Fall Courses

Course Descriptions - Fall 2017

Language Courses

Please note that all sections of German 1 through German 4 will still meet five hours per week, however at each level we are introducing sections that will meet three days per week, rather than five days per week.

German 1 (5) Elementary German I. Euba in charge.

Fall/Spring. Five units; classes meet three or five times a week. All four foreign language skills (reading, writing, speaking, and listening) are addressed to help students acquire communicative competence in the German language while being sensitized to the links between language and culture. German 1 is for students with no prior knowledge of German.

German 2 (5) Elementary German II. Euba in charge.

Fall/Spring. Five units; classes meet three or five times a week. In German 2, students will continue to develop communicative competence in the German language and expand their sensitivity toward the relationship between language and culture. While all language skills will be addressed, additional emphasis will be on the various styles of written and spoken German. Prerequisite: German 1 or equivalent.

German 1G/2G (S/U) Reading German for Graduates. Staff

Fall/Spring. Taken on S/U basis. Prepares graduate students from other disciplines to take their German reading exams. One year of German should be taken before 1G; 1G or consent of instructor is required for 2G. Students who will take 2G should enroll in it at the beginning of the semester; 2G will begin in approximately the eighth week of instruction. All students interested in the G courses should attend the first meeting of the semester.

German 3 (5) Intermediate German I. Topics in German Language and Cultural History. Euba in charge.

Fall/Spring. Five units; classes meet three or five times a week. While continuing to expand students’ communicative competence in German, this content-driven course will provide insights into postwar German history and cultural trends. The primary focus will be on the development of literacy skills (critical reading and writing), vocabulary expansion, and a thorough review of structural concepts. Students will be guided toward expressing themselves on more abstract topics, such as language and power in society, multiculturalism, rebellion and protest, and social justice, and toward drawing connections between texts and contexts by using a variety of text genres (journalistic, historical, short story, poetry, drama, advertising, film).

German 4 (5) Intermediate German II. Topics in German Language and Culture. Euba in charge.

Fall/Spring. Five units; classes meet three or five times a week. In this fourth-semester German language course, students work on strengthening their interpretative abilities as well as their written and oral forms of expression. While continuing the development of communicative competence and literacy skills, students will discuss a variety of texts and films and try to find innovative ways in which to engage with familiar presuppositions about who we are, about what determines our values and actions, and about the function and power of language.

Reading and Composition Courses
Readings and discussions in English. Fulfills the second half of the university’s Reading & Composition Requirement (equivalent to English 1B, Comp. Lit. 1B, etc.).

German R5A. Reading and Composition (4)

Section 1: Cho-Polizzi, J.
"Untranslatables".  A globalized and digital world has rendered many of the most far-flung places and outlandish ideas little more than a mouse-click away, but even the best efforts of online translation technologies still fail in their attempts to provide satisfactory equivalents for culturally-specific concepts or words. Drawing from a survey of literature, philosophy, and academic writings, this R5 seminar will examine 10 such “untranslatable” German words through a critical cultural-historical lens, asking what a wider context might contribute to our own preconceptions and assumptions in projects of cultural-linguistic exchange.

Section 2: Salehi, K.
"Politics and the German Imagination."  In every period in Germany’s eventful and turbulent past century, German literature, films, philosophy, and other cultural production have all reflected the hopes, fears, and deepest convictions of a society steeped in political contradictions. Drawing on German literature, theory, cinema, and digital media, this R5A course invites students to engage critically with the pressing social and political issues of Imperial, Weimar, Nazi, East, West, and reunified (and ever more multicultural) Germany, all through the lens of art and philosophy. Students will have a chance to develop familiarity with how Germans have imagined the relationship between art and politics, the nature of historical change, and the role of government in people’s lives. Students will come out of the course having cultivated the research, vocabulary, and argumentation skills necessary to write convincing academic papers.

