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Spring 2018 - Undergraduate Course Descriptions

Language Courses

Literature & Culture Courses

SAS Core Goal Courses:

Intermediate German I 01:470:131
Intermediate German II 01:470:132
Fairy Tales Then and Now 01:470:225

Advanced German II 01:470:232
Introduction to Literary and Cultural Analysis 01:470:302
Marx, Nietzsche, Freud 01:470:371

Other courses taught by German Program Facultyther courses taught by German Program Faculty

Language Courses

Elementary German 101
01:470:101:01
MWTh3 11:30am-12:50pm, Murray Hall 112

01:470:101:03
M6 4:30pm-5:50pm, Scott Hall 101
W67 4:30pm-7:30pm, Scott Hall 201

This course will introduce students to the language and culture of German-speaking countries, using both prepared and authentic materials with theme-related vocabulary and grammatical structures. Students will have the opportunity to practice listening, reading, writing, and speaking in German through in-class activities and homework assignments. The program of the course corresponds to the Level A1 (Beginner) of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), a widely accepted European standard for language proficiency.

By the end of the semester students will be able to:

  • understand and use familiar everyday expressions and very basic phrases aimed at the satisfaction of needs of a concrete type
  • introduce themselves and others and can ask and answer questions about personal details such as where he/she lives, people they know and things they have
  • interact in a simple way provided the other person talks slowly and clearly and is prepared to help.

    More specifically, students will be able to:
  • talk about themselves, their families, and their origins
  • talk about weather and clothing
  • order food and drinks in a restaurant or a café, discuss food and cooking, use cooking recipes
  • discuss different living situations, talk about houses, rooms, etc.
  • talk about their time and make appointments
  • orient themselves in a German-speaking urban setting and ask for directions
  • talk about things that happened in the past;
  • talk about professions, job, study, recreation, and daily life
  • talk about some major landmarks and places of interest of the German-speaking countries
  • talk about health and health issues
  • express their intentions, obligations and necessities.

No prerequisites. This course is taught in German with some explanation of grammar points in English. Not open for credit to students who have had two or more years of secondary school German. Students of 101 are strongly encouraged to enroll in Elementary German Lab 103.

Elementary German 102
01:470:102:01
MWTh3 11:30am-12:50pm, Scott Hall 203

01:470:102:02
Alexander Pichugin

M6 4:30pm-5:50pm, Academic Building 2250
W67 4:30pm-7:30pm, Academic Building 2250

Not open for credit to students who have had two or more years of high-school German. Such students should enroll in German 121, unless they have placed into a higher-level German course.

This course will continue introducing students to the language and culture of German-speaking countries, using both prepared and authentic materials with theme-related vocabulary and grammatical structures. Students will have the opportunity to practice listening, reading, writing, and speaking in German through in-class activities and homework assignments. The program of the course corresponds to the Level A2 (Elementary) of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), a widely accepted European standard for language proficiency.

By the end of the semester students will be able to:

  • understand sentences and frequently used expressions related to areas of most immediate relevance (e.g. very basic personal and family information, shopping, local geography, employment).
  • communicate in simple and routine tasks requiring a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar and routine matters.
  • describe in simple terms aspects of their background, immediate environment and matters in areas of immediate need.

    More specifically, students will be able to:
  • understand non-fiction texts on some topics, including classified ads
  • talk about migration, backgrounds, and languages, compare cities and countries
  • talk about families and everyday life, about city and country life
  • describe people
  • talk about travel
  • talk about leisure, hobbies and interests, as well as holidays and traditions
  • talk about media
  • talk about inventions, products and goods
  • organize a trip to a theater, etc.
  • talk about professional life
  • leave a message on the phone
  • express emotions and react to them using language

The course is taught in German with some explanation of grammar points in English. Students of 102 are strongly encouraged to enroll in Elementary German Lab 104.

Elementary German Language Lab: German for Travel
01:470:103:01
Alexander Pichugin
W5 2:50pm-4:10pm, Academic Building 2200

Co-requisite: 01:470:101.

This course will introduce students to the language and culture of German-speaking countries focusing on the language competencies particularly relevant in travel situations. The course consists of four thematically connected modules of three sessions each.

By the end of the semester students will be able to:

  • speak about themselves in general and as travelers;
  • ask basic questions about travel;
  • discuss their travel interests and express likes and dislikes;
  • speak about German-speaking countries and their inhabitants;
  • orient themselves in means of transportation and accommodations used in Europe;
  • purchase tickets and book hotel rooms on German-language websites.

The course is taught in German with some explanation of grammar points and cultural references in English.

