German Studies Department

Associate Professors: Günter Klabesa, Silke von der Emde (Chair); Assistant Professor: Jeffrey Schneider; Visiting Instructor: Elliott Schreiber.

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 (1)

Recesses of the Romantic Consciousness

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, instructor to be announced.

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 (1)

and Media

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 2005/06: 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.

Not offered in 2005/06.

[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.

Not offered in 2005/06.

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 2005/06: Aesthetic Dissent: German Writers and Artists in Authoritarian Cultures. This course traces the constructions and objections to paradigms of national self-presentation. Starting with Germany’s emerging modern nation state of 1871, we study a variety of materials from writers, artists, and filmmakers to examine how they reflect the political transformations from the turn of the last century to the totalitarian cultures of fascist Germany and communist East Germany all the way to the end of the Cold War and reunited Germany. Representative writers may include: Thomas Mann, Brecht, Doeblin, Christa Wolf, Thomas Bernhard as well as artists like Schiele, Kokoschka, Kirchner, Grosz, and filmmakers of New German Cinema. Mr. Klabes.

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 films from the silent period to the present.

Topic for 2005/06: Screening Terrorism: Lessons from the German Past. The events of September 11, 2001 have given the word “terrorism” an entirely new meaning. But as more is learned about the barbaric acts of that day, and as stories about terrorist strikes around the world dominate the news, it is more important than ever to understand how other countries have dealt with terrorism. This course explores the unique brand of German anti-establishment terrorism associated with the Rote Armee Fraktion or RAF (Red Army Faction) and names like Andreas Baader and Ulrike Meinhof, the leaders of the notorious Baader-Meinhof gang. In this course we focus on the remarkable body of German films dealing with this topic, including works by some of the most important German filmmakers, such as Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Margarethe von Trotta, and Volker Schlöndorff, as well as recent releases, such as Black Box by Andreas Veiel. Ms. von der Emde.

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 2005/06: Learning Curves: The German Experience of Bildung. From kindergarten to the modern university, our lives are shaped by German educational ideals. Do the institutions modeled on these ideals open our minds, or do they discipline us into performing useful societal roles? Is true education perhaps to be found not within, but outside the walls of academia? This course explores these and related questions through the rich tradition of German literature about education (Bildung) from Romanticism to the present, and uses this literature as a way to reflect on students’ own learning experiences. We read and discuss children’s books, autobiographical and fictional narratives of both ordinary and extraordinary educational experiences, and view films such as The Nasty Girl about rebelling against the modern German educational system. Authors may include Johann Wolfgang Goethe, Hermann Hesse, Alice Miller, Robert Musil, and Patrick Süskind. Mr. Schreiber.

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 Cultural Studies. Topics may include memory and the Holocaust, Nazi culture, issues of transparency in political culture, or lesbian and gay culture.

(Same as Jewish Studies 275) Topic for 2005/06: Germans and Jews: Between Division and Dialogue. The uneasy interplay between Germans and Jews has been both devastating and immensely productive for modern culture. This course explores this interrelation from the Enlightenment to the present day, focusing on cultural luminaries such as G.E. Lessing, Richard Wagner, Franz Kafka, Sigmund Freud, and Hannah Arendt. While such a study is inevitably shadowed by the Holocaust, we read cultural developments in their own historical contexts. Topics include emancipation and its discontents; the expression and subversion of Romantic folk identity; the development and critique of modern anti-Semitism; and the tension between public and private identities. Mr. Schreiber and Mr. Bush.

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 2005/2006: From Page to Stage: Drama in the German Theater. This course offers students the chance to study one or more plays being mounted during this semester at a professional German theater. In collaboration with students and instructors from Colgate University and Lafayette College, students interpret the play and develop a well researched plan for its staging. In addition to viewing a tape of the performance and analyzing other materials (costume designs, set designs, etc.), students also have the chance to interview members of the German production (actors, designers, director, dramaturge, etc.). Mr. Schneider.

Two 75-minute periods.

302a-303b. Senior Thesis (1⁄2)

Open only to majors. The department.

Permission required.

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 2005/06: Beyond the Wall: German Life and Literature after the Wende. Against the background of the political, social and economic changes brought about by unification, this course explores the ways in which the merging of the two German states has been reflected in German literature and film. We examine the social and political changes leading to or resulting from unification, discuss the main literary debates since 1989, and focus on the experiences of “minority” writers in Germany, including women and foreigners. In addition to contemporary films such as Goodbye Lenin, The Legend of Rita, and The Wall, readings include texts by Christa Wolf, Christoph Hein, Monika Maron, and Günter Grass. Ms. von der Emde.

Two 75-minute periods.