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German Courses

Language

GER 101 - First Year German

This course is the first quarter of a year-long sequence designed to provide you with a foundation in German language and culture: you will learn to communicate in German using the four skills: listening, speaking, writing and reading. Through videos, readings and class discussions you will be introduced to various aspects of culture in German-speaking countries. 101-103 are structured according to international standards (ACTFL and EFR proficiency guidelines) to provide you with transparency and clear goals and to signal to you, other universities and employers around the world that you have mastered basic German.

GER 198 - Advising Workshop (S. Anderson)

GER 199 - German Conversation (M. Vogel)

GER 199 - Sp. St. Global Sch. Ger (M. Vogel)

GER 199 - German Grammar Overview (H. Plant)

Students beginning the study of German often fail to learn to see the Big Picture of the grammar of German.  Therefore this Überblick (overview) will often make comparisons to parallel structures in English which would not only be useful but perhaps even interesting. Where now you may feel that you're lost in a wilderness of word-endings, this Overview hopes to lift you out and raise you high enough that you can see trails through this forest, and that this forest is not endless but opens up eventually to wide spaces and green pastures. There are no prerequisites! (This short description is taken from the Preface of the course packet available from the Copy Shop, 539 E. 13th Ave).

GER 201 - Second Year German

German 201 builds on what you learned during your first year in college or first two years in high school. It expands listening, speaking, writing and reading skills through videos, readings and class discussions. This course expands your active vocabulary, improves your oral communication and is geared specifically toward developing independent language use according to international standards (ACTFL and EFR proficiency guidelines) in oder to allow to use German as a mode of communication in a variety of different settings. In addition, you will also gain a better understanding of history, politics and contemporary life and culture in German-speaking countries.

GER 311 - Intermediate Language Training (J. Barto)

GER 311 is the first course of a three-course sequence (GER 311-313) that is designed to improve students’ reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills. The class also prepares students for the “Zertifikat Deutsch” (ZD), a certificate that is officially recognized by the European Union as evidence of language proficiency in German. Students who obtain the “Zertifikat Deutsch” will demonstrate solid basic skills in German that enable them to communicate in a broad variety of everyday situations. In addition, the class raises students’ intercultural awareness by engaging them in a variety of contemporary issues of German society. Course satisfies A&L group requirement.

GER 327 - German for Reading Knowledge (M. Linton)

German for Reading Knowledge is designed to introduce students in the humanities, music, arts, and natural and social sciences to a basic knowledge of German. You will learn the grammatical and structural aspects of the German language to prepare you for independent reading of specialized literature in your respective fields.

The course is taught in English in an intensive workshop approach.

GER 411 - Advanced Language Training (M. Vogel)

This course focuses on the complex syntactic structures of advanced written and spoken German. Learning idiomatic nuances will enable you to write correctly and to adjust your language skills to different contexts and audiences. Grammatical structures will be discussed and practiced as they arise within the context of different styles and writing/speaking aims.

Literature & Culture

GER 199 - German Cinema (M. Vogel)

Description coming soon.

GER 221 - Postwar Germany (S. Anderson)

The course explores notions about East/West and united German culture and society as reflected in a series of narratives, films, and essays. How do these reveal changing ideas in Germany about the connection between the past and present, about authority, rebellion, the desire for fulfillment? The narratives and films address issues that have helped shape the ways Germans think today. They also highlight ongoing debates over concepts of national "unity."

No knowledge of German required; readings and discussions in English; meets Arts and Letters and Multicultural IC requirements.

Click here to view a flyer for this course.

GER 259 - German Culture & Thought: The Culture of the Weimar Republic (1918-33) (A. Mathäs)

This course will focus on the rich cultural life of Germany during the so-called Weimar Republic (1918-1933). The period between WWI and WW II was a time of experiments and innovations in the arts, music, literature, and politics that have helped shape European and American culture today. The course will introduce you to the impact of radical cultural changes that redefined virtually every aspect of life, such as the advent of new media (film, radio), the influence of American culture, mass consumption, fashion, new ideas about sexuality and gender roles. You will learn about the legacy of World War I, and the political, social and economic upheavals of the period, such as the rise of Nazism, the struggles against Fascism, the emergence of the new middle class. We will discuss the role of influential thinkers, analyze examples of modern art and architecture, film, literature, theatre and cabaret. The course will address such questions as: What is the role of the intellectual in the Weimar Republic? How did ideas about American life shape German culture in the 1920’s?  How is the clash between anachronistic and modern values (sexual, ethical, social) represented in German film, literature, art, etc.?   

