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Courses Taught in German

Courses Primarily for Undergraduates

German 101-1,2,3 – Beginning German

The Beginning German sequence offers students a systematic introduction to German language and culture emphasizing the four modalities: speaking, listening comprehension, reading and writing. The first quarter (101-1) offers a systematic review of basic German words, phrases with a cultural focus on Germany, an introduction of simple grammar items, and short interview practice at the end of the quarter. The second quarter (101-2) includes a variety of writing assignments, cultural presentations, reading poems by Goethe, the visit of a Mystery Guest, as well as intensive work with the strong and irregular verbs. In the third quarter (101-3), students will read and discuss short stories and plays by Grimm, Brecht and Kafka! The highlight will be an in-class skit performance which culminates in the almost famous *Evening O' Skits* featuring the best student selected skits from first and second-year German.
Prerequisite in German for 101-1: None or one year of high-school German.
Prerequisite in German for 101-2: 101-1 or placement exam results.
Prerequisite in German for 101-3: 101-2 or placement exam results.

German 102-1,2,3 – Intermediate German

The Intermediate German sequence offers students a systematic review of German language and culture to increase linguistic proficiency and cultural literacy. The pedagogy used fosters learning in the four modalities: speaking, listening comprehension, reading and writing. Each quarter has a specific focus: In the Fall Quarter (102-1) students concentrate on speaking and communication and on the history of the GDR and the 20th anniversary of Germanyʼs reunification, in the Winter Quarter (102-2) on writing and on contemporary German culture, and in the Spring Quarter (102-3) on reading, theatre, and performance and on 20th -century literature by German-speaking authors.
Prerequisite in German for 102-1: 101-3 or placement exam results
Prerequisite in German for 102-2: 102-1 or placement exam results.
Prerequisite in German for 102-3: 102-2 or placement exam results.

German 115 – Intensive Beginning German through Musical Journeys in Vienna

The fascinating musical and cultural history of the metropolis Vienna serves as the basis for this
Intensive Beginning German course which provides musically interested students with the option to acquire German language skills through an intensive immersion in the topic in an interdisciplinary context. The goals of the course include the contextualized development of speaking, writing, reading, and listening skills in German and the acquisition of a basic general and musical vocabulary as well as a solid grammatical basis. Activities will draw on the lives and works of composers between 1750 and 1950 including Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Schubert, Johann Strauß, and Alban Berg. Students will read short biographies, letters, poetry and prose, watch relevant films and videos, study paintings and maps of Vienna, learn about important institutions and historical facts about the city, and explore current cultural events.
Prerequisite in German: None or one year of high-school German.

German 201-0 – Focus Reading

This course is for students in intermediate German who would like to improve basic reading skills by exploring vital German cultural texts in depth. There are two versions of the course. In Brothers Grimm students will be exposed to versions of the Kinder- und Hausmärchen collected by the brothers Grimm and adaptations by later authors. These texts will be used to investigate the culture and values of the period and will also examine the historical framework, which led to the collection of these tales and a development of the genre. In Tension in the Modern Age: 20th Century Women of the Arts examines the explosion of art and industry at the turn of the century that for the first time included substantial opportunities for women. Through short historical texts, biographies, letters and journals, students will learn about social issues, art movements and the German politics of the period that included Bismarck, colonies and war.
Prerequisite in German: German 102-2. (This course will not count for the language requirement but may be taken concurrently with 102-3.)

German 203-0 – Focus Speaking

This course is designed to enhance the aural/oral skills by training students in listening comprehension and speaking. Vocabulary and idioms employed in everyday conversational German will be introduced and practiced in communicative activities such as role-playing, listening to and creating podcasts in German and small group discussions. New cultural concepts will be introduced through multimedia presentations and German podcasts. A final project will involve the creation of a short podcast in German by the students.

Prerequisite in German: German 102-2. (This course will not count for the language requirement as it may be taken concurrently with 102-3.)

