Fall 2019 Undergraduate Course Descriptions

SAS Core Goal Courses:

Intermediate German I 01:470:131
Intermediate German II 01:470:132
Tales of Horror  01:470:227
Introduction to German Studies 01:470:275
Introduction to Literary and Cultural Analysis 01:470:301
Marx, Nietzsche, Freud 01:470:371

Language Courses

Elementary German
01:470:101:01

MWTh3 11:30am-12:50pm, Scott Hall 115

Elementary German 
01:470:101:02

T6 4:30pm-5:50pm, MU 115
Th67 4:30pm-7:30pm, MU 207

Elementary German
01:470:101:03
MWTh2 10:20am-11:40am, MTh Beck Hall 111, W Beck Hall 219 (Livingston campus)

This course introduces 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. Students also learn about cultural perspectives, products and practices of German-speaking countries. Some of the topics addressed in this course include geography and landscape, university studies and professional education, laws and regulations, and customs and holidays.

No prerequisites. Taught in German. 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.

 

Elementary German 
01:470:102:01

MWTh3  11:30am- 12:50pm, MW Hardenbergh Hall A4, Th Hardenbergh Hall B4

This course continues developing the students’ German language proficiency at the elementary level. Students further develop their knowledge of the German language and culture of German-speaking countries, using both prepared and authentic materials with theme-related vocabulary and grammatical structures. Students have the opportunity to practice listening, reading, writing, and speaking in German through in-class activities and homework assignments. Students continue learning about cultural perspectives, products and practices of German-speaking countries. Some of the topics addressed in the course include everyday living, food and shopping, travel, health and illnesses, childhood and youth, and the life of modern society.

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

Prerequisite: German 101 or placement test. Not open for credits to students who have had two or more years of secondary school in German.

 

German for Travel 
01:470:103:01

Th4  1:10pm -2:30pm, AB 3100

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 
01:470:104:01
Alexander Pichugin

W5  2:50pm-4:10pm,   AB 3450

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, and express likes and dislikes.

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 for Reading Knowledge (Hybrid)
01:470:105:01
Alexander Pichugin

T7 6:10pm-7:30pm, SC 102

This course, taught in English and German, is intended for undergraduate students without previous knowledge of the German language. The course develops basic reading competencies in German. The 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 a text in German with correct pronunciation;
  • recognize some grammar phenomena and apply this knowledge to understanding;
  • apply some basic passive vocabulary to reading German texts;
  • efficiently use online and paper-based dictionaries.

 

German Intensive Review
01:470:121:01
MWTh3  11:30am- 12:50pm, MW Hardenbergh Hall A4, Th Hardenbergh Hall B4

(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.
Course meets with 01:470:102:01.
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
01:470:131:01

MW4  1:10pm-2:30pm, Hardenbergh Hall A7

Intermediate German I
01:470:131:02

TTh7   6:10pm-7:30pm, Scott Hall 204

In this course, students will develop their competencies in German language and culture of the German-speaking countries towards the intermediate level, using both prepared and authentic materials. 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, gender stereotypes, relationships, school and workplace-related situations, professions and education; describe pictures; report about events; provide explanations and justifications; give advice; express agreement or disagreement; talk about wishes and hypothetical situations. 

Taught in German, with some explanation of grammar points in English. Fulfills SAS Core Curriculum Learning Goal AHq. Prerequisite: 01:470:102 or placement test.

 

Intermediate German II
01:470:132:01

TTh6   4:30pm-5:50pm,  Murray Hall 111

In this course students develop their German-language skills, by discussing a variety of cultural topics and themes in the German-speaking world. Through extensive work on expanding vocabulary, reviewing major grammar topics, conversation and composition exercises, the students will strengthen their language skills and develop cultural competency. The course focuses on real communication in meaningful contexts, to develop and consolidate students’ speaking, listening, reading and writing abilities at the upper intermediate level. Using a variety of media, such as texts, video and audio, students will explore the course’s five major themes: Traditions and Celebrations; Science and Technology; Nature and Environment; Economy and Job Market; and History and Society.

Taught in German. Fulfills SAS Core Curriculum Learning Goal AHq. Prerequisite: 01:470:131 or placement test.

 

Advanced German I
01:470:231:01
Alexander Pichugin

MTh3   11:30am-12:50pm,  HC N106

This course explores 20th century German culture, literature, and politics through an examination of the city of Berlin. Drawing on film, literature, and audio features we will focus on the following topics: Expressionism and Dada, Cabaret in the Golden Twenties, resistance against the Nazis, 1968 movement & left wing terrorism, the Berlin Wall & GDR protest culture, and contemporary Berlin scene. An emphasis will be placed on written exercises, listening and reading skills developing the ability to discuss and argue opinions, as well as a thorough review of grammar. All readings, discussions, and written works are in German. Prerequisites: German 132 or placement test.

