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 more extensive literary and cultural materials are introduced with a view to developing 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 systematically different aspects of German grammar. 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: successful completion of 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 will be provided by 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 reviewof advanced grammatical structures. Prerequisite: completion of GERM 213Y-214Y or equivalent. Offered every fall semester.
Contemporary German cinema has been criticized for its presentation of "characters whose primary sense of person and place is rarely an overt function of their national identity or directly impacted by Germany's difficult past" (Eric Rentschler). Politics seem to disappear more and more from the German screen, whereas the New German Cinema from the 60s to the early 80s often used film explicitly as a means of coming to terms with the past. This course presents major trends in German film since 1989 (beginning with Heiner Carow's Coming Out, a queer movie and one of the last DEFA films). We will try to reassess the often repeated claim of the disappearance of the political. Indeed, we will look at a number of films dealing with gender and queer issues by directors such as Monika Treut (My Father is Coming) and Kutlug Ataman (Lola and Billy the Kid), among others. Moreover, Ataman, along with director Fatih Akin (In July, Head On), will serve as an example for a breakthrough in Turkish-German film production. Discussing the work of Tom Tykwer (Winter Sleepers, The Princess and the Warrior, and Perfume) will form one thematic block in this overview of the past eighteen years of German film. Another group of movies that deals with the German division and re-unification, such as The Promise, Good-Bye Lenin, and Go For Zucker, will be included, as well. The course also introduces students to the tools of film analysis. No previous knowledge of German or film is required. Taught in English. No prerequisites. May be taken for credit towards the German major; please consult with instructor regarding arrangements for German credit. Normally offered every two to three years.
The purpose of this course is twofold: to provide an overview of the development of German literature from the eighteenth century to the present; and to focus on the ways different writers and thinkers (and later, filmmakers) represent the fundamental human experience of love in exceptional or "uncanny" ways. The course begins with a consideration of the role of the emotions versus reason in the German Enlightenment. We then turn to the literary works from major German authors, from Goethe to Kleist, Kafka, and Thomas Mann, in which love is marked by loss, violence, and tragedy and/or elevated to the realm of the aesthetic. Freud's theory of love as outlined in his psychoanalytic writings informs the course in general. The course will conclude with a selection of films from the postwar era. Readings and discussion are in German. The course will be conducted in German. Prerequisite: GERM 213Y-214Y or equivalent.