Current Courses


German Department

Course Descriptions

Spring 2019

 (Check SIS for room assignments)


GERM 1015(3) German For Reading Knowledge

    10:00-10:50 MWF                                                            Ms. Schenberg

This course introduces students to German grammar, syntax, and vocabulary with the aim of helping them develop the skills necessary for reading and translating German texts. It is open to graduate students and undergraduates seeking a reading knowledge of German. For graduate students, the course aims as well to provide the skills necessary to pass the graduate reading exam. The course is tailored to students’ needs. Once the basics of reading have been covered, students have the chance to begin to translate, read, and discuss texts from their respective fields of study (e.g. history, philosophy, literature and literary theory, politics, etc.).

For graduate students, this is a no-credit course; graduates should register either as Auditors or for Credit/No/credit. Those registering for Credit/No credit are expected to attend class, turn in homework assignments regularly, and take all tests and quizzes, in order to receive Credit. Those not wishing to meet these requirements should register as Auditors.

Undergraduates may take the course for a grade, for Credit/No credit, or as Auditors. Please note that this course does not count toward the language requirement. Those seeking to fulfill the language requirement should enroll in GERM 1010/1020.

Prerequisites: None. No prior knowledge of German is necessary.


 GERM 3000(3)  German Language Skills  - Grammar in Use

                             1:00-1:50 MWF                                                            Ms. Neuhaus

This course builds on the first and second year German sequence and focuses on speaking and writing to improve upper-level German language skills. In class, we will discuss current social and cultural events in German speaking countries, with topics drawn from newspapers, films, short literary texts, and the news. Grammar topics will be addressed within the context of these topics. Grading will be based on class participation, quizzes, written assignments, and a final project. All work will be conducted in German. No book required. Prerequisite German 2020 or instructor's permission.


GERM 3010(3)  Texts and Interpretations

                             11:00-11:50 MWF                                                              Mr. Dobryden

This seminar serves as an introductory course to the practice of reading and interpreting texts. While the focus will be on literary texts, other media will be represented as well, notably film. Participating students will have the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the three major literary genres (drama, poetry, and prose); the technical terms necessary to discuss and analyze literature and other kinds of texts; and various schools of interpretation, such as structuralism and psychoanalysis. Students will also improve their language proficiency, especially in the areas reading comprehension, speaking, vocabulary, and writing. The class will be conducted entirely in German. Requirements include active participation, regular homework assignments, a series of essays and quizzes, as well as an oral presentation.


GERM 3120 (3) Survey of Literature I – 18thand 19thCentury

                           2:00-3:15 MW                                                                    Ms. Gutterman

This course focuses on texts by German-speaking authors from the Enlightenment to Romanticism with a special focus on the 19th century. We will closely read and discuss different literary forms and genres such as novellas, plays, poems, as well as small forms such as aphorisms, with readings ranging from Kant’s question Was ist Aufklärung to Lessing’s Emilia Galotti, Kleist’s Marquise, Büchner’s Woyzeck and Droste’s lyrical poetry. Grading will be based on class participation, written assignments and a final project. All work will be conducted in German. Prerequisite German 3010 or instructor's permission. 


GERM 3240 (3) Composition & Conversation

                              11:00-12:15 TR                                                                    Mr. Schmid

Improve your German communication skills through an innovative German conversation and writing method that draws on contemporary online resources, spanning culture, politics, sports, and technology. (Among these resources are Deutsche Welle, Tagesschau, German online newspapers, and online dictionaries.)  Students develop and refine writing and conversation strategies through weekly writing assignments modelled on texts from streaming-media sites. Daily conversation and comprehension exercises build vocabulary and introduce students to idioms. Select grammar review at student initiative.  No textbook is required.


GERM 3290 (1) German Studies Roundtable

                              5:00-6:00 W                                                                Mr. Rammelsberg

The German Conversation class is designed for students who wish to improve their ability to express themselves in German. In a small-group setting, we will focus on communications skills and discuss topics ranging from personal interests to current events. This course is open to all levels.  


GERM 3330 (1) Language House Conversation 

                              6:00-7:00 W                                                                      Ms. Magoffin 

This course is mandatory for the residents of the German House, but open to other students as well. 


GERM 3510 (3) Berlin & Vienna: Modern Metropoles   

                           9:00-9:50  MWF                                                                       Ms. Ellis

This course explores representations of urban life in Berlin and Vienna from the turn of the 20th century to the present. By examining a range of sources including literature, film, visual art, and architecture, we will trace debates about metropolitan culture and urban development through empire, interwar democracy, National Socialism, postwar occupation and division, reunification, and European integration. Taught in German.


