Current Undergraduate Courses

Spring 2021 Undergraduate Course Descriptions

Language Courses

Literature & Culture Courses

SAS Core Goal Courses:

Intermediate German I 01:470:131
Intermediate German II 01:470:132
Kafka and World Literature 01: 470: 354
Nazi Period in Film 01:470:350
German and Comparative Literature 01:470:304
Critical Issues in German Studies 01:470:303
Intro to Literary and Cultural Analysis 01:470:302
Fairy Tales Then and Now 01:470:225

 

Language Courses

Elementary German I (Hybrid)
01:470:101:01
Instructor: Steven Weinberg
MTh1 8:10-9:30am
Canvas & Zoom

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.

This course is taught in German with some explanation of grammar points in English. This course is delivered in a hybrid format. Instead of meeting in-class three times per week for 80 minutes each class, students will meet twice per week and complete significant work in the Canvas learning management system.

 

Elementary German I
01:470:101:02
Instructor: Anna Mayer
T6 4:30-5:50pm & Th67 4:30-7:30pm
Canvas & Zoom

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.

This course is taught in German with some explanation of grammar points in English. 

 

Elementary German II (Hybrid)
01:470:102:01
Instructor: Arielle Friend
MTh2 9:50-11:10am
Canvas & Zoom

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. 

 

German Intensive Review
01:470:121:01
Instructor: Arielle Friend
MTh2 9:50-11:10am
Canvas & Zoom

This course is an elementary reinforcement course that prepares students for the intermediate level by reviewing the language and culture of German-speaking countries at the elementary 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 in-class activities and homework assignments.

This course is intended for students with two or more years of high-school German who do not place into German 131. This course is not open to students who have taken 01:470:101 or 01:470:102.

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:

  • 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. 

 

German for Travel 
01:470:103:01
Instructor: Elisabeth Oberlerchner
T3 11:30-12:50pm
Canvas & Zoom

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:

  1. Reisen: Wer reist? In this module, students learn to speak about themselves as travelers. They prepare to provide basic information about themselves in a travel situation and engage in a simple dialog with people they might meet while traveling.
  2. Reisen: Wohin? This module focuses on the German-speaking  Europe. Students learn information on the German-speaking countries and their cultures. The students prepare to speak about the countries they intend to visit as well as about their home country.
  3. Reisen: Wie? In this module, students learn about different means of transportation and accommodations one can use when traveling to and in Europe. The students prepare to book tickets and hotels on German-language websites as well as conduct basic dialog about transportation and lodging.
  4. Reisen: Warum? This module focuses on the reasons for travel. Students discuss their personal and professional interests and reasons they might want or need to travel. They learn how to express the likes and dislikes as well as basic comparisons.

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. 

 

 

German for Reading Knowledge (Hybrid)
01:470:106:01
Instructor: Alexander Pichugin
T3 11:30-12:50pm
Canvas & Zoom

This course, taught in English and German, continues to develop the basic reading competencies in the German language. Texts read in the course are chosen from the humanities, the natural sciences, and the social sciences.

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

  • apply specific reading strategies to reading a text in German;
  • read German texts with correct pronunciation and intonation;
  • recognize most grammar phenomena and apply this knowledge to understanding;
  • apply some basic passive vocabulary to reading German texts;
  • efficiently use online and paper-based dictionaries.

This course is delivered in a hybrid format, which is different from either a traditional classroom-based course or a fully online course. Students spend approximately half the time online and half in the classroom. Instead of meeting in-class twice per week for 80 minutes each class, students will meet once per week, and the rest of the week is held virtually in the Canvas learning management system.

This course also follows a “flipped classroom” approach to learning. This means that students are expected to prepare for each class through readings, learning vocabulary and completing the assignments prior to attending class. This allows class time to be used for more active and engaging activities for a more enriching learning experience for students.

The course is taught in English.

