German Studies Department

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

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 abroad programs 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 Writing Seminar.

105a-106b. Beginning German: The Stories of Childhood (1)

This course offers a year-long introduction to the study of German language and culture through literature, fairy tales, and films for and about children. Since these materials tend to be linguistically easier, they are ideal for beginning language learning. Moreover, their role in socializing a new generation makes them important sources for understanding a culture’s fundamental values and way of looking at the world. Materials range from classic texts, such as fairy tales by the Brothers Grimm, to contemporary stories, films, and television shows. In addition to offering a systematic introduction to German grammar and vocabulary, classroom activities promote practical and active oral and written communication. No prior experience with German required. Mr. Schneider.

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

109b. Intensive Beginning German (2)

A single-semester study of the German language equivalent to 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. Strong emphasis is placed on developing vocabulary and reviewing grammar as well as developing oral and written expression. 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.” Strong emphasis is placed on developing vocabulary and reviewing grammar as well as developing oral and written expression. The course uses an online educational environment and may involve an exchange with learners at another college. Ms. Lioba Ungurianu.

Prerequisite: German 210 or the equivalent.

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

Advanced-intermediate language study through an examination of debates about media (film, radio, journalism and rock music) in twentieth-century German culture. Strong emphasis is placed on developing vocabulary and reviewing grammar as well as developing oral and written expression. The course may involve an exchange with native speakers of German. Ms. von der Emde.

Prerequisite: German 211 or the equivalent.

[235. 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.

Not offered 2007/08.

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

Two 75-minute periods.

[239. 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 2007/08.

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 2007/2008: What's So New about the New Generation? German Culture after 1989. The generation growing up in Germany since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 faces an entirely different world than their parents' generation. While conflicts between East and West Germany still linger, this cohort has also come of age in a time of globalization, multiculturalism, and an expanded European Union. This course examines the efforts of this latest generation to negotiate a new "German" identity out of a complicated past and within an ever more complex present. Drawing on works of literature, film, music, and material culture produced since 1989, we will study their attempts to come to terms with a variety of challenges and opportunities, including an abundance of consumer goods, nostalgia for the East ("Ostalgie"), and the existence of robust minority cultures (Turkish-German,queer, etc.). Readings will include Jana Hensel's Zonenkinder, Jakob Hein's Mein erstes T-Shirt, and examples of "pop" literature and contemporary music. Ms. Piesche.

Two 75-minute periods.

Prerequisite: German 230, 239 or the equivalent.

265b. 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 2007/08: 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 the 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 Schlondorff, 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.

269b. 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.

Prerequisite: German Studies 230, 239 or the equivalent. Ms. Von de Emde

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 2007/08: 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 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.

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

This course offers an extended analysis of one 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.

Topic for 2007/08: To be announced.

Readings and discussions in English. Open to all classes.

Two 75 minute periods.

286b. At Home on the Road; Tracing the African Diaspora in Germany (1)

(Same as Africana Studies and Women’s Studies 286) Though people of African descent have lived in Germany for more than a century, their existence has largely been overlooked by scholars and the German public alike. Yet their history has much to tell us about the construction of race and racial politics in German identity as well as the vagaries of the African Diaspora in Europe. From Hans-Jürgen Massaquoi's time in the Hitler Youth to black feminist and lesbian organizing in contemporary Berlin, this course examines the efforts by Germans of African descent to document their experiences and articulate a black subjectivity. Special attention will also be paid to the representations of blackness and the Black Diaspora that have circulated in German films, comics, music videos and photography over the past two centuries. Readings will be drawn from such authors as May Ayim, Raja Lubinetzki, Ika Hügel-Marshal, Aisha Blackshire-Belay, Maisha Eggers, Fatima El-Tayeb, Tina Campt, Leroy T. Hopkins, Etienne Balibar and Paul Gilroy. Ms. Piesche.

Readings and discussions are in English.

Open to all classes.

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 2007/08: In the Present Tense: Language, Power, and the Body in Contemporary Germany and Austria. Perhaps more than elsewhere, the cultural imaginary of present-day Germany and Austria remains intricately linked to the recent past of Nazism, communist rule, and terrorism. This course sets out to explore how contemporary writers and artists have sought to articulate the complex ways in which one’s physical body intersects with these broader political and social upheavals—not only in terms of our memory of past conditions, but also in our ability to understand and shape the present. How does the body figure for such writers as both a threat and a source of hope, both a sense of possibility and a limitation? What reconfigurations of language and aesthetic form are required to capture power—and reconfigure our relationship to it? Readings and visual artifacts may be drawn from works by Valie Export, Günter Grass, Michael Haneke, Elfriede Jelinek, Ruth Klüger, Monika Maron, Helga Schütz, and Christa Wolf. To explore some of these issues, the course may incorporate workshops on physicality and language. Students also have the chance to conduct videoconferences with some of the writers or directors. Ms. Silke von der Emde.

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 2007/08: The Weimar Years: Berlin's Experimental Twenties. Alternative Worlds in Literature, Cinema, Music, and the Arts. Mr. Klabes

One 2-hour periods.