German Studies Department

Chair: Silke von der Emde; Associate Professors: Jeffrey Schneiderb, Silke von der Emde; Assistant Professor: Elliott SchreiberaAdjunct Instructor: Lioba Anne Ungurianu.

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

Requirements for Concentration: 10 units: 8 units of German above the introductory level. Students can choose from German 210, 211, 230, 239, 240, 260, 269, 270, 301, and 355. Majors must take all 8 units in German. After declaring a concentration in German Studies, no courses taken under the Non-Recorded Option serve to fulfill the requirements. Students can take a maximum of 2 units approved by the German department in related fields. Upon the approval of the department, a maximum of 2 units from an approved summer program and 4 additional units from other programs abroad can be substituted for the 200-level courses.

Senior Year Requirement: German 301 and 355. Students who wish to be considered for departmental honors must complete a thesis (German 300).

Recommendations: Junior Year Abroad, study at accredited summer schools or a summer program in Germany, Austria or Switzerland.

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, 240, 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 approved 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.

Not Offered in 2010/11.

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

This course offers a yearlong 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. Ms. von der Emde and Ms. Piesche.

Year-long course, 105-106.

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

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

This course offers a yearlong 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. Ms. von der Emde, Ms. Ungurianu.

Year-long course, 105-106.

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. Schreiber.

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.

Prerequisite: German 106, 109 or the equivalent.

Not offered in 2010/11

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. von der Emde.

Prerequisite: German 210 or the equivalent.

230. 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.

Prerequisite: German 211 or the equivalent.

Not offered in 2010/11

235a. Introduction to German Cultural Studies (1)

Introduction to the methodological questions and debates in the field of German Cultural Studies. Strong emphasis on formal analysis and writing. Readings and discussions in English.

Topic for 2010-2011: Marx, Nietzsche, Freud. Karl Marx, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Sigmund Freud are three of the most influential thinkers of the modern era. We associate their names with different, even antagonistic agendas ranging from political systems (socialism/communism vs. elitism), entire disciplines (psychoanalysis, philosophy, economics), and even the death of God. Yet all three were pivotal in developing a “hermeneutics of suspicion,” in which “reality” turned out to be hiding darker and more powerful forces: economic motives, unconscious desires, or the will to power. This course examines their writings in the context of nineteenth-century Germany and Austria and assesses their contributions to our understanding of language, truth, and modern subjectivity. In addition to analyzing some of the important similarities and differences among their ideas, we will also read works by other authors in order to trace the influences of their theory on German culture. Finally, we also investigate the ways in which twentieth-century writers, thinkers, and filmmakers continued to develop—as well as question—their theories. Mr. Schneider.

Open to all classes. German majors see German 239.

Two 75-minute periods.

239a. 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. Schneider.

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

240a. A Culture of Play: An Introduction to German Theater (1)

Since the eighteenth century, drama and theater have held a vaunted place within Germany's language literary and cultural production. This course offers an introduction to that tradition through the study of specific authors, texts, and theories. Students have the opportunity to hone their speaking skills through performance activities, such as mounting scenes or an entire production. Strong emphasis is placed on developing vocabulary and reviewing grammar as well as developing written expression. Authors may include Brecht, Büchner, Dürrenmatt, Handke, Jelinek, Lessing, Schiller, Schnitzler, and Wedekind. Mr. Schneider.

Prerequisite: 211 or the equivalent.

Two 75-minute periods.

260b. Developments in German Literature (1)

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

This course offers an overview of selected historical developments in German literature from the last three centuries. Topic for 2011/2012: Excessive Speech: Language, Violence, and the Question of Style. Nietzsche once claimed that it was his ambition to “say in ten sentences what everyone else says in a whole book—what everyone else does not say in a whole book.” In contrast to Nietzsche’s explosive brevity, however, many authors are famous for exploiting German’s grammatical flexibility to produce excessively long and convoluted sentences. This course explores the question of style in the German literary tradition as a response to changing political concerns about the relationship between language and violence—as well as more existential and epistemological concerns about language’s ability to represent reality. Topics may include Nietzsche’s critique of language, the so-called “language crisis” (Sprachkrise) of the Romantic period, and the implications for writing literature in the language in which the Holocaust was carried out. Authors may include Bachmann, Bernhard, Anne Duden, E.T.A. Hoffmann, Jelinek, Kleist, Klemperer, and Dada and Expressionist poets. In addition to reading and interpreting texts, students will also have the opportunity to explore the creative dimensions of writing in German. Mr. Schneider.

Prerequisite: German Studies 230, 239 or the equivalent.

Two 75-minute periods.