German 205-0 – Focus Writing

This course is designed especially for students who wish to improve their writing skills in order to become independent, confident and proficient writers of German. The thematic basis for the course is the city of Berlin and the personalities, places, historical events, cultural trends, and visions that have shaped it during the 20th and are shaping it during the 21st Century. Course materials will include current texts from newspapers and magazines, fictional works by German-speaking authors, as well as feature films, episodes of a German telenovela, music, and videos. Students will learn to analyze and to produce portraits of people and places, narratives, and film reviews. Grammar topics relevant for each unit will be reviewed thoroughly and integrated in context.

Prerequisite in German: German 102-3.

German 207-0 – Current Events in German Media

Using the broad range of media now available on the internet along with traditional print sources, this course will provide an opportunity to learn about current issues in Europe as examined through German language media.  Print articles, radio broadcasts, TV news shows, and other internet sources from Germany, Austria and Switzerland allow for immediate access to news and students will use these sources during class discussions and activities to investigate issues in sports, politics, education, economics and culture. Students will practice listening comprehension skills that allow for understanding of regular radio and TV news programs and develop skills for narrating, comparing, analyzing and synthesizing information taken from texts, and audio and video broadcasts.

Prerequisite in German: German 102-3.

German 209-0 – German in the Business World

In this course, students will acquire basic business-related German language skills and attain a cross-cultural perspective on German and American business practices. The emphasis will be on communicative situations such as oral and written social interactions with customers, sales dialogues, business travel, basic formats of business letters and internship applications. The course is taught entirely in German and emphasizes developing cultural knowledge and German language skills to prepare students for basic professional activities in and with German-speaking countries.

Prerequisite in German: One 200-level course in German or permission of the DUS.  

German 211-0 – German Culture Through Film

This course is an introduction to German culture through the lens of German film. Students will be exposed to aspects of German history, society, politics, and aesthetic movements by analyzing nine significant German films made between 1920 and 2015. By studying selected elements of film, including genre, contexts, actors, directors, production and reception, film history, in addition to central thematic and formal elements of film, students will also learn the basics of film analysis. This course is taught entirely in German and emphasizes developing cultural knowledge and German language skills.

Prerequisite in German: One 200-level course in German or permission of the DUS.  

This course counts for Distribution Area VI.

GERMAN 213-0 – Politics, History, and Culture in 21st-Century Germany

This course is specifically designed for students who would like to prepare for studying abroad and/or would like to deepen their cultural and linguistic knowledge regarding integration and multicultural life in Germany. The topics covered in the course will focus partly on topics covered in the German integration course (Integrationskurs), a program developed in Germany specifically for immigrants. Topics will include a brief history of Germany in the 20th century and how it affects life in the 21st century, the meaning of democracy, Germany as a welfare state, life in unified Germany and Europe, political and educational structures, religious and intercultural integration and social networks. With this course, students will be prepared for the final examination, the “Life Germany” test, an examination written for immigrants in Germany.

Prerequisite in German: One 200-level course in German or permission of the DUS.

This course counts for Distribution Area III.

German 221-1 – Introduction to Literature: 1800-1900

This course, designed for majors and non-majors, presents an overview of German literary history of the 19th century – from Weimar classicism to radical modernist movements of the 1890s.  Students will learn to closely examine representative texts such as poetry, prose, and drama with a special focus on the rapidly changing historical and literary environment that was typical for this period. By keeping the number of students in the class relatively small, there will be ample opportunity to practice the close reading of literary texts and the analysis of complex works of art in a foreign language.

Prerequisite in German: One 200-level course in German or permission of the DUS.

This course counts for Distribution Area VI.

