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
Psy Fi: Literature and Psychoanalysis 01:470:247
The Culture of Yiddish 01:470:280
German Theater 01:470:324
Kafka and World Literature 01:470:354
Classics of German Cinema 01:470:360
Elementary German 101 (4 cr) - Hybrid Section
MTh3 11:30am-12:50pm, Murray Hall 112
This section of Elementary German I is offered in the hybrid format, which combines face-to-face and online instruction. Instead of 3 meetings a week, the class will meet face-to-face for two 80-minute sessions per week, and a substantial portion of material will be covered online.
M6 4:30pm-5:50pm, Scott Hall 101
W67 4:30pm-7:30pm, Scott Hall 203
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 (4 cr)
MWTh3 11:30am-12:50pm, Scott Hall 203
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.
German for Travel (1 cr)
W5 2:50pm-4:10pm, HC S124
This course will introduce students to the language and culture of German-speaking countries focusing on the language competencies particularly relevant in travel situations.
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. Not open to students who have completed 01:470:102, 01:470:121, or the equivalent.
German Conversation (1 cr)
Th4 1:10pm-2:30pm, Scott Hall 201
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.
German Intensive Review (4 cr)
MTTh3 11:30am-12:50pm, Scott Hall 203
Meets with 01:470:102:01
(121 is for students with two or more years of high-school German who do not place into German 131.)
Not open to students who have taken 01:470:101-102.
An intermediate reinforcement course. Practice in speaking, reading, and writing German; extensive grammar review; cultural topics. Prepares students to take German 131.
Intermediate German I (3 cr)
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 (3 cr)
TTh7 6:10pm-7:30pm, Scott Hall 105
Prerequisite: 01:470:131 or placement.
In this course students will further develop their competencies in German language and culture of the German-speaking countries on the intermediate level, 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 various in-class activities and homework assignments. Using a variety of media, such as written texts, video, and audio clips, students will explore the course’s five major themes: Climate and Environment; Social Behaviors; Generations; Migration; Europe.
The program of the course corresponds to the Level B1.2, which is the first half of Level B1 (Intermediate) of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), a widely accepted European standard for language proficiency. By the end of the course sequence, students will be able to understand the main points of clear standard input on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc.; deal with most situations likely to arise whilst travelling in an area where the language is spoken; produce simple connected text on topics which are familiar or of personal interest; describe experiences and events, dreams, hopes and ambitions and briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans.
The course is taught in German with some explanation of grammar points in English.
Fulfills SAS core goal AH q.• Understanding the nature of human languages and their speakers.
Advanced German II (3 cr)
MTh2 9:50am-11:10am, Honors College S126
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. Fulfills SAS core goal WCD(t).
Literature and Culture Courses
Fairy Tales Then and Now (3 cr)
01:470:225:01 (1st year section)
01:470:225:02 (Sophomore section)
01:470:225:03 (Junior section)
01:470:225:04 (Senior section)
01:470:225:H1 (Honors Section)
Cross-listed with Comparative Literature 01:195:246:01
MW5 2:50pm-4:10pm, Academic Building East Wing 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.
Psy Fi: Literature and Psychoanalysis (3 cr)
01:470:247:01 [formerly 01:470:356]
Cross-listed with Comparative Literature 01:195:247:01
MTh3 11:30am-12:50pm, AB West Wing 4052
In English. No prerequisites.
Origins and major concepts of psychoanalysis explored through a close analysis of Freud’s writings with a particular focus on their literary dimension. The course seeks not simply to apply Freud to literature but also to see how psychoanalytic thinking itself might be enriched and expanded by our approaching it through works of art, literature and cinema. Thus, in addition to readings of Freud’s case studies and writings on compulsion, superstition, religious ritual, and the unconscious, we will study a wide range of literary texts from German, French, Anglo-American and Latin American traditions. Fulfills SAS Core goals AHo and AHp.
Poe, The Tales of Edgar Allan Poe
Nabokov, Pale Fire
Kafka, Kafka’s Selected Stories
Perec, A Void
Schreber, Memoirs of My Nervous Illness
German Theater (3 cr)
TTh5 2:50pm-4:10pm, Scott Hall 114
Prerequisite: 01:470:232. In German.
Modern German-language culture, perhaps more than many others, has been created and disputed on the theater stage. This course will examine the extraordinary political, social, and aesthetic experimentation on the German-language stage from the 18th Century to the present. We will read and – as much as possible – view the dramas by Lessing, Goethe, Büchner, Brecht, and Dürrenmatt, as well as examples of German musical production for the stage, such as German-language operas by Mozart and Wagner. A portion of the course will be dedicated to discussion of theater production: German-language Europe has developed a culture of experimentation with new and old stage materials unsurpassed in its audacity by other European or American cultures. Finally, we may – depending on pricing and program availability – make a joint trip to see a live production. The course is taught in German. It fulfills the Permanent Core Goal AHp. Prerequisite: Successful completion of German 232, or instructor’s permission.
