German Studies Department

All courses are conducted in German except for German 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. Sex Before, During, and After the Nazis (1)

This course offers an introduction to Germany’s unique position in the history of sexuality. As early as the late nineteenth century, Germany and Austria were a hotbed for new thinking sexuality and sexual freedom, including the founding of psychoanalysis and the world’s first homosexual emancipation movement. National Socialism, however, forever changed the way that Germans and non-Germans viewed every aspect of Germany’s history and culture, including its sexual politics. This course examines some of Germany’s most salient debates about sex from the late nineteenth century to the Nazi era and beyond, including the sexual revolution of the 1960s and 1970s. Materials include autobiographies, fictional works, plays, films, political tracts, and sexual case studies, as well as secondary texts representing a variety of disciplinary approaches. Mr. Schneider. 

Readings and discussions in English.

Satisfies college requirement for a Freshman Writing Seminar.

Two 75-minute periods.

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. Mr. Schreiber and Mr. Schneider.

Yearlong course 105-106.

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

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. Mr. Schreiber and Mr. Schneider.

Yearlong course 105-106.

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

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. Ms. von der Emde.

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. Mr. Schneider.

Prerequisite: German 210 or the equivalent.

230a. 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. Ms. von der Emde.

Prerequisite: German 211 or the equivalent.

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 2013/14a: Karl Marx, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Sigmund Freud. Marx, Nietsche, and 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 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 and thinkers 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 of the instructor.

240. 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: German 211 or the equivalent.

Two 75-minute periods.

Not offered in 2013/14.

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 2013/14b: The German Gothic. This course is an introduction to the history of the German literature, art, and cinema of the occult and the uncanny. Among the high points we consider are the revival of Gothic themes in Romantic literature, such as the novellas of E.T.A. Hoffmann; their flourishing in Realist tales such as Annette von Droste-Hülshoff’s The Jew’s Beech Tree; their pervasiveness in German Expressionist films such as The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari; and the fascination that these themes continue to exercise in contemporary novels such as Patrick Süskind’s Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (the basis for the film by Tom Tykwer). We study the historical contexts in which the modern German fascination with the Gothic arose and developed, and also consider seminal theories such as Sigmund Freud’s famous essay on the uncanny. In addition to several short critical essays, students write their own Gothic narratives. Readings, discussion, and composition in German. Mr. Schreiber.

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

Two 75-minute periods.

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 2013/14b: German Cinema Behind the Wall. This course explores the history of East Geman cinema through the films of the state-owned studios of DEFA (Deutsche Film-Aktiengesellschaft), 1946-1992. DEFA produced over 850 feature films and countless documentaries between 1946-1990, yet East German film culture had remained terra incognita for the Western public during the existence of the GDR. We analyze this significant segment of German film history in relation to the development of New (West) German Cinema and think about the exact "placing" of GDR cinema within German film history and international debates around national cinema. 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.

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

Not offered in 2013/14.

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 2013/14a: The Politics of German Memory. The collective memories of the Nazi past in the two postwar German states have helped define a new paradigm of memory politics. German Holocaust memory has been taken as a test case in different parts of the world from Europe to South Africa and from Latin America to Iraq. We will study how the two Germanies have responded to the memories of the Nazi past and what role Holocaust memory plays in the construction of a new national identity in the unified Germany. In addition to Holocaust memory, the legacies of the GDR also had to be negotiated and rethought after the Wende in 1989. This course traces the discourse on memory in the Federal Republic of Germany and the development of a new transnational memory in the new millennium. We will work with texts of many different genres and a variety of media, from theoretical texts, to films, websites and fictional texts. Authors and films include Christa Wolf, Heiner Müller, Günter Grass, Herta Müller, Jacob the Liar,Goodbye Lenin, and The Lives of Others. Ms.von der Emde.

Prerequisite: German 260 or 270 or the equivalent.

Two 75-minute periods.

302a. Senior Thesis (1/2)

Open only to majors. The department.

Yearlong course 302-303.

Permission required.

303b. Senior Thesis (1/2)

Open only to majors. The department.

Yearlong 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 2013/14b: Literary Science: Exploring the Fusion of German Literature and the Natural Sciences. This seminar investigates the border crossings between German literature and the natural sciences from the Enlightenment to the present. We consider how and why scientists such as Georg Christoph Lichtenberg and Sigmund Freud cultivate a literary style in their evocations of nature or human psychology. We also study how and why authors such as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe appropriate in their literary work principles derived from the natural sciences, and how and why authors such as Bertolt Brecht, Helga Königsdorf, or Daniel Kehlmann (author of the best-selling novel Measuring the World) depict the lives of scientists such as Galileo, Lise Meitner, or Alexander von Humboldt. In addition, we discuss the extent to which scientific theories (e.g., Einstein’s theory of general relativity) can be applied to literature. Our overarching questions are: What have the modern arts and sciences learned from one another, and what can we as readers learn by studying German literature and science in relation to one another? Other authors and scientists we may consider include Friedrich Hölderlin, Carl Friedrich Gauss, Heinrich von Kleist, Adalbert von Chamisso, Georg Büchner, Charles Darwin, Kurd Lasswitz, Werner Heisenberg, Christa Wolf, Michael Frayn, and Hans Magnus Enzensberger. Mr. Schreiber.

Prerequisite: German 260 or 270 or the equivalent.

Two 75-minute periods.

375. Advanced Topics in German Cultural Studies(1)

Not offered in 2013/14.

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