Literature and Culture Courses

Tales of Horror
01:470:227:01 
Cross listed with Comparative Literature 01:195:227:01

Nicola Behrmann

T23 9:50am-12:50pm, SC 114

Vampires and zombies, doppelgänger, ghosts, and artificial humans continue to haunt the cultural imagination throughout the centuries. This course explores tales of horror through some of their most spellbinding creatures and fantasies in a period ranging from the Grimm Brothers to Expressionist cinema: We will consider the historical or political context and the psychoanalytical underpinnings in each horrific tale and we will pay close attention to the ways a narrative (text or film) establishes, safeguards, or releases its horrific kernel. How does horror enter German Expressionism and why do moving images relate particularly well to the uncanny? We will explore the similarities and differences in the way film and literature explore horror. Readings include E.T.A. Hoffmann’s “The Sandman,” Jeremias Gotthelf’s “The Black Spider,” Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Black Cat,” and short stories by Franz Kafka. Filmic contributions range from Murnau’s Nosferatu to Kubrick’s The Shining, from Hitchcock’s The Birds to Powell’s Peeping Tom. Theoretical reflections are provided by Lotte Eisner, Shoshana Felman, Sigmund Freud, Barbara Johnson, Siegfried Kracauer, Laurence A. Rickels, and Slavoj Zizek.

Taught in English. No prerequisites. Fulfills SAS core goals AHo and AHp.

 

From Nietzsche to Superman
01:470:258:01
Cross-listed with Comparative Literature 01:195:258:01

Nicola Behrmann

TTh5 2:50pm-4:10pm, HH A4

What is popular culture? How do “high” and “low” cultures inform each other? In what way can contemporary popular culture alter and challenge the established canon and provide new means of reflections of established philosophical paradigms? This seminar explores canonical works of (mostly German) literature and philosophy in regard to works from popular culture (mostly American film and pop music). Special attention will be paid to modalities of self-invention, imagination, dreams of transgression and failure thereof. We will examine Nietzsche’s Übermensch (Overman) and its gradual translation into the American Superman hero. We will look at the feminine version of Superman by reading Heinrich von Kleist’s Amazon tragedy Penthesilea together with the action film Wonder Woman. We will compare gender performance in early 1920s cabaret culture with the “material girls” of our contemporary culture, consider the impact of the “idiot” from the Dada movement over Forrest Gump to our contemporary media culture, and discuss the overcoming of boundaries between illusion and reality (Freud and Inception; Nietzsche and The Matrix) and between humans and androids (Donna Haraway and Blade Runner).

Course taught in English. No prerequisites. Fulfills SAS Core Goal AHo.

 

 Intro to German Studies: 1900-present
01:470:275:01

Regina Karl

MW5   2:50pm-4:10pm, Scott Hall 204

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 1750 to 1900. 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. 

No prerequisites. All readings and discussions in English. Fulfills SAS Core Curriculum Learning Goals AHp, WCD.

 

Contemporary German Media & Society
01:470:299:01

T8   7:40pm-9:00pm, AB 2200

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 explore the traditional (book and press), the new (film, radio and television) and the newest media (internet and mobile networking) and the role they play in different realms of contemporary German society 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 Germany and the United States.

In completing the homework assignments, the students will actively engage in watching videos, listening to audio clips, reading texts and participating in asynchronous online discussion. The class sessions will be discussion-based and include prepared, semi-prepared, and spontaneous discussions, which will provide the students with ample opportunity to advance their listening and speaking skills and further develop communication strategies. By the end of the course students will be able to better orient themselves in the German media landscape and engage in meaningful conversation about some aspects of the contemporary German-speaking world.

All course material and discussions in German. The course may be repeated for credit. All levels of language above German 121 welcome. Required of residents of the Wessels Hall German Language & Culture Living-Learning Community. Course open to other students and may be repeated for credit.

INCOMING FIRST-YEARS: If you are admitted to the community, we will notify the academic offices of your acceptance and you will be enrolled in the 1.5 credit Contemporary German Media and Society course, or a different course if your placement scores do not qualify you for Contemporary German Media and Society. You will receive your course schedule in August.INCOMING TRANSFERS: If you are admitted to the community, you will need to register for the 1.5 German Media and Society Course on your own, or another German course if you do not have the proficiency for Contemporary German Media and Society.

