German Program Courses

German houses

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Course Descriptions

The list below includes descriptions of all undergraduate and graduate courses offered by the German Program.

Review specific course requirements for the German Program. For up-to-date information on course offerings, schedules, room locations and registration, please visit the Student Information System (SIS).

GER 1 Elementary German I. Emphasis on oral and written communication about everyday topics. Offers extensive vocabulary acquisition, grammar practice, and listening and reading exercises to increase cultural awareness. No prerequisites.

GER 2 Elementary German II. Continuation of GER 1. Focus on written and oral communication about everyday topics. Insights into cultural topics of German speaking countries. Continued study of basic grammar while practicing speaking, listening/understanding, reading, and writing. Prerequisite: GER 1 or equivalent.

GER 1 / GER 2 Intensive Beginning German. The elementary course sequence (German 1 and 2) offered in one semester on an intensive level. It is an opportunity to begin a new language in midyear.

GER 3 Intermediate German I. Authentic readings, films, and audio materials from a variety of genres and time periods. Introduction to intermediate grammar. Development of reading and writing skills to enhance cultural awareness and cross-cultural understanding. Emphasis on broadening the vocabulary base and increasing the complexity of texts. Prerequisite GER 2 or equivalent.

GER 4 Intermediate German II. Authentic readings, films, and audio materials from a variety of genres and time periods. Development of reading and writing skills to enhance cultural awareness and cross-cultural understanding. Continued practice of intermediate grammar. Emphasis on broadening the vocabulary base and increasing the complexity of texts. One additional weekly practice session to improve speaking facility and reinforce and expand class material. Prerequisite: GER 3 or equivalent.

GER 3 / GER 4 Intensive Intermediate German I & II. No description at this time.

GER 21 Composition and Conversation I. Emphasis on fluency and accuracy in writing German across a variety of genres. Review of more advanced structures. Focus on deepening cultural competence and understanding through authentic texts, discussions, and film material. Frequent use of the Internet and student projects involving digital technology. One additional weekly practice session to improve speaking facility and reinforce and expand class material. Prerequisite: GER 4 or equivalent.

GER 22 Composition and Conversation II. Emphasis on fluency and accuracy in speaking German. Continued practice in writing. Introduction of more complex structures and vocabulary. Authentic materials cover current issues from the German-speaking countries. Film materials and texts from both journalistic and literary genres. Use of the Internet for independent student research. One additional weekly practice session to improve speaking facility and reinforce and expand class material. Prerequisite: GER 21 or equivalent.

GER 34 German Business and Politics. Introduction to necessary German language skills for working in fields related to current business and politics. Possible topics include globalization, development, finance, technology, migration, the environment, and the political system. Discussions of policy documents, government reports, newspaper articles, other relevant contemporary materials, and on-line resources. In German. Prerequisites: German 21 or equivalent.

GER 44 Shaping Identity: Social and Political Perspective. Based on a selection of films and shorter texts, students get an introduction to social, political, and cultural developments in twentieth-century Germany as seen by authors, filmmakers, artists, and journalists. Besides improving all language skills, the course aims to develop a cross-cultural competence (better understanding of German attitudes, traditions, national self-awareness). In German. Prerequisites: German 21 or equivalent.

GER 61 Reading German Culture. Examines major questions posed by German literature, thought, and art. Providing a cultural history, the course hones students' aesthetic and interpretative understanding and furthers their reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills. Conducted in German. Prerequisite: GER 0022, 0034, 0044, or equivalent.

GER 62 Survey German Literature II. A systematic survey of the historical development of German literature from the Middle Ages to the present. Selected readings include primary works by major German writers. In German. Fall (61) and spring (62). Prerequisites: German 22, 34, 44, or equivalent.

GER 64 Playlist: German Culture and Pop Music. Lyrics, music, and performances of German pop music. Is pop music an expression of rebellion and sincere emotions, or is it just a commercial product for easy consumption? Does pop music perpetuate clichés, or subvert them? Is pop music superficial, or does it offer a deeper understanding of contemporary society and culture? Central themes are love and disappointment, coming of age and rebellion, diversity and identity, and political activism. Development of students' aesthetic and interpretive understanding, and practice with reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills. In German. Recommendation: One of GER 22, 34, 44, or 61, or instructor permission. 

