Fall 2020 Courses

(Check SIS For Room Assignments)


GERM 2050 (3)  German Express 

10:00-10:50 MWF
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 

11:00-11:50 MWF
Ms. Gutterman 

This content- and task-based advanced German course is designed for students who have  intermediate skills in German, and who wish to continue developing their ability to speak, listen, read, and write in German. In-class activities will emphasize your communicative skills and help you practice new grammatical structures, while out-of-class assignments will help you improve your writing and composition skills. Throughout the course, you will learn about cultural products, practices, and perspectives of German-speaking countries, thus increasing your inter-cultural knowledge and competence. All work will be conducted in German. GERM 3000 will assist you in achieving competence level B2.1-B2.2 of the Common European Framework. Prerequisite GERM 2020 or instructor’s permission



GERM 3010 (3)  Texts and Interpretations

2:00-3:15 MW
Ms. Gutterman

 “Texts and Interpretation” is designed a) to introduce students to the practice of reading and interpreting texts, and b) to further students' overall German language proficiency in reading, writing, and speaking. Students will have the opportunity to familiarize themselves with different literary genres, as well as with the technical terms necessary to discuss and analyze different forms of literature. Each module will focus on a theme. Students will engage in class discussions and group work, which will take the form of creative tasks such as short performances of a scene, recitations (Lesetheater), or transformations of a text into a different genre in order to explore the interdependency of letter, sound and meaning. Guided reading and writing assignments will exercise students’ critical thinking skills. Active participation is required throughout the course. All work will be conducted in German. Prerequisite GERM 2020 or instructor’s permission



GERM 3230 (3) Intermediate Composition & Conversation I 

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 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 (1) German Roundtable  

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 3330 (1) Language House Conversation 

6:00-7:00 W

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


GERM 3510 (3) Topics in German Culture                          

9:30-10:45 TR

GERM 3510 (3) German Cinema                        

11:00-12:15 TR
Mr. Dobryden

This course introduces the history of German cinema. In studying films from 1895 to the present against the background of Germany’s complex history, we will discuss the medium’s diverse potentials: as entertainment, propaganda, and art; as a means of identity formation, historical memory, and political agitation. We will also read key texts of German criticism and practice the fundamentals of film analysis. Materials and discussion in German.


GETR 3505/HIEU 3505 (3) History in History and Fiction                           

2:00-3:15 MW
Ms. Achilles

Who was Adolf Hitler and what explains our enduring fascination with the Hitler phenomenon? Was his rise to power an aberrant historical accident or a logical outcome of German history? What was more decisive in shaping the catastrophic course of events under Hitler's regime: his personality or deep structural historical factors? Would history have turned out better (or worse) if Hitler had been accepted into art school or died in infancy? Do melodramatic depictions of his last days normalize or even trivialize the Holocaust? Is it acceptable to laugh about or even empathize with Hitler today? 


This course investigates Hitler's life and afterlife on the basis of a broad variety of sources. Course materials range from scholarly articles to Nazi propaganda, films, novels, counterfactual histories and Hitler representations on the internet. Throughout this course, we will combine an interest in the personal dimensions of Hitler's rule with the study of power structures, social interests, aesthetic forms, generational shifts, and national frames. We will pay particular attention to the affective logics and representational regimes that shape our understanding of the past (and present). 


Requirements include regular attendance, active participation, one oral presentation, and short written assignments. There will be no midterm or final examinations. Fulfills the historical and second writing requirements. Counts towards the History and German Studies majors.





HIEU 3352 (3) Modern German History

12:00-12:50 MW

Ms. Achilles

How do fascist movements emerge and what helps them to gather steam? Can we discern historical patterns by which democracies devolve into fascist dictatorships? What are the limits of tolerance in a pluralistic society? Should anti-democratic ideologues and movements enjoy the freedoms of speech and association even if they use these rights to attack the foundations of democracy? 


This class looks to German history for lessons about some of the most pertinent questions of our time. Among the topics that we will explore are the origins of fascism; the brutal realities of war and genocide; the Cold War and its legacies (including the East German nostalgia for life under Communism); and the resurgence of xenophobic nationalism in response to European integration and broader migration flows. Finally, we will investigate whether Germany's ongoing struggle with its troubled past provides a useful guide for other societies to engage in constructive dialogue about historical truth, justice, and reconciliation. 


Requirements include regular attendance and participation, short weekly responses (to be collected in a portfolio), and two short papers. This class fulfills the historical and second writing requirements. Counts towards the History and German Studies majors.


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

5:00-6:15 TR

Mr. Finder and Mr. Grossman 

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. 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 Inga Deutschkron.


