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LAN welcomes German professor

Stevenson Hall

Stevenson Hall at Illinois State University.

The Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures (LAN) would like to welcome Dr. Jonathan Seelye Martin to the faculty. Martin earned a B.A. in German, Classical Languages and Literatures, and Medieval Studies at the University of Michigan in 2010, an M.A. in Medieval and Renaissance Studies from the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität in Freiburg Germany in 2012 and a Ph.D. in German from Princeton University in 2018. He began teaching at ISU that same year as an instructional assistant professor and began as an assistant professor in the fall of 2019.

At Illinois State, Martin teaches first- and second-year German as well as the history of the German language, which gives him a chance to share his love for the older stages of German with his students. In the future, Martin hopes to teach courses mixing learning about German culture and literature, such as a course on literature and law and another on German minorities in Eastern Europe. Martin believes strongly in communicative approaches to language learning with an additional emphasis on grammatical form. He is currently working on a complete reboot of the second-year German curriculum to place a focus on learning high-frequency vocabulary, in order to discuss various cultural and historical subjects of interest to students, such as Germans’ perceptions of America and Americans, and the former communist East Germany. His classes employ authentic German texts of various types and registers together with songs and films to provide students with different forms of language input.

Martin has always been interested in medieval Germany and its modern connections to German literature and identity. He is particularly intrigued by areas where literature reflects and influences the larger culture of its day. His dissertation, entitled “The Romance of Love and Law: Marriage in Twelfth-Century German Romance,” discusses the intersection of literature and law in several medieval German romances, including works by Heinrich von Veldeke and Hartmann von Aue. Martin is currently revising his dissertation for publication with the addition of works by Wolfram von Eschenbach and Gottfried von Strassburg. He has published several articles on topics relating to literature and law in German literature in the Middle Ages, including in The German Quarterly and Zeitschrift für deutsche Philologie.