Previous Undergraduate Courses

Fall 2020

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 and will emphasize listening and reading strategies, vocabulary acquisition, authentic input, and oral production. Conducted in German.

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understanding, production skills, and receptive skills), using a combination of language-oriented work and cultural/historical content, including film and texts.

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.

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


This introduction to 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 theoretical texts and primary sources the seminar focuses on fundamental issues of writing, such as: how does one choose an object of inquiry? What makes for a productive question, for a strong hypothesis? Why is it important to attend to details, but also to counterbalance with a macro-vision? Why is it important not only to be mindful of the historicity of one's primary object but also of theoretical texts? How does one research effectively?

GER 304
COM 336

Marx, Nietzsche, Freud


An introduction to the thought of Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud. Organized thematically rather than chronologically, the course will bring these thinkers into dialogue on six themes: interpretation, history, subjectivity, politics, religion, and art. By concentrating on such pivotal issues, it seeks not only to delineate the origins of much modern thought, but also to develop resources for reflecting on our contemporary moment.

GER 306
ECS 357

German Intellectual History: Walter Benjamin's Theory of Modernity


Walter Benjamin, over the course of his career, developed a comprehensive theory of urban capitalist modernity. This course will trace the development of this theory from the mid-1920's through 1940, concentrating on the finished texts that emanated from the great complex of the Arcades Project. Particular emphasis will be placed on Benjamin's arguments regarding the role of modern technological media in the constitution of modern experience.

GER 324

Topics in Germanic Literatures: Waldeinsamkeit: Nature, Culture, Translation


Waldeinsamkeit, the particular feeling of loneliness to be found only deep in the woods, is often cited as the quintessentially untranslatable German word. But such “untranslatables” are the results of complex cultural processes. Accordingly, this course will take Waldeinsamkeit, a term for an emphatic and isolated experience in and with nature, as a case study for a history of cultural circulation. This in turn leads to a classical question: the troubled relationship between—and possible overlapping of—nature and culture.