Language Courses

Literature and Culture Courses

Language Courses

Elementary German
Doris Glowacki
MWTh3 11:30am-12:50pm, Murray Hall 112
pdf Syllabus (235 KB)

Doris Glowacki
MWTh4 1:40-3:00pm, Beck Hall 201
pdf Syllabus (235 KB)

Alexander Pichugin
M6 4:30-5:50pm, Scott Hall 101
W67 4:30-7:30pm, Murray Hall 115
pdf Syllabus (668 KB)

Alexander Pichugin
M7 6:10-7:30pm, Scott Hall 207
Th67 4:30-7:30pm, Murray Hall 112
pdf Syllabus (669 KB)

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.

The first semester of Elementary German introduces students to the language and culture of German-speaking countries. By the end of the semester students will be able to: talk about their studies, recreational pursuits, daily life at home, and career plans; express their likes and dislikes; describe their talents and those of others; talk about things that happened in the past. Students of 101 are strongly encouraged to enroll in Elementary German Lab 103.

Elementary German
Anna Mayer
MWTh3 11:30am-12:50pm, Hardenbergh Hall B4
pdf Syllabus (150 KB)

Susan Doose
MWTh4 2:15-3:35pm, Hickman Hall 122
pdf Syllabus (424 KB)

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.

The second semester of Elementary German expands the student's vocabulary and knowledge of German grammar. By the end of the semester students will be able to: talk about housing issues and housework; describe what to do when in need of medical assistance; talk about shopping and ordering food at restaurants; talk about family and community issues in a multicultural society; talk about the past and historic events. Students of 102 are strongly encouraged to enroll in Elementary German Lab 104.Elementary German Lab

Tanja Rommelfanger
T4 1:10-2:30pm, Language Lab 119
pdf Syllabus (88 KB)

Corequisite: 01:470:101 Elementary German.

This lab course is an instructor-guided laboratory practicum based on intensive use of media. Designed for the improvement of aural/oral skills. Practice involves use of text-related audiotapes and videotapes, individual and group work, and recordings of student speech for evaluation of pronunciation and fluency.

Intermediate German
Doris Glowacki
T7 6:10-7:30pm, Murray Hall 113
Th7 6:10-7:30pm, Murray Hall 204
pdf Syllabus (565 KB)

Prerequisite: 01:470:102 or placement.

The first semester of Intermediate German further expands 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
Tanja Rommelfanger
TTh7 6:10-7:30pm, Scott Hall 105
pdf Syllabus (144 KB)

Prerequisite: 01:470:131 or placement.

The second semester of Intermediate German further expands German language skill 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. Themes and subjects for discussion and essays include the world of work, multicultural society, young and old, and stereotypes and the environment. Fulfills SAS core goal AH q.

Advanced German
Stefanie Populorum
TTh5 2:50-4:10pm, Scott Hall 216
pdf Syllabus (236 KB)

Prerequisite: 01:470:231 or placement.

Reading and discussion of advanced text material based on contemporary German culture. Intensive practice in word formation, sentence structure, and expository writing. Fulfills SAS core goal WC d.

Literature and Culture Courses

Fairy Tales Then and Now
Cross-listed with Comparative Literature 01:195:246:01
Nicola Behrmann
MW5 3:20-4:40pm, Rutgers Cinema 1
pdf Syllabus (484 KB)

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 interpretng 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
Michael Levine
T6 4:30-5:50pm, Frelinghuysen Hall A4
Th6 4:30-5:50pm, Murray Hall 211
pdf Syllabus (186 KB)

In English. No prerequisites.

An interdisciplinary inquiry into seminal literary, artistic, social, political, and intellectual movements in the history of Germanic cultures and thought from the Middle Ages to the present. The course includes guest lectures by professors and advanced graduate students from Art History, Music, Philosophy, Jewish Studies, Political Science, History, and German Languages & Literatures. Topics include: knightly romance and allegorical painting in the Middle Ages; Luther and the Protestant Reformation; "tolerance" and the age of Enlightenment; Romantic music, painting, and poetry; the Faust legend; industrialization and social change in the 19th c; the impact of Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud; Yiddish language and culture; the Weimar Republic; urban cultures and counter-cultures; Nazism and the Holocaust; the two Germanies and (re)unification. Short readings of texts by von Eschenbach, Luther, Lessing, Kant, Goethe, the Brothers Grimm, Marx, Nietzsche, Kafka, and others. Film by Haneke; music by Schubert. All readings and discussions in English.

The Culture of Yiddish: An Introduction
Cross-listed with Jewish Studies 01:563:245:01
Jeffrey Shandler
TTh6 4:30-5:50pm, Center for Jewish Studies 107

In English. No prerequisites.

Did you know:

  • there were once 11 million Yiddish speakers worldwide?
  • there are neighborhoods in Brooklyn where the ATMs offer a Yiddish option?
  • there are 300-year-old alternate prayers, especially for women, written in Yiddish?
  • there was a Jewish Autonomous Region, with Yiddish as its official language, established in the Soviet Union in the 1930s?
  • there are more than a dozen different words for "Christmas" in Yiddish?
  • you can visit an organic farm in upstate New York where only Yiddish is spoken?
  • you can watch videos in Yiddish produced in New York, Montreal, and Stockholm?

Explore the thousand-year history of Yiddish, key to centuries of Jewish folklore and politics, great works of modern literature and traditional spirituality. Learn how a language thrives in diaspora and endures a genocide, and how it has enriched the lives of fundamentalists, revolutionaries, avant-garde performers, and others--including many people who aren't Jewish--around the world. Fulfills SAS core goal AH q.

