German Studies

Associate Professor: Günter Klabes (Chair); Assistant Professors: Susan Kassouf, Silke von der EmdeabVisiting Assistant Professors: Jeffrey Schneider, Cecilia Novero.

ab Absent on leave for the year.

Requirements for the German Literature Concentration: 10 units above the introductory level including 220, 221, 270, 271, 301, and 2 additional units of 300-level courses in German.

Senior-Year Requirements: 301 and 1 unit at the 300 level.

Requirements for the German Studies Concentration: 12 units: 8 units of German above the introductory level including 220, 221, 270, 271, 272, 301, and 1 unit of a 300-level literature course in German; 4 units approved by the German department in related fields.

Senior-Year Requirements: 301 and 1 unit of a 300-level course.

Majors must take courses toward their concentration for a letter grade once they have declared their major. Students who wish to be considered for departmental honors must complete a thesis (300).

Courses are conducted in German except for 101, 244, 260, and 265.

Recommendations: Vassar summer program in 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, or 109 and the recommendation of the instructor.

Course Offerings in English: For those without sufficient training to take intermediate and advanced level courses in German, the department offers the following courses in English: German 101, Freshman Seminar, Fairy Tales and German Romanticism;German 244, German Literature in Translation; German 260, Marginal to the Core: Homosexuality, Literature, and Culture in Germany; German 265, German Film in English. Consult individual course listings for descriptions and prerequisites.

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. Either 220, 221, 271 or 272 and at least one unit at the 300 level must be included. A maximum of 2 units from the Münster or other program abroad can be substituted for the 200-level courses, upon approval of the department. No courses in translation may count towards the correlate sequence.

Advisers: The department.

I. Introductory

101a. The Wriring on theWall: Tracing the Cultural Meanings of the Berlin Wall (1)

The Berlin Wall came tumbling down 10 years ago, signaling the end of the Cod War and initiating a period of euphoria as East and West Germany reunited. though the Berlin Wall marked the division of Germany and even the split between Eastern and Western Europe, it also held an important place in the American imagination. In order to probe the complex, contradictory and changing meanings of the Berlin Wall within American and German cultures, we analyze political speeches, espionage thrillers, love stories, films, Wall graffiti, interviews, news reports, as well as other kinds of documents. As part of our focus on writing and developing critical thinking goals, we ma also make use of new virtual spaces (MOOs) and other education technologies. This course satisfies the college requirement for the Freshman Course. Mr. Schneider.

105a-106b. Elementary German (1)

A yearlong 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. The department.

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. Schneider.

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

180a. Occidental Tourists: Travel and Nationhood in Contemporary European Culture (1)

This course examines how travel is understood and represented in contemporary Europe. We begin by examining the notion of travel in both the Age of Enlightenment and at the Turn of the Century. We then focus on contemporary European travel texts. Among the questions we consider are: 1) what are the interrelationships between the notions of "travel", "nationality", and "belonging"? 2) in what ways do travel texts reinforce or undermine national stereotypes ? 3)given the dramatic changes taking place in Europe - with regard to national borders and national identity- how are travel, belonging, stereotyping, etc., being reconfigured? We analyze texts of a variety of genres, which may include "classical" travel accounts (e.g. Goethe's Voyage to Italy), fiction (e.g. Henry James and Italo Calvino), popular non-fiction travel literature (Baedecker Guides), and films (Amelio's Lamerica and Wender's Lisbon Story). We refer to theorists such as Bhabha, Deleuze, Bathes, and Spivak, among others. Ms. Novero.

II. Intermediate

210a/211b. Intermediate German (1)

Development of all four language skills: listening, speaking, reading, and writing through discussion of cultural and literary texts, including videos and music. The course includes a thorough grammar review and a variety of composition exercises. Mr. Schneider.

Prerequisite: German 105-106, or the equivalent.

Two 75-minute periods and one 50-minute conversation session.

220a. Introduction to German Literature (1)

Introduction to the study of literary genres through the discussion from the Enlightenment to the period of realism. Representatives studied in their cultural and historical contexts. The department.

Two 75-minute periods.

Required for majors.

Prerequisite: German 210 and 211 or equivalent.

221b. Introduction to German Literature (1)

Introduction to the study of literary analysis through discussion of texts from the twentieth century. Mr. Klabes.

Two 75-minute periods.

Required for majors.

Prerequisite: 210 and 211 or equivalent.