 

Intermediate German I
01:470:131:01
Instructor: Elisabeth Oberlerchner
MTh2 9:50-11:10am
Canvas & Zoom

In this course students will further develop their competencies in German language and culture of the German-speaking countries towards 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:

  • Time and History
  • Everyday Life
  • Gender and Relationships
  • Work and Profession
  • School and Education 

The program of the course corresponds to the Level B1.1, 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 this semester, students will be able to:

  • talk about time and history, including German history and histories of regions
  • talk about everyday issues
  • talk about gender stereotypes
  • talk about relationships
  • talk about school and workplace-related situations
  • describe pictures
  • report about events
  • provide explanations and justifications
  • give advice
  • express agreement and disagreement
  • talk about wishes and hypothetical situations

By the end of the 131/132 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 traveling 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.

Core Curriculum Learning Goal: AH-q • Understanding the nature of human languages and their speakers.

 

Intermediate German II 
01:470:132:01
Instructor: Alexandra Friedrich
MTh2 9:50-11:10am
Canvas & Zoom

In this course students will further develop their competencies in the German language and culture of the German-speaking countries towards 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: Time and History; Everyday Life; Gender and Relationships; Work and Profession; School and Education.

The program of the course corresponds to Level B1.2, which is the second 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 this semester, students will be able to:

  • talk about climate, weather, and environment
  • provide reasons
  • make predictions
  • deal with embarrassing situations, conflicts, and social norms
  • excuse for embarrassing situation
  • talk about generations and generational issues
  • write a story
  • talk about wishes, fears, and dreams, problems, and hopes
  • talk about migration
  • talk about Europe and the European Union
  • talk about advantages and disadvantages

By the end of the 131/132 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.

Core Curriculum Learning Goal: AH-q • Understanding the nature of human languages and their speakers.

  

Advanced German II
01:470:232:01
Instructor: Nicole Uberreich
MTh2 9:50-11:10am
Canvas & Zoom

In this course students will further develop their competencies in the German language and culture of the German-speaking countries towards the upper 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 eight major themes: Extreme Things; Nature and Technology, Lifestyles; Sites and Events; Volunteering; Architecture; Germans; Streets and Stories.
The program of the course corresponds to Level B2 (Upper Intermediate) of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), a widely accepted European standard for language proficiency.

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

  • talk about extreme and unusual events
  • assess something negatively or positively
  • express understanding
  • express surprise or refusal
  • compare something
  • talk about nature and technological progress
  • define notions
  • describe processes and actions
  • understand a technical description
  • ask for opinion, contradict, and agree
  • conduct and evaluate experiments
  • talk about typical magazine topics
  • assess something
  • recommend something
  • express opinion or position in writing
  • talk about fairs and products
  • talk about new things, express surprise
  • talk and ask about experiences
  • describe and present products
  • conduct conversations at fairs
  • talk about volunteering
  • convince and persuade someone
  • report about something
  • write an application letter
  • understand and relay opinions
  • recite a poem
  • talk about architecture
  • explain notions
  • relay somebody’s position
  • gradually modify statements
  • research and present a biography
  • talk about things German
  • present an impression from something
  • relay statistical information
  • write an argument
  • report about and comment on historical events
  • clarify and interpret ideas
  • take a position
  • make assumptions

By the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • understand the main ideas of complex text on both concrete and abstract topics, including technical discussions in their field of specialization;
  • interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with native speakers quite possible without strain for either party;produce clear, detailed text on a wide range of subjects and explain a viewpoint on a topical issue giving the advantages and disadvantages of various options.

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

 

Literature and Culture Courses

Fairy Tales Then & Now
01:470:225 (all sections) & Comp Lit 01:195:246:01
Instructor: Martha Helfer
MW5 2:50-4:10pm
Canvas & Zoom

01:470:225:01 1st-year section
01:470:225:02 2nd-year section
01:470:225:03 3rd-year section
01:470:225:04 4th-year section
01:470:225:H1 Honors section
01:195:246:01

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 also will 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. All sections meet together. This course has no prerequisites. Taught in English. Satisfies SAS Core Curriculum Requirements AHp, WCd.

