Fall 2012 Courses


Mr. Finder                    Elem. Yiddish Language and Culture

YIDD 1050  To adapt a phrase from David G. Roskies, the preeminent scholar in this country of Yiddish literature, “Yiddish is dead.  Long live Yiddish!”  In his book The Jewish Search for a Usable Past (1999), Roskies writes: “The moment the past is finally laid to reset is the very moment that it reasserts its claim upon the living.”  If Yiddish was the language of the Jews of Eastern and Central Europe before the khurbn (“Holocaust” in Yiddish) and of Jewish immigrants from the “old country” to the “new world,” which they called the goldene medina (“the country made out of gold”), it is now being revived by thousands of enthusiasts who are interested in reclaiming this vibrant lost world of tradition and transformation, dreams and nightmares.  Yiddish is the key to the portal of this world.  Indeed, it is a vastly rich world unto itself.

This course is designed to be an introduction to the fundamentals of the Yiddish language and to Yiddish culture in both Europe and America.  We will study Yiddish structure and syntax, acquire a basic vocabulary, and apply these skills to speaking, reading, and writing.  In the course of our exploration of the Yiddish world, we will watch Yiddish films and listen to Yiddish music.

This is designed to be a year-long course.  Students are not required to take the second half of this course in the spring, but it is strongly advised if they want to acquire proficiency in the language, not to mention a higher level of Yiddish cultural literacy.

A student’s grade in this course will be determined on the basis of in-class quizzes, a cumulative final exam, and class participation.

3 credits                     

9:30-10:45 TR             

Wilson 141A               


Ms. Heins                   Introduction to German Studies

GETR 3330 This course will provide an introductory survey of major works and stylistic movements of film, literature, drama, philosophy, painting, photography, architecture, and media by German-speaking authors and artists from the Enlightenment to the present. We will investigate stylistic movements such as Romanticism, Naturalism, and Expressionism, and theoretical developments such as Marxism, psychoanalysis, and Frankfurt School critical theory. The course will also introduce students to significant moments in German political history and investigate the exchange between art and literature and the larger socio-historical context. It is intended as a preparation for the German Studies major and minor, as well as general studies in humanities.

Class discussion will be in English and all course materials will be available in English translation or with subtitles. No German language skills are required.

Course requirements will include regular attendance, active participation in class discussions, a midterm essay exam, an 8-10 page research paper, and a final essay exam.

3 credits                     

3:30-4:45 TR              

Wilson 216                 


Ms. Achilles                 Modern German History

GETR 3352/

HIEU 3352  This course covers the political, social and cultural history of modern Germany from the founding of the German Reich in 1871 to the present. Among the themes that we will explore are the repeated radical transformations of Germany’s political structures in the 20th century, the place of war, genocide, and dictatorship in German national memory, as well as the country’s shifting position within Europe and the world. We will also examine some of the major debates in German historiography, such as the idea that the Nazi “Third Reich” resulted from a flawed pattern of modernization that disconnected economic liberalism from political democracy. Throughout this course, we will pay particular attention to the ruptures and continuities in modern German history, and to the meanings of a highly problematic past for the construction of German national identity. Requirements include regular attendance, two short essays, a midterm and final examination.

3 credits                     

1:00-1:50 MW

NAU 211                           

Discussion Sections:

6:00-6:50 R NAU 211

7:00-7:50 R Cabell 430

8:00-8:50 R NAU 142    


Mr. Grossman

Mr. Finder                    German Jewish Culture and History

GETR 3372/

HIEU 3372 /

RELJ 3372  This course provides a wide-ranging exploration of the culture and history of German Jewry from 1750 to 1939.  It focuses especially on the Jewish response to modernity in Central Europe, a response that proved highly productive, giving rise to a range of lasting transformations in Jewish life in Europe and later North America, in particular, and in European culture and society, more generally.