Section 3: Shell, S.
The primary purpose of this course, which fulfills the second component of the Reading and Composition Requirement, is to help students develop college-level skills in critical reading and academic writing. We will conduct close reading and analysis of texts, and the writing of clear and persuasive arguments. Subsequently, we will write a series of essays in which will be dedicated to general topics in grammar, rhetoric, and style. The theme of the course aims to understand Germanic religion and mythology. We will use many major texts such as the Poetic Edda, the Prose Edda, the Hêliand, and Völsunga Saga/Das Niebelungenlied. In addition to this selection, we will also include fragments, e.g., laws against heathenry, place names, folklore surrounding the Germanic idea of a “soul”, that help to provide clues to the ancient Germanic religion(s) and myth(s). We will further explore these issues by researching the Christianization of the Germanic tribes and the degree of language contact within the migration period.  

Section 4: Fragomeni, M.
In this course, we will consider the impact and influence of Rock & Roll music during the Cold War, with a special emphasis on its effects in East Germany and the USSR. We will investigate how various Rock & Roll genres challenged social conventions, as well as how they influenced the evolution of music itself. Concurrently, we will also cover the historical timeline in three units: Overview of the Cold War 1945 – 1991, Rock & Roll of the 50’s and 60’s, and then of the 70’s and 80’s.

Section 5: Sacia, L.

Courses Taught in German:

German 100 (3) Introduction to Reading Culture. Dewulf
This course is intended to acquaint students with selected works from German cultural history and to familiarize them with various methods of interpretation and analysis. Required for all German majors. Fulfills the Letters & Science requirement in Arts and Literature or International Studies. Taught in German. Students with native fluency in German are not eligible to enroll. Prerequisite: German 4.

German 101 (3) Advanced German Conversation, Composition, and Style. Euba
Focusing on five central themes, this advanced-level language course will help students improve and expand on spoken and written language functions utilizing a variety of works from different genres in journalism, broadcasting, literature, fine arts, and cinema. The final goal is to enable students to participate in the academic discourse (written and spoken) to a linguistic and stylistic level appropriate for advanced students of German in upper division courses. Fulfills the Letters & Science breadth requirement in Arts and Literature or International Studies. Taught in German. Students with native fluency in German are not eligible to enroll. Prerequisite: German 4.

German 102D (3) Advanced Language Practice: Popular Culture in Germany. Stirner

German 103 (3) Introduction to German Linguistics. Shannon-CANCELLED!
NOTE: Undergraduates who still need or want to satisfy this course requirement in Fall 2017 can enroll in German 270 with Professor Rauch instead (please email Nadia Samadi with your student ID for manually enrollment).  German 270 will count as the German 103 requirement (Fall 2017 only).

German 105 (3) Middle High German. Largier
The aim of the course is to help students develop proficiency in reading Middle High German texts. The course emphasizes translation, grammar, and close reading, though the cultural context of the literary documents and of the production of texts during the Middle Ages will be discussed as well. In addition to the courtly romance Iwein by Hartmann von Aue, students will read medieval poetry. The final list of readings and the way of proceeding will be determined in consultation with the class. The course is open to both undergraduate and graduate students.

German 151 (3) 18th-21st Century Poetry. Kudszus
Focusing on prime examples from 18th-21st century poetry in German, we will explore linguistic creativity, dream realities, identity formations, and questions regarding translation. Texts in German, lectures, discussions and assignments in German and/or English.

Courses Taught in English:

German 112/ Comp. Lit. 153 (3) Early Modern Literature. Largier
"Martin Luther, the Bible, and the Reformation". According to the historical legend, Martin Luther posted 95 thesis about the reform of the Church on the doors of the castle church in Wittenberg, Germany, on October 31, 1517. These theses, published 500 years ago, were quickly reprinted, translated, and distributed throughout Germany and Europe. They are often seen as the starting point of the Reformation that not only changed the understanding of Christian teachings but also had a great influence on European culture and thought. In this course we read and discuss Luther's basic writings, the ways in which he teaches the reading of the Bible, and his influence on the history of modern thought and culture.  No knowledge of German required.

