Previous Undergraduate Courses

Fall 2023

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.

Check Registrar courses page for additional German 101 availability

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understanding, production skills, and receptive skills), using a combination of language-oriented work and cultural/historical content, including film and texts.

Check Registrar course page for additional GER105 availability.

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.

Check Registrar course page for additional GER107 availability.

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, the German Colonial Empire, 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 218
MED218, GSS235

Medieval Gender Politics: Wicked Queens, Holy Women, Warrior Saints


Is there a historical basis for the fierce ladies of ‘Game of Thrones’? Why do modern depictions of medieval queens portray them as wickedly ambitious? In a variety of texts about the villainy and sanctity, eloquence and wit, humility and power of women—both real and imagined—this course will explore the long history of negative reactions to leading women, the multiple strategies by means of which such figures have asserted various kinds of authority, as well as what they have suffered in consequence. By unraveling the complex gender and power dynamics of the past we will also develop a better understanding of such issues in the present.

GER 300

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


This introduction to methods for the study of German literature, media, and culture will hone the research skills necessary to develop a substantial piece of independent scholarship. Combining methodological reflection with practical training and experimentation, we will probe such questions as: What is at stake in “reading” texts and other media closely or at a distance, historically or with an eye to form? How does one find, organize, distill, and respond to extant scholarship? What distinguishes a strong research question or hypothesis? And which intermediate steps lead from the cursor blinking on a blank page to a polished research paper?

GER 303
DAN 308, ECS 305

Topics in Prose Fiction: Dance and Literature: On Writing Movement


What happens when writers confront dance? Around 1900, dance became a topic of enormous fascination in works of Euro-American Modernists such as Mallarmé, Rilke, Woolf, Beckett. This seminar will explore this and earlier encounters, juxtaposing them with texts written by dancers such as Loïe Fuller, Josephine Baker and Katherine Dunham. Topics include gesture; expression; human vs. technological movement; connections/tensions between dance and language, choreography and writing, performance, and text; the (de)construction of gendered and racialized otherness. Readings will be supplemented with time-based media and live performances.

GER 307
COM 307, ART 317

Topics in German Culture and Society: Taste


What does it mean to have taste? How is it formed? How does it relate to fashion? How dependent is it on money and education? What are the connections between the aesthetic and moral parts of so-called “good taste”? Can there be a pure judgment of taste free from questions of social positioning? Is taste regarding design different from taste regarding art? Is there such a thing as a taste that turns against the logic of taste? What does taste as a social and aesthetic category have to do with taste as a gustatory sense? This seminar will explore these and other aspects of the multi-facetted phenomenon of taste from a variety of perspectives.

GER 314
HUM 310

Topics in the History and Theory of the Media: The Diary. Writing the Self.


What makes the diary such a popular form of self-expression? Are there collectively written diaries? Is the diary a media practice? What happens when diaries are “written” not only with text but also photographs, audio files and video? How can a standardized form foster intimate personal communication with one’s own self? This seminar will explore the history and the varied practices of the diary, from famous historical examples such as Franz Kafka and Virginia Woolf to current vernacular digital formats of auto-fiction such as lifelogging, weblogs and Instagram.

GER 324

Topics in Germanic Literatures: Romantic Prose: The Incredible Stories of Heinrich von Kleist


The seminar offers an introduction into romantic prose and close readings of the most famous stories by the German poet, dramatist, novelist, and journalist Heinrich von Kleist (1777-1811). Our discussions will focus on the relations between literature and politics, legal problems and the representation of history.