Dr. Dirk R. Johnson


Elliott Professor of German

Director of the Münster Program

Hampden-Sydney College

Hampden Sydney, VA 23943

O: (434) 223-6204

F: (434) 223-6437




2000                         Indiana University, Ph.D.

1996                         Indiana University, Masters

1989                         University of Bonn, Magister (political science, German, and philosophy)

1985                         Bowdoin College, B.A. (German and history), magna cum laude

1984/5                     University of Munich, junior year abroad



Professor of German, Hampden-Sydney College

2014 - Present


Associate Professor of German, Hampden-Sydney College



Assistant Professor of German, Hampden-Sydney College



Lecturer, Indiana University


Research and Teaching Interests


German philosophical tradition (1750-present)

19th-century science and culture

Nietzsche and Nietzsche reception

fin-de-siécle Vienna

Berlin 1871-1933: Society and Culture 

German film and drama

Weimar politics and culture

Membership in Professional Organizations 


Modern Language Association 

German Studies Association 

American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages 

American Association of Teachers of German 

Foreign Language Association of Virginia 

Friedrich Nietzsche Society



German: native

English: native

Italian: intermediate-mid

French: intermediate-low

Latin: reading knowledge

2010 - present

2010 - present



Nietzsche's Anti-Darwinism. Cambridge University Press, 2010.


 “Zarathustra: Nietzsche’s Rendezvous with Eternity.” In: The New Cambridge Companion to Nietzsche. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (2019).

Nietzsche’s Overman, or the Suggestive Power of Metaphor.” The Agonist 11:2 (2018), 57-72.

““Nietzsche und die Wissenschaft’: vorläufige Bemerkungen.” In: Unkritische Massen. Offene Gesellschaft und öffentliche Vernunft, ed. Stefan Wolf and Paul Marquering. Basel: LIT Verlag, 2016. 165-71.

"Was ist aus dem Nihilismus geworden?" Nietzsche-Studien 43 (2014), 29-39.

"Modern vs. Ancient Science: Discussing Maudemarie Clark's Nietzsche on Truth and Philosophy." Nietzsche-Studien 42 (2013), 243-55.


“One Hundred Twenty-Two Years Later: Reassessing the Nietzsche-Darwin Relationship.” 

Journal of Nietzsche Studies 44.2 (Summer 2013), 342-53.


“A Nietzschean Naturalism or a Postmodernist Nietzsche? A Polemical Response.” In: 

Ohnmacht des Subjekts—Macht der Persönlichkeit. Ed. Christian Benne and Enrico Mueller. Schwabe Verlag: Basel 2014. 227-236. 


“Gattung” (Species). Nietzsche Wörterbuch Online. 


“The ‘Future of Philosophy’ Revisited.” In: Vernunft und Innovation. Festschrift zum 65. 

Geburtstag von Walther Zimmerli. Wilhelm Fink: München 2010. 255-260. 


“Il sodalizio di Nietzsche con Paul Rée: ‘réealismo superiore’ o réeallineamento filosofico?” 

Rivista di filosofia 2 (2005): 233-62. (“Nietzsche’s Partnership with Paul Rée: ‘Höherer 

Réealismus’ or Philosophical Réealignment?” Translated by Pietro Kobau.) 


“On the Way to the Anti-Darwin: Nietzsche’s Darwinian Meditations in the Middle Period.” 

Tijdschrift voor filosofie 65 (2003): 657-78. 


“Nietzsche’s Early Darwinism: The ‘David Strauss’ Essay of 1873.” Nietzsche Studien 30 

(2001): 62-79. 


“The European Travel Game: Grammar Review in a Contextualized Setting.” Die

Unterrichtspraxis 29 (1996): 250-52.





“When Long the Pictures Faded (by Thilo Pohle).” Translation of text of a video documentary on Theresienstadt (with Gunter Klabes)


Wilke, Manfred. "Fiction or Lived History? On the Question of the Credibility of The Lives of Others." In: Totalitarianism on Screen: The Art and Politics of The Lives of Others, ed. Carl Eric Scott and F. Flagg Taylor IV (University of Kentucky Press, 2014), 171-182.


Langguth, Gerd. In Search of Security: A Socio-Psychological Portrait of Today’s Germany. Praeger: Westport, CT, 1995. (212 pp.)


Book Reviews

Kornhaber, David. The Birth of Tragedy from the Spirit of Philosophy: Nietzsche and the Modern Drama. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 2016. The Agonist 14:1, 168-76 (Spring 2020).

Blue, Daniel. The Making of Friedrich Nietzsche. The Quest for Identity, 1844-1869. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016. The Agonist 12:1, 49-56 (Fall 2018).