German 160A (4) A Century of Extremes. Richter
This course will explore Germany’s political and cultural history from 1914 to the reunification of the two German states in 1990. This period was marked by the rise and fall of the first German democracy during the Weimar Republic, the First and the Second World War, the rise of extreme ideologies, the Cold War, and the fall of the Iron Curtain. Against the background of these developments we will focus on continuities and ruptures in German society during the Weimar Republic, National Socialism, the two Republics after 1949 (FRG and GDR), and the (unified) Federal Republic of Germany. By comparing the various dimensions and characteristics of Germany’s radical transformations this course introduces students to major political, social, and cultural changes, emphasizing questions of gender, class, religious identities and milieus; the impact of total war; and the roots of dictatorship and democracy. Course materials will include primary sources in translation and state-of-the-art scholarship on German history, self narratives, as well as contemporary literature, popular images, music and films.

German 186/Film 160 (4) Narrative and Performance: Imposter Tales. Gokturk
In times of post-truth politics, this course focuses on imposter tales in literature and moving images, analyzing performances of social roles and national identities across multiple media and genres. Considering classic tales of “clothes make the man” from H. C. Andersen, F. Kafka, and T. Mann, cinematic productions such as To Be or Not To BeImitation of Life, and Catch Me If You Can, as well as acts of posing, passing, and exposing on TV, YouTube, and digital social media platforms, students learn to think critically about seductive qualities of narrative and performance with regard to rank and power, staging and acting, authenticity and artifice.
NOTE: This class includes "film screenings" on Wednesdays from 4pm-7pm in 142 Dwinelle Hall.

Graduate Courses

German 201E (4)  "Slow Reading: Literary Styles of Literary Modernism".  Kaes
This seminar will focus on concentrated readings of selected passages from German modernist literature, ranging from Heinrich von Kleist, Robert Walser, Rainer Maria Rilke, Carl Einstein, and Franz Kafka to Thomas Mann, Robert Musil, Ingeborg Bachmann and Thomas Bernhard, among others. Although the emphasis will be on short prose texts, we will also occasionally analyze lyrical or philosophical texts. The seminar’s project is to acquire and practice deep reading skills that draw equally on aesthetics, philology, rhetoric, stylistics, literary theory and media history. We will also examine theories of prose (Hegel, Agamben, et al.) and discuss examples by masters of critical reading (Benjamin, Adorno, Gadamer, de Man, Derrida, et al.). Reading knowledge of German is required.

204 (2) Compact Seminar. Gutjahr
NOTE: German 204 meets on the following 5 Fridays only: 09/1-09/29/2017.

Aufklärungstheater: Lessings Dramen und Hamburgische Dramaturgie

Gotthold Ephraim Lessings Schauspiel Nathan der Weise (1779) gilt als das deutschsprachige Drama der Aufklärung schlechthin. Und dies nicht nur, weil es bis heute das am häufigsten auf der Bühne inszenierte Stück der Epoche ist, sondern auch, weil es mit seinen szenischen Dialogen auf unmittelbare Weise zu aufklärerischem Denken anleitet. Durch die Argumentationsweisen des Titelprotagonisten und seine veranschaulichende Erzählung der Ringparabel gewinnt ein Humanitätsgedanke Gestalt, der auf der Handlungsebene in einer religionsübergreifenden Familienkonstellation seinen sinnfälligen Ausdruck findet. Lessing suchte damit nur wenige Jahre, bevor Immanuel Kant in seiner Abhandlung Beantwortung der Frage: Was ist Aufklärung? (1784) den »Ausgang des Menschen aus seiner selbstverschuldeten Unmündigkeit« zur epochalen Aufgabe erklärte, die Überwindung einer ›religiösen Unmündigkeit‹, die der unhinterfragten Übernahme dogmatischer Glaubensvorstellungen geschuldet ist, auf die Bühne zu bringen. Doch hat der an Erneuerung der Bühnenkunst interessierte Dramatiker bereits in seinen bürgerlichen Trauerspielen Miss Sara Sampson (1755) und Emilia Galotti (1772) wie auch in seinem Lustspiel Minna von Barnhelm (1767) Ansätze zu einem Aufklärungstheater entwickelt. Sein Ziel ist es, die Zuschauer auf bisher noch nie dagewesene Weise mit der dramatischen Handlung zu verbinden wie zugleich zur Kritikfähigkeit gegenüber dem Bühnengeschehen anzuleiten.

