Clinton Shaffer, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of German
On Faculty since 1996

Phone: (630)752-5791


Ph.D., German Literature, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1996.

M.A., German, Middlebury College, 1985.

B.A., English Literature and German, Wheaton College, 1984.

About Clinton Shaffer

I have a passionate curiosity about everything German—history, literature of all periods (especially 18th century studies), politics, business, cinema, and the list goes on.

My current research focuses on the Generation of ’68, RAF terrorism (especially as portrayed in film and literature), German road films and their depiction of national and European identity, and the cinematic productions of the X-Filme Creative Pool (the folks who made Lola rennt and a host of other great movies). 

When I’m not in German mode, I love cooking, reading, biking on the Prairie Path, watching movies, organic gardening messing around with old typewriters, and doing anything and everything with my wife, Virginia, and my kids, Bill and Sarah.

Courses Taught

  • Accelerated Elementary German (GERM 103) 
  • Applied Linguistics (LING 323) 
  • Business German (GERM 334) 
  • Christians, War, and Peace (GERM 437) 
  • Contemporary German Culture: Institutions and Mores (GERM 334) 
  • Franz Kafka (GERM 437)
  • German Cinema (GERM 437) 
  • German Civilization and Culture (GERM 335)
  • German Conversation (GERM 331)
  • [New title as of fall, 2009: Multicultural Germany I: Turkish and Immigrant Experience] German Composition (GERM 332)
  • [New title as of spring, 2010: Multicultural Germany II: Contemporary Jewish Experience] 
  • German for Reading (GERM 334/BITH 505) German Politics and Policy (GERM 437) 
  • Intermediate Geman (GERM 201)
  • Introduction to Linguistics (LING 321) 
  • Masterpieces of German Literature 1850-Present (GERM 345) 
  • Masterpieces of German Literature to 1850 (GERM 344) 
  • Senior Seminar (GERM 494) 
  • Terrorism in Film and Literature (GERM 334) 

Tutorials and Small-Group Courses (course numbers vary): 

  • Advanced German Grammar 
  • Gender Relationships in Early German Literature Political 
  • Attitudes in German Evangelicalism 
  • Political Dramas of Goethe and Schiller 
  • Politics and the Arts in Contemporary Germany 
  • Readings in German Theology: Barth and Bonhoeffer 
  • Short Works of Thomas Mann 
  • Thomas Mann’s Der Zauberberg

Membership in Professional Societies

American Association of Teachers of German (AATG)

College Media Advisers, Inc. (CMA)

Conference on Christianity and Literature (CCL)

Modern Language Association (MLA)

North American Christian Foreign Language Association (NACFLA)

Society for German-American Studies (SGAS)


German Film (current, DEFA, and Weimar era)

Cinema and History

Contemporary German Politics and Church-State Relations

Eighteenth- and Early Nineteenth-Century Religious and Cultural Critique

Curricular Innovation in German Studies

Günter Grass

Papers Published and/or Presented

Scholarly and Pedagogical Publications:

  • “In loco parentis: Narrating Control and Rebellion in Robert Musil’s Die Verwirrungen des Zöglings Törleß,” Modern Austrian Literature. 35:3/4 (2002): 27-51. 
  • “Exclusive Inclusiveness: A Critique of the First-Year German Text Kontakte.” Language in God’s World (Nottingham, UK). 18 (March, 1998): 25-31. 
  • [co-author] Instructor’s Resource Manual for Spektrum. Grammatik im Kontext. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1992. 196p. 
  • [co-author] Test Bank for Spektrum. Grammatik im Kontext. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1992. 65p. 
  • “Ernst von Houwald.” German Writers in the Age of Goethe, 1789-1832, ed. James Hardin and Christoph E. Schweitzer. Dictionary of Literary Biography 90. Detroit: Gale, 1989. 183-187. 

Invited Lectures/Presentations

  • “Fatal Intersections: Terrorists and Their Neighbors in Recent German Film,” presentation to the Humanities Brown Bag Colloquium, Wheaton College, March 6, 2009. 
  • “Faith and Politics in Germany and the U.S.: Anecdotal Perspectives from a Wheaton College Observer,” presentation for a delegation of members of the European Parliament representing the Christlich-Demokratische Union (CDU) and sponsored by the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, Wheaton College, April 28, 2008.
  • “Seeing With a Clearer ‘I’: Themes of Existence and Providence in Recent German Film,” presentation for the University of Illinois Graduate InterVarsity Christian Fellowship Chapter, Urbana-Champaign, Illinois; February 18, 2005. 
  • “Behind the Scenes of the Past: Reading History Through German Film,” presentation for Calvin College students, faculty, and community, Grand Rapids, Michigan; October 10, 2002. 

Recent Conference Presentations

  • “‘Klarheit’ and Controversy: The Protestant Church in Germany and Its Position on Christian-Muslim Relations,” paper presented at the 2009 conference of the North American Christian Foreign Language Association (NACFLA), Point Loma Nazarene University, March 26-28, 2009. 
  • “With Christ in the School of Fear: Faith and Education in the Work of Barbara Frischmuth and Caritas Führer,” paper presented at the 2008 NACFLA Conference, Calvin College, March 27-29, 2008. 
  • “Fatal Intersections: Terrorists and Their Neighbors in Recent German Film,” paper presented at the 2008 NACFLA Conference, Calvin College, March 27-28, 2008. 
  • “Where the Road Ends: German Desire and European Borders in Post-Unification Film,” paper presented at the 2007 conference of the North American Christian Foreign Language Association (NACFLA), Asbury College, March 29-31, 2007. 
  • “‘Und ich begehre, nicht schuld daran zu sein’: Matthias Claudius, Günter Grass, and German Opposition to the Iraq War,” paper presented at the 2004 NACFLA conference, Northwestern College (Iowa), March 25-27, 2004 
  • “Women, Men, and the Words From the Cross: Gender and Acts of Reading in 17th Century Crucifixion Poetry,” paper presented at the 2003 NACFLA conference, Azusa Pacific University, April 4-5, 2003. 

Curricular Development Project (in process)

Initiated redesign of the existing Wheaton College German major, minor, and general education programs as interdisciplinary sequences/programs in German Studies, with content goals and linguistic objectives articulated at all levels of the curriculum. Projected completion date: October, 2010. 

Recent Teaching Honors

Senior Teaching Achievement Award, Wheaton College, 2007-2008. 

Foreign Languages

German: near-native proficiency. 

Spanish: intermediate proficiency; reading knowledge 

Russian: basic proficiency; reading knowledge. 

French: reading knowledge. 

Latin: reading knowledge.

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