Professor of Practice
Per Urlaub is Director of Global Languages at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Before joining MIT in 2022, he served as a tenured faculty member at the University of Texas at Austin and at Middlebury College, where he was Associate Dean of the Language Schools for five years. He teaches German literature, culture, and intellectual history as well as advanced content-based language courses. He holds a PhD in German Studies from Stanford University.
His scholarly interests are located at the intersection of second language studies, language and literacy education, intercultural communication, and applied linguistics. A main strand of his research has generated a more nuanced understanding of the process of literary reading in the second language. His publications on second language acquisition, literacy development, intercultural hermeneutics, literature instruction, curriculum studies, theater education, creative writing, study abroad, business language education, academic mobility, and the digital humanities have appeared in numerous scholarly volumes and academic journals. He is the editor of three books: Transforming Postsecondary Foreign Language Teaching in the United States (with Janet Swaffar); The Brecht Yearbook 41 “Teaching Brecht” issue (with Kris Imbrigotta); and The Interconnected Language Curriculum (with Johanna Watzinger-Tharp). Journalistic texts on a broad variety of topics — ranging from digital human rights and ecological movements to right-wing populism and East-German soccer — have appeared in venues such as Die Welt, The Washington Post, and The New Republic.
His current scholarship analyzes the impact of machine translation technologies on intercultural communication and perceptions of language education and literary translation. A related project conceptualizes the integration of humanities with STEM disciplines through translation studies. Lastly, he is in the early stages of a new project that focusses on the EU-funded “European Capital of Culture”-program that aims to generate a shared continental cultural identity in an era of growing nationalism in individual member states.