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Fall 2020 Class Schedule

Fall 2020 class Schedule - days and times are subject to change, please consult caesar 

Course Title Instructor Day/Time Topic
101-1-21 Beginning German Meuser MTWF 11AM-11:50AM
101-1-22 Beginning German Paluch MTWF 9AM-9:50AM
101-1-23 Beginning German Paluch MTWF 10AM-10:50AM
101-1-25 Beginning German   Meuser MTWF 12PM-12:50PM
101-1-26 Beginning German Melovska MTWF 3PM-3:50PM
102-1-20 Intermediate German Kerlova  MTWF 9AM-9:50AM
102-1-21 Intermediate German Kerlova  MTWF 10AM-10:50AM
102-1-22 Intermediate German Zeller MTWF 2PM-2:50PM
104-6-20 First Year Seminar Ryder MWF 9AM-9:50AM The Human and Machine in German Culture
104-6-21 First Year Seminar Helmer MWF 10AM-10:50AM The Nazi Olympics
205-0 Focus Writing Zeller MWF 10AM-10:50AM Berlin Faces of the Metropolis
207-0 Current Events in German Media Paluch TTh 12:30PM- 1:50PM
224-0 Contemporary Germany Von Holt MWF 10AM- 10:50AM
230-0 Berlin and the Culture of Democracy Von Holt MWThF 3PM- 3:50PM
232-0 The Theme of Faust Through the Ages Fenves MWF 10AM- 10:50AM
303-0 Speaking as Discovery Lys TTh 9:30AM- 10:50AM
321-2 Myth and Modernity: 1900 - 1945 Kreienbrock TTh 2PM- 3:20PM Friedrich Nietzsche: From Opera to Fascism
402-0 History of Literature and Critical Thought, 1832-1900 Fenves  M 2PM- 4:50PM German Literature: Heine and Stifter
441-0 Studies in Communication and Culture Kreienbrock  W 2PM-4:50PM Writing the Revolution


Fall 2020 course descriptions

GER 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.

GER 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.

GER 104-6-20 : First Year Seminar - The Human and Machine in German Culture

From automata to cyborgs, this course explores ways in which mechanical devices have served as models to gain a deeper understanding of the human and nature in German literature, philosophy, film, and music. While the course is structured around the short prose and poetry of Eichendorff, Kafka, and Enzensburger, as well as Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, we will also read excerpts from significant texts by Descartes, Herder, Heidegger, Benjamin, and Friedrich Kittler. The course material will allow us to ask significant questions that are as historically determined as they are philosophically oriented: how does the eighteenth-century automaton become a central symbol for the debate over the mind/body relationship? What is the relationship between the human worker and the machine, and the machine and the diabolical? In what way does the introduction of the machine redefine both “labor” and “war” in the twentieth century? And perhaps above all, we will look at ways in which the writing process takes on mechanical attributes, from Nietzsche’s typewriter to Kafka’s torture machine.

GER 104-6-21 : First Year Seminar - The Nazi Olympics

This course explores the Nazi Olympics, held in Berlin 1936, in relation to religion, race, and politics. We show how the Nazi Olympics appropriated themes from the ancient Olympics in Greece in order to create a new religious, aesthetic, and political ethos. We also look at the legacy of politics in the Olympics of Mexico City in 1968, with a focus on Black activism in contemporary sports.

GER 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. 


GER 207-0 : Current Events in German Media

Using the broad range of media now easily available on the internet, 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 now allow immediate access to news sources and contemporary European culture. We will use these sources during class discussions and activities to investigate reporting on the Corona Pandemic, Immigration and Integration in Germany, Cultural production of Film, Television and Radio Broadcasts and Issues in Education and Economics in Germany and Europe. Class interests will determine the focus of our investigation of topics.

Prerequisite in German: German 102-3.


GER 224-0 : Contemporary Germany

Courses under this rubric focus on the German political, social, and cultural scene after 1945. Topics vary and may include: Political Extremism in West Germany, a seminar which traces the history of political terrorism in post-war German society and also tries to locate it within a larger framework of militant protests throughout Europe and the world. Particular attention will be given to the actions of the infamous Red Army Faction (RAF), which also left its mark in German popular culture. While the RAF and other left-wing groups of the 1960s and 1970s are the main focus of the class, we will also talk about the disquieting phenomenon of right-wing terrorism, currently a much-discussed topic in Germany because of the ongoing revelations about the National Socialist Underground (NSU). Please consult Caesar for current topic. German 224 may be repeated for credit with different topics.