244b. German Literature in Translation (1)

Topic for 1999/00: From Flowers to Bullets: 1968-1978. Bob Dylan's question "Where have all the flowers gone?" seems an appropriate one for the transition years from the 1968 students' revolution to the 1970s rise of terrorism in Europe. This course focuses on the meanings of literature and art in times of major political turmoil. We analyze texts by Enzensberger, Grass, Brinkmann, Walser, Böll, Frisch, Celan, feminist texts and neo-avantgarde experimental literature. As important political and aesthetic contributions to the debate about the meanings of aesthetics and politics, we also consider the "voice" of the young writers and filmmakers of the New German Cinema (Fassbinder, Kluge, Schloendorff, Straub, SandersBrahms, Sander). Ms. Novero.

Prerequisite: Any two literature courses.

Two 75-minute periods.

260a. Marginal to the Core: Homosexuality, Literature and Culture in Germany, 1800 to the Present (1)

Turnofthecentury Germany was the birthplace of the modern homosexual emancipation movement. This seminar explores the place of homosexuality in German literature and culture over the last two centuries. Through diverse genres (such as novels, films, aesthetic theory and sexology) and across historical contexts (such as fascism, the Cold War and the women's movement), we investigate the dynamic of marginality and centrality that informs lesbian, bisexual and gay identity as well as "straight" cultural production. Readings will be drawn from Winckelmann, Platen, Heine, Aimée Duc, Th. Mann, Freud, Hirschfeld and include films such as Girls in Uniform. Mr. Schneider.

Readings and discussions in English.

Two 75-minute periods.

261b. Politics and Poetics of the Avant-Garde (1)

We shall cover a number of major literary and figurative works by Expressionist, Futurus and Dadaist artists and poets who, with their aesthetic and political statements and works, radically changed both the concept and the institution of art and aesthetics. We focus in particular on the Avant-garde in Germany from the early stages of the Expressionist aesthetic revolution at the beginning of the 20th century through the influence of Italian Futurism to the more political and /or cynical positions of both Cabaret Voltaire in Zurich and Dada Berlin. We look at the aesthetics and poetics developed by Kandinsky, Boccioni, Marinetti, Ball and Tzara. We analyze their artistic and literary production in relation to consumption and the commodity by focusing on the following questions: Do these artist negate the new consumerist society they are part of and in what ways do they attack the dominant system, when they do? Are they simply reproposing a Romantic form of High Art? Or, rather are they the forerunners of postmodern, popular forms of culture? The course is interdisciplinary: we look at artworks, films and literature. Ms. Novero.

Two 75-minute periods.

265b. German Film in English (1)

Topic for 1999/00: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. The Construction and Demonization of "Germany" and "German" Culture in Post-War German and American Cinema. Films on both sides of the Atlantic consistently lend to and borrow from each other images that locate "evil" - evil -doers and the results of their 'deeds' - in the (shared) cultural imagery called "Germany." The undertaking of the seminar is to compare and contrast a number of American and German filmic representations of "Germans" or "Germany" and to engage critically in the ideological (exchange) mechanisms that could possibly stand behind the cinematic apparatus. All filmic texts - from The Searchers (Ford), Dr. Strangelove (Kubrick), Taxidriver (Scorsese),Zentropa (von derTrier) and Die Hard: With a Vengeance (McTiernan) to Paris, Texas (Wenders), In a Year of Thirteen Moon (Fassbinder), The Tin Drum(Schlondorf) and Heimat (Reitz)- are supported by analytical and interpretive readings. Course taught in English. Ms. Maschke.

Prerequisites: Although recommended, no previous experience with film is necessary.

Course taught in English.

Prerequisites: Although recommended, no previous experience with film is necessary.

Two 75-minute periods.

270a. Composition and Conversation (1)

Development of written and oral expression with extensive discussion and frequent essays based on topics related to contemporary Germany, such as the new Berlin and sociopolitical issues between the former East and West. Required for majors. Mr. Klabes.

Prerequisite: German 210 and 211, or equivalent.

Two 75-minute periods and one 50-minute conversation period.

271b. German Civilization and Culture (1)

An introductory cultural studies course with emphasis on the interrelationship of Germany's political and social history, the arts, literature, and philosophy from the founding of the German Reich in 1871 to the present. Ms. Novero.

Two 75-minute periods.

Prerequisite: German 210 and 211, or equivalent.

Required for German Studies majors.

272a. Backs Against the Wall: Germany 1961/1989 (1)

The political role of intellectuals in both the GDR and the FRG at the time of the demise of the wall in 1989 has been documented in papers, magazines, films, and TV programs. This course focuses on the literature, films and the public statements made by writers and artists on and about the wall, both at the time of its erection, in 1961, and in 1989, when the possibility of a "third way" was envisaged. We shall examine a broad range of texts including the novels by Johnson, Wolf and Brasch and the most recent fictional and journalistic accounts dealing with the contemporary cultural situation of the reunified Germany (Grass, Schneider, Botho Strauss, Handke). Ms. Novero.

Required for majors.