GER 66 Jews and Germans: An Intercultural History. Examines complex interrelationship between German and Jewish cultures from 1750 to 1933. Themes include the Enlightenment and universalism, relation of Jewish emancipation to the construction of German identity, Zionism and nationalism, assimilation, integration, exile. Readings in literary, political, theological, and philosophical texts, along with films, plays, and music produced up to the eve of World War II. In English.

GER 70 Grimms' Fairy Tales. The Grimm brothers as nineteenth-century collectors and authors. Folk tale and literary fairy tale; relation to the development of German nationalism and capitalism; role in attitude formation toward gender and social class; assimilation and adaptation in twentieth-century social, political, and economic life under the Weimar Republic, National Socialism, and post-World War II Germany. Significant focus on women's issues. In English. If taken at the 100-level: Extra assignments and class meetings in German.

GER 73 Berlin: An Excursion into Modernity. Investigation into the co-emergence of metropolitan Berlin and modernist art and thinking from the early twentieth century to the present. Themes include utopian/dystopian urbanity, the relation between art and propaganda, the politics of memory, the aesthetics of terrorism as well as the creative force of cultural hybridity. Emphasis is on literature, film, and visual culture, supplemented by readings in philosophy, (cultural) history, and urban studies. In English. If taken at the 100-level: Extra assignments and class meetings in German.

GER 76 Vienna: A Biography A "biography" of Vienna through the texts the city has produced/inspired; the changing (multi)cultural role Vienna has played and continues to play in the heart of Europe. The emphasis is on literary texts, but in conjunction with art, architecture, and music, as well as their modes of consumption. In English. If taken at the 100-level: Extra assignments and class meetings in German. Cross-listed as HIST 161.

GER 77 German Colonial Fantasies: "A Place in the Sun." Examines the history and legacy of German colonialism through the lens of literature, film, visual culture, and museum exhibits. Investigates how cultural artifacts create “colonial fantasies” that affirm or subvert colonialist ideology. Pairing primary sources with readings in postcolonial and critical race theory, the course sheds light on key concepts such as imperialism, colonialism, exoticism, eurocentrism, hybridity, decolonization, neocolonialism, racism, and genocide. Attention is paid both to the cultural underpinnings of German colonialism in the past and the implications of the colonial past for German society today. In English. May by taken at that 100 level with additional readings and meetings in German.     

GER 79 Fascism: Then and Now. Comparative study of the various strains and manifestations of fascism, its history and foundations in social, political, and religious developments and ideologies; philosophical and historical concepts through literature, art, myth, and film. The structure of fascism and fascist iconography. Begins with fascist tendencies in twentieth-century Europe and Japan and culminates in the present age. In English. Cross-listed as ILVS 79.

GER 80 Walter Benjamin and the Crisis of Experience. Advanced survey of key works by the German literary theorist and cultural critic, focusing on his theories of experience. Includes the afterlife of the past; violence, destruction, fate, and law; language, literature, and translation; reception of Kant, Marx, and Husserl; childhood and memory; and the uses of theology. Ancillary readings from Goethe, Proust, Baudelaire, Freud, Brecht, Kafka. In English. If taken at the 100-level: Extra assignments and class meetings in German. Cross-listed as JS 80 and ILVS 80.

GER 81 Dada & the Avant-Garde. Dada literary and art movement as subversion of society and culture. Use of irony, sarcasm, paradox, bombast, montage, etc. to undermine ideologies, e.g., capitalism, nationalism, religion, and militarism. Focus on individual signs, poetry, manifestos, photomontages and assemblages, and commodity forms and aesthetics, as objects of sabotaged meaning making. Avant-garde contexts from Dada’s predecessors, Cubism and Futurism, and successors, Surrealism, Situationalism, and Fluxus. Its continuing influence on popular culture. In English. If taken at the 100-level: Extra assignments and class meetings in German. Cross-listed as ILVS 77 and FR 71.