Until the mid-eighteenth century, Jewish self-definition was relatively stable.  From that point on, it became increasingly contingent and open-ended.  Before the rise of Nazism in 1933, German Jewish life was characterized by a plethora of emerging possibilities.  This course explores this vibrant and dynamic process of change and self-definition. It traces the emergence of new forms of Jewish experience, and it shows their unfolding in a series of lively and poignant dramas of tradition and transformation, division and integration, dreams and nightmares.  The course seeks to grasp this world through the lenses of culture and history, and to explore the different ways in which these disciplines illuminate the past.  We will discuss processes of change that began with Jewish emancipation, the entry of Jews into European culture and society, and the acculturation (vs. assimilation) that ensued.  These processes released new energies and produced new challenges for Jewish life.  These energies led to the invention of the “Wissenschaft des Judentums” (the “science” or “academic study” of Judaism) and to various attempts to re-form traditional Jewish life for a modern world – resulting in the reform, conservative and modern Orthodox movements.  These newly released energies also gave rise to the literary salons of Berlin and Vienna, conducted by various independent Jewish women (e.g. Rahel Levin Varnhagen, Henrietta Herz) and serving as centers of German cultural activity.  Similarly, individual Jews made important contributions far in excess of their numbers to modern European culture and society – in literature and the press, politics, philosophy, the natural and the social sciences.  We will consider contributions by such figures as Marx, Freud, Walter Benjamin, Adorno, Kafka, Heine, Wittgenstein, Rosa Luxembourg, among others, and explore what, if any, relationship their works had to do with their Jewish background.  Finally, we will consider the various Jewish responses to modern politics of the left and right in Germany, including socialism, liberalism, the völkisch movements, political anti-Semitism and Zionism.

This course is intended to acquaint students with the study of German Jewish culture and history and assumes no prior training in the subject.  Class meetings will combine lecture and discussion.  A large share of the reading assignments will come from primary sources – novels, short stories, poems, folktales, diaries, and memoirs.  In class we will also examine East European Jewish music and visual arts.  Course requirements will include two short essays (5 pages) and a 10-page term paper as well as conscientious participation in class discussion.  Readings will be drawn from both primary and secondary literature. Represented in the primary reading will be central figures in German-speaking Jewry, possibly including Moses Mendelssohn, Heinrich Heine, Rahel Varnhagen, Franz Kafka, Gershom Scholem, Martin Buber, Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud. The secondary literature may draw from Amos Elon, The Pity of It All, Jacob Katz, Out of the Ghetto; Michael Meyer, ed., German-Jewish History in Modern Times and Michael Brenner, The Jewish Renaissance in Weimer Germany.

This course fulfills the Second Writing Requirement.

3 credits                     

12:30-1:45 TR                                 

NAU 211                    


Mr. Wellmon                The Idea of the University

GETR 3590/

CPLT 3391  This course will consider how some of our contemporary questions regarding higher education were first formulated in Germany with the founding of the University of Berlin in 1810. We will also consider how similar questions were taken up by Thomas Jefferson and the founding of the University of Virginia. What is the relation between the university and the state or society more broadly speaking? What is the relationship between teaching and research? Is there a difference between vocational training and preparation and academic study? How does the university organize and produce knowledge? How did disciplines and specific fields of study come about in the first place? In general, we'll be concerned with what it is exactly we are all doing in this place we call a university. We will conclude the course with a discussion of the contemporary university, its futures and its role in a digital age.

No prerequisites. All readings and discussions in English. Satisfies College Humanities (Literature) requirement. Course requirements include: on-line discussion and three written exams.

3 credits                     

3:30-4:45 MW             

Dell 2                         


Mr. Bennett                  Tragedy

GETR 3590/

CPLT 3590  Readings and discussion centered on the idea of dramatic tragedy.  The readings (in English) will be mainly examples of dramatic tragedy, from Hellenic antiquity to the twentieth century.  A number of Greek tragedies will be read, using the Poetics of Aristotle as a foil, followed by several major examples from the Elizabethan and the French classical theater.  The main question of the course will be whether a reasonable idea of dramatic tragedy, distilled from these instances, can possibly be appropriate in the modern bourgeois age of literature, say 1750 on.  For the early part of this period, German examples (from Lessing, Goethe, Schiller, Kleist) will be especially important.  For the later part, especially the decades around 1900, the horizon will expand to include Scandinavian, Russian, French, and British literature.

