Fall 2021

Course Descriptions

(Check SIS For Room Assignments)


GERM 2050 (3)  German Express 

10:00-10:50 MTWRF
Ms. Neuhaus

Intensive intermediate course in German language. The course teaches all four language skills (reading, writing, speaking and listening comprehension) and covers the same material as GERM 2010 and 2020. German Express allows students to acquire language skills at an accelerated pace, preparing them for advanced courses (3000-level and above) and study abroad in German-speaking countries. Prerequisite: students must have completed GERM 1020 with a minimum grade of B, or instructor’s permission


GERM 3000 (3)  Advanced German: Identity and Belonging  

2:00-3:15  MW
Ms. Gutterman 

What does it mean to be German? What shapes our identities? Where do we belong? In this content-based language course, we will investigate questions of identities and belonging in Germany. Among other topics, we will learn about the Afro-German movement and the activist and poet May Ayim. We will explore the graphic novel ‘Heimat,’ penned by German-born author Nora Krug, who decides to leave New York and face the Nazi-past of her home country and family. 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 me at jg4mt@virignia.edu!


GERM 3010 (3)  Texts and Interpretations

3:30-4:45 MW

Mr. Schmid

“Texts and Interpretations” is designed to introduce students to the practice of reading and interpreting texts, and to further students' overall German language proficiency in reading, writing, and speaking. Students will have the opportunity to familiarize themselves with different genres and media, as well as with the technical terms necessary to discuss and analyze them. Students will engage in class discussions and group work, which will take the form of creative tasks such as short performances of a scene, or transformations of a text into a different genre. Guided reading and writing assignments will exercise students’ critical thinking skills. Active participation is required throughout the course. The course will be conducted in German.

Prerequisite GERM 2020 or instructor’s permission.



GERM 3230 (3) Contemporary German: Writing and Speaking

2:00-3:15 TR
Mr. McDonald 

A new course offering an encounter with authentic German, as it is spoken and written in modern day contexts. The textbook is the Internet, from which students draw, then discuss current topics of individual choice, including world politics, environmental issues, and cultural events. Grammar review as needed.

Cultures and Societies of the World’


GERM 3250 (3) German for Professionals

1:00- 1:50 MWF 
Ms. Parker

Prepares students to communicate and interact effectively in the business environment of German-speaking countries. Emphasis is placed on practical, career-usable competence. Prerequisite: GERM 3000 or equivalent



GERM 3290 (3) German Round Table   

5:00-5:50 W

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.


GERM 3510 (3) Screening Nature in German Film                      

3:30-4:45 TR
Mr. Dobryden

You may not have trekked the Amazon or dived the Great Barrier Reef, but you probably know what they look like. Whether by textbooks, microscopes, photography in Natural Geographic, or the BBC documentary series Planet Earth, your experience of the natural world has been shaped decisively by the media you’ve consumed throughout your life. But why do we watch such films?

On first glance, the answer may seem obvious. Tigers and owls and carnivorous plants are just interesting, and movies can teach us about them, showing us up close what we wouldn’t otherwise see. On further consideration, however, films claiming to represent nature raise a series of thorny questions that quickly lead us to matters of history, philosophy, and art. Of the series Planet Earth, for example, we might ask: what aspects of nature does the show depict? What does it mean to ‘know’ nature through film and images? To whom does it want to appeal and why, and how does it do this? And what is ‘nature’ in the first place?

To investigate these questions, we will explore a range of moving image media from the early 20th century until the present, focusing in particular on films from Germany. Films include: Nosferatu (F. W. Murnau, 1922); Better Active Today Than Radioactive Tomorrow (Nina Gladitz, 1974); Grizzly Man (Werner Herzog, 2007); and The Wall (Julian Pölsler, 2012).


GERM 3559 (3) Black German Literatures          

12:30-1:45 TR
Ms. Gutterman

This course considers the diverse styles and genres of Black German literatures written since the 1980s, ranging from Afro-German poetry to autobiography and autofiction, essay and activist writing, and spoken word performance. We engage with questions about the Black experience in Germany, identity production, and Black German literature in the global context of the Black diaspora. Readings include May Ayim, Olivia Wenzel, Sharon Dodua Otoo, Ijoma Mangold, Philipp Khabo Köpsell. All readings and discussions in German.