Not offered in 2010/11

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 2010/11: Divided Heaven: Berlin in German Film. The city of Berlin has had a history unlike any other. Early in the century it was a world center of modernism, later the capital of Hitler's Third Reich. Then, after the city was virtually destroyed by war, the iron curtain was drawn through it. Berlin became a microcosm of the Cold War, as the capital of the communist German Democratic Republic in the East, and an island city of West Germany, "cut off" from the Federal Republic. The fall of the Wall in 1989 and subsequent unification of Germany the following year began a new and challenging age for Berlin, now the capital of a "new Germany," which is not only marked by the architectural effects of unification turmoil but also by different attempts to reach some kind of urban, national and cosmopolitan identity. Films may include Weimar works, such as Walter Ruttmann’s Berlin, Symphony of a Great City and Fritz Lang’s Metropolis; Nazi films, such as Borsody’s Request Concert, West German films, such as Helke Sander’s Redupers, Wim Wenders’s Wings of Desire, and Tom Tykwer's Run Lola, Run; East German cinema, including Gerhard Lamprecht's Somewhere in Berlin and Jürgen Böttcher's The Wall; and the sizable body of post-wall films, such as Wolfgang Becker's Goodbye, Lenin and Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck's The Lives of Others. 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. Ms. von der Emde.

Prerequisite: German Studies 230, 239 or the equivalent.

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

Topic for 2010/11: Laughter Verboten? German Humor and Comedy in the 20th and 21st Century. Contrary to some rather entrenched stereotypes, the funny side of German culture is no less important or productive than its lofty or brooding sides. In this course we explore various aspects of German humor from the past one hundred years. Drawing on a wide variety of genres, ranging from political satire, cabaret, and stand-up comedy to regional jokes and absurdist poetry as well as examples from theater, film, and television, the course focuses on the historical, ideological, and artistic function of humor in German society. In addition to studying specific works, students also have the opportunity to try their own hand at using German for humorous purposes. Authors may include Brecht, Dörrie, Gernhardt, Jandl, Loriot, Morgenstern, Otto, Ringelnatz, and Tucholsky. Ms. Ungurianu.

Prerequisite: German 230, 239, 240 or the equivalent.

Two 75 minute meetings.

290. Field Work (1/2 or 1)

297. Readings In German (1/2)

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

Permission required.

III. Advanced

300a or b. Senior Thesis (1 or 2)

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 2010/11: Mastering the Unmasterable German Past. The vehement debates around Oliver Hirschbiegel's film The Downfall, Daniel Goldhagen's book Hitler's Willing Executioners, and Nobel Prize-winning author Günter Grass's revelations that he had once joined the Waffen-SS--all these examples demonstrate the extent to which Germany remains haunted by a past that cannot be forgotten. There have been countless attempts to fit the atrocities of the Hitler period into a tolerable master narrative, but Germany, more than in any other country, seems to struggle with the history of its "fatherland." This course will examine German responses to the experiences of the Third Reich and analyze the German "obsession" with its past and how to represent it in art, literature, cinema, and politics. By analyzing different attempts to talk about the suffering of ten million victims of the Holocaust, we examine how different philosophers, historians, and psychologists, from Hannah Arendt to Theodor W. Adorno and Margarete and Alexander Mitscherlich, have tried to respond to the atrocities of the Third Reich. Texts will be drawn from a variety of different media, from literature and documentary material to film and Holocaust memorials. Ms. von der Emde.

302a. Senior Thesis (1/2)

Open only to majors. The department.

Year-long course, 302-303.

Permission required.

303b. Senior Thesis (1/2)

Open only to majors. The department.

Year-long course, 302-303.

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 2010/2011: Germany's Other East: Orientalist Fantasies in German Literature and Culture. Despite the fact that Germany did not have as strong a colonial presence in the Middle East and the Asian continent as a whole as other European powers, German-speaking writers, artists, filmmakers, and thinkers have contributed in seminal ways to shaping the discourse of Orientalism. This seminar explores some of their most important and intriguing contributions to Orientalist discourse from the eighteenth century to the present. Texts and topics may include G. E. Lessing's famous play Nathan the Wise, Goethe'sWest-Eastern Divan, Hermann Hesse's Siddhartha, and Else Lasker-Schüler's alter-ego, the Egyptian Prince Jussuf. The seminar will conclude by considering how contemporary Turkish-German authors and directors such as Emine Sevgi Özdamar and Fatih Akin have playfully subverted and reshaped the many currents of the Orientalist tradition. Mr. Schreiber.

375. Advanced Topics in German Cultural Studies (1)

399. Senior Independent Work (1/2 or 1)