Fall 2021
GER 101

Beginning German


The course lays a foundation for functional acquisition of German. Class time is devoted to language tasks that will foster communicative competence and will emphasize listening and reading strategies, vocabulary acquisition, authentic input, and oral production.  Conducted in German. Staff.

GER 105

Intermediate German


Develops deeper proficiency in all areas (production skills and receptive skills), using a combination of language-oriented work cultural/historical content, including film and texts. Staff.

GER 107

Advanced German


Continues improvement of proficiency in speaking, listening, reading, and writing using texts, online media, and other sources as a basis for class discussion. Grammar review is included.  Conducted in German.  Staff.

GER 207

Studies in German Language and Style: Society, Politics and Culture in Germany 1890-1945


This course will tackle exemplary works of modern German society and culture, including literature, art, film, essays, speeches, and autobiographies. It offers an introduction to the most important events and issues from the first half of the century: the foundation of the German state, Berlin as a modern metropolis, World War I, the rise of National Socialism. Intensive practice in spoken and written German with an emphasis on vocabulary acquisition and complex syntactical forms.

GER 209

Introduction to German Literature after 1700


This course has four goals: 1) to introduce students to key authors, genres, and movements in German literary history between 1770 and the present; 2) to provide an opportunity to deepen interpretive skills through reading and discussion of representative texts; 3) to encourage students to explore theoretical approaches to cultural material; and 4) to provide intensive practice in spoken and written German.

GER 300

Junior Seminar: Research in German Studies, Theory, and Practice


How do the activities of research and interpretation differ when the object is a poem, a 17th century canvas, a radio broadcast or a film, an urban renewal plan, or the draft of a new state constitution? This introduction to the wide range of approaches and methods for the study of German literature, culture and media will hone the research and writing skills necessary to develop a substantial piece of independent scholarship. Through close readings of theoretical texts and primary sources the seminar will focus on issues of authorship and argument, the “gay sciences” of the archive, and the subtleties of producing clear and persuasive prose.

GER 303

Topics in Prose Fiction: Media of Literature


The seminar will pose the question of literature’s media and media in literature. Our concern will not only be the medial preconditions (such as scripts, presses and postal networks) which made possible the emergence of literary cultures. The seminar will also explore the ways in which literary texts refer to media and media technologies. Whether it be perceptual media (e.g. telescopes) or pictorial media (e.g. paintings), communications technologies (telegraphs and telephones) or symbolic codes (money) — through these constellations, we can investigate how literature defines its aesthetic self-understanding and its own communicative power.

Taught in German. Readings available in German and English.

GER 306

German Intellectual History: Gender and Sexuality in German Culture and Thought


This course offers an interdisciplinary introduction to gender and sexuality in German culture and thought. Moving between texts (and films) with an explicit focus on gender and sexuality and those with a more surreptitious, figurative gendered logic, we will analyze literature, philosophy, psychoanalysis, politics, and documents from sexuality studies. Indeed, the German tradition demonstrates in a compelling way that gender and sexuality are at stake in all cultural production. The German Geschlecht - meaning at once sex, gender, stock, race, lineage, generation - points to the impossibility of delimiting the question of sexuality. Taught in German.

GER 307

Topics in German Culture and Society: Cultures of Melancholy: Literature, Art and Science


Oscillating between insanity and furor divinus, the concept of melancholy has been linked to genius and creativity from Aristotle through the medieval concept of acedia, to literary work around 1800 and into the 20th Century. The course will trace the development of melancholy in its diverse relations to visual art and literature, and to different medical, philosophical, astrological, religious and psychological discourses. By focusing especially on the impact melancholy has on sign systems and on the imagination, it explores melancholy not only as a topic of literature and visual arts, but as a basic component of expression as such.

GER 316

Second Language Acquisition and Pedagogy – J. Rankin


The course will introduce students to recent theories of instructed second language acquisition (SLA) by way of critical reading and discussion, and to pedagogical practice in language teaching by way of participating in one-on-one ESL tutorials with community members, in collaboration with ProCES, during the semester. There are also plans for a collaborative project with ESL teachers during the 2022 Wintersession, subject to COVID-related travel restrictions.

GER 323

Fairy Tales: The Brothers Grimm and Beyond


What do fairy tales do? Seminar explores this question through the famous Brothers Grimm and their Children’s and Household Tales (1812/1815). Focus is on the first edition and the baffling and fabulous narratives that were censored, refined, and polished by the Grimms in later editions. Students examine fairy tales’ function: how they instruct, amuse, warn, initiate, and enlighten; how they humanize and conquer the bestial and barbaric forces that terrorize us; and how they have disguised social anxieties about gender and sex. Continued reception of the genre in  Romantic, Weimar, and Post-War periods also examined. Taught in English.

GER 403

Studies in Comparative Surveillance


Surveillance has long provoked a wide range of social responses, from the embrace of promises of security to a rejection of a threat to civil liberties.  Why can some countries impose such social control while others cannot? Does this dynamic change when the monitoring is instead trans-national, be it in the form of more systemic logics of “surveillance capitalism” or of the new global tracking imperatives provoked by the current pandemic?  This team-taught seminar in comparative surveillance studies will examine the complex cultural, political and techno-historical dimensions of new forms of social control in the Americas, Europe and Asia. Taught in English.