German 221-2 – Introduction to Literature: 1900-1945

This course, designed for majors and non-majors, introduces students to the historical dimension of a literary era, the first half of the 20th century marked by a)the demise of the German Empire in the course of the First World War, b) a short-lived democratic experiment, the Weimar Republic (1918-1933), and c) the Rise and Fall of the “Third Reich.” Furthermore, the course is to improve the students’ writing skills in terms of style and expression by way of three shorter essays.  A secondary, yet strong emphasis is on making the students able and comfortable to conduct a discussion on fairly sophisticated issues in German. By keeping the number of students in the class relatively small, there will be ample opportunity to practice the close reading of literary texts and the analysis of complex works of art in a foreign language.

Prerequisite in German: One 200-level course in German or permission of the DUS.

This course counts for Distribution Area VI.

German 221-3 – Introduction to Literature: 1945-today

This course, designed for majors and non-majors, introduces students to representative short stories by major German-speaking authors’ writing from 1945 through the present. The stories selected are representative of a dynamic period in German literature and highlight important social, political, and intellectual issues including questions of the recent German past and the representation of history; questions of individual versus collective guilt, questions of gender and sexuality, exile and alienation, the relationship of the individual to a modern technological society; and new themes and issues since the reunification of Germany. In addition, the course examines the genre of the short story, with attention to different modes and styles of writing.

By keeping the number of students in the class relatively small, there will be ample opportunity to practice the close reading of literary texts and the analysis of complex works of art in a foreign language.

Prerequisite in German: One 200-level course in German or permission of the DUS.

This course counts for Distribution Area VI.

German 223-0 – Contemporary Austrian Literature

This course will give a brief overview of Austrian literature, philosophy, music, and art from the 19th to the 21st century. In both cases the relation of art to political discourses will be central to our discussions. Questions that will be considered in the course: How does Austria construct its national identity vis-à-vis its neighbor Germany? What is it that makes Vienna the capital of the multi-cultural Austro-Hungarian Empire and the center for a various avant-garde art movements but also a hotbed of anti-Semitism as well as the cradle of Nazi ideology?

Prerequisite in German: One 200-level course in German or permission of the DUS.

This course counts for Distribution Area VI.

German 227-0 – Popular Literature as Cultural History

This course analyzes German popular culture of the past 100 years through bestsellers and box-office hits (novels and films) that constitute the genre of Unterhaltungsliteratur – a category that has been constructed as inferior to “real” and “serious” literature and unworthy of scholarly attention. Unterhaltungsliteratur can be a valuable tool in order to gain insight into the historical and cultural fabric of 20th and 21th-century Germany: the assumption of the course is that Unterhaltungsliteratur functions as social seismographs that allow us to explore moods, anxieties, tensions, and concerns of a large part of German society at a particular point in history. The course will also analyze popular culture’s role in society and introduce theories of popular culture.

Prerequisite in German: One 200-level course in German or permission of the DUS.

This course counts for Distribution Area VI.

German 245-0 – Special Topics in German Literature and Culture

This course is a cultural studies course highlighting a major author, a prominent theme in German literature or culture, a movement, or a literary genre. Topics in this rubric may include: German Architecture in Chicago, a course exploring the unique history of Chicago in the context of German-American architectural connections- particular emphasis is placed on the Bauhaus School and movement that influenced architectural development in Chicago and its residences Weimar, Dessau, and Berlin; Stories through Songs, explores stories through music and the stories behind the music, studying intersections between narratives and musical expression while exploring the mysterious language of music in the context of German culture. Highlights will be a discussion of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony and Schiller's poetry, selected renditions of Goethe’s poetry by Schubert and other composers. Please consult Caesar for current topic.

Prerequisite in German: One 200-level course in German or permission of the DUS.

This course counts for Distribution Area VI. The course may be repeated for credit with different topics.

German 303-0 – Speaking as Discovery

This course is designed to help students improve their listening comprehension and speaking skills to become creative, independent, and sophisticated users of spoken German. The content focuses on exploring standpoints, developing arguments, and expressing points of view using a variety of media such as authentic material from the German press, German television, news broadcasts, documentaries and film excerpts for interpretive activities and discussions. The class discussion is tailored to students’ interests and needs.