So kündigt Lessing zur Eröffnung des neugegründeten, von Bürgern finanzierten »Nationaltheaters« in Hamburg am 22. April 1767 seine Hamburgische Dramaturgie an mit den Worten: »Diese Dramaturgie soll ein kritisches Register von allen aufzuführenden Stücken halten, und jeden Schritt begleiten, den die Kunst, sowohl des Dichters, als des Schauspielers, hier thun wird.« Das Vorhaben des eigens für das Nationaltheater eingestellten ›Dramaturgen‹ ist es, den Zuschauern anhand von Aufführungsbesprechungen Formen des europäischen Theaters zu erklären und Kriterien der Beurteilung von Stücken und Inszenierungen an die Hand zu geben. Als Ziel seiner kritischen Analysen gibt er die Verbesserung der ästhetischen Geschmacksbildung und Kritikfähigkeit des Publikums an. Denn er war der festen Überzeugung, dass erst die Kenntnis vieler Stücke aus unterschiedlichen Theaterkulturen zu einer begründeten Kritik von Aufführungen befähigt.

In diesem Seminar werden wir Lessings Schauspiele, mit denen er als bedeutendster deutschsprachiger Dramatiker der Aufklärung in die Literaturgeschichte einging, vor dem Hintergrund seiner Ausführungen zur Funktion und Wirkungsästhetik des Dramas untersuchen. Dabei fragen wir, welche kosmopolitischen Vorstellungen Lessing mit seinem Vergleich von Theaterkulturen in der Hamburgischen Dramaturgie verbindet und ob sich daraus die Idee eines ›Welttheaters‹ ableiten lässt. Davon ausgehend analysieren wir seine bürgerlichen Trauerspiele Miß Sara Sampson und Emilia Galotti, das Lustspiel Minna von Barnhelm sowie das dramatische GedichtNathan der Weise im Hinblick auf die von Lessing selbst entwickelten Dramaturgien, die auf die Wirkung von Furcht und Mitleid wie auch auf Modelle aufgeklärter Rede ausgerichtet sind. Inwiefern heutige Inszenierungen von Lessings Stücken seine dramaturgischen Ansätze in postdramatische Formen übersetzen, erörtern wir ergänzend anhand von Videoaufzeichnungen neuer Inszenierungen an deutschsprachigen Theatern.

Von allen Seminarteilnehmern sind als Reclam-Bändchen für die eingehende gemeinsame Lektüre anzuschaffen: Minna von Barnhelm und Nathan der Weise. Textausschnitte aus Miß Sara Sampson, Emilia Galotti und der Hamburgischen Dramaturgie sowie ausgewählte Sekundärliteratur wird zum Herunterladen bereitgestellt.

German 207 (4) Methods. Feldman
This graduate seminar offers an introduction to methods of reading and writing about German literature. We will examine a variety of theoretical approaches including psychoanalysis, memory studies, trauma theory, feminist theory, queer theory, New Historicism, translation, and deconstruction; and with respect to drama, poetry and the novel. Formal analysis will be emphasized. We will also consider the field of German Studies, how it is related to Germanistik, and recent controversies around the centrality of literature in our field. Professionalization exercises are a central part of this course, and we will refine skills necessary for graduate-level research and writing.

