Previous Undergraduate Courses

Fall 2019

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.

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understanding, production skills, and receptive skills), using a combination of language-oriented work and cultural/historical content, including film and texts.

10:00 – 10:50 am; 12:30 – 1:20 pm
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.

Mon, Wed, Fri
10:00 – 10:50 am; 12:30 – 1:20pm
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.

Mon, Wed
11:00 am – 12:20 pm
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.

Tue, Thu
11:00 am – 12:20 pm
GER 300

Junior Seminar: Authorship, Argument, Archives


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: Small Forms: Speed writing, condensing, and mnemonics


Short literary prose forms have always been around, but not always been fully appreciated. Aphorisms, fables, fragments, short stories, maxims or vignettes we find in the oeuvre of most, if not all major writers. But we tend to see them only as minor works. This seminar will read these small prose forms in their own right, as poetological and technical inventions. Our readings range from the 18th century to the present, from G. E. Lessing or the Romantics to Franz Kafka, Bertolt Brecht and to Alexander Kluge.

GER 306
COM 392

German Intellectual History: Labyrinths of Literature


In literature and art, dance and architecture the labyrinth delineates a path through time and space. This path has been interpreted in various ways, as a figuration of the polarity of chaos and order, for example, or as a trajectory of initiation. On the basis of selected pictorial material as well as selected readings of the ancient myths of Theseus and Dedalus, the seminar will focus on the relation between the structure of the labyrinth and narrative structures and allow students to develop new perspectives on 20th century German literature.

Tue, Thu
3:00 – 4:20 pm
GER 321
GSS 321 / MED 321

Topics in German Medieval Literature: Before Gender: Cross-Dressing and Sex in Medieval Romance


A young Arthurian knight loses honor because he enjoys having sex with his wife. The Grail King is wounded near fatally in the genitals while trying to win the “wrong” woman. Young kings dress up and act like women in order to woo their prospective brides. This course will explore what it meant to be men and women in love (with each other or with God) in some of the most spectacular literary works of the German Middle Ages. The larger context for our discussion will be a more nuanced understanding of the history of gender. Readings and discussion primarily in modern German, some readings and discussion in English.

Mon, Wed
1:30 – 2:50 pm
GER 404
GSS 413

Writing the I: Gender, Narration, and the German Literary Tradition


“I fear God if I keep silent, I fear uncomprehending people if I write,” wrote Mechthild of Magdeburg (d. 1282) on assuming the role of author, anticipating the words of Sigrid Weigel: “The language of women is […] not simply a given, nor something to be construed, but rather a movement pursuing a constantly shifting perspective” (1987). Seminar examines the female “I” in a range of German texts. Questions to be considered: What roles have been available? How has gender enabled/constrained humans identifying as women from becoming writers? What challenges the reader of a female voice when the author identifies as a man?