Prerequisite in German: Two 200-level courses in German or permission of the DUS.

German 305-0 – Writing as Discovery

This course is designed to practice advanced and sophisticated structures of written German through a series of linguistic exercises. Grammar points to be reviewed will be taken from the actual writings of students in the class to ensure that points are practiced that correspond to the weaknesses of each individual student. Current texts from newspapers and magazines as well as from fictional works by German-speaking authors serve as a basis for writing exercises and other assignments that build on the reviewed grammar points. Students will also work on a biographical piece of writing over the length of the quarter to continue to hone their creative writing skills in addition to their grammar skills.

Prerequisite in German: Two 200-level courses in German or permission of the DUS.

German 307-0 – German Media

This course is concerned with how current political, socioeconomic, and cultural events in Germany and Europe are portrayed in German media (this includes print, TV, news broadcasts and social media). Current topics will be discussed such as for example how the presence of a far-right populist party in the parliament will alter the form of politic discourse in ways that are yet to be seen. The class will also include a discussion of journalistic differences among media sources. There will be ample room for students’ suggestions as well as for current events that are not yet foreseeable. The class aims to give students an overview of the German media landscape in general and answer the question which newspapers and TV channels are suited to fulfill the students’ information needs and what they can do to follow current developments in Germany.

Prerequisite in German: Three 200-level courses in German or permission of the DUS.

German 309-1 – Advanced Business German: the German Economy

This advanced business-German course will give students an overview of the German economy (Volkswirtschaft), its underlying structures, its current trends, and some of the problems the German economy faces. Students will become well versed in German economic topics, will learn about the differences between the German and American economic system, will gain familiarity with relevant German media that report on the German economy. Although this course is content-driven, student will also develop their language proficiency in the field of German business and commerce through study of business-specific vocabulary and through specific reading and writing tasks. This course is a companion course to German 309-2; both courses together will prepare students to work in international work environments.

Prerequisite in German: Three 200-level courses in German or permission of the DUS.

German 309-2 – Advanced Business German: Marketing and Management

This advanced Business German course focuses on management and marketing practices in Germany (Betriebswirtschaft). In addition to acquiring a rich Business German vocabulary, students will also develop nuanced cross-cultural knowledge by encouraging students to think critically about cultural differences and how they relate to business practices. Topics to be discussed, among others, are German corporate structures and business culture, intercultural competence, marketing and advertising, career and everyday life. Important vocabulary and relevant grammar structures will be practiced throughout the class. The course prepares students to work in international work environments. This course is a companion course to German 309-1; both courses together will prepare students to work in international work environments.

Prerequisite in German: Three 200-level courses in German or permission of the DUS.

German 321-1 – Reason, Revolution, and Despair: 1800-1900

This course is a literature/culture course focusing on discussions of key texts in German intellectual history from the Enlightenment to the pre-revolutionary period in the 1830 and beyond.  Topics in this rubric may include:  Lessing to Büchner, focusing on the half century from 1780 to 1830, where the mood in German intellectual and cultural history swung from confident, even defiant optimism (Lessing) to expressions of starkest despair (Büchner). Students will read and discuss some of the central texts in this dramatic development, describing the  theological, aesthetic, and social developments through theoretical as well as literary works. Please consult Caesar for current topic.

Prerequisite in German: Three 200-level courses in German (at least one in literature) or permission of the DUS.

This course counts for Distribution Area IV and Area VI.

