Fall Courses

Course Descriptions - Fall 2018

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.

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: Hossainzadeh, Z.
"Once Upon A Time"
Once upon a time. The phrase lures us into an unknown land, a land of endless imagination, a land of fairy tales. But the words only provide us with one glimpse into the imagined land. It is up to us, up to our own thoughts, to explore deeper, varied meanings of fairy tales, beyond the mere words that comprise them. And that exploration of the land of once-upon-a time’s, the world of the fairy tale, is what we'll be doing in this course. We'll delve into fairy tales, seeking to understand the deeper significance of them and why they have such a lasting influence on modern culture. We'll focus on the German context, in particular Grimms' fairy tales, but we'll also examine fairy tales present in other national contexts, including our own.

Section 2: Fragomenii, M.
"Rock and Roll during the Cold War".
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 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 3: Shell, S.
"Language and worldview in light of Germanic mythology"
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.

In this course, we will use many major texts such as Beowulf, the Poetic Edda, the Prose Edda, the Hêliand, Völsunga Saga and Das Nibelungenlied. 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 religions and myths and their worldview. We will further explore these issues by researching the Christianization of the Germanic tribes and the degree of language contact within the migration period. When reading theses texts, we will ask such questions as: how are thought, identity, and culture influenced by language and vice-versa? While the linguistic culture may not be the only focus, we will debate this topic heavily.

Section 4: Duri-Agri, J.
Facial recognition has lately become a buzzword in conversations around privacy and identity, but how well do we understand what faces and recognition are? Faces in texts are not always visual, and recognition does not only deal with identification and categorization. In a philosophical sense, to recognize someone means to find legitimacy and coherence in the way that they exist. When we read faces in texts, or when texts read faces by telling us about a person from their features, do we approach the face with the same ethical stakes as when we recognize someone on the street? In this course, we will question what it means to have a face, and whether texts and characters can have faces that are recognizable in a similar way.

We will first consider ways in which literature represents, and is perhaps itself driven by, the visuality of language and the recognition of an unfamiliar Other. Masks and revelations of faces are very important to the Medieval epic Parzival, as well as more modern texts like Arthur Schnitzler’s Dream Story. We will discuss how acts of concealing and unveiling are related to the face that everyone has, and what it means to recognize the face that is unmasked. Some texts by Goethe and Eliot from the Romantic and Realist periods assume that we can “read” faces according to features that tell us about the character of the person behind the face. By closely interpreting a moment of facial recognition in a text, we will each practice and reflect on what it means to recognize a face.

Once we have become familiar with practices of reading faces, as was the overwhelmingly popular literary tradition of physiognomy in the 18th and 19th centuries, we will be prepared to consider how facial recognition fails or is problematic. Rainer Maria Rilke’s Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge provides a striking scene of prosopagnosia, or the inability to recognize a face, which will provide an interesting test case for our individual and then collaborative consideration.

By looking closely at something so quotidian as the face and our recognition of it, we will consider the paradigms by which faces function or mean anything at all. Our conversation will finish by bringing to the philosophical roots of facial recognition in thinkers like Hegel and Lévinas, who connect the recognition of others with personal freedoms in a way that feels relevant to the present day. These thinkers, and others whom you will encounter in your own research, will provide the theoretical background for a final exploration of what it means to recognize a face in literature, with implications for what it means to recognize faces in real life.

Section 5: Reitz, L.
"Reading the Reader".
The purpose of this course is to provide students with the reading, analytical, and writing skills necessary for university study. To this end students will read various genres of texts closely, analyze critical arguments, and produce well-written, argument-driven essays of their own.
In this course we will engage and improve these practical skills by examining the figure of the reader in German literature and modern scholarship. (*NB all texts and discussions will be in English. Knowledge of German is not expected.) We will read literary texts of various lengths and genres spanning the entire history of German literature that present fictional representations of readers and reading. We will ask what these texts tell us about historical reading practices and attitudes toward reading. How is reading good for the soul, detrimental to our health, critical to the formation of the individual, and potentially ruinous for communities? Are readers heroic or lazy? Are they paragons of intelligence or diseased individuals? Does reading provide an escape or intensify our everyday experiences? Parallel to our reading of literature, we will also engage scholarly theories in which the reader plays a key theoretical role. Finally, we will critique academic scholarship in general, specifically how it privileges certain reading practices and rejects others. By the end of the semester, students should begin to question the very academic reading and writing skills this course intends to teach.

