He was first exposed to the German language and culture as a grade-school student when he lived with his family in a small town near Frankfurt for a year. Upon his return, he continued to work with the language in high school and college. As an undergraduate, he spent seven months studying in southern Germany and Vienna, Austria—eventually discovering that his interest in German overlapped conveniently with a number of his other interests (European history, philosophy, art history, classical music). He decided to major in German and history and has continued to find the interaction of language studies and other academic disciplines to be very rewarding. In his teaching, he tries to integrate some of the things that sparked his own interest in German over the years, such as music, art, film and other culturally authentic materials. Over the past few years, he has become fascinated with the city of Berlin and has been working to develop web-based and other teaching materials which focus on the German capital—a city which, in addition to being a dynamic cultural center, offers, in many ways, a microcosmic representation of the German experience over the last hundred years.
- B.A. Calvin College 1994 (German and history)
- M.A. Indiana University 1997 (Germanic Studies)
- Ph.D. Indiana University 2002 (Germanic Studies)
- (Dissertation: Speaking of the Unspeakable: The Pietist Conversion Narrative and Johann Georg Hamann's Aesthetics of Expression)
- Nineteenth and twentieth-century German culture
- Aesthetic and literary theory
- Business German
- Discourses of religion
- German literature since 1720
- Literary representations of sociopolitical organization
- Twentieth-century Berlin
- The emergence of the discipline of aesthetics in eighteenth-century Germany
- Literary representations of sociopolitical organization and resistance from the Sturm und Drang and Early Romantics to the middle of the twentieth century
"In a book manuscript currently in progress and tentatively titled German Pietism, the Discourse of Experience, and the Birth of Literary Aesthetics, I examine the narrative structures of the eighteenth-century tradition of Pietist autobiography and trace its influence on models of literary and philosophical aesthetics in the second half of the 1700s. I am also working on an essay that examines Richard Wagner's theoretical writings and his Ring cycle—in particular the opera Siegfried—for their implicit social critique and aesthetically driven notion of political revolution."
- “Self-Reflection and Knowledge of Self in Hamann’s Early Philosophical and Aesthetic Writings,” in Alexander Mathäs, ed., The Self as Muse: Narcissism and Creativity in the German Imagination 1750-1900 (Lewisburg: Bucknell University Press, 2011).
- "Johann Georg Hamann's Historical Language and the Subjective Communication of Truth.” Herder Yearbook , 8 (2006): 119-132.
- “Heinrich Heine's Lutherbild and the Singularity of the Historical Moment.” German Studies Review , 28.3 ( 2005): 583-98.
- “German Pietism and the Genesis of Literary Aesthetics: The Discourse of Erfahrung in the 1700s.” Deutsche Vierteljahrsschrift für Literaturwissenschaft und Geistesgeschichte , 78 (2004): 200-28.
- “ The Perennial Search for Paradise : Garden Design and Political Critique in Dorothea Schlegel's Florentin.” The German Quarterly , 75.3 (2002): 247-64.
- Review of Novalis: Fichte Studies , ed. and trans. by Jane Kneller. Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 2003. German Studies Review , 28.2 (2005): 125-26.
- Review of Vernunft ist Sprache: Hamanns Metakritik Kants , by Oswald Bayer. Stuttgart : Frommann Holzboog, 2002. Monatshefte , 96.1 (2004): 122-24.