Current Courses - Fall 2018

German Department

Course Descriptions

Fall 2018

(Currently Being Updated 3/16/18)



GERM 1015 (3) German For Reading Knowledge

                           2:00-3:15  TR                                                                      Ms. Schenberg

This course is intended for graduate students and advanced undergraduates who need to develop the skills necessary for reading and translating scholarly German and/or to pass the graduate reading exam. Nightly homework assignments from the textbook, combined in the later part of the course with readings and translation of texts from students’ chosen fields of study, will help students attain their desired research skills in German.  For graduate students, this is a no-credit course; graduates should register either as auditors or for Credit/No credit. Those registering for Credit/No credit are expected to attend class, turn in homework assignments regularly, and take all tests and quizzes, in order to receive Credit. Those not wishing to meet these requirements should register as auditors. Undergraduates may take the course for a letter grade, for CR/NC, or as auditors. Please note that GERM 1015 does not count toward the language requirement.Course Requirements: Written: tests, quizzes, nightly homework assignments, midterm, final exam. Participation: attend and participate in class regularly.


GERM 2525 (3) Intermediate German, Topics (Learning by Doing)                       Mr. Shepherd

                             12:00-12:50 MWF

Who doesn't love a twofer? Get two movie tickets for the price of one. Buy one, get one at your favorite shoe store. GERM 2025 is the best twofer of the semester. Improve your German and acquire technical skills. This course is a total immersion experience that broadens and deepens your language proficiency in a technology-centered and project-oriented way. Throughout the semester you will design and develop a German-language website, model and print iconic representations of German and US-American culture using the Scholars’ Lab Makerspace 3D printers, and experience virtual reality to generate discussion and ideas on creating a VR environment for learning German. We will also prepare an exhibit to showcase our 3D printed objects. You don't need any previous technology skills for this course. Together, we will confront the challenges of language learning and create valuable technology-based objects and learning experiences in German.

Prerequisites: GERM 2525 is equivalent to GERM 2020 and has the same prerequisites (GERM 2010 or corresponding qualification). The successful completion of GERM 2525 fulfills the language requirement of the College of Arts and Sciences at UVa. If you are interested, you will also be able to declare a German major or minor upon competing this class. 


GERM 3000 (3)  German Language Skills  - Grammar in Use

                             12:00-12:50 MWF                                                            Ms. Gutterman

This course builds on the first year and second year German courses and seeks to increase the students' level of competence in both grammar and vocabulary. In this class, students are expected to produce more accurate and complex language, a broader range of vocabulary and begin to discuss issues from a diverse thematical syllabus. These might include political, social, cultural and educational issues as well as everyday life topics and current events in the German speaking countries. Students learn to participate in discussions of such issues creating group presentations and arguing a stance. Depending on competence levels, students can venture into a broad range of topics that they are interested in. A variety of grammatical issues will be reviewed on the basis of the topics discussed. Grammatical accuracy will be a central focus but also register appropriacy, and fluency. Prerequisite is GERM 2020.  The Textbook for this course is: Anne Buscha, Susanne Raven & Gisela Linthout. 2009. Erkundungen C1. Leipzig: Schubert Verlag.


GERM 3010 (3)  Texts and Interpretations

                             10:00-10:50 MWF                                                              Mr. Dobryden

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, vocabulary, and writing. The class will be conducted entirely in German. Requirements include active participation, regular homework assignments, a series of essays and quizzes, as well as an oral presentation.


GERM 3110 (3)  Survey of Literature II - 20th and 21st Literature

                              1:00-1:50  MWF                                                             Ms. Gutterman

This course focuses on texts by German-speaking authors of the 20th and 21st century. We will discuss different literary forms and genres – short stories, novels, plays, poems, as well as autobiographic writings – and we will address the relationship of these texts to German history, culture, and literary movements. Our discussion will begin with turn-of-the-century writers in Vienna, such as Schnitzler and Hofmannsthal, followed by Benjamin, Brecht and Kafka. Postwar literature will include Ruth Klüger and Ingeborg Bachmann. We will also discuss contemporary literature and pay special attention to the current literary scene in Germany, with readings ranging from Sebald’s Die Ausgewanderten to Shida Bazyar’s Nachts ist es leise in Teheran. Grading will be based on class participation, three short essays, and a final paper. All work will be conducted in German.


GERM 3230 (3) Composition & Conversation

                           3:30-4:45 TR                                                                    Mr. McDonald

Improve your German communication skills through an innovative German conversation and writing method that draws on contemporary online resources, spanning culture, politics, sports, and technology. (Among these resources are Deutsche Welle, Tagesschau, German online newspapers, and online dictionaries.)  Students develop and refine writing and conversation strategies through weekly writing assignments modelled on texts from streaming-media sites. Daily conversation and comprehension exercises build vocabulary and introduce students to idioms. Select grammar review at student initiative.  No textbook is required.