Prerequisite GERM 3010. If you haven’t taken GERM 3010, but are interested in taking this course, please email me at jg4mt@virginia.edu


GETR 3372/HIEU 3372/RELJ 3372 (3) German Jewish Culture and History                       

3:30-4:45 TR
Mr. Finder & Mr. Schmid 

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 European politics, society and culture.

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. In addition to Jews in Germany, the course will also explore developments in Jewish life in Austria and Switzerland.

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 essays of varying length. Conscientious participation in class discussion is expected.  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, Rahel Varnhagen, Heinrich Heine, Arthur Schnitzler, Gershom Scholem, Franz Kafka, and Ruth Klüger.

This course fulfills the Second Writing Requirement.


GETR 3390/HIEU 3390 (3) Nazi Germany 

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 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 3462/HIEU 3462 (3) Neighbors and Enemies

2:00-3:15 MW

Ms. Achilles

A biblical injunction, first articulated in Leviticus and then elaborated in the Christian teachings, stipulates that one should love one’s neighbor as oneself. This course explores the friend/enemy nexus in German history, literature and culture. Of particular interest is the figure of the neighbor as both an imagined extension of the self, and as an object of fear or even hatred. We will examine the vulnerability and anxiety generated by Germany’s unstable and shifting territorial borders, as well as the role that fantasies of foreign infiltration played in defining German national identity. We will also investigate the racial and sexual politics manifested in Germany’s real or imagined encounters with various foreign “others.” Most importantly, this course will study the tensions in German history and culture between a chauvinist belief in German racial or cultural superiority and moments of genuine openness to strangers. In the concluding part of this course, we will consider the changing meanings of friendship and hospitality in a globalizing world. Fulfills the historical studies and second writing requirements. No prerequisites.



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: Narratives and Images of Contagion

2:00-3:15 TR

Mr. Dobryden  

This course looks at the phenomenon of contagion in a variety of domains, from anthropology and aesthetics to literature, film, and media theory. What role has contagion played in reflections on history and culture? How do stories and images of infectious disease intersect with constructions of class, race, gender, and sexuality? How have writers, artists, and filmmakers tried to make sense of infectious disease, or used infectious disease to make sense of the world? Texts and films include: Edgar Allan Poe, "The Masque of the Red Death"; Thomas Mann, Death in Venice; Nosferatu (dir. F. W. Murnau); Mary Douglas, Purity and Danger: An Analysis of Concepts of Pollution and Taboo; Night of the Living Dead (dir. George Romero); Peter Stallybrass & Allon White, The Politics and Poetics of Transgression; Alexis Shotwell, Against Purity: Living Ethically in Compromised Times; Sander L. Gilman, Disease and Representation: Images of Illness from Madness to Aids.




GETR 3590 (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 3692/HIEU 3692 (3) The Holocaust 

11:00-12:15 TR & 12:30-1:45 TR

Mr. Finder 

In this course we study the encounter between Nazi Germany and Europe’s Jews between 1933 and 1945. This encounter resulted in the death of almost six million Jews. This course aims to clarify basic facts and examine various explanations for the origins and unfolding of the Holocaust–in Hebrew, Shoah. Over the course of our study of the Holocaust we will ask why Germans, Jews, and other Europeans did what they did during the Holocaust and why some acted in one way, others in another. In addition to scholarly books and articles, we will read memoirs by Holocaust survivors.

This course is intended to acquaint students with the historical study of the Holocaust and assumes no prior training in the subject. Class meetings will combine lecture, close readings of texts, and discussion.

GETR 3600/ENGL 3500 (3) Faust

11:00-12:15 TR

Ms. Martens

Faust:  the man who is so hungry for power, knowledge, and extraordinary experiences that he makes a deal with the devil to get what he wants.  After enjoying an amazing life made possible by his allegiance with the supernatural (diabolical division), what happens to this overreacher?  Does he go to Hell?  After considering the origins of the legend, we’ll read Christopher Marlowe’s Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus and Goethe’s Faust, Parts I and II.

GETR 3730/ENGL 3560 (3) Rilke, Valéry, and Stevens 

2:00-3:15 TR

Ms. Martens

Studies in the poetry and prose of these three modernist poets, with emphasis on their theories of artistic creation.  The original as well as a translation will be made available for Rilke's and Valéry's poetry.  Their prose works will be read in English translation.  Requirements:  Three 6-7-page papers (one on each poet); participation in seminar discussion, including oral presentations on poems; final exam.