GERM 3526 (3) Start-Up in German 

                           12:00-12:50  MWF                                                                    Ms. Parker

Germany has a lively startup scene and its mid-sized manufacturers, collectively known as Mittelstand, are thriving.  This class prepares students to communicate effectively in the world’s fourth largest economy by focusing on the process of starting a new business on a basic level. Necessary language tools and cultural information will be acquired while developing ideas, marketing strategies and other steps in the process.  The language of instruction and of all course materials is German.  Requirements include regular attendance, project presentation and a portfolio.  No final exam. 


GERM 4600(3) Fourth-Year Seminar

                           2:00-3:15 TR                                                                            Mr. Bennett

Intensive discussion of a topic agreed upon between the instructor and the student.  Significant students research is required.


GETR 3330 (3) Introduction to German Culture 

                           3:30-4:45 MW                                                                          Ms. Ellis

What is German culture? Going far beyond stereotypes of Bratwurst and Lederhosen, we will approach this question through the lenses of language, national identity, collective memory, intellectual tradition, and artistic practice. By examining a variety of cultural objects (including essays, short stories, films, paintings, memorial sites, and websites) within their historical and political contexts, students will become familiar with key touchstones in the German tradition, while also developing broader frameworks for studying culture as a dynamic, multifaceted phenomenon.


GETR 3372/ (3) German Jewish Culture and History  

HIEU 3372/        12:30-1:45  TR                                                                    

RELJ 3372                                                                                                            Mr. Grossman

                                                                                                                              Mr. Finder

This course provides a wide-ranging exploration of the history and culture of German (-speaking) Jewry from 1750 to 1945 and beyond.  It focuses especially on the Jewish response to modernity in Central Europe, a response that proved highly productive, giving rise to a range of lasting transformations in Jewish life in Europe and later in North America, in particular, and in European society and culture, more generally.

Until the mid-eighteenth century, Jewish self-definition was relatively stable. From that point on, it became increasingly contingent and open-ended.  Before the rise of Nazism in 1933, German Jewish life was characterized by a plethora of emerging possibilities. This course explores this vibrant and dynamic process of change and self-definition. It traces the emergence of new forms of Jewish experience, and it shows their unfolding in a series of lively and poignant dramas of tradition and transformation, division and integration, dreams and nightmares. The course seeks to grasp this world through the lenses of history and culture, and to explore the different ways in which these disciplines illuminate the past and provide potential insights into the present and future.

This course is intended to acquaint students with the study of German (-speaking) Jewish history and culture and assumes no prior training in the subject. Class meetings will combine lecture and discussion. Course requirements will include two 5-page response papers and a 10-page research paper. Conscientious participation in class discussion is essential.  Readings will be drawn from both primary and secondary literature. Represented in the primary reading will be central figures in the annals of German-speaking Jewry, including Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, Heinrich Heine, Arthur Schnitzler, Gershom Scholem, Franz Kafka, and Inge Deutschkron

This course satisfies the Second Writing Requirement.


GETR 3390/ (3) Nazi Germany                         

HIEU 3390        10:00-10:50 MW                                                                   Ms. Achilles

This course examines the historical origins, political structures, social dynamics, ethical dispositions, and cultural practices of the Nazi Third Reich. Requirements include regular attendance, two essays, a midterm and a final examination. No prerequisites.


GETR 3563/ (3) Spiritual Journeys in Young Adult Fiction 

CPLT 3590         3:30-4:45  TR                                                                            Ms. Bach

                                                                                                                        Mr. Alexander

This comparative inquiry into young adult fiction invites you to explore the topic of the spiritual journey both academically and personally. Different disciplinary perspectives such as religious studies, gender studies, history, psychology, and literary studies, will help us shed light on our private reading experiences and deepen our exploration of such themes as: religiosity vs. spirituality, experiencing divine presence and absence, becoming a hero, confronting evil, being different, achieving autonomy, faith and doubt, and the magical and the miraculous. My hope is that, over the course of the semester, you will develop a personal vocabulary in which you can express your thoughts on spiritual journeys in young adult fiction as well as articulate the relationships between your own quest and your academic pursuits.

