100 - Level Courses

While all four language skills (listening, speaking, reading, and writing) are addressed, the 100-level courses primarily emphasize listening and reading comprehension with intensive vocabulary building and control of basic grammar structures.  Producing understandable speech and writing follows as the student acquires familiarity with the verb system, controls basic grammar structures, learns to ask and answer questions on everyday subjects, and uses polite social phrases.  Course goals and objectives describe the range of tasks and functions that students will be able to carry out in German by the end of their first year.

200 - Level Courses

During the 201-202 sequence, students will continue to develop all four language skills – listening, speaking, reading, and writing.  They will further build their vocabulary and improve their ability to speak and write with grammatical accuracy.  The following communicative functions, among others, will be emphasized: describing, comparing, reacting and recommending, narrating in the past, speaking about likes and dislikes, making hypotheses, and speaking about the future.  Course goals and objectives describe the range of tasks and functions that students will be able to control by the end of their second year.

301 - Survey of Literature I (1 Century A.D. - 1775)

The course covers a roughly thousand-year period of German cultural history – from the first encounter of the ancient Germanic tribes with the Romans and the first documents written in German until the cosmopolitan eighteenth century – and we will focus on the question of how the Germans developed as apeople.  We will concentrate primarily on the German language, its beginnings and further evolution, and literary production, but will examine concurrent developments in the other arts as well as take into account the overall historical and political landscape.  Class conducted entirely in German.

302 - Survey of Literature II (1775-1925)

Covering a period of one-hundred-and-fifty years of German literature and culture, from roughly the last quarter of the eighteenth century to the first quarter of the twentieth, this course will introduce students to some of the major writers in German, their themes and interests, and the broader cultural and historical context that informs their works.  Students will read excerpts and full-length works of representative literary figures.  All three genres will be covered, and the texts chosen will highlight the most important literary movements.  Class conducted entirely in German. 

303 - German Culture through Film

In this course, students will view a broad and diverse cross-section of German cinema – from the Weimar Republic until the present.  They will learn both about the contributions that German film has made to cinematic culture and explore the relation of German film to the broader historical and social context.  In the latter capacity, students will use the films as a means to learn more about important trends in Germany and to reflect on some of the major social, political, and historical upheavals in Germany from the previous century to the present.  Class conducted entirely in German, and no pre-knowledge about cinema is required. 

305 - Advanced Conversation & Composition

The course will help students to improve their skills in speaking, listening, reading, and writing in preparation for more advanced course work.  Class time will be divided between developing language proficiency through targeted work on grammatical structures and working with a variety of current topics from German radio, news programs, and internet sites. The course will conclude with a final video project in which the students will present their own versions of a German news program, weather report, commercial, documentary and talk show.  Class conducted entirely in German. 

385 - German Drama: From Lessing to Bernhard

In this course, we will examine a diverse cross-section of German dramatic production from the late eighteenth century to the 1980s. The goal is not to give a representative survey of the German dramatic canon as such, but to present the medium of drama and its wide range of dramatic expression. Our first objective will be to ensure basic comprehension of content. Then we will use the plays to ask whichthemes the playwright chooses to problematize. Finally, we will discuss how the playwright uses the medium of theater in (possibly) innovative ways to dramatize his themes. Class conducted entirely in German.

485 - Berlin: Literature and Culture, 1871-1933

In this course, students will examine the incredible changes in German society as reflected in its premier metropolis, and they will explore those changes in the literature and the cinematic and artistic production of the period. Above all, we will examine how the culture of Berlin refracted the major historical developments of the early twentieth century, such as the emergence of modern urban society, the rise of militarism, the First World War and Revolution, the ongoing economic crises, and the effects of political radicalism. We will also discuss some of the “myths” of Weimar culture in Berlin and will work toward our own assessment of the period. Class conducted entirely in German. 


485 - The Holocaust: Representation in Postwar German Literature and Culture

Out of the ashes of the Second World War, a new European order was born. Its foundational credo was—Nie wieder Krieg! But with time, the great liquidation of European Jewry could no longer be suppressed. The atrocity assumed center stage, and it has never left since. In this course, we will discuss some of the competing theories concerning the Holocaust, but we will be most interested in exploring how Germany has wrestled with its historical legacy. To this end, we will read three postwar literary works and poetic pieces representing aspects of the Holocaust as well as some of the important essays of theHistorikerstreit in the 80s, which debated the question of its singularity. Class conducted entirely in German.