GERM 3250 (3) German for Professionals  

                           11:00-11:50  MWF                                                            Ms. Parker

Prepares students to communicate and interact effectively in the business environment of German-speaking countries. Emphasis is placed on practical, career-usable competence. Prerequisite: GERM 3000 or equivalent


GERM 3290 (1) German House Conversation 

                           4:00-4:50 M                                                                       Ms. Neuhaus

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


GERM 3510 (3) Topics in German Culture – Exile and Migration

                           2:00-3:15 TR                                                                    Mr. Grossman

The story of migration to Germany, it is often claimed, only began with the arrival of guest workers in 1955, with the result that many Germans disagree over the question: Is Germany an “Einwanderungsland” (a land of immigration) or can it be one? This debate remains an urgent matter, given the recent refugee crisis that has sent hundreds of thousands fleeing war zones and other places of hardship to Germany in recent years. Adding to that urgency is the backlash against migrants, refugees, and others considered to be “foreign” or of “foreign” origin, giving rise to the anti-immigrant movement Pegida and the electoral success of the AfD (Alternativ für Deutschland), an extreme right political party has now entered the German parliament (Bundestag) with 13% of the seats.

We will address the question of Germany as “Einwanderungsland” by reading texts of various types concerned with this issue, which may include: essays, news articles, official documents, fiction, drama, poetry, film, and other materials written in German by authors of various backgrounds. The aim of the course is to explore a range of views and develop a multifaceted understanding of the issues, debates, problems, etc., that continue to be a pressing question in Germany today.


GETR 3330 (3)  Introduction to German Culture: Problems and Perspectives

                            3:30-4:45  TR                                                                                     TBA




GETR 3505/ (3) Hitler in History and Fiction                        

HIEU 3505         2:00-3:15 MW                                                                       Ms. Achilles

Who was Adolf Hitler and how can we understand the Hitler phenomenon? Was his rise to power an aberrant historical accident or a logical outcome of German history? What was more decisive in shaping the catastrophic course of events under Hitler’s regime: his personality or deep structural historical factors? Would history have turned out better (or worse) if Hitler had been accepted into art school or died in infancy? Do melodramatic depictions of his last days normalize or even trivialize the Holocaust? Is it acceptable to laugh about or even empathize with Hitler today? 

This course investigates Hitler’s life and afterlife on the basis of a broad variety of sources. Course materials range from scholarly articles to Nazi propaganda, films, novels, counterfactual histories and Hitler representations on the internet. Throughout this course, we will combine an interest in the personal dimensions of Hitler’s rule with the study of power structures, social interests, aesthetic forms, generational shifts, and national frames. We will pay particular attention to the affective logics and representational regimes that shape our understanding of the past (and present). Requirements include regular attendance, active participation, one oral presentation, and short written assignments. There will be no midterm or final examinations.  



HIEU 3352 (3)  Modern German History                                                       Ms. Achilles

                           10:00-10:50 MW

This course explores the multi-faceted history of modern Germany from the founding of the Empire in 1871 to the present. Among the themes that we will study are the repeated radical transformation of Germany’s political structures in the 20th century, the place of war and genocide in German history and 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 traumatic past for the construction of  national identity. Requirements include regular attendance, active participation, two essays, as well as a midterm and final examination.


GETR 3566  (3)  Weimar Cinema

                           3:30-4:45  MW                                                                   Mr. Dobryden

This course will familiarize students with the formally adventurous and globally influential cinema of the Weimar Republic. We will examine key films from a range of genres (including horror, comedy, science fiction, crime, and melodrama) by directors such as Fritz Lang, F. W. Murnau, Ernst Lubitsch, and G. W. Pabst. Situating the films within the cultural upheavals of the period from 1918 to 1933, we will discuss the aftereffects of WWI; the politics of class and gender; discourses on nature and technology; relationships between aesthetics, spectatorship, and politics; and processes of industrialization, urbanization, and globalization. Students without experience in film studies are welcome.


GETR 3590 (3)   Fairy Tales

                             11:00-12:15 TR                                                                       TBA




GETR 3590 (3)  Medieval Stories of Love and Adventure

                              2:00-3:15  TR                                                                    Mr. McDonald

Joseph Campbell––and more! Trace the origin of The Lord of the Rings, Star Trek, and Game of Thrones: Encounter the stories that inspired Richard Wagner. Follow the hero and heroines of medieval fiction through the steps of the heroic quest: the call to adventure, meeting the mentor, tests and trials, symbolic death and rebirth, the road back, and return with a societal boon. Among the stories read are Parzival and Tristan and Isolde. Grade is based on classroom discussion, oral reports, and a final paper. No final examination. No textbook required.  


GETR 3692/ (3)  The Holocaust

HIEU 3692           12:30-1:45 TR

                             2:00-3:15   TR                                                                        Mr. Finder

In this course we study the encounter between the Third Reich and Europe’s Jews between 1933 and 1945. This encounter resulted in the deaths of almost 6 million Jews.  The course aims to clarify basic facts and explore competing explanations for the origins and unfolding of the Holocaust—in Hebrew, Shoah. We also explore survivors’ memories after the Holocaust, postwar Holocaust-related trials, and the universal implications of the Holocaust.

This course is intended to acquaint students with the historical study of the Holocaust and assumes no prior training in the subject.  We will read studies by important historians, including Saul Friedländer, Christopher Browning, and Peter Hayes, contemporary documents, and memoirs. Class meetings will combine lecture and discussion. Course requirements include three written assignments and conscientious participation in class discussion.