 

Intro to Literary & Cultural Analysis (in German)
01:470:301:01
Regina Karl

MTh3 11:30am-12:50pm, M SC 205, Th SC 207

Introduction to the basic German terminology of literary and cultural analysis, and preparation for courses in German at the 300 level. Study of literary works and films, as well as newspaper articles, film reviews, and literary analyses.Course is 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, WCr, WCd. 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

MW5 2:50pm-4:10pm, AB 1180

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. In English. No prerequisites. (Students who have completed Introductory German 102 or the equivalent, or who have Prof. Rennie’s permission, are encouraged to enroll in the 1-credit companion module “The Language of Marx, Nietzsche and Freud” (01:991:121:E1), which will focus on the original German-language concepts and formulations in select passages relevant to the principal themes of the main course “Marx, Nietzsche, Freud."

 

German-Jewish Literature and Culture
01:470:380:01
Cross-listed with Comparative Literature (01:195:380:01) and Jewish Studies (01:563:380:01)

Michael Levine

MW4 1:10pm-2:30pm, Scott Hall 114

The course surveys German-Jewish culture from the eighteenth century to 1935.  A wide range of philosophical, theological, autobiographical, literary, poetic, and dramatic texts will be studied, including works by Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, Moses Mendelssohn, Rahel Varnhagen, Heinrich Heine, Karl Marx, Moses Hess, Franz Kafka, Hermann Cohen, Else Lasker-Schüler, Sigmund Freud, and Martin Buber. Topics to be covered: Enlightenment and "Bildung"; salon culture; autobiography and romanticism; socialism and assimilation; “Anti-Semitism” and Zionism; theology and redemption.

Taught in English. 

 

Topics: Wild Women
01:470:388:01
Martha Helfer

M67 4:30pm-7:10pm, AB 4050

Wild women, crazy women, sexy women, women on the edge! 

This course examines woman as the site of cultural and aesthetic critique in mainstream German literature and film from the Enlightenment to the 20th century, in conjunction with feminist theory.  Examples will be taken from fairy tales, history, literature, mythology, and film.  The course will begin with an overview of Enlightenment and post-Enlightenment gender theory in a broad European context (Rousseau, Wollstonecraft, de Gouges, von Hippel). We then will analyze constructions of "woman" in German literature, film, and theory, focusing on the emergence of (and resistance to) modern gender theory. Readings and films include selections from Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Friedrich Schiller, Sophia von La Roche, Friedrich Schlegel, Dorothea Schlegel, Karoline von Günderrode, Heinrich von Kleist, Annette von Droste-Hülshoff, Friedrich Hebbel, Franz Grillparzer, Christa Wolf, Michael Verhoeven, and Tom Twyker. 

 

Course requirements: This course stresses the development of critical reading and writing skills. Course requirements include: careful preparation of assigned readings and active class participation (10%); one oral presentation (10%); one response to an oral presentation (10%); and three 5-8 page essays or one seminar paper (70%).

The course will be taught in English; all readings will be available in English translation. No knowledge of German required!

No prerequisites. Course meets with 16:470:671:01.

 

Topics: German TV in its Cultural Context
01:470:389:01

Alexander Pichugin

TTh6 4:30pm-5:50pm, AB 2250

In order to better understand modern German-language culture, it is crucial to explore the enormous role that television has played in shaping it over the past eighty years. This course invites students to explore the phenomenon of television in the German-speaking world, a medium that has grown from its modest origins in the 1930s to permeate private and public spaces with a never-ending flow of sounds and images. Students will examine both the emergence and development of German TV as a distinct medium, as well as its role as both the product and the shaper of a changing society.

In the first half of the semester students will look at the technological origins of television and the role Germany played in it, as well as briefly trace the history of its development in German-speaking countries. Approaching television from a media studies and cultural studies perspective, students will analyze its cultural and political impact, as well as its ongoing evolution in the German-speaking world. They will see how the development of television intersects with numerous other media, including radio, cinema, the novel, and even video games. They will explore the issues specifically related to the German-language context, such as the German dual system, media policies and their most recent changes, as well as some specifics of Austrian and Swiss television.

In the second half of the semester, students will investigate in more depths some television genres and formats most specific to modern German-language TV, such as newscasts, documentary and educational television, crime shows, reality shows, game shows, and television movies and series. Students will also study some forms of dramatic TV narrative—the stand-alone episode, the miniseries, a long serial narrative, and the web television series. Special attention will be given to the role these genres play in different realms of contemporary German society in connection to some topics crucial to understanding the modern German-speaking world, including social structure, politics, culture, and everyday life.

Taught in German. Prerequisite: 01:470:232