Prerequisite: German 220, 221 or 271, or equivalent.

282b. The Weimar Years: Berlin's Experimental Twenties. (1)

Alternative Worlds in Literature, Cinema, Music, and the Arts.

The impulse for overturning inherited worlds and their images lies at the heart of Weimar Culture. With the first world war lost, Germany's writers and artists are quick to challenge the hegemony of conventional views in a culture of dissent and alienation to advocate alternative worlds of experimental construct. This course studies the complexities of Weimar Culture from several directions and examines the new destabilizing strategies as reflected in Doblin's literary montage of Berlin Alexanderplatz, Heartfield's photomontage, or in Brecht's V-effect alienating his spectator in the epic theater style of his Three Penny Opera. Works include classics by Kafka, Brecht, Thomas Mann, Hesse Doblin, as well as by artists, composers and filmmakers like Heartfield, Weill, Lang and Riefenstahl. Classroom instruction is complemented by trips to New York galleries and stage performances as well as guest lectures from other disciplines. Mr. Klabes

Course taught in English.

Summer Program in Germany

250. Intermediate German (1)

An intensive grammar review progressively accentuating reading skills. Practice in simple essay writing.

256. Conversation I (1)

Study of idiomatic phrases and synonyms to develop skill and confidence in discussions.

257. Conversation II (1)

Intensive oral training in expressing personal and critical views in idiomatic German. Readings of contemporary texts provide a background for discussions.

252. Civilization (1)

The political, social, and artistic developments in Germany from 800-1800. Excursions to cultural sites support the instruction.

253. Modern German Literature (1)

A study of selected texts by modern German writers.

297.1. The German Novel of the Nineteenth Century (1/2)

Selections made from a basic reading list in consultation with an instructor. A written examination. The department.

Prerequisite: German 220, 221 or equivalent.

297.2. The Modern German Novel (1/2)

Selections made from a basic reading list in consultation with an instructor. A written examination. The department.

Prerequisite: German 220, 221 or equivalent.

298. Independent Work (1/2 or 1)

Program to be worked out in consultation with an instructor. The department.

Prerequisite: German 220, 221 or by permission.

III. Advanced

Prerequisite for all advanced work in German: 220, 221, 270, 271, or equivalent.

300b. Senior Thesis (1)

The department.

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 1999/00: East Meets West: Literature and Politics in the Context of German Unification. The course takes stock of the multiple relationships between literature and politics in the wake of the recent sociopolitical changes in Germany. Discussions focus on the ongoing culturalpolitical debate about "German Identity." Readings include novels by Christine Brückner, Rolf Hochhut, Gunter Grass, Heiner Müller, and Christa Wolf. Mr. Klabes.

One 2-hour period.

[313b. The Age of Goethe] (1)

German literature of the eighteenth century with emphasis on German Enlightenment, storm and stress, classicism, and early romanticism. Ms. Kassouf.

Not offered in 1999/00.

[345b. Modernity and the "Problem" of Popular Culture in Germany] (1)

From the early nineteenth century onwards, popular culture has been a persistent "problem" in Germany's experience of modernity. The manipulative use of mass culture by both National Socialism and capitalism has made the study of so-called low culture an essential research area of German Studies. This seminar will explore various and exemplary historical, theoretical and interpretive issues in German popular and mass culture throughout the last two centuries. Topics will include nineteenth-century cowboy-and-Indian novels, love stories from the turn of the century, Nazi feature films, and pop music and television from the postwar period. In addition to analyzing these works on their own aesthetic merits, we will draw on additional readings to place them in their historical context and understand the theoretical and interpretive questions they raise. Mr. Schneider.

Two 75-minute periods.

Not offered in 1999/00.

355b. Staging Revolution/Revolutionizing the Stage (1)

This seminar explores l9th and 20thcentury developments in German drama through the dual context of political and aesthetic revolutions. In our study of dramas about political revolutions, we focus on theoretical conceptions of German theater as an institution for motivating political change. Readings will be drawn from Schiller, Büchner, Hauptmann, Brecht, Handke, Müller, Bernhard and Jelinek, among others. Mr. Schneider.

Two 75-minute periods.

365b. Narratives of Instability (1)

Organized around close readings of novellas by selected writers of nineteenth-century Germany (including Storm, Keller, Kurnberger, Stifter, Ebner-Eschenbach), the seminar investigates possible reasons why the novella becomes the literary genre for representing increasingly unstable bourgeois masculine identities emerging in the modern nation-states of Germany and the Habsburg Empire. Supported by some analytical and interpretive texts, we explore the socio-cultural context of literary attempts to come to terms with that identity called masculinity before the invention of feminism. Ms. Maschke

One 3-hour period.

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

Program to be worked out in consultation with an instructor.