Professor Tennant did her graduate work at Harvard and at the University of Vienna. Her main areas of research are the Habsburg court society in the early modern period, the development of the German language at the end of the Middle Ages and the Middle High German narrative tradition. Her teaching at Berkeley has been concerned primarily with the literary and cultural traditions of the Holy Roman Empire in the medieval and early modern periods, although she occasionally teaches courses on modern subjects as well. Recently she has offered seminars on women in courtly literature and society, the German experience of the Crusades, a Townsend Center interdisciplinary seminar with Professor Thomas Brady (History) on genres of social discourse in early modern Germany, and a Center for German and European Studies Seminar with Professors Thomas Brady and Horst Wenzel (Germanistik, Humboldt Universität, Berlin) on modes of pre-modern German historiography. She has performed a variety of administrative tasks on campus, including the chairmanship of the Scandinavian Department 1989-92, 1995, and 2001-2002. Professor Tennant's publications include a monograph on the emergence of the German common language (1985), a study of vocalism in sixteenth-century German primers (1981), and essays on Gottfried's Tristan, gender interactions in the Nibelungenlied, the relationship between verbal and visual culture in early modern Germany, New Historicism, intellectual property etc. Her current projects include research on the reception of the Theuerdank, notions of intellectual property in early modern Germany, and earliest European reactions to the discovery of Mexico.
Research Expertise and Interest
German, Habsburg court society in the early modern period, the development of the German language at the end of the middle ages, the Middle High German narrative tradition, literary and cultural traditions of the holy roman empire, European reactions