German Studies Department

All courses are conducted in German except for German 101, 235, 265, and 275.

Requirements for Concentration: 12 units: 8 units of German above the introductory level. Students can choose from German 210, 211, 230, 239, 260, 269, 270, 301, and 355. Students can take a maximum of 4 units approved by the German department in related fields. Upon the approval of the department, a maximum of 2 units from the Münster and 4 additional units from other programs abroad can be substituted for the 200-level courses.

Senior Year Requirement: German 301 and 355. Majors must take all 8 units in the German Studies Department in German. After declaring a concentration in German Studies, no courses taken under the Non-Recorded Option serve to fulfill the requirements. Students who wish to be considered for departmental honors must complete a thesis (German 300).

Recommendations: Vassar summer program in Münster, Germany, Junior Year Abroad, study at accredited summer schools.

Vassar Summer Program in Germany: Vassar College conducts a summer program in Münster, Germany. Students who successfully complete the program receive 2 units of Vassar credit. Minimum requirements are the completion of German 105-106, 109 (or the equivalent), and the recommendation of the instructor.

Correlate Sequence in German: Students majoring in other programs may complement their study by electing a correlate sequence in German. Course selection should be made in consultation with the department.

Correlate Requirements: 6 graded units, 4 of which must be taken above the 100 level. Students can choose from German 210, 211, 230, 239, 260, 269, 270, 301, and 355. All students must also complete either German 301 or 355. Upon the approval of the department, a maximum of 2 units from the Münster or other programs abroad can be substituted for the 200-level courses. No courses in English may count towards the correlate sequence.

Advisers: The department.

I. Introductory

101a. Vampires, Lunatics, and Cyborgs: Exploring the Uncanny Recesses of the Romantic Consciousness (1)

From the fairytales of the Brothers Grimm to E.T.A. Hoffmann’s “Nutcracker and the King of Mice,” German Romanticism has populated the modern imagination with a multitude of uncanny creations. This course examines the evolution of figures such as vampires, witches, golems, mad scientists, and cyborgs through German culture from their origins in the nineteenth century to their afterlife in the present, including film. In addition, we pursue their reception and development outside of Germany, for instance in Disney’s versions of Grimms’ tales and Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite. Mr. Schreiber.

Readings and discussions in English.

Satisfies College requirement for a Freshman Course.

105a-106b. Elementary German (1)

A year-long study of German language for beginning students. In addition to introducing basic grammatical structures, the course focuses on developing the reading, listening, speaking, and writing skills necessary for advanced study. Classroom activities are designed to promote practical and active oral and written communication. Mr. Schneider, Ms. von der Emde.

Four 50-minute periods and four 30-minute drill sessions.

109b. Intensive Elementary German (2)

A single-semester equivalent of German 105-106. Intensive training in the fundamental language skills. Designed for beginning students who wish to accelerate their learning of German. Mr. Klabes.

Open to all classes; five 75-minute periods, four 30-minute drill sessions, and computer-assisted instruction.

II. Intermediate

210a. Intermediate German I: Identity in Contemporary Germany (1)

Low intermediate language study through short texts and research topics on questions of national identity in contemporary Germany. The course uses an online educational environment and may involve an exchange with learners at another college. Mr. Schreiber.

Prerequisite: German 106, 109 or the equivalent.

211b. Intermediate German II: Space in Weimar Germany (1)

Intermediate language study through texts and research topics on questions of space in Weimar Germany at the time of the “roaring Twenties.” The course uses an online educational environment and may involve an exchange with learners at another college. Ms. von der Emde

Prerequisite: German 210 or the equivalent.

230a. Intermediate German III: Contemporary German Culture and Media (1)

Advanced intermediate language study through an examination of contemporary German culture and the role played by different media such as newspapers, television, radio, film, and the Internet. Strong emphasis is placed on developing vocabulary, reviewing grammar, as well as oral and written expression. The course may involve an exchange with native speakers of German. Mr. Schneider.

Prerequisite: German 211 or the equivalent.

235b. Introduction to German Cultural Studies. (1)

Introduction to the methodological questions and debates in the field of German Cultural Studies. Topics may include German identity, reunification, U.S.-German cultural exchanges, and the status of the German language in a global world. Strong emphasis on formal analysis and writing.

Topic for 2004/05: German Modernism. This course is a study of major trends of aesthetic modernity in German culture from Romanticism to the Weimar Republic. In particular, we focus on challenges to the stability of the self, class and gender conflict, utopian visions and mass culture, as seen in a number of different genres ranging from literature to art, music, and film. Course may include works by Fontane, Nietzsche, Thomas Mann, Kafka, and Brecht as well as by artists such as Klimt and Kokoschka. Class instruction is complemented by field trips to New York City museums and stage performances. Mr. Klabes.

Readings and discussions in English. Open to all classes. German majors see German 239.

Two 75-minute periods.

239b. Introduction to German Cultural Studies for Majors (1)

Students in this course attend the same seminar meetings as in German Studies 235 but do the readings in the original, attend a separate discussion class, and take separate exams. Mr. Klabes.

Prerequisite: German Studies 230 or the equivalent or permission from the instructor.

260b. Developments in German Literature (1)

This course offers an overview of selected historical developments in German literature from the last three centuries.