Stegmaier, Werner. Nietzsches Befreiung der Philosophie. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2012. The Agonist 11:1, 31-34. (Fall 2017).

Nicholas D. More. Nietzsche's Last Laugh: Ecce Homo as Satire. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014. The Agonist 10:1 (Fall 2016).

I. Nietzsches Wissenschaftsphilosophie. Hintergründe, Wirkungen und Aktualität, eds. Helmut Heit, Günter Abel, Marco Brusotti. Berlin/Boston: De Gruyter, 2012; II. Nietzsche und die Wissenschaften. Natur-, geistes- und sozialwissenchaftliche Kontexte, eds. Helmut Heit, Lisa Heller. Berlin/Boston: De Gruyter, 2014.

I. A Companion to Nietzsche, ed. Keith Ansell Pearson. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2006; II. The Oxford Handbook of Nietzsche, eds. Ken Gemes and John Richardson. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013; III.A Companion to Friedrich Nietzsche. Life and Works, ed. Paul Bishop. Rochester, NY: Camden House, 2012. Nietzsche-Studien 43 (2014): 225-236. 

Panaïoti, Antoine. Nietzsche and Buddhist Philosophy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013. Mind 129 (2015): 377-80.

Rudolf A. Makkreel and Frithjof Rodi, eds. Wilhelm Dilthey, Selected Works/Volume II: Understanding the Human World. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2010. The European Legacy 18:4 (July 2013): 943-944.

Moore, Gregory. Nietzsche, Biology and Metaphor. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002. Journal of Nietzsche Studies 35/36 (2008): 170-173.



(Invited as Lecture Series Speaker) 


“Der Asketismus der Wissenschaft: Nietzsches Kritik der wissenschaftlichen Praxis als 

Schlusswort von GM III (23-28)?” Berliner-Nietzsche-Colloquium (Technical University of 

Berlin, Germany, July 2014) 


“Nietzsche’s ‘Anti-Darwinism’: The Origins and Development of an Antagonism.” Barrett, 

The Honors College Lecture Series (Arizona State University, February 2010) 


“Nietzsche’s ‘Anti-Darwinism’: The Origins and Development of an Antagonism.” Visiting 

Darwin Scholars Lecture Series (University of North Carolina-Wilmington, February 2009) 


(International Conferences) 

“Zarathustra’s Journey: Nietzsche’s Reconfiguration of the Human.” The XXIV World Congress of Philosophy (Peking University, Beijing, China, August 2018)

“Was ist aus dem Nihilismus geworden?” (Conference organized by the editorial board of 

Nietzsche Studien; the island of Hiddensee near Greifswald, Germany, April 2013) 

“Nietzschean Naturalism or a Postmodernist ‘Nietzsche’? A Polemical Response.” 

International Nietzsche Conference in Naumburg (Nietzsche Documentation Center/Naumburg, Germany, October 2012) 


“A Return to the Ancients: Nietzsche’s Excavation of the ‘Scientific’ Spirit of Antiquity.” 

Nietzsche Colloquium of Berlin: Nietzsche and Science (Technical University of Berlin, 

Germany, July 2010) 


“‘Diese englischen Psychologen—was wollen sie eigentlich?‘ Nietzsche’s Critique of the 

‘Historians of Morals.’” Fifteenth Annual Conference of the Friedrich Nietzsche Society 

(Cambridge University, UK, September 2005) 


“Translating Nietzsche’s Atheism(s): A World Beyond the Ethical Imperative.” Fourteenth 

Annual Conference of the Friedrich Nietzsche Society (University of Sussex, UK, September 



 “‘Höherer Réealismus’ or Philosophical Réealignment?: Nietzsche, Paul Rée, and the Search 

for a Tradition.’” Seventh Annual Conference of the Friedrich Nietzsche Society (St. Andrews, Scotland, September 1997)  


(U.S. Conferences) 


“’The Life-Defining Moment’: German Study-Abroad for the Next Generation of Students." 

(Education-Abroad Programs in German-Speaking Europe, Emory University, March 2013) 


“The Baader Meinhof Complex: Communicating the RAF Legacy in Germany.” Center of 

the Liberal Arts (University of Virginia, March 2011) 


“The Lives of Others: Classroom Approaches to the Film.” Association of the Teaching of 

Foreign Languages Conference (Boston, November 2010) 


“One Hundred Twenty Two Years Later: Reassessing the Nietzsche-Darwin Relationship.” 