This discussion based, reading-intensive seminar is cross-listed in the Comparative Literature and German departments and most texts come from the Western tradition. The sessions will be held in English. I encourage all students to participate actively in discussion, to engage the readings and each other critically and compassionately, to develop a regular reflective writing practice, and to work collaboratively in small learning teams.


GETR 3590/ (3) Brecht and the Modern Theater

CPLT 3590         12:30-1:45 TR                                                               Mr. Bennett

Reading and discussion (in English) of a selection of the major plays of Bertolt Brecht, including Baal, Mahagonny, Threepenny Opera, Mother Courage, Good Woman of Sezuan, Caucasian Chalk Circle, plus parallel readings from other major modern European dramatists, including Ibsen, Strindberg,, Hofmannsthal, Schnitzler, Shaw, Pirandello.  Discussion will focus on the relation of drama to social issues, and on the basic theory of theatrical drama.


GETR 3590(3)   Fairy Tales

                             3:30-4:45 TR                                                                      Mr. Schmid

In fairy tales, everything is possible: throw a frog against the wall, it may well turn out to be a prince in disguise; go visit your grandmother and you may realize that she has been eaten and replaced by a wolf; and if you have plans for the next hundred years, you better beware of being pricked by a spindle. Entering the world of fairy tales often feels like passing into an elaborate dream: it is a world teeming with sorcerers, dwarves, wondrous objects, and animals that speak. In this seminar, we focus on fairy tales and dream narratives from the romantic period into the present. Why did the Grimm brothers bother to collect fairy tales? What does all this have to do with Germany’s emergence as a nation? How does Disney depict the fairy tale in film? –  These are some of the questions that our seminar addresses. Authors to be discussed include: Goethe, the brothers Grimm, Bettelheim, Hoffmann, Freud, Saint-Exupéry, Tolkien, and others. Requirements include regular attendance, active participation, and short written assignments.


GETR 3590 (3) Serial Media 

                          3:30-6:00 W                                                                      Mr. Schmid

Recent years have witnessed two major cultural shifts in regard to film. Firstly, the medial possibilities made available through online streaming have inspired a trend away from the theater in favor of the laptop, and secondly, the primacy of feature length film has been upset by the advent of the so-called second golden age of television and the serials that compose it. Of course these two occurrences are intricately connected. 

In this course we will consider the relationship between medial or technological possibilities and art, as well as the concept and experience of seriality in art, not just in relation to film but in relation to multiple art forms. We will explore the rich history of serial art, particularly through its German tradition beginning with the 19thcentury serial journal projects of the Romantics and culminating with the contemporary German Netflix show “Dark,” a show that involves like the show “Stranger Things,” parallel dimensions and supernatural elements.Requirements include regular attendance, active participation, and short written assignments.


GETR 3695/ (3) The Holocaust and the Law

HIEU 3695          9:30-10:45 TR                                                                         Mr. Finder 

This course explores the pursuit of justice after the Holocaust. We will study legal responses to the Nazi genocide of Europe’s Jews from 1945 to the 1960s through the lens of pivotal post-Holocaust trials, including the 1945-1946 Nuremberg Trial, conducted by the US, the UK, the USSR, and France in Nuremberg; the 1961 Eichmann Trial, conducted by the Israelis in Jerusalem; and the 1963-1965 Frankfurt Auschwitz Trial, conducted by the Germans. We will further study recent German attempts to adapt the German legal system to try the last living perpetrators of the Holocaust. We will also discuss how Jewish survivors of the Holocaust helped to bring Nazis and their collaborators before the bar of justice. Mindful of the postwar historical context, we will pose the question whether these trials and others served justice on the perpetrators and delivered justice to not only the victims but also history and memory.  In this vein, we will ask how the pursuit of legal justice after the Holocaust affects our understanding of the legal process.

Requirements for this course will include two short response papers and a 10-page research paper. The final grade will be determined on the basis of the written assignments, with substantial weight given to the research paper, and class participation.

Books for this course may include Lawrence Douglas, The Memory of Judgment: Making Law and History in Trials of the Holocaust; Michael Marrus, The Nuremberg War Crimes Trials, 1945-46; Deborah Lipstadt, The Eichmann Trial; Devin Pendas, The Frankfurt Auschwitz Trial, 1963-1965; Lawrence Douglas, The Right Wrong Man: John Demjanjuk and the Last Great Nazi War Crimes Trial; and Gabriel Finder and Alexander Prusin, Justice Behind the Iron Curtain: Nazis on Trial in Communist Poland.

This course fulfills the Second Writing Requirement.