, and others, to the city and to German culture in general. For more information and to see images of Munich and the program, please take a look at the link to Hofstra in Munich (or HofMun) program and click here directly for photos of Munich and its environs.

Recent Courses Taught

Course Title Level
GERM 100 HONORS ESSAY Undergraduate
Photo of Neil Donahue

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