This is the first half of a yearlong 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 also will 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. We will use a grammar text for reviewing and expanding upon aspects of German grammar from the first year. We will apply this review as we read short literary and journalistic texts, as we gain a basic understanding of films in the original German, and as we converse 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 also is 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. Textbooks and/or articles from the current press in German-speaking countries, films, other media and websites may provide material for conversation and composition. 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 also will provide a review of advanced grammatical structures. Prerequisite: GERM 213Y-214Y or equivalent. Offered every fall semester.
This course will examine German film from its beginnings to the present. The films we will view and analyze represent four epochs of German film: (1) the Weimar era, which produced film classics such as Nosferatu, Metropolis and The Golem; (2) examples of films produced during the Third Reich; (3) the films of the New German Cinema, which include such works as The Marriage of Maria Braun, by Rainer Maria Fassbinder, and Heart of Glass, by Werner Herzog, as well as films by directors such as Margarethe von Trotta and Wim Wenders; and (4) films produced in the last decade. The films shown in this class are in the original German. The course will be conducted as a seminar. The course may be taken for credit toward the German major; students should consult with the instructor regarding requirements for German credit.
In this course, we will attempt to gain an understanding of some of the most complex poetry in German in the 20th century. At least two of the poets we will study, Rainer Maria Rilke and Paul Celan, have made it into the canon of what some call "world literature." Our approach will be theoretical in that we will start with a seminal work in German aesthetics, Nietzsche's Birth of Tragedy, and throughout the semester, we will discuss the poems side by side with philosophical and critical essays on the poems in question. German 20th-century poetry has resonated in extraordinary ways with writers in theoretically and philosophically oriented criticism. Theoretical work we will discuss in this course will include Martin Heidegger's essays "What are Poets for?" and "Language," Hans Georg Gadamer's essays on Rilke and Celan, Werner Hamacher's "The Second of Inversion," Adorno's "The Lyric and Society," and Paul De Man's "Tropes (Rilke)." In addition to Rilke and Celan, we will study poems by Else Lasker-Schüler, Stefan George, Georg Trakl, Gertrud Kolmar and Gottfried Benn. The readings will open up perspectives on the central aspects of criticism on poetry, namely the relationship between philosophical thought and poetry, the relationship between poetry and language, the problem of self-reference, and questions of history and memory. All readings will be in English. Normally offered every two to three years.