The debate in Denmark on disciplines and interdisciplinarity in Foreign Language Studies corresponds to similar discussions in other national contexts, for example in Germany, which will be the focus of this paper. I will begin with an account of the background to the German debate, including the introduction of the concept of ‘cultural orientation’ as a strategy for achieving interdisciplinarity. Next I will look at some of the problems of fulfilling these aims, particularly within literary studies. This will be followed by a consideration of the discussion of the object of literary studies as a way of defining the disciplinarity or identity of literary studies. In this connection I will try to show the importance of distinguishing between two aims of the discussion: (i) the legitimation of literature and literary studies; and (ii) a foundational discussion arriving at a cultural orientation of literary studies and projecting the possible basis for a significantly extended field of research which transcends the traditional canon of literary texts. Finally I will summarize some of the characteristics of culturally orientated literary studies.