German 321-2 – Myth and Modernity: 1900-1945

This course focuses on texts that acquaint students with the literature and thought as well as the events and ideologies that helped shape the cultural, political and social life in Germany during a period that saw the rise and final collapse of the imperial tradition, a short-lived experiment with democracy during the Weimar Republic (1918-1933), and the rise of the Nazi state. Topics in this rubric may include: World War 1 in German Literature, Art, and Music which takes a close look at the literature, art, and music during World War 1 focuses on the expression of nationalist sentiment but also the emergence of a wave of modernism with styles as expressionism, futurism, and Dada which brought forth some of the essential works of avant-garde art we still recognize and admire.  Nietzsche, Wagner, and Hitler: Politics and/as Art in Germany -1871-1945 focuses on the lasting influence Friedrich Nietzsche had on German culture, starting with the publication of his scandalous Wagnerian treatise on the birth of tragedy (1872), through his death as a madman in Weimar (1900), and his reception by the disciples of Richard Wagner to the end of the so-called Third Reich (1945). Please consult Caesar for current topic.

Prerequisite in German: Three 200-level courses in German (at least one in literature) or permission of the DUS.

This course counts for Distribution Area IV and Area VI.

German 321-3 – Recoveries and Transitions: 1945 - Present

This course offers an examination of the relationship of literature and film  with the socio-political and cultural sphere in Germany after 1945, from the end of the War to the Wende and the unification of Germany. Topics in this rubric may include: From the End of the War to the End of the Wall, a course which will focus on literature, non-fiction essays, and films addressing the National Socialist past; inter-generational conflict in German society; the ‘terrorist’ movement of the 1970s; the politicized climate of the women’s movement; the response of the writer in East Germany; the role of historical memory in contemporary Germany; and the politics of national unification and citizenship, including immigrant literature in Germany. 

Please consult Caesar for current topic.

Prerequisite in German: Three 200-level courses in German (at least one in literature) or permission of the DUS.

This course counts for Distribution Area IV and Area VI.

German 323-0 – Rhyme and Reason - German Poetry

This course introduces students to German poetry from the early 18th century to the present. will Students will learn about the generic aspects of such poetic forms as the ballad, the ode, the song, and the sonnet and about the status of poetry in the history of German culture. The analysis of poetic form will concentrate on main formal categories of poetry (meter, rhyme, verse, and poetic genres) as well as main topics and themes.  

Prerequisite in German: Three 200-level courses in German (at least one in literature) or permission of the DUS.

This course counts for Distribution Area VI.

German 327-0 – Expressionism

This course will look at the rise and fall of German Expressionism in literature, visual art, and film from the late nineteenth century to the ascent of the Third Reich. We will discuss how the artistic innovations of Expressionism reflected distinctive political, philosophical, and social ideas and conditions of Germany in the years just before and in the wake of the First World War, looking closely at the aesthetics and poetics of this short-lived but influential movement. We will also consider certain themes and issues that Expressionist art particularly addressed, including: urbanization and cosmopolitanism; capitalism and inequality; war and trauma; portrayals of extreme states such as violence, ecstasy, and mental illness; sexuality, desire, and the representation of women; horror and the occult; the role of ethnic and cultural minorities and the appeal of the exotic.
Prerequisite in German: Three 200-level courses in German (at least one in literature) or permission of the DUS.

This course counts for Distribution Area VI.

German 329-0 – Brecht: Theater, Film, and Media

This course introduces students to Bertolt Brecht’s theatre in the 1920s and early 1930s during the Weimar Republic by focusing on those works that were most significant in the struggle for the modernist culture of the Weimar Republic (1918-1933), an era which was to set certain cultural agenda for postwar German society and beyond. Students will also be exposed to some of the most important theoretical statements which Brecht wrote on  how to make theatre, the mass media and the entertainment industry serve the interest of the community at large (a question which appears to be of  renewed importance for our global media society).

Prerequisite in German: Three 200-level courses in German (at least one in literature) or permission of the DUS.

This course counts for Distribution Area VI.