 

Introduction to Literary and Cultural Analysis: Unheimliche Heimat
01:470:302:01
Instructor: Regina Karl 
MTh1 8:10-9:30am
Canvas & Zoom

Home sweet home? In times of global diaspora, a safe space that offers refuge and comfort is becoming an urgent matter of human rights. Following the so-called “refugee crisis,” Germany has seen the notion of Heimat resurfacing on political agendas and in public debates. In this class we will tackle the issue of the multifaceted concept named Heimat: Notoriously untranslatable, the word evokes identity and loss, protection and precarity all at the same time. Heimat promises a feeling of belonging yet it can easily trigger cultural and racial divides. Focusing on the ideological misappropriation of the term Heimat in the Nazi era, we will try and understand how this concept can quickly turn into its eerie flip-side – Unheimlichkeit –, a feeling of being at odds with one´s environment. We will listen to post-migrant, contemporary voices of writers, artists and public intellectuals and have the following questions guide us: Can you be homeless in your own home? What is the relationship between homeland and family? Would the term Herkunft offer a more inclusive alternative to Heimat

Texts, films, podcasts, and performances by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Friedrich Hölderlin, Walter Benjamin, Siegfried Kracauer, Leni Riefenstahl, Hannah Arendt, Christa Wolf, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, W. G. Sebald, Fatih Akin, Christian Petzold, Valeska Grisebach, Angela Merkel, Yael Ronen, Fatma Aydemir, Olivia Wenzel, Max Czollek, Saša Stanišić and Alice Hasters. 

 

Critical Issues in German Studies: Germans and Jews: An Intercultural History
01:470:303:01
Instructor: Michael Levine

MTh3 11:30 - 12:50 am
Sakai & Zoom

The course surveys German-Jewish culture from the eighteenth century to 1935. A wide range of philosophical, theological, political, literary, and dramatic texts will be studied including works by Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, Moses Mendelssohn, Rahel Varhagen, Heinrich Heine, Karl Marx, Moses Hess, Franz Kafka, Else Lasker-Schüler, Franz Rosenzweig, Sigmund Freud, and Martin Buber. Topics to be covered include the question of a German-Jewish “symbiosis;” Enlightenment, “Bildung” and what it means to be a “mensch”; Berlin salon culture; socialism and assimilation; anti-Semitism and Zionism; theology and redemption; religion and psychoanalysis. Taught in English. Fulfills SAS Core goals AHp, WCd.

 

Double Trouble: Replicas, Alter Egos and Doppelgängers
01:470:304:01/Cross-listed with Comparative Literature 01:195:314:01
Instructor: Regina Karl

TTh5 2:50-4:10pm
Canvas & Zoom

In English. No prerequisites.

When we look in the mirror who do we see? Why are two people of the same kind so disturbing? Will we be replaced by AI one day? Double identities have been haunting Western culture for centuries and continue to steer up eerie and supernatural fantasies until today. Time and again, the blurry horror of the double mirrors the nature of literature and cinema and shakes the very foundations of Western anthropocentric philosophy. In this class, we will try to understand how replicas, alter egos, and doppelgängers not only make us shiver but are in fact a key element of human existence. From undead revenants in gothic tales to digital bots and avatars on social media, we will examine twin personalities across the history of literature, film and philosophy, thereby exploring the porous boundaries between identity and otherness, life and death, humans and machines as well as body and psyche.
Texts and films by Plato, Ovid, E. T. A. Hoffmann, Ludwig Tieck, Edgar Allan Poe, Anette von Droste-Hülshoff, Sigmund Freud, Franz Kafka, Fritz Lang, Ilse Aichinger, Hannah Arendt, Frantz Fanon, Christian Petzold, Donna Harraway, Judith Butler, Black Mirror and Jordan Peele.

Taught in English. Fulfills SAS Core goals AHp, WCd.