GETR 3562 (3) New German Cinema

3:30-4:45 TR

Mr. Dobryden

In 1962, a group of young West German filmmakers at the Oberhausen Film Festival declared: “The old film is dead. We believe in the new one.” In a brief manifesto, important figures of what would come to be called the New German Cinema rejected the kitschy, formulaic filmmaking that had dominated West Germany after World War II. They and others who followed, such as Werner Herzog, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, and Margarethe von Trotta produced a rich body of films during the 1960s and ‘70s that rehabilitated the image of German cinema internationally. In accomplishing this, the New German Cinema wrestled with questions that remain crucial to cultural production in a time of media transition: what are the formal and social possibilities of moving image media? How can one create something new in the face of entrenched economic and political interests? What alliances, institutions, or compromises are necessary?


In the 1960s and 1970s, the Federal Republic of Germany was democratic, prosperous, and seemingly stable—a set of conditions that had never been true of Germany since its foundation as a nation-state a century earlier. This was especially remarkable given the aftermath of WWII, which left major cities in ruins and brought to light unimaginable crimes. West Germany nonetheless found itself in the midst of a cultural upheaval, as various groups tested the limits of governmental institutions and civil society through new lifestyles, generational rebellion, political action, protest, and, sometimes, violence. In this context, film became a vehicle for remembering the past and challenging the present. Studying the New German Cinema will thus allow us to explore fundamental problems of art, historical memory, and politics.



GETR 3464 (3) Stories of Love and Adventure

3:30-4:45 TR

Mr. McDonald 

King Arthur, Joseph Campbell––and more! Trace the origin of the ‘Lord of the Rings,’ Star Trek, Star Wars, and Game of Thrones. Encounter the stories that inspired Richard Wagner's music. A multi-media course that follows heroes and heroines of medieval fiction through the stages of the heroic quest: the call to adventure, meeting the mentor, tests and trials, symbolic death and rebirth, the road back (to civilization), and the return to society with a boon. Among the stories read are ‘Parzival’ and ‘Tristan and Isolde.’   Grade based on active classroom discussion, oral reports, a mid-term paper,  content quizzes, and a creative concluding project. No textbook required.

Those choosing the Second Writing Requirement-option have a final written exercise.


GETR 3590 (3) Serial Media

12:30-1:45 TR

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 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 3590 (3) Course to be Announced

3:30-4:45 MW


GETR 3692/HIEU 3692 (3) The Holocaust

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

Mr. Finder

In this course we study the encounter between the Third Reich and Europe’s Jews between 1933 and 1945. This encounter resulted in the deaths of almost 6 million Jews.  The course aims to clarify basic facts and explore competing explanations for the origins and unfolding of the Holocaust—in Hebrew, Shoah. We also explore survivors’ memories after the Holocaust, postwar Holocaust-related trials, and the universal implications of the Holocaust.


This course is intended to acquaint students with the historical study of the Holocaust and assumes no prior training in the subject.  We will read studies by important historians, including Saul Friedländer, Christopher Browning, and Peter Hayes, contemporary documents, and memoirs. Class meetings will combine lecture and discussion. Course requirements include three written assignments and conscientious participation in class discussion.


GETR 3710/ENGL 3560 (3) Kafka and His Doubles

11:00-12:15 TR

Ms. Martens

The course will introduce the enigmatic work of Franz Kafka:  stories including "The Judgment," "The Metamorphosis," "A Country Doctor," "A Report to an Academy," "A Hunger Artist," "The Burrow," and "Josephine the Singer, or the Mouse Folk"; one of his three unpublished novels (The Trial); the Letter to His Father; and some short parables.  But we will also look at Kafka's "doubles":  the literary tradition he works with and the way in which he, in turn, forms literary tradition.  Thus:  Kafka: Cervantes, Kafka: Bible, Kafka: Aesop, Kafka:  Dostoevsky, Kafka: Melville; Kafka: O'Connor, Kafka: Singer; Kafka: Calvino, Kafka: Borges.  Readings will center on four principal themes:  conflicts with others and the self (and Kafka's psychological vision);  the double; the play with paradox and infinity; and artists and animals.  A seminar limited to 17 participants.   Requirements include a short midterm paper (5-7 pages) and a longer final paper (10-12 pages).


GETR 3720/ENGL 3559 (3) Freud and Literature

2:00-3:15 TR

Ms. Martens

In formulating his model of the psyche and his theory of psychoanalysis, Freud, a scientist with a vast humanistic education, availed himself of analogies drawn from various fields, including mechanics, optics, philosophy, politics--and not least, literature.  Freud textualized the human mind, turning the stories generated by its different levels into an object of analysis.  But if literature was formative for psychoanalysis, Freud's ideas in turn captured the imagination of many twentieth-century literary writers.  After introducing Freud's theories through a reading of his major works, including 

The Interpretation of Dreams, the course will turn to literary works by post-Freudian writers, including Kafka, Schnitzler, Breton, Lawrence, and Woolf, that engage with Freud's masterplot.





5:00pm | Solarium Room. April 7 & 8, 9:00 am. New Cabell Hall 236
11:00am | Shea House