3 credits                     

2:00-3:15 MW             

email professor           


Ms. Kollig                    Postwar Literature

GETR 3590 Which peculiar position did Germany find itself in after the end of World War II, the Horrors of German National Socialism and the Holocaust? How did a former totalitarian society evolve into an economical global player as well as a multicultural host of film festival and fashion shows?

For decades, Germany’s division into an eastern and a western part sparked heated discussions about the cultural status quo amongst politicians, students, and feminist activists. Finally, after the fall of the Berlin Wall and of the Iron Curtain, a politically reunified German literature increasingly addressed multicultural issues and such of globalization, but also the struggles to let a cultural reunification follow the political.

Topics include: Germany’s Economic Miracle in the 1950s, the student protests in East and West Germany in the 1960s and 1970s, the rise of a German-based haute couture, Punk and New Wave in the 1980s, and German Pop Literature after the Fall of the Wall.

Readings include:

Jana Hensel (After the Wall: Confessions from an East German Childhood and the Life that Came Next - prose)

Elfriede Jelinek (Clara S. - drama)

Ingeborg Bachmann (The Good God of Manhattan - radio play)

There will be film clips by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck (The Life of the Others), Hannes Stoehr (Berlin Calling), and Benjamin Quabeck (Play it Loud! / Verschwende Deine Jugend), as well as a survey of German popular music (New German Wave, Techno/Rave, and Alternative/Independent), with a focus on the intersection of music and literature (Heiner Mueller's theatrical play 'Hamletmachine' performed by the Berlin new wave band 'Einstürzende Neubauten' / 'Collapsing New Buildings') 

No prerequisites. Grading based on in-class participation, three take-home essays and a final examination.

3 credits                     

3:30-4:45 TR              

Monroe 114                


Ms. Heins
                           Film Under Fascism: Ideology and Entertainment

GETR 3610/MDST 3610

The cinema of the fascist dictatorships of the 1930s and 40s stands as the primary historical example of the application of mass media to the ends of mass manipulation. The propagandistic strategies of fascist cinema were often subtle, however, and the workings of fascist ideologies were hidden from spectators under the surface appearance of  “pure entertainment” or of informative documentary. This course will examine the ideological content and the formal structure of fascist films, focusing primarily on cinema in the Third Reich, but also considering the cinemas of fascist Italy and Spain. Among the topics we will address are the way in which a militarist and nationalist spirit was supported by fascist popular films, their participation in racist worldviews, and their treatment of gender issues. We will also investigate definitions of “fascist aesthetics,” the often complex modes of address to spectators of Nazi films, and the relationship between fascist cinema and the classical cinema of Hollywood. The course should thereby serve to sensitize students to the reflection and transmission of ideological content in popular cinema in general.

Class discussion will be in English and all course materials will be available in English or with subtitles. No German language skills are required.

Course requirements will include regular attendance, active participation in class discussions, a midterm essay exam, four online discussion group postings, and an 8-10 page research paper. 

3 credits                     

6:00-7:15 TR

Wilson 216                 

6:00-7:15 TR class section 

6:00-8:30 W Film Screening Section

Monroe 116 


Ms. Schenberg            German For Reading Knowledge

GERM 1015         This course is intended for graduate students and advanced undergraduates who need to develop the skills necessary for reading and translating German. In the first semester, class time is devoted to grammar presentation and exercises, sight readings, developing of translation skills, and review of assigned material. The second semester is devoted to cursory grammar review and to reading and translation of unaltered German texts from a variety of academic disciplines.  After completion of this course and its continuation,

German 1025, students should be able to read and translate German texts in their chosen fields, and to pass their German language exams.

For graduate students, this is a no-credit course. Undergraduates may receive credit for the course, but this credit does not count toward the language requirement.

3 credits                     

12:00-12:50 MWF       

Cabell 543                 


Ms. Schenberg            Intensive German

GERM 1110         This is an accelerated course designed for mature and self-motivating undergraduates.  After completion of this course and its sequel, German 1120, students are eligible to take GERM 2010, or on the basis of the fall Placement Test, a higher level language course.  A traditional but fast-moving introduction to German grammar is combined with intensive practice in reading, writing, and speaking the language.