Fulfills Arts & Letters Multicultural IC requirements. Taught in English.

GER 340 - Introduction to German Culture and Society (K. Calhoon)

This course will be structured loosely around Michael Haneke’s film The White Ribbon (Das weisse Band, 2009), with readings from the German social-critical and psychoanalytical traditions that focus on the family and its disintegration within the framework of modernization. The readings will be brief excerpts from the works of such key figures as Ferdinand Tönnies, Max Weber, Alexander and Margarete Mitscherlich, S. Freud, and Alice Miller. Students will also be asked to read Erik Erikson’s book Young Man Luther, which is in English. With this one exception, all readings, writing assignments and discussion will be in German.

Prereq: two years of college German. Readings, discussion, and written assignments are in German. GER 340 and 341 are offered in alternate years.

GER 355 - German Cinema (K. Loew)

German cinema from the end of World War I to 1933—the years of the Weimar Republic—is  world-famous for its distinctive style characterized by expressive visuals and technological bravura. Even ninety years later, the legacy of Weimar cinema lives on. Films like Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari, Nosferatu and Metropolis have inspired artists from Hitchcock and Tim Burton to Lady Gaga This course will provide an introduction to one of the most creative, influential and exciting periods in all of film history. Readings and discussion in English.

Click here for a flyer for this course.

GER 366 - Themes in German Literature: Mythen (M. Klebes)

In this course we will examine the enduring presence and power of myths in German literature from the Enlightenment to the present. We will encounter mostly well-known figures from Greek mythology, such as Prometheus, Odysseus, Electra, Heracles, and a few others, as these are re-imagined through time from their popular Romantic renderings by Gustav Schwab through their modern tranformation at the hands of authors such as Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Robert Walser, Franz Kafka, and Heiner Müller. Some mythologies of different provenance (Ludwig Tieck, Richard Wagner) will also be discussed. In addition we will read short theoretical texts that will treat the Enlightenment scepticism towards mythology, its subsequent reemergence in Romanticism, and also Barthes’ structuralist discovery of a mythical subtext to the surface of modern everyday life. Throughout the course we will be working on skills in reading, writing, and interpretation, as well as on building vocabulary.

All readings and discussion will be in German.

GER 401 - Research (1-16 cr.) (STAFF)

GER 403 - Thesis (1-12 cr.) (STAFF)

GER 405 - Reading (1-16 cr.) (STAFF)

GER 407 - Seminar: Spaziergang (K. Calhoon)

This seminar will examine the centrality within the German literary tradition of the “literary walk”—an expression of leisure whose tempo is at once consistent with and resistant to a social-cultural world caught in a process of acceleration. Beginning with Friedrich Schiller’s elegy of 1800 entitled Der Spaziergang, we will study various narrative and lyrical examples from the Romantic and post-Romantic eras before concentrating on prose works from the 20th century, including Robert Walser’s Der Spaziergang, Peter Handke’s Nachmittag eines Schriftstellers, and Thomas Bernhard’s Gehen. Readings, discussion and writing assignments in German.  