Elementary German Language Lab: German Conversation
01:470:104:01
Th4 1:10pm-2:30pm, Scott Hall 201

Co-requisite: 01:470:102.

This course will introduce students to the language and culture of German-speaking countries focusing on the language competencies particularly relevant for oral communication in everyday situations.

By the end of the semester students will be able to:

  • speak about themselves;
  • ask basic questions;
  • share basic information about their families and relatives;
  • speak about their studies;
  • speak about objects relevant to everyday situations;
  • speak about the weather;
  • express likes and dislikes.

    The course is taught in German with some explanation of grammar points and cultural references in English.

Intermediate German I
01:470:131:01
TTh7 6:10pm-7:30pm, Scott Hall 220

Prerequisite: 01:470:102, 01:470:108, 01:470:121, or placement.

The first semester of Intermediate German further develops students' German language skills with an emphasis on conversation and composition based on everyday situations, aspects of culture, contemporary German short stories, and review of major grammatical points. Students will strengthen their listening, reading, and writing skills, as well as cultural competency by discussing a variety of cultural topics and themes in the German-speaking world, including personal and community life, media, travel, and art. Fulfills SAS core goal AH q.

Intermediate German II
01:470:132:01

TTh7 6:10pm-7:30pm, Scott Hall 105

Prerequisite: 01:470:131, 01:470:131, or placement.

The second semester of Intermediate German further expands German language skills with an emphasis on conversation and composition. Students will strengthen their listening, reading, and writing skills, as well as cultural competency by discussing a variety of cultural topics and themes in the German-speaking world, including traditions and celebrations, science and technology, nature and the environment, economy and the job market, and history and society. Fulfills SAS core goal AH q.

Advanced German II
01:470:232:01
MTh2 9:50am-11:10am, Honors College S126

In German.

This course is designed to further students’ German-language proficiency at an advanced level. It focuses on increasing students’ ability to express their own ideas precisely and convincingly. Through extensive conversation and composition exercises, the course further develops the students’ reading, writing, speaking, and listening abilities at the advanced level. Using a variety of media, such as texts, still images, video and audio, and looking at a variety of genres, such as short stories, poems, non-fiction articles, documentary shows and reportages, students explore the course’s major themes. Students will have the opportunity to practice and improve their spoken and written German skills through class discussions, essays, homework assignments, creative project and oral presentations, as well as in-class grammar reviews. The course’s thematic focus in Spring 2018 is on the two generations that clashed during the anti-authoritarian student movement in 1968: the parents who were still raised during the Third Reich, and their children, who were born shortly after 1945. Subsequently, the discussion will study the children of the “1968-ers” – how they related to the liberal lifestyle of their parents and how they changed or criticized them in the 1990’s. Fulfills SAS core goal WCD(t).

Literature and Culture Courses

Fairy Tales Then and Now
01:470:225:01
Cross-listed with Comparative Literature 01:195:246:01
Martha Helfer
MW5 2:50pm-4:10pm, Academic Building 2225

In English. No prerequisites.

Fairy Tales Then and Now
01:470:225:02 (1st year section)
Martha Helfer
MW5 2:50pm-4:10pm, Academic Building 2225

In English. No prerequisites.

Fairy Tales Then and Now
01:470:225:H1 (Honors)
Martha Helfer
MW5 2:50pm-4:10pm, Academic Building 2225

In English. No prerequisites.

This course analyzes the structure, meaning, and function of fairy tales and their enduring influence on literature and popular culture. While we will concentrate on the German context, and in particular the works of the Brothers Grimm, we will also consider fairy tales drawn from a number of different national traditions and historical periods, including the American present. Various strategies for interpreting fairy tales will be examined, including methodologies derived from structuralism, folklore studies, gender studies, and psychoanalysis. We will explore pedagogical and political uses and abuses of fairy tales. We will investigate the evolution of specific tale types and trace their transformations in various media from oral storytelling through print to film, television, and the stage. Finally, we will consider potential strategies for the reinterpretation and rewriting of fairy tales. Fulfills SAS core goal AH p, WC d.

Introduction to German Studies: 1900-present
01:470:242:01
Alexander Pichugin
TTh5 2:50pm-4:10pm, Murray Hall 301

In English. No prerequisites.

This course is an interdisciplinary inquiry into seminal literary, artistic, social, political, and intellectual developments in the history of German-language cultures and thought from around 1900 to the present day. The course is open to first-year students and to all who might not necessarily wish to become a German major or minor but who seek, as part of a well-rounded liberal arts education, basic familiarity with the rich and often vexed history of things German and their impact on Europe and the world.

Topics include: European politics and world wars; German split and reunification; literary representation of history; modern music, painting and poetry; German science and research; German-speaking regions and their representatives; and others.