3 credit                       

1:00-1:50 MTWRF       

Cabell 543                 


Mr. Taggart                  Intensive Grammar

GERM 3000         A comprehensive review of German grammar, stressing adjective endings, passive and subjunctive. A good basic knowledge (2020 level) is assumed. The goal of the course is control of German grammar, so that all the student still needs for fluency is more vocabulary. Regularly hourly exams and a final examination.

Prerequisite: German 2020 or consent of the instructor  

3 credits                     

1:00-1:50 MWF           

Minor 130                   


Mr. Ilsemann               Introduction to Literature     GERM 3010         

This seminar serves as an introductory course to the practice of reading and interpreting texts. While the focus will be on literary texts, other media will be represented as well, notably film. Participating students will have the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the three major literary genres (drama, poetry, and prose); the technical terms necessary to discuss and analyze literature and other kinds of texts; and various schools of interpretation, such as structuralism and psychoanalysis. Students will also improve their language proficiency, especially in the areas reading comprehension, speaking, and writing. The class will be conducted entirely in German. Requirements include active participation, regular homework assignments, a series of essays, and a final exam.

3 credits                     

2:00-3:15 MW             

Monroe 114                


Mr. Ilsemann               Survey of Literature II

GERM 3110        

The course focuses on the literature of the twentieth century as viewed in its historical and cultural context.  It begins with turn-of-the-century authors in Vienna, such as Schnitzler and Hofmannsthal, followed by works of famous writers such as Kafka and Brecht.  Postwar literature includes works by Böll and Bachmann as well as contemporary women authors writing just after the fall of the Wall.  Lectures on the sociopolitical background will complement the reading and discussion of texts, which is the primary focus.  Grading will be based on class participation, three short essays, and a final exam.  All work will be in German.  Prerequisite:  GERM 3010 or consent of the instructor.

3 credits                     

11:00-11:50 MWF       

Wilson 141B               


Ms. Scholz                  Composition & Conversation  GERM 3230        

Practice in writing and speaking German. No textbook required. Course materials gleaned from the Internet.  

Prerequisite: GERM 3000.

3 credits                     

11:00-12:15 TR           

Wilson 141A               


Ms. Neuhaus              German House Conversation

GERM 3290         This course is mandatory for the residents of the German House but open to other students as well.

1 credit                       

5:00-6:00 W               

German House           


Ms. Achilles                 Topics in Business German: Umwelt und Energie

GERM 3526         Building a sustainable society is a major challenge of the 21st century, and environmental sustainability is quickly becoming a major field of study. Striving to become the world’s first major renewable energy economy by 2050, Germany is widely considered a global front runner in environmental policy and practice. How did Europe’s largest economy come to embrace an energy challenge that has been compared to the first landing on the moon? Is the German renewable “energy revolution” transferable to other industrialized nations such as the United States? This course explores the challenges and opportunities of Germany’s shift from fossil fuels and nuclear power towards a sustainable and decidedly modern renewable energy future. Course materials range from Gudrun Pausewang’s bestselling nuclear accident novel, Die Wolke, to Ulrich’s Beck’s philosophically informed sociological study of contemporary Western risk societies (excerpts). In addition, we will draw on the media libraries of the major German TV channels and other readily available internet resources.

Requirements include regular attendance, two exams and a final project. Prerequisites: GERM 3000 or equivalent.