Topic for 2004/05: From Dandy to Starving Artist: Portraits of the Artist in German Literature and Culture. From the eighteenth century onward, German-speaking writers have struggled to define the relation of the artist to society. This course examines foundational and contested texts and figures in this process of self-definition, including the artistic “genius,” the radical-subversive artist, the insane artist, the dandy, and the starving and unrecognized artist. We consider a number of different genres (including fiction, poetry, drama, autobiography), media (literature, visual art, film), and authors (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Georg Büchner, Franz Kafka, Thomas Mann, Marieluise Fleißer, Christa Wolf, etc.). Mr. Schreiber.

Two 75-minute periods.

Prerequisite: German 230, 239 or the equivalent.

265a. German Film in English Translation (1)

This course offers an overview of selected historical and formal developments in German film from the silent period to the present.

(Same as Jewish Studies 265) Topic for 2004/05: Images of “the Jew” in German, European, and American Films from the Early Twenties to the Present. The image of “the Jew” has been crucial to German culture, and the advent of the German film industry provided a powerful means to explore and disseminate that image in versions that range from virulent anti-Semitism to sympathetic reflection. This course sets German film treatments of Jews in a comparative context, including Jewish constructions of Jews in Yiddish films, as well as the differing views of other European and American filmmakers. Among the topics considered are the ethnographic role of film; the intertwined themes of Jewish/German relations, anti-fascism, and the Holocaust; and the changing responses in Germany and in the U.S. to the Holocaust in post-war popular culture. Ms. von der Emde and Mr. Bush.

Readings and discussions in English. Open to all classes. German majors see German 269.

Two 75-minute periods.

269a. German Film for Majors (1)

Students in this course attend the same seminar meetings as in German Studies 265 but do readings in German, attend a separate discussions class, and take separate exams. Ms. von der Emde.

Prerequisite: German Studies 230, 239 or the equivalent.

270a. Aesthetic Forms, Texts, and Genres (1)

In-depth study of one or more literary and non-literary genres in their historical and cultural contexts. Examples may be drawn from drama, poetry, autobiographies, manifestos, or essays.

Topic for 2004/05: German Fairytale and Folklore in Literature, Art, and Music. Great literature, art, and music of all ages have borrowed fairy-tale motifs. This course approaches fairy-tales as works of art and explores their rich symbolism, social functions, and structural dynamics across the disciplines and in the context and taste of different eras. Readings include fairytales and legends by the Grimms and others as well as their impact on composers like Wagner and Humperdinck, and artists of the Romantic and Expressionist schools. Mr. Klabes.

Prerequisite: German Studies 230, 239 or the equivalent.

Two 75-minute periods.

275b. Advanced Topics in German Cultural Studies (1)

This course offers an extended analysis of one issue of the major issues in German Cutural Studies. Topics may include memory and the Holocaust, Nazi culture, issues of transparency in political culture, or lesbian and gay culture.

Topic for 2004/05: Remembering the Dismembered Past: Memory, Trauma, and Identity in Modern German Literature and Culture. What role does memory play in the construction of personal and collective identities? What techniques (such as the tattoos on the protagonist’s body in the film Memento) do individuals use to preserve memory? What if mnemonic devices in fact alter or even fabricate memory? This course addresses these and related questions by exploring the discourse of memory as it has developed in German culture over the last two centuries. In particular, we engage with accounts of how traumatic experiences (the prime instance being the Holocaust) are recollected individually and collectively. Readings include texts by theorists (e.g., Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, Freud, Jung) and works of poetry, fiction, and autobiography (e.g., Karl Philipp Moritz, Novalis, Paul Celan, Ruth Kluger). We also consider films that foreground the themes of memory and trauma, such as Sophie’s Choice and Heimat. Mr. Schreiber

Readings and discussions in English. Open to all classes.

Two 75-minute periods.

298a or b. Independent Work ( 1/2 or 1)

Permission required.

III. Advanced

For advanced work in German, students must complete the following: German 230, 239, 260, 269, and 270 or their equivalent.

300a or b. Senior Thesis (1)

Open only to majors. The department. Permission required.

301a. Senior Seminar (1)

An examination of selected topics in German literature and culture. May be taken more than once for credit when topic changes.

Topic for 2004/05: Weimar Classicism: Faustian Dreams and Aesthetic Campaigns. This course studies writers and thinkers representing the culmination of Weimar Classicism and the voices that defended or defined themselves against it. Particular attention is paid to the vigorous discourse on the aesthetic education of “man” in the context of the era’s socio-political agenda. Readings include works by Lessing, Goethe, and Schiller, along with responses by Büchner, Heine, and others later authors, as well as a few influential essays by German art historians and philosophers. Mr. Klabes.

Two 75-minute periods.

355b. Advanced Seminar (1)

An examination of selected topics in German literature and culture. May be taken more than once for credit when topic changes.

Topic for 2004/05: Soldiers and Dandies, Femme Fatales and Mannweiber: Gender and Sexuality in Germany and Austria around 1900. At the end of the nineteenth century, new sexual identities emerged in Germany and Austria and began challenging traditional categories of husband and wife or libertine and prostitute. Scientists, doctors and artists as well as feminist organizations and the world’s first modern gay emancipation movement articulated new and competing theories to document, understand and eventually control gender roles and human sexual behavior. This course studies this new discourse on gender and sexuality in its relation to practices, policies, and social groups. Readings are drawn from fiction, autobiographical materials, political scandals, and the new sciences of sexology, psychoanalysis and eugenics. Mr. Schneider.

Two 75-minute periods.