By studying different genres of film and other forms of cultural production (literature, music, art) in relation to the general intellectual development of the period, students will gain insights into ideas, trends and discourses that have shaped contemporary German culture. As a learning outcome of the course, students will develop their ability to approach texts and works of art both analytically and synthetically, exploring the connections between the historical period and its cultural representation in critical and creative ways. The course is conducted in English.

All course materials, discussions, and readings are in English. Some optional supplemental materials are in German. Students will have an option to complete written assignments in German.

Realism and Revolution
01:470:276:01
Cross-listed with Comparative Literature 01:195:276:01
Nicola Behrmann
MTh3 11:30am-12:50pm, Scott Hall 215

In English. No prerequisites.

This course provides the opportunity for an in-depth study of representative German literature of the nineteenth century. We will look at the way in which literature responds to the German Sonderweg (special path) that eventually led an aggressively modernizing society to imperialism and totalitarianism. We will examine the various ways in which revolution, social upheaval and historical trauma are being reflected, warded off, and incorporated by 19th-century German fiction. Special attention will be paid to the relationship between the figure of the “revolution” as a disruptive force and the pursuit of “realist” fiction to depict the world we live in objectively. We will also consider various forms of unstable narratives that traverse realist fiction: excessive description, repetition, secrets, rumors, and the uncanny.

Readings include canonical texts of German literature including poems by Heinrich Heine, paintings by Adolph Menzel and Edouard Manet, plays by Georg Büchner and Gerhart Hauptmann, novellas by Joseph von Eichendorff, Annette von Droste-Hülshoff, and Adalbert Stifter, and Heinrich Mann’s novel The Loyal Subject (Der Untertan). Emphasis will be placed on developing close-reading and critical writing skills. Theoretical interventions will be provided by Karl Marx and Hannah Arendt.

 

Contemporary German Media & Society
01:470:299:01
T8 7:40pm-9:00pm, Academic Building 2150

Prerequisite: 01:470:102 or 01:470:121, or higher. 

In German. If taken twice, 470:299 may be counted for three credits towards the major or minor. 

The main goal of this course is to increase the students' cultural awareness through the study of the various media and their role in contemporary German society, while furthering the students' German language skills through consistent speaking, listening, reading, and writing. In this course, students will explore the traditional, modernized, and news media and the role they play in different realms of contemporary German society. Chosen topics of the course are crucial to understanding the modern German-speaking world and include themes such as social structure, politics, culture, and everyday life. Special attention is paid to cultural comparisons between Germany and the United States.

Introduction to Literary and Cultural Analysis: German Lite: Jokes, Dreams and Freudian Slips 
01:470:302:01
Michael Levine
MW5 2:50pm-4:10pm, Academic Building 1100

Prerequisite: 01:470:232 (Student who are performing well may also enroll simultaneously in 231-232 and 301-302.)
In German.
Please note: 470:302 may be repeated for credit when topics vary!

This course will prepare you for content courses in German at the 300 level by exploring a way to improve your German language skills by learning about the ways language gets away from us, saying more than we ever meant to say – and why that’s okay.  To your conscious language skills, you will add—and gain an appreciation for—your unconscious ones.  The course will consist of very short readings of texts on dreams, jokes and slips.  In studying them we will ask how —according to a very different logic— they can and do make sense and what this may tell us about those parts of ourselves we have a vested interest in not knowing.  Readings include excerpts from Freud’s Die Traumdeutung, Der Witz und seine Beziehung zum Unbewussten and Die Psychopathologie des Alltaglebens. Students will be encouraged to keep track of their own dreams and slips, trying their hand at translating them as well as the jokes they hear into German. 

Designed for students with a solid grasp of basic German vocabulary and grammar who wish to expand their knowledge of the language and culture through reading, discussion, and writing. Taught in German. Fulfills permanent core requirements AHp, s-2/WCr, t/WCd and v. Prerequisite: 01:470:232, or simultaneous enrollment in 01:470:231 or 232. May be repeated for credit.

Marx, Nietzsche, Freud
01:470:371:01
Cross-listed with Comparative Literature 01:195:374:01, and Philosophy 01:730:344:01
Nicholas Rennie
TTh4 1:10pm-2:30pm, Voorhees Hall 105

In English. No prerequisites.

Marx, Nietzsche, Freud
01:470:371:H1 (Honors)
Cross-listed with Comparative Literature 01:195:374:01, and Philosophy 01:730:344:01
Nicholas Rennie
TTh4 1:10pm-2:30pm, Voorhees Hall 105

In English. No prerequisites.

