German Studies is concerned with systematic and historical exploration of the German and Dutch languages and literature. It is divided into linguistics, literature, medieval studies and Dutch language and culture. Didactics was a core area in 2010: one project conducted in cooperation with the Institut zur Qualitätsentwicklung im Bildungswesen (IQB), Berlin, included development and testing of tasks for the comparative nationwide exams in the third and eighth grades at German schools. Models for levels of competence were also developed for some areas of German teaching such as listening, reading, orthography and reflections on language. Another project, funded by the BMBF, is concerned with the evaluation of a genre-specific model for the development of writing skills in primary school children. Albert Bremerich-Vos is Professor of Didactics at the University of Duisburg-Essen and a member of the consortium of IGLU 2011, the third major international analysis of reading skills at primary school level.
Under the supervision of Professor Nine Miedema, the “Middle High German texts in the classroom” group of early stage researchers is exploring the use of medieval texts in German teaching in line with regulations, the needs of students and on a scientifically sound basis. This project is co-financed by the MIWF. The pilot version of the internet portal set up as part of this project with information and resources for teachers of German has since gone online (
Professor Ursula Renner-Henke was responsible for the organisation and development of the international and interdisciplinary summer school entitled “Prometheus 2010 – Wo kommen unsere Energien her” (Where does our energy come from?), a cooperation between the University of Duisburg-Essen (UDE), the Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities (KWI) and Ruhr University Bochum. Sixty researchers discussed topics on the themes of “Work energies”, “Psychological energies”, “Poetic energies”, “Electric cities” and “Energetic voices”.
The Annual Conference of the European Society for Philosophy and Psychology (ESPP) took place in Bochum and Essen in July 2010. It was co-organised by Professor Bernhard Schröder. The ESPP is one of the major international interdisciplinary conference series in cognitive sciences, and with over 140 contributions, top speakers and symposia and more than 200 participants, this particular event was also the largest of its kind. Several monographs were published in the “ESS-KuLtur. Essener Schriften zur Sprach-, Kultur- und Literaturwissenschaft” series (Essen Papers on Linguistics, Cultural Studies and Literary Studies), edited by Professors Heinz Eickmans, Werner Jung, Nine Miedema and Ulrich Schmitz.
German as a Second or Foreign Language is most notably characterised by the close connection between theory and practice and the focus on sustainability and continuity in its research and academic teaching. Language development, language diagnosis, language training and support, and contrastive languages are some of the aspects covered in this field. The “Förderunterricht” project on remedial teaching has been running at the University of Duisburg-Essen since 1974 (see It has served as a model for thirty-five new projects initiated by the Stiftung Mercator foundation in the past years in Germany. The “ProDaZ. Deutsch als Zweit­sprache in allen Fächern” (ProDaZ. German as a Second Language in all subjects) project was launched in 2010. It is funded by Stiftung Mercator and sets out to develop interdisciplinary courses for subject and language learning in a multilingual environment and to build a centre of excellence for German as a second language, language diagnosis and language training and support. This field is involved in many international cooperation projects with other universities in countries such as Afghanistan, Ukraine and Russia.