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
This course explores German popular culture from the last 30 years through various media, including literature, music, performance art, blogs, and movies. What was “popular” in the last three decades in German speaking countries? What is German “Pop-Kultur”? What is the relationship between specific subcultures and pop culture? How are ethnic identity, regional identity, gender, or religion reflected in popular culture—and how do they shape it? And how do we define subculture, popular culture, and pop culture in the first place? With a strong focus on—but not limited to—the city of Berlin, readings and viewings take us from the electronic music scene to poetry slams, from queer punks in the GDR to Russian-Jewish immigrants in Germany after the reunification, from “Popfeminismus” to “Leitkulturdebatte.” Since this course is dedicated to advanced language practice, attendance and participation are crucial. Students will learn to analyze and reflect on popular culture and its history and role in contemporary German speaking countries—in German. Students are required to actively engage in class discussions, participate in group projects, submit regular writing exercises, and commit to independent media research.  Taught in German. Students with native fluency in German are not eligible to enroll. Prerequisite: German 4.

German 103 (3) Introduction to German Linguistics. Shannon
This course provides students with an overview of the major subfields of linguistics as they apply to German. It also serves as the gateway course for further undergraduate study of German(ic) linguistics. We will mainly focus on the basic concepts and methods in linguistic analysis of the contemporary language. After that we will consider variation in German: historical change, dialect differences. There are no prerequisites and no prior experience with linguistics is presupposed. However, an advanced knowledge of German (at least German 4 level) is expected. Taught in German; readings are in German and English. Required course for German majors, minors.

German 105 (3) Middle High German. Tennant
Students will learn the fundamentals of Middle High German grammar and will read selections from major narrative works of the High Middle Ages. Selections from major works from the 13th century. Taught in English, readings in German.

German 156 (4) Literature in the Digital Age.  Balint
This course examines the effects of the digital age on literature. Emphasis will be on themes, poetics, and media of digital writing; as well as on shifting notions of the literary itself. Topics include forms of microblogging such as Twitter and Instagram; aesthetic experimentation and/on social media; notions of digital authorship; practices of reading and viewing; literary scholarship and digital media. Readings, discussions, and coursework in German.

Courses Taught in English:

German 24 (1) Freshman Seminar. Feldman
"Germany Now".  This 1-unit freshman and sophomore seminar explores contemporary Germany, with comparisons to the USA in particular contexts. We begin with a review of German and European geography, recent history from World War I, through National Socialism and divided Germany, to reunification. The seminar then turns to German politics, the party system, the basic law governing Germany and central social issues. We will consider Germany’s social system: What do its policies mean for its inhabitants? In this context we will discuss such topics as the Turkish presence in Germany, German environmentalism, women and gender roles, and the refugee crisis.  Taught in English.

German C75/L&S 60T (4) Discovery Course.  Feldman
"What is Beauty"?  Artistic beauty and the beauty of nature lend themselves to discussion of abstract philosophical concepts: truth, eternity, goodness and harmony. This course will examine primarily western European and north American historical approaches to the beauty of art and nature as represented in works of philosophy, literary theory and theories of art and aesthetics.  Taught in English.

German 157D (4) German Intellectual History in a European Context: Historical Figuress & Continuing Reflection: Adorno, Benjamin, Habermas. Feldman
This course examines the writings of the Frankfurt School of Critical Theory, a major branch of western Marxism. Focusing on confrontations with modernity, the lectures will deal with three seminal thinkers: Walter Benjamin, known for his genial insights into the culture of modernism; Theodor Adorno, the versatile philosopher and aesthetic theorist of the avant garde; and Jurgen Habermas, the most influential German intellectual after World War II. Taught in English.

German 160C (4) A Divided Nation. Richter
This course offers an introduction to the history and culture of divided Germany in the era of the Cold War. It will look at the different ways the two states dealt with the country's pre-1945 history, the relations to the Allied Powers, and the major cultural shifts which eventually created a watershed in the history of German mentalities. We will look at various kinds of sources, including literature and film. Major national debates will be touched upon, such as breaks and continuities within the national elites, re-armament and pacifism, the student movement, opposition and conformity under Socialism, and the rise of environmentalism. We will also discuss the problems and opportunities of re-unification. Taught in English.