3 credits                     

10:00-10:50 MWF       

Wilson 141A               



Mr. Schneider               Topics In German Literature

GERM 3590         Short Texts/Kurze Texte: Anekdoten und Aphorismen

Die deutschsprachige Literatur besteht nicht nur aus schwierigen Büchern und dicken Romanen , sondern auch aus kleinen literarischen Formen mit  geistreichen Gedanken und pointierten Geschichten. Darin findet man die Weltgeschichte und Philosophie in der Nussschale. In solchen Anekdoten und Aphorismen haben sich die besten deutschen Autoren geäußert. Zu ihnen zählen Georg Christoph Lichtenberg, Heinrich von Kleist, Johann Peter Hebel, Friedrich Nietzsche, Franz Kafka, Bertolt Brecht, Walter Benjamin, Alexander Kluge. Anekdoten und Aphorismen bieten den Lesern keine großen sprachlichen Schwierigkeiten, dafür aber geben sie Gelegenheit zum lebendigen Gespräch und zur Diskussion. Wir werden uns einmal mit der Geschichte und Poetik dieser Formen beschäftigen und zugleich schöne, heitere, witzige, lehrreiche, bisweilen auch rätselhafte Beispiele miteinander lesen. Zugleich können wir uns anhand dieser kurzen Texte ein Bild von einigen der größten deutschen Schriftsteller, ihrer Ideen und Eigenarten machen.

3 credits                     

12:30-1:45 TR             

Conference Room Annex A     


Mr. Grossman             Kafka

GERM 3590         Kafkaesque is a ubiquitous term, and Franz Kafka one of the few writers to lend his name to a certain kind of (all too strange, all too familiar) situation: But are Franz Kafka’s works kafkaesque? If so, in what sense? In this course we will explore this and other questions by reading central works by Kafka in German. Works will include “Die Verwandlung,” “Das Urteil,” “In der Strafkolonie” “Ein Hungerkünstler,” various aphorisms and parables, as well as excerpts of letters and diaries. Time permitting, we will read part or all of Kafka's novel Der Prozeß.

Prerequisites: GERM 3010 or instructor permission

Requirements: Active participation in class. Two short papers (5 pages), mid-term exam; one oral report; short-response papers.

3 credit                       

9:30-10:45 TR             

Pav VIII room 108      


Mr. McDonald              Stylistics

GERM 4450         Refinement of German prose style. No textbook required. Course materials gleaned from the Internet. Prerequisite: GERM 3240 or permission of instructor.

3 credits                     

2:00-3:15 TR              

Monroe 111                


Mr. McDonald              Arthurian Romance

GERM 5140         Students read the German Arthurian romances /Erec, Iwein, Parzival /and /Tristan/, comparing each with French versions of the stories. The language of instruction is English, and all texts will be in English. (Those desiring modern German versions of the stories will be accommodated.) Employing the technique of “close reading,” we rely on student discussion, not lectures. During each class period students lead the discussion on the basis of short papers that they compose.  A term paper replaces a final examination.

This course is open to graduates and advanced undergraduates from all disciplines. 

Prerequisite: Undergraduates will please obtain permission of instructor

3 credits                     

3:30-6:00 W               

Wilson 235                 


Mr. Kaiser                   German Romanticism

GERM 5300         Dieser Kurs soll allen Seminarteilnehmern sowohl einen Űberblick wie auch Einblicke in das Schrifttum jener Epoche verschaffen, die ihre Vertreter die romantische genannt haben.  Dabei sollen alle Gattungsformen zur Sprache kommen (Lyrik; Prosa; Theaterstücke; Ästhetik, Poetik und Theorie der Literatur), vor allem aber der Roman, den die Romantiker gleichsam als eine Gattung aller Gattungen begriffen haben.  Einblicke sollen gewonnen werden in die Besonderheiten der Konzeption von romantischer Autorschaft, Geschichtlichkeit und Diskursivität.  Zugleich soll deren Konfiguration in den romantischen Texten reflektiert werden, um so einen Zugang zu Fragen der Hermeneutik und der Interpretation von Texten zu gewinnen.  Es kommt ja nicht von ungefähr, dass gerade im Zeitalter der Romantik die Reflexion auf die Geschichtlichkeit und das Verstehen von Texten akzentuiert wird.