GER 84 East-West Perspectives on Fascism: Japan and Germany. Comparative study of fascism, its history and foundations in social and political developments and ideologies; philosophical and historical concepts through literature, art, myth. The structure of fascism and fascist iconography. Fascist tendencies in modern Japan and Germany. In English. Cross-listed as JPN 84 and CIV 22.

GER 85 German Film A survey of German cinema, from its striking and influential achievements in the Weimar Republic, through its role under Hitler and its decline in the postwar period, to the remarkable phenomenon of New German Cinema in the sixties and seventies and the developments of the contemporary period. In English. If taken at the 100-level: Extra assignments and class meetings in German. Cross-listed as FMS 79.

GER 91 Special Topics. Courses on selected themes and authors given in English or German. Recent offerings included Literary Orphans, Kafka and Film, Marx’s Critical Legacy, Literature and Photography, Uncanny Stories: From the Castle of Murder to Metropolis. 

GER 92 Special Topics. Courses on selected themes and authors given in English or German. Recent offerings included Literary Orphans, Kafka and Film, Marx’s Critical Legacy, Literature and Photography, Uncanny Stories: From the Castle of Murder to Metropolis. 

GER 93 Directed Study. Guided independent study of an approved topic. Prerequisites: Permission of instructor.

GER 94 Directed Study. Guided independent study of an approved topic. Prerequisites: Permission of instructor.

GER 95 Teaching Internship. Internship. Please see departmental website for specific details.
Prerequisites: Permission of instructor.

GER 96 Teaching Internship. Internship. Please see departmental website for specific details.
Prerequisites: Permission of instructor

GER 114 Linguistic Approaches to Second Language Acquisition. (Cross-listed as Education 114, Linguistics 114, and Modern Languages 114). Exploration of models of language acquisition, reasoning, and understanding in teaching second languages through readings from linguistics, applied linguistics, cognitive science, and education. Students connect theory with practical experience from the context of elementary, middle, and high school levels. In English. No prerequisites.

GER 121 Advanced German. Intensive practice in speaking, writing, and translating. Study of syntax and style. Emphasis on contemporary materials (including Die Zeit, Der Spiegel, and others) dealing with social, political, economic, and broadly cultural topics that are important to the German-speaking countries today. Oral and written reports. Prerequisites: German 22, 34, or 44, and preferably one more higher level German course, study abroad, or equivalent.

GER 124 Practices for Teaching Language. Curriculum, materials, and principles of teaching German for middle or secondary school. Restricted to students enrolled in the MA for German with Teaching Licensure.

GER 160 The Art of Reading: Literary Theory and Interpretation. How do we interact with a text? How does a work of art work? How do my critical skills and my personal/cultural background affect my perception of the work of art? A rigorous introduction to fundamental concepts and methods for personal and self-conscious engagement with literary works. Focus on approaches such as Hermeneutics, Russian Formalism, Structuralism, Semiotics, New Criticism, Phenomenology, Reception Theory, Reader – Response Theory, Aesthetics of Reception, Post-Structuralism, Feminism, Marxism, Deconstruction, Psychoanalysis, and Minority Discourse.

GER 170 Grimms' Fairy Tales. The Grimm brothers as nineteenth-century collectors and authors. Folk tale and literary fairy tale; relation to the development of German nationalism and capitalism; role in attitude formation toward gender and social class; assimilation and adaptation in twentieth-century social, political, and economic life under the Weimar Republic, National Socialism, and post-World War II Germany. Significant focus on women's issues. Lower level in English. If taken at the 100-level: Extra assignments and class meetings in German.

GER 173 Berlin: An Excursion into Modernity. Investigation into the co-emergence of metropolitan Berlin and modernist art and thinking from the early twentieth century to the present. Themes include utopian/dystopian urbanity, the relation between art and propaganda, the politics of memory, the aesthetics of terrorism as well as the creative force of cultural hybridity. Emphasis is on literature, film, and visual culture, supplemented by readings in philosophy, (cultural) history, and urban studies. In English. If taken at the 100-level: Extra assignments and class meetings in German.