Prerequisites: None.
This course counts for Distribution Area IV.

GER 230-0 : Berlin and the Culture of Democracy

History and culture of the city from 1900 to the present, including the Weimar period, Nazi regime, the divisions of the Cold War, and the newly unified capital.

Prerequisites: None.
This course counts for Distribution Area IV and Area VI.

GER 232-0 : The Theme of Faust Through the Ages

“To sell one’s soul,” “to strike a bargain with the devil,” or even “to beat the devil at his own game”—these expressions and similar ones continue to enjoy undiminished popularity. For more than five-hundred years the legend of Faust has served as means to express the daring and danger of pursuing an aspiration even if it comes at the cost of one’s “soul.” The specter of a “Faustian bargain” often appears when narratives identify individuals whose inordinate achievements are both destructive and self-destructive. The theme of Faust provides a perspective in which one must thus reflect on the highest and lowest values.

Dr. Faustus has undergone many mutations since he first appeared in central Europe around the early sixteenth century. This class will be begin with a question at the foundation of the Faust legend: what is our “soul” worth? While examining this and kindred questions about the nature of the moral self, the class will continually reflect on what we are doing when we evaluate a work of art in relation to the moral culture of its “time” or “period.” In addition to listening to some musical compositions and reading some shorter texts, we will examine the earliest versions of Faust, which derives from the beginnings of the Protestant Reformation and then proceed to read Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s great drama of cosmic knowledge and sexual seduction, Faust I, followed by selections from its strange sequel Faust II, in which Faust invents paper money and then becomes a real-estate developer or social-engineer who wants to reorganize the very nature of our planet. We will ask what Goethe, near the end of his life, gave to “world literature” (a term of his own invention) when he presented his final version of Faust as a man committed to a total terrestrial transformation that inadvertently destroys innocent lives. As a conclusion to our analysis of Goethe’s Faust, we will read two very different kinds of poetic responses, Paul Celan’s “Death Fugue” and Carol Ann Duffy’s “Mrs. Faust.” And in the final two weeks of the class we will view three versions of the Faust legend for our times: Taylor Hackford’s The Devil’s Advocate from the 1990s, Sophie Barthes’ Cold Souls from the 2000s, and Danny Boyle’s Yesterday from 2019."

Prerequisites: None.
This course counts for Distribution Area V and Area VI.

GER 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 321-2 – Myth and Modernity: 1900-1945 - Friedrich Nietzsche: From Opera to Fascism

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.

GER 402-0 : History of Literature and Critical Thought, 1832-1900 - German Literature: Heine and Stifter

Thematic approach to key texts of 19th century German literature between Goethe and Gottfried Keller, tragedy and the Bildungsroman. Literary and philosophical texts are read side by side in order to interrogate traditional concepts of realism, mimesis, and interpretation.

GER 441-0 : Studies in Communication and Culture - Writing the Revolution

Friedrich Schlegel famously claimed that the French Revolution, Goethe's Wilhelm Meister, and Fichte's Foundations of the Science of Knowledge represent the great trends of his age. Another term for this age is modernity. This class will follow Schlegel's intuition and reconstruct the precarious relationship between politics, philosophy, and literature which marks a specific notion of revolutionary modernity, i.e. the interruption of historical time in the name of something radically new and different. Paradigmatic for such a rupture is the French Revolution. Its literary representations and philosophical descriptions will be the topic of our discussions. A tentative reading list includes (but is not limited to): Friedrich Schlegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Heinrich Heine, Georg Büchner, Karl Marx, Walter Benjamin, Bertolt Brecht, Hannah Arendt, Louis Althusser, Jacques Derrida, Jean-Luc Nancy. Although the class will focus mostly on the German and French tradition it is possible to include other texts, images, films, etc. depending on the particular interests and backgrounds of the participants. 


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