Contemporary German Media & Society: Cultural Diversity
Alexander Pichugin
M8 7:40-9:00pm, Hardenbergh Hall B5
pdf Syllabus (589 KB)

Prerequisite: 01:470:102 or 01:470:121.
In German. If taken twice, 470:299 may be counted for three credits toward the major or minor.

In this course, we will explore cultural traditions and modern specificities of different regions of Germany, Switzerland, Austria, as well as Luxemburg and Liechtenstein, in connection to some topics crucial to understanding the modern German-speaking world, including social structure, politics, culture, and everyday life. We will pay special attention to cultural comparisons between German-speaking Europe and the United States. All course materials and discussions are in German.

Introduction to Literary and Cultural Analysis: Nature and Environment in German Culture
Alexander Pichugin
MTh3 11:30am-12:50pm, German House Seminar Room (Room 102)
pdf Syllabus (794 KB)

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!

Natural environment and the complexities of the relationship between man and nature have been a strong discourse-building exercise in German-speaking Europe over the centuries, finding their expression in the romantic philosophy of nature, modern German eco-criticism, environmentalist movements, green politics, and environmentally conscientious living practices. This course examines the representation of these topics in German-language literature, cinema, television, and press. In exploring these topics, we will try to answer the questions: What is nature? What are the components of natural environment? How do people perceive, interpret, and interact with their environment? How are nature and the man-nature relationship reflected and interpreted in literature, art, and politics?Fulfills SAS core goals AH p, WC d, r.

Translation II
Charlotte M. Craig
TTh5 2:50-4:10pm, German House 2nd Floor Library (202)
pdf Syllabus (326 KB)

Prerequisite: 01:470:232.
In German.

This course serves as an introduction to the methodology and techniques of translating German to English, and English to German. The course will have the form of a workshop in which students learn and develop strategies and techniques to translate a variety of texts from different subject areas. We will practice on typical problems that a translator encounters when faced with texts relating to technology, natural and social sciences, anthropology, history, commerce, advertising, and literature. Through practice exercises and assigned tasks, students will learn how to use a variety of dictionaries, glossaries, and handbooks that are useful for translators. We will also look at the history of translation studies and discuss the practical applications and typical tasks that a translator faces today.

Writing Travel: Movement, Migration, Mobility
Jason Groves
MTh2 9:50-11:10am, German House Seminar Room (Room 102)
pdf Syllabus (373 KB)

Prerequisite: 01:470:232. (Students who are performing well may also enroll simultaneously in 231-232 and 327.)
In German.

"Every story," writes Michel de Certeau, "is a travel story." In this course we will consider the intimate link between travel and narrative, while gaining an overview of the history of travel and the tremendous changes in its modes and goals from the eighteenth century to the present. Using a variety of media (images, music, film, literary texts), we will be following the classic promenades of the bourgeois, the breathless alpine switchbacks of the Romantic Wanderer, the fugitive geographies of the persecuted, and the multi-lingualism of the migrant. We will also test-drive some of the mapping and cartographic tools that the digital humanities have to offer, including thick mapping and lit maps. Our authors--Goethe, Heine, Kafka, Benjamin, Adorno, Hennings, Härtling, Sebald, Towada, Özdamar, and others--cover substantial ground in Germany and abroad. Film viewings include Fritz Lang's Frau im Mond, Werner Herzog's Stroszek, and Fatih Akin's Auf der anderen Seite

Marx, Nietzsche, Freud
Cross-listed with Comparative Literature 01:195:374:01, and Philosophy 01:730:344:01
Henry Sussman
MW4 1:10-2:30pm, Frelinghuysen Hall B2
pdf Syllabus (211 KB)

In English. No prerequisites.

What is the relation between politics and literature? What is the relationship between literary expression and prevailing ideologies? In this course we will be reading and discussing a selection of key writings by Karl Marx, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Sigmund Freud, who revolutionized modern philosophy, theology, psychology, aesthetics, social and political science, gender studies, historiography, literature, and the arts. We will undertake a brief foray into Nietzsche's early deconstruction of culture; Marxian readings indicative both of the earlier parameters of the project and its mature "delivery"; and the vicissitudes of the Freudian project as it extends itself to the domain of cultural critique. Furthermore, Bertolt Brecht' theater plays and theory will serve as a proving ground for the relevance of Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud. Fulfills SAS core goals HST and AH o.

Topics: Dreams and Delusions
Cross-listed with Comparative Literature 01:195:312:01
Jason Groves
TTh4 1:10-2:30pm, German House Seminar Room (Room 102)
pdf Syllabus (324 KB)

In English. No prerequisites.

"The interpretations of dreams is the royal road to a knowledge of the unconscious," Freud famously wrote in 1900. More than one hundred years later, we will look back at the many inroads that literature and art have made into Freud's knowledge of the unconscious, while also inquiring about what dreams might mean today and how film in particular has challenged and extended Freud's theories. Throughout the semester, students will develop their own practices of dream interpretation by keeping a dream journal and writing three essays: an interpretation of a dream, a critical esay on two approaches to dreams, and a theoretical essay on dreams and dreaming. 

Byrne Seminar: Dreams of (Human) Machines
Nicola Behrmann
W4 1:10-2:30pm, Scott Hall 202


In English.Open only to first-year Rutgers students.

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. Beginning with a discussion of several key passages of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, we will investigate the ways in which dreams of human machines are linked to ways to overcome a loss; we will look at the mutual influence between 19th century "hysterics" and their doctors; try to make sense of Dada poems and André Breton's Surrealist concept of automatic writing, read Franz Kafka's horror story, "In the Penal Colony," travle to the Philadelphia Museum of Art to see Marcel Duchamp's famous installation The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even (The Large Glass), and watch science fiction movies such as Fritz Lang's Metropol