Graduate Courses

204 (2) Compact Seminar. Jennifer Kapczynski
NOTE: German 204 meets on the following 5 Fridays only: 08/31-10/05/2018
"Mediating Democracy"
Democracy is notoriously difficult to depict –– as a system commonly associated with pluralistic thinking that challenges easy attempts to symbolize its forms, principles and practices. At the same time, democracy seems to demand representation – requiring not only a spirit of civic participation, but also an educational and cultural system that promotes a participatory culture. This compact seminar takes up the question of how, in the context of postwar West Germany, the arts were mobilized in the project to imagine, nurture, and critique democracy. What roles were film and theater assigned in mediating the emergence and maintenance of a democratic way of life, in a culture still profoundly shaped by National Socialism and deeply ambivalent about the experiences of postwar occupation and reeducation? Drawing on essayistic, literary and cinematic works by seminal figures of the era (including Adorno, Habermas, Fassbinder and von Trotta) along with writings by key political theorists (such as Norval and Honig), this course explores the major ideas guiding postwar West German representations of democracy: participation, recognition, resistance, and dissent. We will ask how these concepts take shape at the level of aesthetics and performance, and we will probe what lessons postwar thinkers can offer us for the democratic impasses of our own time. As the contemporary moment reminds us, democracy must tolerate within it the seeds of its own destruction even as it works to survive.  Taught in German.  Readings- all materials will be made available through a digital course reader on bCourses.

German 205 (4) Medieval and early Modern. Largier
"Scenes of formation: Media before modernity".  Time and again, modern media theorists have turned to premodern configurations of 'media', e.g., the transition from scrolls to codices and books in manuscript culture, the relations between images and texts in manuscripts and early prints, the emergence of print, as well as medieval and early modern theories of media. In this seminar, we will discuss exemplary situations of media use and of the significance of media from the Middle Ages to the Baroque. We will also try to see how far modern media theory is able to help us understand premodern artifacts.  Taught in English, Readings in German.

German 265/Film 240 (4) Film Theory Kaes
"Cinema of Crisis".  The seminar looks at German cinema between 1929 and 1934 through the lens of philosophical writings about crisis — economic, political, and cultural. We will analyze selected films from the pivotal years before and after the ascent of Hitler and ask how culture registered the gradual transition from a democratic to an autocratic system of government. Our interrogation will also address larger conceptual questions, such as the entanglement of aesthetics and politics, modernity and myth, proletariat and populism, as well as the very definition of crisis and state of exception. In addition, we will examine the media-technological shift from silent to sound cinema and radio. We will screen films by Bert Brecht, Fritz Lang, G.W. Pabst, Max Ophüls, Leni Riefenstahl, and lesser-known documentary and avant-garde works. Most importantly, we will discuss critical interventions by Walter Benjamin, Siegfried Kracauer, Sigmund Freud, Martin Heidegger, Ernst Jünger, and Carl Schmitt, as well as retrospective readings of the period by Theodor W. Adorno, Giorgio Agamben, Hannah Arendt, Jacques Rancière, Peter Sloterdijk, and Jürgen Habermas.  Taught in English.

German 270 (4) History of the German Language. Rauch
"History of the German language".   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. Sociolinguistic approaches to genetic language processes, informing the German language across time, are illustrated through the interface with literary documents from ancient Cattle Raids though Runic, Gothic, Medieval German and English texts, as well as excerpts from Luther’s era, Modern and Contemporary German. No prerequisites. Taught in German & English, Textbook in German, Reader in German & English.

German 285 (4) Approaches and Issues in Modern German.  Shannon
"Approaches & Issues in German Linguistics".   This seminar is designed to provide students with a representative survey of various approaches to, and issues in, the study of the contemporary German language. These methods and issues will be illustrated by examining a number of problems in the analysis of modern German. Some of the theories and topics to be discussed (tentatively) include: structuralism, transformational grammar and its successors, dependency grammar, functional grammar, problems of phonological analysis, valence and sentence patterns, functional sentence perspective and word order in German, pragmatics, and semantic analysis. There will be readings from a variety of original sources, which will be available on bCourses. Besides the regular reading assignments there will be one or two written assignments, and a final or a term paper. Grades will be determined by active participation in class and on the basis of the written work.Taught in English, Readings in German and English.

German 290 (4) German Linguistics.  Rauch
"Germanic Linguistics: From Then to Now".   The rich legacy that is Germanic linguistics will be constructed from several foci: Germanic grammar with its roots in the Anomalists and Analogists of Classical Greco-Roman grammar, from the Old Icelandic First Grammarian to contemporary ethnicity and gender grammar; appeal to theoretical, anthropological, and sociological approaches, highlighting controversies and personages through time, surrounding the establishment of linguistic laws informing Germanic language changes; the outreach of the principles of Germanic linguistics to general linguistics and to non-linguistic related arts and sciences. In addition, less studied evidence such as Langobardic will be subsumed under the umbrella of this seminar. No prerequisites.Taught in English, Readings in German.


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. Siegel
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.