 

Short Narrative in German
01:470:325:01
Instructor: Alexander Pichugin
MTh2 9:50-11:10am
Canvas & Zoom

This course invites students to explore short genres of German prose such as the anecdote, farce, fable, novella, and short story.
By studying different genres of short narrative, students will gain insights into ideas, trends and discourses that have shaped contemporary German-language literature and culture.
The different texts are approached as both cultural artifacts and linguistic documents, i.e., their analysis includes the study of vocabulary and elements of grammar and style. We will explore various reading techniques (e.g. close reading, reading for plot, etc.) and learn to define and apply essential literary terminology, such as genre, metaphor, realism, fiction, documentary, narrator, narrative development, montage, point of view, mimesis, etc., to literary texts.
As a learning outcome of the course, students will develop their abilities to approach a short narrative both analytically and synthetically, exploring the connections between the topics of the works and the social world in critical and creative ways. As a practical outcome, the students will develop critical skills of literary analysis of short narratives by practicing oral and written interpretation and discussion and advancing their ability to speak and write in German.

The course is conducted in German. All course materials, discussions, and readings are in German. Fulfills SAS Core goal AHp.

 

Nazi Period in Film
01:470:350:01
Instructor: Alexander Pichugin
TTh4 1:10-2:30pm
Canvas & Zoom

Cinema played a special role both in the Third Reich and in the representation of the Nazi period long after it ended. Between 1933 and 1945, the German film industry was the second-largest in the world after Hollywood. It was controlled by the Ministry of Propaganda and was remarkable for its production volume (more than 1000 feature films issued) and the role those films played in the everyday life of German citizens. The many feature films as well as documentaries functioned as a propaganda tool for National Socialist ideology, but also provided entertainment within the permissible parameters of the regime. After the end of the Nazi Reich, cinema became an important means of cultural investigation of the period.

This course invites students to explore the important role film played during the Nazi era, as well the role of film in the representation of events in Germany of the Nazi period. The course consists of three parts.

In the first (introductory) part of the course, students will explore the historical situation leading to the establishment of the Nazi regime. They will trace the development of the German film industry from the Weimar Republic and its restructuring after 1933 towards the use of the film as a tool to promote the Nazi ideology. Students will explore the cultural politics of the Third Reich, including the various agencies that controlled film production. Special attention will be paid to the distinction between state-commissioned propaganda films and seemingly apolitical genre films, whose escapist nature belied its Nazi-compliant sexist, racial and nationalist ideologies.

The second part of the course will be devoted to in-depth analyses of representative films of the Nazi period produced in Germany, focusing on the staging of the display of power, representation of race, and the promotion of escapism.

The third part of the seminar starts with the analysis of the representation of Nazism in American and Soviet film. It also includes the examination of German (East and West) retrospective representation of the period, especially within the last thirty years/since the 1980s when the Nazi past became an object of nostalgic longing (that seems a bit strong) and a historicizing reconstruction of German identity.

By studying different genres of film and other forms of cultural production (literature, music, television productions) in relation to the cinematic representation of the Nazi period, students will gain insights into ideas, trends and discourses that have shaped contemporary German culture. The different films are 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.

As a learning outcome of the course, students will develop their ability to approach film 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. Fulfills SAS Core goal AHp.

 

Kafka and World Literature: "Echoes of the Kafkaesque"
01:470:354:01/ Cross-listed with
Comp Lit 01:195:382:01 and Jewish Studies 01:563:355:01
Instructor: Dominik Zechner
MW4 1:10-2:30pm
Canvas & Zoom

Comparable only to the likes of Shakespeare, Franz Kafka belongs to the most commented-on authors in modern literary history. His prose has provoked sheer avalanches of commentary, interpretation, and hermeneutical conjecture. It is no surprise, therefore, that the influence his work has exerted on subsequent generations of writers can hardly be overstated: there is a certain Kafkaesque tone one can discern in recent literary history, from Beckett’s theater of the absurd, via the French existentialists, through the machinations of a local writing maniac like Paul Auster. In this seminar, we shall listen in on these echoes of the Kafkaesque which resound through the literary landscapes of the 20th and 21st centuries. While familiarizing students with the inexhaustible work of Kafka himself, this course will also serve as an introduction to a variety of literary traditions spanning works authored by Jorge Luis Borges, Clarice Lispector, J.M. Coetzee, Bob Dylan, Don DeLillo, and others. All students with a love of literature are welcome!

Taught in English. Fulfills SAS Core goals AHo, AHp.