Previous Undergraduate Courses

Spring 2023

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 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. 

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understanding, production skills, and receptive skills), using a combination of language-oriented work and cultural/historical content, including film and texts.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 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 210

Introduction to German Philosophy


What can I know? What ought I to do? What may I hope? Proceeding from Kant’s trio of questions, this course explores the German philosophical tradition from the Enlightenment to the present through the study of its major figures (Kant, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Adorno, Arendt). Based on direct engagement with original texts, the course offers both a survey of German intellectual history and an introduction to the foundations of modern critical thought. We will discuss problems in the theory of knowledge, moral and political philosophy, metaphysics, and aesthetics.

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.

GER 306
CLA 308, GSS 377

German Intellectual History: Figures of Female Resistance: Medea – Antigone – Electra


The mythological heroines Antigone, Medea and Electra rejected family, society and state. Their resistance was expressed in their refusal to fulfill the traditional roles of daughter, sister, wife, and mother: Antigone loves her dead brother, Medea murders her children, and Electra is inconsolable over the death of her father. These characters go on to have multimedia careers in tragic plays, visual art, opera, films, and even comics. Their images are projected onto ever new screens where our culture works itself out, because their radical female resistance challenges the limits of our understanding even as it provokes and fascinates us.

GER 307

Topics in German Culture and Society: German Myths - Past and Present


Are myths just fake news or ideology? Or are they are a form of symbolic capital that provides orientation and helps establish a shared identity in an impenetrable world? Why are myths so powerful and long-lived? Have science and democratic institutions displaced myth today or does myth live on in the guise of social media platforms? How do myths arise out of a complex mix of historical facts and fantasies embedded in media and structured by narrative genres? We will explore these questions through close readings of selected German myths such as Nibelungen, Luther, Preußen, Stunde Null, Wirtschaftswunder and German Wiedervereinigung in 1989.

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.

GER 408

Media and/as Performance


Informed by recent German media theory on ‘cultural techniques’—from the operation of doors to embodied acts of writing and image-making— this seminar will explore the relations between performance and media, from interactions between performance practices and modern/new media to implications of performance for theorizing media in general.  Topics will include shared concerns in media studies and performance studies (such as embodiment, (im)mediacy, practice, and the archive), relations/tensions between performance and text, movement and inscription, and thinking media through the lens of practice as well as practice as the basis of theory.

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.