A list of regularly offered courses follows. The indication of when a course will be offered is based on the best projection of the department and can be subject to change.
Please note the key for the following abbreviations: (A) Arts; (H) Humanities; (S) Social Sciences; (N) Natural Sciences with Laboratory; (LS) Language Studies requirement; (NSP) Natural Science in Perspective; (NW) Non-Western Cultures requirement, (W) Writing requirement.
101. Elementary German I. What is German?
An introduction to the question “What is German?” through topics such as family life, interpersonal interactions, and holiday traditions. Students will explore German-speaking culture through cross-cultural comparisons with the United States and by viewing and discussing classic German films of the silent era. Through communicative activities covering the four language skills (listening, speaking, reading, and writing), students learn to ask and answer questions, share information, and negotiate a variety of cultural settings. Offered every Fall. Bentzel
102. Elementary German II. What is German?
Students expand their understanding of the question “What is German?” through topics such as daily routines, food and restaurants, fairy tales, and immigration. By reading and discussing films, short texts, and a full-length youth novel, students gain knowledge of German culture and society, improve their communicative competence, and develop skills needed to negotiate a variety of cultural settings. Prerequisite: GER 101 or placement. Offered every Spring. Staff
201. Intermediate German I. What is German? (LS)
Students further develop their understanding of the question “What is German?” by engaging with increasingly sophisticated texts and films on the themes of family, friendship, home, immigration, and multiculturalism. As in GER 101 and 102, all four language skills are practiced, and comparisons between American and German society provide a basis for class discussions. Prerequisite: GER 102 or placement. Offered every Fall. Redmann
202. Intermediate German II. Stories of Twentieth Century Germany. (H)
Students explore twentieth-century German history and culture through youth novels and films set before and after the Second World War. The course places special emphasis on developing students’ reading skills, oral and written communication skills, and cultural literacy. Continued practice of linguistic structures and systematic vocabulary building are also central to the course. Prerequisite: GER 201 or placement. Offered every Spring. Staff
301. Reading German Texts and Contexts I. (H)
This course, together with GER 302, serves as an introduction to advanced courses in German literature and culture. Students undertake an in-depth study of a period of twentieth-century German culture through a variety of texts, films, and cultural artifacts. The course emphasizes the continuing development of student reading skills, interpersonal and presentational communication skills, and writing skills in multiple genres. Prerequisite: GER 202 or placement. Offered every Fall. Bentzel
302. Reading German Texts and Contexts II. (H)
This course, together with GER 301, serves as an introduction to advanced courses in German literature and culture. The course is focused on a single theme across a number of time periods, and it stresses the central role that literature plays in fostering an understanding of German society. By reading and interpreting texts, which vary from prose and poetry to drama and film, students develop advanced reading skills and acquire the linguistic tools for textual analysis. Prerequisite: GER 301. Offered every Spring. Staff
451. Germans in Love. (H)
“Romantic” is probably not the first word that comes to mind when most people think about what Germans are like, but German literature is full of men and women in love. This course features novels, plays, novellas, films and lyric poetry that offer insight into whether love is, indeed, a kind of “temporary insanity,” as American thinker Ambrose Bierce suggested. The course begins with an exploration of love relationships in Germany in the former GDR and the Federal Republic before and after reunification, followed by works from the nineteenth and eighteenth centuries, where social class and gender roles play a different role in constructing love relationships from the way they do in the twenty-first century. Prerequisite: GER 302. Bentzel
461. German Cinema. (H)
This course explores the history of German cinema since its origins in the 1920s. Why do black-and-white silent films like Caligari, Nosferatu, and Metropolis continue to resonate with film enthusiasts in the twenty-first century? What is so visually compelling about a Nazi propaganda film? What happened to German movie production after twelve years of misuse by Hitler’s cultural ministry? What marks did the forty-year division of Germany leave on film in the united nation? How has immigration of new populations affected German film? And where, after all, are the boundaries between “global” film and “German” film today, when so many directors, actors, and studio artists work in more than one country? Prerequisite: GER302. K. Campbell
462. The Meaning of Work in German Culture (H)
Are Germans as hard-working as everyone thinks? How can such a small country be a top exporter of manufactured products with workers getting at least five weeks annual vacation? This course explores how today’s attitudes and practices of work in united Germany emerged from older traditions as set down in written texts, folk songs, films, and graphic arts. We examine traditional and contemporary interrelationships of work and gender, work and ethnic identity, work and social class, as well as the specific vocabulary of German work. Prerequisite: GER 302. Redmann
463. Contemporary German Culture (H)
This course examines a selection of topics that are part of the contemporary German cultural and political landscape, including Germany in the European Union, relations between east and west Germans, sports and German national identity, social challenges posed by Germany’s aging populace, and minorities in German society. Through discussion of these issues, students explore what it means to be German today and how different groups within Germany define themselves. Students work with a wide variety of texts that range from news articles to films, film reviews, surveys, interviews, websites, and television news programs. Prerequisite: GER 302. Staff
464. Depictions of Women in German Literature
Freud famously asked “What do women want?” This is a question that authors of texts featuring female characters have sought time and again to answer, and their responses naturally vary widely. In this course, we focus on depictions of female characters in German-language plays, films, and prose works from across two centuries. The unifying theme of the course is the relationship of gender to sex, violence, and power, a theme that we will analyze through close readings, examination of the socio-historical context in which the work arose, and through the lens of feminist literary criticism. Prerequisite: GER 302. Redmann
465. German Legends and Tales. (H)
This course takes as its focus the rich tradition of fairy tales and legends that Germany has famously contributed to world literature, with a nod to the ballads that were part of its folk tradition. The course begins with a consideration of some (deceptively simple) folktales of the Brothers Grimm, organized by type. This is followed by two well-known “literary fairy tales,” i.e. stories “invented” by known authors at known times. The latter part of the course is devoted to ballads and legends, principally the legend of the Nibelungen and that of Faust. Prerequisite: GER 302. K. Campbell
450. German Capstone Seminar. (H)
This course is intended to prepare German majors to conduct research and write formal literary analyses on literary topics. Since the course focuses on writing in English, students read important longer works from the German literary tradition in English translation, along with secondary literature in English. The course also gives students a summary overview of the major periods of German literary and intellectual history. Equally importantly, students have the opportunity to develop their writing skills in literary analysis. Each student prepares a significant research project on a longer work of German literature of their choosing and presents a formal presentation on this work at the end of the semester. Prerequisite: Senior standing, or LIT 201. Offered every Fall. K. Campbell
470 – 479 G/E. Topics Seminar in German Literature and Thought.
A special comparative problem that spans the centuries, genres or cultures. Offered upon demand.
490. Independent Study.
Independent study directed by the German staff. Permission of the chairperson
World War I and German Culture, 1913-1933.