German 256 (4) Aesthetic Theory Tang
This research seminar is designed to help students gain an overview of the historical development and key concerns of aesthetic theory from its beginning in the late eighteenth century to the present day. The seminar will have three parts: 1. The emergence of philosophical aesthetics in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, with a focus on Kant and German idealism; 2, Aesthetics as a theory of modern society in the twentieth century, with readings ranging from Simmel and Adorno to Bourdieu and Rancière; 3. The rethinking of basic aesthetic categories under the contemporary scientific, technical, and social conditions. Aesthetic theory came into being at the height of humanism and revolves around the human subject. The seminar concludes by asking whether it is still possible and what form it could take under postman conditions.

German 263A (4) Translation. Kudszus
In this seminar, we will think about and critically engage past and present practices and theories of translation. Following their particular interests in research & writing, participants will choose a text or a constellation of texts for their individual semester projects. Additionally, we will jointly work on translating a variety of texts throughout the semester.

German 270 (4) History of the German Language. Rauch
Designed for graduate and undergraduate students interested in the external and internal history of the German language from prehistoric times to the present and its interchange with closely and remotely related languages. Genetic language processes informing the German language across time are illustrated through the interface with literary documents from ancient cattle raids through runic, Gothic, Medieval German, and English texts, as well as excerpts from Luther’s era, modern, and contemporary German. No prerequisites.

German 294 (4) Contrastive Grammars.  Rauch
Theory and methods used in various types of contrastive linguistic analysis. Study of pairs of contrastive sets in two time perspectives: Modern German with Modern English, and their immediate predecessors, Early New High German with Early Modern English. No prerequisites.


German 375A (3) Seminar in Foreign Language Pedagogy: Teaching College German I. Euba
Focusing on the theory and practice of foreign language pedagogy, this course is designed to provide graduate students in German with knowledge and tools for their careers as teachers in the language classroom and beyond. While emphasizing critical reflection on pedagogical practices–-one’s own and that of others–-students will also be introduced to the field of Second Language Acquisition research and its relationship to pedagogy. This, along with the development of practices that promote continuing professional growth, should provide a basis for the ability to stay theoretically informed and to participate in the professional discourse of a rapidly developing field. Included in this course is a significant practical component addressing the day-to-day challenges of planning for and teaching the simultaneously offered elementary German language courses.


Dutch 1 (5) Elementary Dutch. Van Der Hoeven
Dutch language course for beginners. The focus of the course is on acquiring basic communicative competence in the language. That is, developing the ability to appropriately use the language (spoken as well as written) in authentic situations.

Dutch 110 (5) Advanced Dutch. Van Der Hoeven
The focus of this course is on reinforcing and expanding the patterns and vocabulary acquired in Dutch 2. All major grammar will be reviewed. Written and spoken proficiency will be improved.

Dutch 171AC (4) From Amsterdam to New York. Dewulf
A different look at the early colonial history of the United States from the perspective of the 17th century Dutch colony on Manhattan. No knowledge of Dutch required. SATISFIES AMERICAN CULTURES REQUIREMENT.


Yiddish 101 (5) Elementary Yiddish. Luzon
Introduction to Yiddish language and literature. Attention to reading, writing, and speaking in the context of the historic Yiddish cultural environment.

Yiddish 103 (5) Yiddish Literature. Chaver
Sholem Aleichem's Inner Child: Motl, the Cantor’s Son.  The last bittersweet masterpiece by the great Yiddish writer addresses challenges of change and modernity in the shtetl, in the fictional voice of a young boy who has just lost his father. With Motl, we experience traumas and joys, adventures and calamities, tradition and upheaval, culminating in the great shift out of the shtetl and into the New World. Sholem Aleichem’s rich style offers his unique take on the world of childhood in 19th-century Eastern European Jewish culture.