GER 407 - Aesthetics and Politics of the Avant-Garde (S. Boos)

This course traces the aesthetic and political significance of various media (photography, film, theatre, feuilleton, advertising, cabaret) and artistic movements (Expressionismus, Dada, Neue Sachlichkeit) in Weimar Germany to shed light on the ways in which new technologies of reproduction came to reconfigure the relation between media and literature, politics and aesthetic practice, mass culture and “high art.” Close readings of literary and visual artifacts, as well as essays, manifestoes and other primary source documents of the period, will allow us to explore how the emerging avant-garde culture of the Weimar period is imbricated by radical social and cultural transformation. The goal is to examine how various artists sought to overcome the divide between art and life in the context of twentieth-century modernity, and particularly urban modernity, while giving shape to a distinctive brand of modernism that responds to and reflects upon the onslaught of specifically technological external sensory stimuli on the human cognitive apparatus. Readings include Adorno, Benjamin, Kracauer, Simmel, Bloch, Brecht.
Taught in German

GER 409 - Practicum (1-4 cr.) (STAFF)

CINE 410 - Hitchcock (K. Loew)

Alfred Hitchcock is one of the most celebrated of filmmakers of all time. His combination of popular success, innovative techniques and widespread influence on other filmmakers remains unique in film history. Hitchcock’s distinctive style was vigorously visual, stressing imagery over dialogue and interrelating narrative, spectator and character point of view. François Truffaut, a leading director of the French New Wave, praised his unique ability “to film directly, that is, without resorting to explanatory dialogue, such intimate emotions as suspicion, jealousy, desire and envy.” Hitchcock’s meticulously orchestrated psychological thrillers, which immortalized him as master of suspense, shock and the macabre, are simultaneously characterized by comic ironies and anomalies. Focusing on the relationship between suspense, sensation and perception in Hitchcock’s most famous films, we will study their visual style, narrative techniques, the role of humor as well as famed technological innovations. Screenings will include: Blackmail, Strangers on a Train, Vertigo, Rear Window, North by Northwest, Psycho and The Birds.

COLT 470 - Studies in Identity: "Anxiety from Kierkegaard to Lacan" (J. Librett)

Anxiety--generally characterized as an indeterminate fear, or a fear of the indeterminate--was a particularly important theme in the modernist period. Why is it that anxiety is such an important theme for modernism? Does it have to do with identity there? And in what sense? Is it still a theme--an affect or mood--that characterizes with particular centrality or plausibility our own age? In the age of cultural identity, cultural difference, and cultural studies, is our own anxiety that of the dissolution of identity, as would be demonstrated in scholarly circles by the failure or impossibility of a definitive historicization? Is our ultimate anxiety perhaps that of the flight of meaning in an infinite withdrawal of the limits of historical context? These are the presentist and historical questions that will initially and ultimately frame our investigation.

In order to approach these questions, however, we will examine several canonical approaches to anxiety, asking in each case what anxiety is taken to reveal or render manifest and in each case how this unveiling is (or was) particularly pertinent to modernity. Is anxiety a window onto pure possibility? An opening to the horizon of faith? Is anxiety a revelation of our temporal predicament, of the imminence of death, and of the need to decide one's own existence? Is anxiety a sign of separation from a personal or impersonal source of affective safety and belonging? Is it the sign of unprocessed trauma? Is anxiety the sign of the approach of the object of a primal fantasy in the unconscious mind? Or is it simply a neutral "disorder" based on chemical imbalances and thoughts contingently misaligned with their referents, one with no epistemic value or purchase?

We will explore these and related questions by reading several of the most powerful literary, philosophical, and psychoanalytic exponents of the modernist notion of anxiety: W.H. Auden ("The Age of Anxiety"); S. Kierkegaard (selections from The Concept of Anxiety); M. Heidegger (selections from Being and Time); S. Freud (Inhibitions, Symptoms, and Anxiety and perhaps some other brief texts); M. Klein ("Infantile Anxiety Situations Reflected in a Work of Art and in the Creative Impulse"); and J. Lacan (selections from Seminar X: Anxiety). While reading these canonical works, we will also take a look at some of the most recent cultural studies work on anxiety, such as the book On Anxiety by Renata Salecl, and we will also take a peek at the DSM-IV and DSM-V accounts of anxiety disorders. Students will have the opportunity to work in addition on other artefacts related to anxiety, works of art or music, literary texts, etc. 