Kafka and World Literature (3 cr)
Cross-listed with Comparative Literature 01:195:382:01 and Jewish Studies 01:563:355:01
TTh6 4:30pm-5:50pm Scott Hall 220
In English. No prerequisites.
The course will provide an introduction to Kafka's work and its impact on World literature. Kafka’s texts constitute a new level and quality of literature that has triggered innumerable responses in many languages, media, and discourses. He is generally recognized as an "international" author of a new type of "world literature." While the quality of the work is clear, it nevertheless tends to defy all attempts to approach it through traditional means of interpretation. In an effort to forge new ways of addressing the challenges posed by Kafka's work, the course seeks to locate it in a number of related contexts: at the crossroads of European modernity; within debates about Jewish languages, culture, identity, and music in the early twentieth-century and beyond; at the center of current controversies concerning the politically charged notion of "minor literature;" and perhaps most importantly as the source of inspiration for new works of art, literature, film, and music. Among the works to be considered are the introduction to his writing in “comix” form by Mairowitz and Crumb; the fiction of Haruki Murakami, Jorge Luis Borges, Achmat Dangor, JM Coetzee, Nadine Gordimer, and Philip Roth; the music of Philip Glass; and philosophical works by Kierkegaard and Derrida. Readings also include canonical texts by Ovid, Homer, and Kleist, and critical/biographical works by Wagenbach, Canetti, Butler, Benjamin, Brod, Pawel, and others. Fulfills SAS Core Course Goals AHo, AHp.
Classics of German Cinema (3 cr)
MW4 1:10pm-2:30pm, Scott Hall 205
In English. No prerequisites.
This course introduces students to films of the Weimar, Nazi, and post-war period, as well as to contemporary German cinema. We will explore issues of social class, gender, historical memory, violence, and conflict by means of close analysis. The class seeks to sensitize students to the cultural context of these films and the changing socio-political climates in which they were made. Special attention will be paid to the issue of style. Directors and films include Robert Wiene (The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, 1920), F.W. Murnau (The Last Laugh, 1924), Fritz Lang (Metropolis, 1927), Walter Ruttmann (Berlin: Symphony of a City, 1927) Josef von Sternberg (The Blue Angel, 1929), Leni Riefenstahl (Olympia, 1936), Billy Wilder (Sunset Boulevard, 1950), Alexander Kluge (Yesterday Girl, 1966), Werner Herzog (Aguirre, 1972), Rainer Werner Fassbinder (Ali. Fear Eats the Soul, 1974), Wim Wenders (Wings of Desire, 1987), Harun Farocki (Images of the World and the Inscription of War, 1989), Michael Haneke (The White Ribbon, 2009), Christian Petzold (Barbara, 2012), Maren Ade (Toni Erdmann, 2016), Wolfgang Fischer (Styx, 2019), among others. Fulfills SAS Core Course Goal AHo.
Topics in German Literature and Civilization: Goethe's Faust and the Fracturing of Tradition (3 cr)
Cross-listed with Comparative Literature 01:195:480:01
W67 4:30-7:10pm, AB West Wing 4050
In English. No prerequisites.
Faust, in Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s drama, is every university’s worst nightmare. Frustrated that his multiple academic degrees have left him knowing nothing of value, the aging scholar goes rogue: he gives up standard research for magic; he flees his study with the devil to go out and party; he uses his status to help him impress and seduce a much younger woman; he heads off on a world tour without regard to those he encounters or has left behind; and he becomes a capricious and dangerous tyrant.
In this seminar we will examine both Part I and Part II of Goethe’s work, as well as historical sources, to consider first some questions about the Faust legend: how did this legend become the quintessential myth of modernity? What does Faust, in the various iterations of this legend, experience and learn by selling his soul? Is his story a celebration or a condemnation of the modern age of discovery – research, teaching, learning and self-exploration?
Even as we take these and other more general questions about the Faust myth into account, we’ll focus more particularly on the dramatic text that came to be widely considered the most important work both of Goethe’s life, and of the modern German literary tradition – as well one of the most disruptive and innovative works of modern European literature. Written and revised over six decades and drawing texts from the Bible to Kālidāsa’s Shakuntala, Dante’s Divine Comedy, the works of Shakespeare, Milton’s Paradise Lost, and poetic, scientific and philosophical writing of the 18th and early 19th centuries, the play updates an old German story about experimentation and the limits of human autonomy; it integrates, recasts and anticipates 18th and 19th-century developments in European literary and intellectual history; it adopts or develops virtually every metric and generic form that would be available in German by the time of Goethe’s death in 1832; and it has been invoked as a test case by literary, aesthetic, philosophical, political and social theories of the past 200 years. This seminar will combine close readings of the play in relation to these various literary and historical contexts, along with discussion of a selection of the drama’s recent interpretations.
The course will be taught in English. No prerequisites. Course meets with 16:470:626:01.