This is the first half of a year-long course for students who are beginning the study of German or who have had only minimal exposure to the language. The first semester introduces students to the German language in all four modalities: reading, writing, speaking, and listening. The work includes practice (in class, in scheduled review sessions with an apprentice teacher, and using an online workbook) in understanding and using the spoken language. Written exercises and elementary reading materials completed outside class serve as a basis for vocabulary-building and in-class discussion and role-plays. Students will also write four short essays on familiar topics over the course of the semester. During the second semester there is more advanced practice in the use of the spoken and written language, and we will use short fictional and authentic cultural texts in order to develop techniques of reading. The class meets four and one-half hours per week with the professor, and an additional three hours per week with an apprentice teacher. Offered every fall semester.
This first-semester middle-level course is designed to develop German reading, writing, and speaking skills beyond GERM 111Y-112Y. A grammar text is used for reviewing and expanding upon aspects of German grammar from the first year. We will apply this review to the reading of short literary and journalistic texts, to gaining a basic understanding of films in the original German, and to conversation in German with a partner or in groups. These texts and films will serve as a point of departure for short compositions as well. Keeping a diary in German is also an integral component of the course. An apprentice teacher or language assistant will conduct a fourth weekly meeting, in addition to the three regular classes. Prerequisite: GERM 111Y-112Y or equivalent. Offered every fall semester.
In this course, we will explore a wide array of topics in contemporary German culture, in order to provide advanced students with the opportunity to strengthen their abilities to write, read, and speak German. Topics may include the impact of reunification on contemporary Germany, religious life, and popular music. Material for conversation and composition may be provided by textbooks and/or articles from the current press in German-speaking countries, films, other media, and Web sites. Students will develop fluency in German in order to perform linguistically and culturally appropriate tasks. The composition component will seek to improve the ability to write clearly and coherently in German. To foster these goals, the course will also provide a review of advanced grammatical structures. Prerequisite: GERM 213Y-214Y or equivalent. Offered every fall semester.
As Tanya Krzywinska writes in Sex and the Cinema, from the sanctioned to the forbidden, the suggestive to the blatant, evocations of the sexual have saturated cinema with a heady distillation of fleshly passions. For the German-language cinema after reunification, this is especially true, as one of the most commercially successful films of the early days of the Berlin Republic aptly demonstrates, the comedy Maybe, Maybe Not(Sonke Wortmann). Criticized for belonging to the contested "Comedy Wave of the 1990s," few critics are actually aware of the fact that the film is an adaptation of two queer graphic novels by the popular but nonetheless controversial gay cartoonist Ralph Konig. Starting with Konig's graphic novels and Wortmann's adaptation, the course will take us through different topics and perspectives on sexuality throughout the 1990s and the early 2000s. Among these topics are a scandal about youth sexuality in Weimar's Love in Thoughts, a The-Postman-Always-Rings-Twice type drama set in new Eastern States by New-Berlin-School director Christian Petzold Jerichow, an exploration of the fluidity of sexual orientation by Run, Lola, Run director Tom Tykwer Three, or the sexual violence against German women during the downfall of the Third Reich A Woman in Berlin. Additional movies we will interpret include films by Fatih Akin, Michael Haneke, Ulrich Seidl, Eva Urthaler, and Matthias Luthardt. We will discuss films alongside the books of which they are adaptations, as well as essays by German film studies scholars (Randall Halle, Marco Abel, and Helga Druxes, among others). Films will be screened in the original German, and most readings, as well as class discussion, will be in German. No film studies background required. Prerequisite: GERM 325 or equivalent, or permission of instructor. Students having completed GERM 321 may enroll with permission of instructor.
The central question we will confront in this course is the following: What are the issues at stake in the fictional representation of the Holocaust? As the Holocaust recedes into the historical past and those who survived it die and are no longer are able to tell their stories directly, our knowledge of the event becomes increasingly dominated by literary and cinematic representations of it. Rather than read better-known testimonials by authors such as Elie Wiesel and Primo Levi, this course will investigate fictional mediations of the Holocaust and, more specifically, its aftermath. We will begin with an overview of the history of the Holocaust and then examine theoretical and philosophical controversies surrounding the issue of artistic representation as discussed by critics such as Berel Lang, James Young, Dominick LaCapra, and Sara Horowitz. We will then examine exemplary artistic responses to the Shoah, first by German and German-Jewish writers with direct experience of the Shoah, such as Edgar Hilsenrath and Jurek Becker, and then by so-called second-generation authors such as W.G. Sebald, Maxim Biller, Rafael Seligmann, and Doron Rabinovici. We may also read texts by Israeli authors, including A.B. Yehoshua and Aharon Appelfeld. Central to our exploration of these texts will be questions of representation (What is the relationship of fact, fiction and truth? What is the role of the imagination?), authenticity (Who may write literature about the Holocaust?), uniqueness (Is the Holocaust comparable to other genocides?), memory (What is the relationship of history to memory, of collective memory to individual?), generation (How is the trauma of the survivor passed on to/by later generations?), language (Is it possible, or even desirable, to express an event of such magnitude?), and the development of post-Holocaust German and Jewish identities. Readings are in English. The course may be taken for credit toward the German major; students should consult with the instructor regarding requirements for German credit. No prerequisite.