 

GER 503 - Thesis (1-16 cr.) (STAFF)

GER 507 - Aesthetics and Politics of the Avant-Garde (S. Boos)

This course traces the aesthetic and political significance of various media (photography, film, theatre, feuilleton, advertising, cabaret) and artistic movements (Expressionismus, Dada, Neue Sachlichkeit) in Weimar Germany to shed light on the ways in which new technologies of reproduction came to reconfigure the relation between media and literature, politics and aesthetic practice, mass culture and “high art.” Close readings of literary and visual artifacts, as well as essays, manifestoes and other primary source documents of the period, will allow us to explore how the emerging avant-garde culture of the Weimar period is imbricated by radical social and cultural transformation. The goal is to examine how various artists sought to overcome the divide between art and life in the context of twentieth-century modernity, and particularly urban modernity, while giving shape to a distinctive brand of modernism that responds to and reflects upon the onslaught of specifically technological external sensory stimuli on the human cognitive apparatus. Readings include Adorno, Benjamin, Kracauer, Simmel, Bloch, Brecht.


Taught in German

COLT 570 - Studies in Identity: "Anxiety from Kierkegaard to Lacan" (J. Librett)

Anxiety--generally characterized as an indeterminate fear, or a fear of the indeterminate--was a particularly important theme in the modernist period. Why is it that anxiety is such an important theme for modernism? Does it have to do with identity there? And in what sense? Is it still a theme--an affect or mood--that characterizes with particular centrality or plausibility our own age? In the age of cultural identity, cultural difference, and cultural studies, is our own anxiety that of the dissolution of identity, as would be demonstrated in scholarly circles by the failure or impossibility of a definitive historicization? Is our ultimate anxiety perhaps that of the flight of meaning in an infinite withdrawal of the limits of historical context? These are the presentist and historical questions that will initially and ultimately frame our investigation.

In order to approach these questions, however, we will examine several canonical approaches to anxiety, asking in each case what anxiety is taken to reveal or render manifest and in each case how this unveiling is (or was) particularly pertinent to modernity. Is anxiety a window onto pure possibility? An opening to the horizon of faith? Is anxiety a revelation of our temporal predicament, of the imminence of death, and of the need to decide one's own existence? Is anxiety a sign of separation from a personal or impersonal source of affective safety and belonging? Is it the sign of unprocessed trauma? Is anxiety the sign of the approach of the object of a primal fantasy in the unconscious mind? Or is it simply a neutral "disorder" based on chemical imbalances and thoughts contingently misaligned with their referents, one with no epistemic value or purchase?

We will explore these and related questions by reading several of the most powerful literary, philosophical, and psychoanalytic exponents of the modernist notion of anxiety: W.H. Auden ("The Age of Anxiety"); S. Kierkegaard (selections from The Concept of Anxiety); M. Heidegger (selections from Being and Time); S. Freud (Inhibitions, Symptoms, and Anxiety and perhaps some other brief texts); M. Klein ("Infantile Anxiety Situations Reflected in a Work of Art and in the Creative Impulse"); and J. Lacan (selections from Seminar X: Anxiety). While reading these canonical works, we will also take a look at some of the most recent cultural studies work on anxiety, such as the book On Anxiety by Renata Salecl, and we will also take a peek at the DSM-IV and DSM-V accounts of anxiety disorders. Students will have the opportunity to work in addition on other artefacts related to anxiety, works of art or music, literary texts, etc.

 

GER 608 - Curriculum Development (STAFF)

GER 609 - Practicum 1st, 2nd & 3rd Year Pedagogy (M. Vogel)

GER 610 - Teaching Methodology (M. Vogel)

GER 622 - Drama: Ist es eine Komödie? (M. Klebes)

This seminar will consider comedy both from a theoretical perspective and through the analysis of important examples of this dramatic subgenre. One primary focus of our discussions will be to examine the question of whether—and if so, how— comedy as a genre is particularly suited to respond to the challenges of the modern world, and how it is distinct from tragedy in that respect. We will read texts by Lessing, Lenz, Kleist, Grabbe, Büchner, Hauptmann, Sternheim, Brecht, and Bernhard, as well as a selection of theoretical/philosophical material.

All readings and discussion will be in German.