Spring 2022

Course Descriptions

(Check SIS For Room Assignments)


GERM 1015 (3)  German For Reading Knowledge

9:00-9:50 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)  Advanced German: Identity and Belonging  

3:30-4:45  TR
Ms. Schroeder

How do the languages we speak shape our identity? Where do we belong? What does it mean to be a speaker of German? In this content-based language course, we will investigate questions of language, identities and belonging. Among other topics, we’ll explore German as a pluricentric language and discuss what it means to feel “at home” in the German language, by reading texts from authors like the Japanese and German-language writer, Yoko Tawada and the Afro-German activist and poet, May Ayim, and others. Together, we will work on your communication skills in German and practice your speaking and writing. To help you communicate confidently in German, we will systematically review grammar topics at the upper intermediate level, selectively target grammar topics at the advanced level, and place special emphasis on questions of German sentence structure.

Prerequisite GERM 2020 or GERM 2050 or instructor’s permission. If you haven’t taken GERM 2020 or GERM 2050, and are interested in taking this course, please email Kathryn Schroeder at kn3bt@virgina!

GERM 3010 (3)  Texts and Interpretations

2:00-3:15 MW

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 3110 (3)  Literature in German II

11:00-12:15 TR 

Ms. Gutterman

 This course will provide an introduction to the literatures written in the German language of the 20th and 21st centuries. We will hone our close reading skills and techniques on a wide range of literary texts across genre, geography and gender, and tackle the recurring questions and concerns of this and the last century: what is the relationship between language and ‘things’? Can we trust language? What happens to language in moments of crisis, and what does it mean to write in an alien tongue? Together we will trace how these questions find their way into a constellation of various texts and how they shape or destroy literary devices and traditions. The language of instruction and all course materials are in German. Prerequiste: GERM3010 or instructor permission.

GERM 3240 (3) Contemporary German: Writing and Speaking II

2:00-3:15 TR
Mr. McDonald 

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 (3) German Round Table   

5:00-5:50 W
Ms. Westermann

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 language levels.        

GERM 3300 (1) Language House Conversation 

6:00-7:00 W 
Ms. Neuhaus 

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

GERM 3526 (3) Start-Up in German 

1:00-1:50  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.

Prerequisite GERM 2020 or instructor’s permission

GERM 3559 (3) German Phonetics                      

3:30-4:45 MW
Ms. Neuhaus

In this class, we will look at how sounds are produced and organized in the German language. We will use this knowledge to improve our pronunciation, focusing on areas of particular difficulty for U.S. speakers. By looking at how sounds connect across phrases and analyzing intonation, we will also create more fluent and native-like patterns of speech.

Prerequisite: German 2020/2050 or instructor permission

GERM 4600 (3) Fourth-Year Seminar: Modernity and the German Jewish Writer          

12:30-1:45 TR
Mr. Grossman

This course will explore the response of German(-speaking) Jewish writers to modern German and European culture and society. We will explore what questions arose for them about their place in German-speaking society, how society viewed them, and how they, for their part, intervened in the cultural landscape. The historian George Mosse has argued that “Bildung” (the ideal of ethical and cultural self-formation) was central to German Jewish culture. We will explore Mosse’s and other views on the question in connection with several major writers and thinkers. Readings of Kafka, Freud, Schnitzler, Else Lasker-Schüler, Joseph Roth, Egon Kisch, Gertrud Kolmar, Alfred Döblin, Stefan Zweig, and others.

The seminar will be taught in German. The first two-thirds of the semester will be devoted to assigned readings, for a selection of which students will write short response papers. For the remainder of the semester, students will focus on a research project, which will conclude with a short presentation and 10-page paper, to be developed in stages. The course is open to any student who has completed GERM 3010 and can read German well. Students who know German well but have not taken GERM 3010 may, with instructor permission, also take the course.


GETR 3330 (3) Introduction to German Studies                       

12:30-1:45 TR
Mr. Schmid 

German culture is more than Bratwurst and Lederhosen. It is highly paradoxical, and produced stellar poets and thinkers like Goethe, Schiller, and Freud, as well as the nightmare of the 20th century: Hitler and the Nazis. It is famous for its car culture but also for the first ecology movement. In this class we will examine German culture in the past two centuries with short texts on German identities, boarders, and colonialism, German films and series, Romantic paintings, and Holocaust memorial sites. Requirements include regular attendance, active participation, and short written assignments.             

GETR 3392 (3) Fairy Tales

9:30-10:45 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 3393 (3) Serial Media

5:00-7:30 W

Mr. Schmid

Have you ever binge-watched a show on Netflix? Have you ever not been able to put down a book? You had to know what was going to happen in the next episode or the next chapter. In this class we will not only reflect on and analyze this experience, we will also investigate its history: the history of serial media.

Over the past 20 years we have witnessed in a revolution in serial media: The medial possibilities made available through online streaming have inspired a trend away from the theater in favor of the laptop, and the primacy of feature length film has been upset by the advent of the so-called second golden age of television. Together we will explore the history of serial forms, particularly through its German tradition beginning with the 19th century serial journal projects of the Romantics and culminating with the contemporary German Netflix show “Dark,” a show that, like the American hit “Stranger Things,” involves parallel dimensions and supernatural elements. Finally, with the help of the work of German intellectuals such as Paul Kammerer and Carl Gustav Jung, we will explore the connection between seriality and coincidence.

GETR 3464 (3) Medieval Stories of Love and Adventure

3:30-4:45 TR

Mr. McDonald 

An interactive course, involving reading, discussion, music, and art, that seeks, through selected stories of the medieval period, to shed light on institutions, themes, and customs. At the center is the Heroic Circle, a cycle with connections to folklore, the fairy tale, and Jungian psychology—all of which illuminate the human experience. Discover here the genesis of Arthurian film, Star Wars, Game of Thrones, and more. All texts on Collab.

Second Writing Requirement

Cultures and Societies of the World

GETR 3559 (3) Infectious: Contagion and Culture

3:30-4:45 MW

Mr. Dobryden  

Why is contagion so fascinating? From stories of plagues, vampires, and zombies to mobs, laughter, and memes, contagious phenomena can be found in cultural objects of all kinds--indeed, culture itself is often described as infectious, something that reproduces and spreads from person to person. Drawing on texts, images, and films from the late 19th century to the present, this course will use contagion as a lens for examining and troubling fundamental cultural distinctions, such as self/other, mind/body, society/nature, sacred/profane, original/copy, medium/message, and living/dead. We will ask not just how culture has tried to make sense of contagion, but how contagion has been used to make sense of culture as well.