American Philosophical Association Convention (New York City, December 2009) 


“The Lives of Others: Classroom Approaches to the Film.” Foreign Language Association of 

Virginia Conference (Richmond, October 2009) 


“A Reading of GM II, 1-5: Aspects of Nietzsche’s Challenge to Darwin’s Evolutionary 

Paradigm.” Nietzsche in New York (Hunter College, New York City, April 2009) 


“Zarathustra’s Prologue: An Anti-Evolutionary Reading of the Übermensch.” Society for 

Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy (Pittsburgh, PA, October 2008) 


“A ‘Species’ Apart: Nietzsche’s Challenge to the Darwinian Gattungsbegriff.” Mountain 

Interstate Foreign Language Conference (Roanoke, VA, October 2007) 


(Professional Presentations) 


Speech as President of Virginia-AATG at commemoration of Salem High School German 

Honors Society, Salem VA (June 2005) 


“A World of Opportunity: The AATG-PAD Program and Its Student Study Trips to 

Germany,” FLAVA, Richmond, VA (October 2005) 




Professional Appointments

President, American Association of Teachers of German-Virginia Chapter (2005-07, 2010-12) 

Executive Board Member, Foreign Language Association of Virginia, (2005-07, 2010-12) 

Director of the Münster Summer Program, Hampden-Sydney College (2011- ) 

Co-Instructor on the German Summer Program in Münster (2009) 

AP German Reader, Lincoln, NE (June 2008) 

Director, Virginia’s Governor’s German Language Academy (Summers 2006, 2007) 

Chair, Virginia Chapter AATG-Pedagogical Exchange Service Committee (2003-05/2007) 


Academic Grants and Honors


Elliott Professor of German (2016-2022)

Hampden-Sydney College Summer Grant (2013/2011/2009/2007/2005/2004) 

Oskar Seidlin Fellowship, Indiana University (1997-98) 

Salaroglio Modern Foreign Language Scholarship, Indiana University (1997) 

Indiana University Fellowship (1994-95) 

High Honors in German and History, Bowdoin College (1985) 

James E. Bland History Prize, Bowdoin College (1985) 

James Bowdoin Scholar, Bowdoin College (1985) 

College Teaching Experience



(Language Courses) 


Beginning German 

Intermediate German 

Advanced Conversation and Composition 


(Literature and Culture Courses) 


The Writings of Friedrich Nietzsche

Patrick Sueskind: An Introduction to His Work

The Holocaust: Representation in Postwar German Literature and Culture 

Heinrich von Kleist: The Stories 

Berlin: Literature and Culture, 1870-1930 

German Drama: Lessing to Bernhard 

Nietzsche and his Influence on fin-de-siècle Literature 

The Turn of the Century and its Literary Innovators (Schnitzler, Musil, Kafka, Benn) 

German Culture through Film 

Georg Büchner: Life and Work 

The Historikerstreit: From Habermas to Goldhagen 

Youthful Rebellion in German Literature 

German Popular Film and Culture 

The Image of America in German Literature 

German Literature Survey I (1 A.D. – 1775) 

German Literature Survey II (1775 – 1930) 




College Service



Modern Languages Department Chair (2010-13)
Promotion and Tenure Committee Chair (2017-18)


Freshmen advisor, every two years since 2004



Promotion & Tenure (2016-19)

Intercultural Affairs (2015-18)

Spanish Search Committee (2017/2012)

French Search Committee (2017/2011)

Assessment Committee (2006/2008-2011)

International Studies Committee (2003), Chair (2004-06)

Fitness Center Committee (2004)

Spanish Search Committee (2003-04) 

German Honors Thesis Committee (Longwood University) (May 2003)

Foreign Language Placement Exams Sub-Committee (2001-02)

Lectures & Presentations (held)

"Das Experiment: The Stanford Prison Experiment and its Implications" (Hampden-Sydney College, April 2019)

“Propagating Lies, Uncovering the Truth: A Discussion of the Nazi Propaganda Film ‘Der 

Führer schenkt den Juden eine Stadt’” (Hampden-Sydney College, October 2011) 

Lecture for the viewing of The Baader Meinhof Complex (Hampden-Sydney College, April 

2011); organized a campus-wide panel discussion on terrorism with viewing 

Lecture for the viewing of The Lives of Others (Hampden-Sydney College, April 2009) 

“Literature and Art under Wilhelm II” (as part of the series Käthe Kollwitz: Literature and Film) (Hampden-Sydney College, October 2008) 

Lectures Organized

“Philosopher or Top Manager? The Role of Liberal Arts in International Business,” Professor 

Walther Zimmerli, President of Brandenburg Technical University, Cottbus (April 2013) 

The Edge of Heaven, International Film and Lecture with the speaker Dr. Mine Eren, Randolph Macon College (October 2008) 

Other Activities

Hampden-Sydney German Club, founder and advisor

German House, founder and director

Stammtisch, weekly