GER 175 Early Twentieth-Century German Literature. A critical and historical survey of major German writers and literary trends of the first part of the twentieth century, from naturalism and decadence through expressionism and New Objectivity. Readings include Rilke, Hofmannsthal, Schnitzler, Wedekind, Sternheim, Kaiser, Brecht, Kafka, and Thomas Mann. In German. Prerequisites: German 61/62 or equivalent, or permission of instructor.

GER 176 Vienna: A Biography A "biography" of Vienna through the texts the city has produced/inspired; the changing (multi)cultural role Vienna has played and continues to play in the heart of Europe. The emphasis is on literary texts, but in conjunction with art, architecture, and music, as well as their modes of consumption. In English. If taken at the 100-level: Extra assignments and class meetings in German. Prerequisites: German 61/62 or equivalent, or permission of instructor. Cross-listed as HIST 161 and ILVS 172.

GER 178 German Lit Since 1945. A critical survey of literary developments from the end of World War II to the present; special emphasis on the broader political and social contexts in Austria, Germany (including division and unification), and Switzerland. Authors include Aichinger, Bachmann, Bernhard, Böll, Borchert, Dürrenmatt, Frisch, Grass, Handke, Jelinek, Müller, Özdamar, Seghers, Weiss, and Wolf. In German. Prerequisites: German 61/62 or equivalent, or permission of instructor.

GER 180 Walter Benjamin and the Crisis of Experience. Advanced survey of key works by the German literary theorist and cultural critic, focusing on his theories of experience. Includes the afterlife of the past; violence, destruction, fate, and law; language, literature, and translation; reception of Kant, Marx, and Husserl; childhood and memory; and the uses of theology. Ancillary readings from Goethe, Proust, Baudelaire, Freud, Brecht, Kafka. In English. If taken at the 100-level: Extra assignments and class meetings in German.

GER 182 Imagining the Environment in German Literature. How German culture engages with environmental challenges, focusing on themes such as sustainability, pollution and waste, radioactivity, climate change, and the relationship between humans and animals. Readings may include Alexander von Humboldt, Annette von Droste-Hülshoff, Rainer Maria Rilke, Theodor Storm, Franz Kafka, Rolf Dieter Brinkmann, Marlen Haushofer, Christa Wolf, W. G. Sebald, Ilja Trojanow, and Esther Kinsky. In German. Recommendations: GER 61 or consent. Cross-listed as ENV 82.

GER 185 German Film. A survey of German cinema, from its striking and influential achievements in the Weimar Republic, through its role under Hitler and its decline in the postwar period, to the remarkable phenomenon of New German Cinema in the sixties and seventies and the developments of the contemporary period. In English. If taken at the 100-level: Extra assignments and class meetings in German.

GER 191 Special Topics. Courses and seminars for advanced and graduate students. Prerequisites: Permission of instructor.

GER 192 Special Topics. Courses and seminars for advanced and graduate students. Prerequisites: Permission of instructor.

GER 193 Advanced Directed Study. For advanced and graduate students. Prerequisites: Permission of instructor.

GER 194 Advanced Directed Study. For advanced and graduate students. Prerequisites: Permission of instructor.

GER 195 Teaching Internship. Internship. Prerequisites: Permission of instructor.

GER 196 Teaching Internship. Internship.

GER 198 Senior Honors Thesis A. See Thesis Honors Program for details. 

GER 199 Senior Honors Thesis B. See Thesis Honors Program for details. 

GER 291 Graduate Colloquium. An advanced and comprehensive review of the discipline of German literature, including historical, critical, and interdisciplinary aspects. 

GER 292 Graduate Colloquium. An advanced and comprehensive review of the discipline of German literature, including historical, critical, and interdisciplinary aspects. 

GER 401 Masters Degree Continuation. Part-time. 

GER 402 Masters Degree Continuation. Full-time.