German 331-0 – Shattered Worlds: Representation after the Shoa

The course offers an historical, literary, and filmic introduction to the topic of "art and literature after—or, respectively, about—Auschwitz." Readings address questions such as: What is the role of art in the late twentieth and early twenty-first century in view of this so-called breach of civilization? How can we define the relationship between art and politics? How can—or perhaps why should—poetry continue to be written after Auschwitz? Important contributions by a variety of influential authors will be discussed in their cultural context.

Prerequisite in German: Three 200-level courses in German (at least one in literature) or permission of the DUS.

This course counts for Distribution Area VI.

German 333-0 – Literature of a Divided Nation

This course examines literary works from the GDR (and post-wall representations of the GDR) in their socio-political context. Through close textual analysis students examine different artistic strategies and the changing focus of GDR literature in response to political and social developments. Questions to be addressed are: What was the relationship between literature and censorship in the GDR and how was social critique articulated? In which ways did GDR literature address the widening cleft between the GDR’s utopian socialist vision and the more mundane historical reality? And how does post-wall literature imagine or address the former GDR?

Prerequisite in German: Three 200-level courses in German (at least one in literature) or permission of the DUS.

This course counts for Distribution Area VI.

German 335-0 – Minority Voices in Germany

Starting out from the question: “What is German?”, this course explores the changing understandings of national identity in postwar Germany. In this context, the course examines fiction, autobiography, poetry, and political and theoretical writings by and about “minority voices” in Germany in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Questions the course will explore include: What is the relationship between autobiographical writing and identity? What is a “minority” and how might we conceive of “minority voices” in terms of ethnicity, religious belief, gender, class, and community? What can our readings teach us about the role of “minority literature” in Germany?

Prerequisite in German: Three 200-level courses in German (at least one in literature) or permission of the DUS.

This course counts for Distribution Area VI.

German 337-0 – Science and Culture in Germany

Germany is often regarded as being at the forefront of European developments concerning issues such as climate change and recycling, transport and renewable energy sources. This class will trace the scientific, political, philosophical, and aesthetic history of Germany as a ‘green nation’ from the 18th century until today. What are the roots of the ideology of environmentalism as it is represented in concepts like environment, ecology, or sustainability, which were all invented or popularized by German scientists (von Uexküll, Haeckel, von Carlowitz)? The course will also examine recent developments in German environmental policies like the so-called “Energiewende” and the “Diesel-Skandal”.

Prerequisite in German: Three 200-level courses in German (at least one in literature) or permission of the DUS.

This course counts for Distribution Area IV and Area VI.

German 345-0 – Topics in German Literature and Culture

This course rubric applies to courses that represent an in-depth study of topics in German literature and/or pivotal periods in German culture. Topics in this rubric may include: Culture Theory, Culture Critique and Politics in Germany since 1918, a course will delve into the debate of culture theory and political and social history by first examining some representative authors in the discussion of “culture” in social and political theory in the German-speaking context after 1918. The second part of the course, will analyze some major perspectives of thinkers on the “cultural turn”, including Jan Assmann, Jürgen Habermas, and Niklas Luhmann. In order to understand the connection between culture theory and political and social history, the analyses will be embedded in readings on the relations between culture, society, and politics in the history of Germany after 1945.  Please consult Caesar for current topic.

Prerequisite in German: Three 200-level courses in German (at least one in literature) or permission of the DUS.

This course counts for Distribution Area IV and Area VI.

German 398-0 – Undergraduate Seminar (1–3 units)

This is a course where students will do advanced work through supervised reading, research, and discussion. Topics in this rubric vary and may include special invitations for research seminars in connection with a week abroad in Germany. Please consult Caesar for current topic.

Prerequisite in German: Three 200-level courses in German (at least one in literature) or permission of the DUS.

This course counts for Distribution Area VI.

German 399-0 – Independent Study

This course is open to outstanding German majors with senior standing. Students will do independent advanced research work culminating in a substantial paper or senior thesis.

Prerequisite in German: Three 200-level courses in German (at least one in literature) or permission of the DUS.

This course counts for Distribution Area VI.

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