Das Seminar soll auf deutsch unterrichtet werden; es wendet sich insbesondere an jene Studenten, die noch keinen Magister besitzen und diesen Kurs u.a. auch zur Examensvorbereitung nutzen möchten. Aus diesem Grunde sollen die Leseliste und der Semesterplan auch nach dem Interesse der Teilnehmer zusammengestellt werden, so dass Autoren und Texte der MA-Leseliste besondere Berücksichtigung finden können.  Zum Ende des Seminars wollen wir mit Heines “Die romantische Schule” einen Blick zurückwerfen auf das Faszinosum eines Zeitalters, das zu den spannendsten, produktivsten und innovativsten der deutschen Literaturgeschichte zu gehören scheint.

Von den Teilnehmern werden erwartet: Regelmäβige und aktive Partizipation an den wöchentlichen Sitzungen; Vorstellung, Interpretation und Diskussion eines Textes; eine Seminarbeit, die am Ende des Semesters einzureichen ist. Die Unterrichtssprache ist deutsch.  Arbeiten können, müssen aber nicht auf deutsch geschrieben werden.

3 credits                     

2:00-3:15 MW             

Monroe 113                


Mr. Schneider               19th Century Literature

GERM 5370         Deutschlandmythen im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert

Germanisten sind Wissenschaftler des Deutschen. Was aber ist deutsch? Die Frage wurde zu einem Grundproblem im 19. Jahrhundert, als es keinen deutschen Einheitsstaat gab. Was ist das Besondere an den Deutschen? Der Geist, der Charakter, die Seele, die blauen Augen, die Geschichte, die Kunst? Sind die Deutschen das Volk der „Dichter und  Denker“ (Jean Paul) oder der „Richter und Henker“ (Karl Kraus)?

Es war vor allem Sache der Schriftsteller, Künstler, Professoren und Philosophen, ein solches Wesen der Deutschen zu beschwören und zu fragen. Wer sind die paradigmatischen Männer, in denen sich dieses Deutsche besonders manifestiert? Ist es Karl der Große, Kaiser Barbarossa, Martin Luther, Johann Sebastian Bach, Friedrich der Große oder Johann Wolfgang von Goethe? Oder zeigt sich das Deutsche in  Besonderheiten der Sprache, der Poesie, des Denkens, der Kultur oder der Moral? Auf diesen Feldern scheint sich das Deutsche vom „Welschen“, vom „Westlichen“, vom „Jüdischen“, wie die beliebtesten Gegenbegriffe damals lauteten, zu unterscheiden. Alle diese Bestimmungen nennen wir mit Roland Barthes „mythisch“, weil sie kulturelle Gegebenheiten in natürliche Verhältnisse umdeuten.

Das Seminar wird sich mit einer Reihe dieser geschichtsmächtigen literarischen, philosophischen, politischen, musikalischen und linguistischen Mythen des Deutschen  auseinandersetzen. Grundlage dieser gemeinsamen Lektüren sind u.a. Schriften von Johann Gottlieb Fichte, Jacob Grimm, Heinrich Heine, Richard Wagner, Friedrich Hebbel, Friedrich Nietzsche, Huston Stewart Chamberlain, Thomas Mann, Hugo von Hofm

3 credits                     

2:00-3:15 TR              

NAU 287                    


Mr. Bennett                    Freud

GERM 8559                  Reading and discussion of all the major works of Freud, with a view to developing as comprehensive a view of his thought as possible, including its medical, metapsychological, biological, anthropological, cultural, philosophical, and political dimensions.  Readings may be done in either English or German.  The course is designed to be offered for graduate credit to students from any department in Arts and Sciences, and to be open to visitors from outside Arts and Sciences, especially from the Medical School and the medical community in general.  To facilitate participants’ scheduling, meetings will be three full hours in length, one evening per week.  Each participant taking the course for credit will be expected to lead the discussion for at least half of one meeting on a text or topic of his or her choosing. The opportunity to lead seminar discussions will also be available to non-credit participants, to the extent that time permits.

3 credits                                 

7:30-10:00 p.m. M                   

Cabell 432                             


Ms. Scholz                  Praktikum

GERM 8610         Studies the theory and practice of language teaching with supervised classroom experience.  One group meeting per week plus extensive individual consultation.  Required of all beginning teaching assistants in the German Department.

3 credits                     

3:30-6:00 R                

TA Conference Room