Spring 2024
GER 101

Beginner’s German I


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

GER 102

Beginner’s German II


Continues the goals of GER 101, focusing on increased communicative proficiency (oral and written), effective reading strategies, and listening skills. Emphasis on vocabulary acquisition and functional language tasks: learning to request, persuade, ask for help, express opinions, agree and disagree, negotiate conversations, and gain perspective on German culture through readings, discussion, and film. Staff.

GER 1025

Intensive Intermediate German


Intensive training in German, building on GER 101 and covering the acquisitional goals of two subsequent semesters:  communicative proficiency in a wide range of syntax, mastery of discourse skills, and reading strategies sufficient to interpret and discuss contemporary German short stories, drama, and film.  Intensive classroom participation required.  Successful completion provides eligibility for GER 107.

GER 105

Intermediate German


Develops deeper proficiency in all areas (cultural understanding, production skills, and receptive skills), using a combination of language-oriented work and cultural/historical content, including film and texts.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 206

German Literature Before Germany


This course examines the history and culture of pre-modern central Europe through the lens of a wide range of literary works produced in German-speaking contexts. Confronting and revising preconceived notions about the medieval and pre-national ‘primitive’ past, we will discover together the epic accounts of multilingual Franks and Goths, the sophisticated ethos of medieval courts, women writing in the service of God and kings, and the history of German as a poetic language. Readings and discussion in English, working with translations from Old High German, Old Saxon, medieval Latin, Middle High German, Early Modern German, and Yiddish.

GER 208

Studies in German Language and Style: Contemporary Society, Politics, and Culture


This course traces German cultural and political history since 1945, examining key developments and debates, including the aftermath of Nazi rule; violent clashes between students and government; the ideological rivalry between two German states up to reunification; migration and transnational cultures; Black German activism; Germany’s role in Europe. The course facilitates advanced competence in written and oral German, but also develops analytical competencies in historical and critical argumentation across a range of primary and secondary sources, including poetry, prose, essays, films, artworks, and performances.

GER 211

Introduction to Media Theory


Through careful readings of a wide range of media theoretical texts from the late 19th to early 21st-century, this class will trace the development of critical reflection on technologies and media such as orality, writing and the printed page, pre-cinematic optical devices, photography, film and television, gramophones, telephony, and radio, as well as drones, surveillance and social media. Topics include the relationship between representation and technology, the historicity of perception, the interplay of aesthetics, technology and politics, and the transformation of imagination, literacy, communication, privacy, reality, and truth.

1:30pm - 2:50pm; P01Th 1:30pm - 2:50pm; P02Th 1:30pm - 2:50pm
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. 

GER 308

Topics in German Film History and Theory: Regimes of Spectacle in Weimar Cinema


How do films structure values and desires? What is propaganda? Is there a politics of narration? These and other deeply contemporary questions of media history and theory will be explored through an interdisciplinary interrogation of key works of expressionist, documentary, proletarian, avant-garde, queer, horror, and paranoid-thriller cinema (both silent and sound) produced in Germany during the Weimar Republic (1918-1933). Films and texts will be subjected to close readings, situated in their socio-political, media-historical and cultural context, and examined in light of the reigning debates in film criticism and aesthetics.

GER 316

Learning (and Teaching) New Languages


How do adults learn new languages? Why do some people learn new languages easily, while others struggle? What can language teachers do to make the learning experience as successful as possible?  The course addresses these and related questions by providing a critical introduction to recent theories of instructed second language acquisition (ISLA). We will reflect on these issues through readings and discussion, and we will engage them on a practical level through one-on-one ESL tutorials with participants from the greater Princeton community, in collaboration with ProCES.

GER 324

Topics in Germanic Literatures: Literary Austria after 1945


This course explores the vibrant literary culture of postwar Austria. We will examine how literary works contributed to—and subverted—the construction of an Austrian national identity; what role texts like Thomas Bernhard’s “Heldenplatz” played in Austria’s belated confrontation with its Nazi past; and why Austria produced a distinctive form of avant-garde writing whose most prominent representative, Elfriede Jelinek, received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2004. Our readings will also give us occasion to critically reflect on the stakes of categorizing literary works according to national, ethnic, or linguistic identity. Taught in German.