Peter C Pfeiffer


Professor of German & Director, European Studies Certificate Program


Department of German
General profile



+1 202-687-5693




467 ICC

Office hours

TR 2:30-3 and by appointment


Professor Pfeiffer studied biology, physics, philosophy, theatre science, and German literature in Stuttgart, Berlin, St. Louis, and Irvine.

After receiving his Ph.D. in German literature in 1987, he taught at the University of Iowa and the University of Houston before joining the Department in 1991.

His main areas of research are nineteenth and twentieth-century literature and literary history, though he also branches out into cultural studies on aspects of the formation of national identity and representations of death. In addition to his interests in German literature and culture, he continues to have a strong curiosity about issues in biological sciences.

Professor Pfeiffer enjoys the intellectual challenge of teaching from introductory language courses to graduate seminars. He is involved in university governance, and has been instrumental in upgrading the university's library holdings in German. From 1997-2000, he guided the development and implementation of the Georgetown German Department's undergraduate curriculum, "Developing Multiple Literacies." His most recent book is a monograph about Austrian-Moravian author Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach. He is also exploring the novels of contemporary writers such as W. G. Sebald and Dieter Forte. Further interests include German film and representations of history in the works of Theodor Fontane and other 19th century writers. As long-term projects, Professor Pfeiffer is collecting materials for studies on death, literacy, and aesthetics in nineteenth-century Germany and on changing notions of "work."

Personal interests include reading, gardening, cooking, spazierengehen, and swimming.


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  • PhD (1987) UC Irvine, German Literature
  • M.A. (1982) Washington University, St. Louis , German


  • French (read)
  • German (speak, read, write)
  • Italian (read)