Exploration of the work of three German writers who revolutionized modern philosophy, theology, psychology, aesthetics, social and political science, gender studies, historiography, literature and the arts. We will be reading and discussing a selection of key writings by Karl Marx, Friedrich Nietzsche and Sigmund Freud. Along with these we’ll examine a sampling of texts that were important for their work, and writings that later both reflected their influence and drew their ideas in new directions. Fulfills SAS core goals HST (j & k) and AH o.

Topics in German Literature & Civilization: Film After Benjamin
01:470:390:01
Cross-listed with Comparative Literature 01:195:397:01 and Cinema Studies 01:175:377:01
Bernhard Dotzler
MW4 1:10pm-2:30pm, Scott Hall 202

In English.

Walter Benjamin (1892 - 1940) was one of the most influential intellectuals of the twentieth century. He is said to be the first who saw–long before Marshall McLuhan–»that the way a bullet rips into its victim is exactly the way a movie or pop song lodges in the soul.« »Shock« and »distraction« are key concepts of his film theory. Taught in a seminar format and based on readings, discussion, and active participation, the course first studies Benjamin's most important essays on film, photography, and the philosophy of history, including »The Work of Art in the Age of Its Technological Reproducibility,« »Brief History of Photography,« »On the Present Situation of Russian Film,« »The Storyteller,« and »Theses on the Philosophy of History.« Secondly, the course addresses the question of how Benjamin's theory, or reflections, can be identified in actual movies. Screenings will include Twelve Monkeys (dir. Terry Gilliam), La Jetée (dir. Chris Marker), Helas pour moi! (dir. Jean-Luc Godard), Local Angel: Theological Political Fragments (dir. Udi Aloni), Erzählen/Telling (dir. Harun Farocki), and Wings of Desire (dir. Wim Wenders). Required films will be on reserve in the Douglass Media Center and available for streaming.

 

Other Courses Taught by German Program Faculty 

Byrne Seminar: Our Threatened Planet: Ecology in Film 
01:090:101:32

Fatima Naqvi

W 4,5 1:10pm - 4:10pm, AB 4140

In this seminar, we will view several documentary films on the threatened state of the earth’s environment. The subject was popularized by Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth (part of which will be included in the course), but we will focus on three Austrian films released in 2004/2005. What is the unique perspective of artists who come from a small European country that is very concerned with environmental issues? We will read blogs and magazine articles that discuss the interplay between reality and the images in these films. We will also compare American versus European narratives of environmental damage, in relation to their respective political and economic circumstances.

 

Byrne Seminar: Dreams of (Human) Machines
01:090:101:77

Nicola Behrmann

W 4 1:10pm - 2:30pm, Scott Hall 219

This seminar examines the role of machines and automatons in regard to the modernist crisis of representation, the fantasy of artificial procreation, and the connection between art and life. We will investigate the way in which Friedrich Nietzsche’s typewriter influenced his writing, accompany Rainer Maria Rilke’s Malte Laurid Brigge on his visit to the Salpêtrière hospital in Paris (excerpts), read Franz Kafka’s horror story "In the Penal Colony," travel to the Philadelphia Museum of Art to see Marcel Duchamp’s famous installation The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even (The Large Glass), try to make sense of Dadaist poems and André Breton’s Surrealist concept of “automatic writing,” and watch Fritz Lang’s famous silent movie Metropolis (1927) and Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner (1982).

 

Byrne Seminar: Evil on the Screen: Cinematic Representation of Adolf Hitler
01:090:101:79

Alexander Pichugin

T67 4:30pm - 7:30pm, Hardenbergh Hall A4

This seminar is open to any student interested in history, politics, and the cinema. It introduces students to the cinematic representation of one of the most infamous figures of the 20th century, Adolf Hitler, the leader of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party and Chancellor of Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945. Hitler has been represented in cinema from his early years as Führer. His representations range from portraits aiming at historical accuracy to allegorical images of absolute evil to comic parodies. Since the end of World War II, representations of Hitler, both serious and satirical, have continued to be prominent in cinema, sometimes generating significant controversy. In the introductory part of the seminar, students will explore Hitler as a historical figure and his role in the establishment of the Nazi regime. The main part of the seminar will be devoted to in-depth analyses of selected films representing Hitler, focusing on different cinematic aspects of representation as well as on different functions the image of Hitler fulfills in different films. By studying different films representing Hitler, students will gain insights into a broader context of ideas and discourses that have shaped contemporary culture. The different films will be approached as both cultural artifacts and cinematic documents. We will explore various interpretative techniques (iconic analysis, semiotic interpretation, shot-by-shot analysis) and learn to define and apply essential film terminology.

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