Current & Future Courses
Course Offerings Fall 2017
- German Undergraduate Courses in German
- German Undergraduate Courses in English
- German Graduate Courses
- Russian Courses in Russian
- Russian Courses in English
- Courses taught Outside the Department
GER 1101: Elementary German I
This course guides students in acquiring the fundamentals of German for meaningful communication in an authentic cultural context. Students will develop basic language skills through practice in listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Topics of discussion include hobbies and activities, your daily routine, your family, your studies, food, your living environment, the regions of Germany, and more. Students will begin to interpret and discuss German texts from a variety of media to enhance their knowledge of German, Austrian, and Swiss cultures. No prerequisite (for beginners). 
MWF 9:10-10:00 (Staff) | 10:10 – 11:00 (Staff) | 11:10-12:00 (Staff) | 12:10-1 (Staff)
GER 1102: Elementary German II
This course continues to guide students in acquiring the fundamentals of German for meaningful communication in an authentic cultural context. Students will develop basic language skills through practice in listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Topics of discussion include travel, education, health, entertainment, shopping, and Germany’s role in the European Union. Students will read and discuss German texts from a variety of media to enhance their knowledge of German, Austria, and Swiss cultures. Prerequisite GER 1101 or equivalent. 
MWF 10:10-11:00 (Staff) | 11:10-12 (Staff)
2201: Intermediate German I
This course guides students in the development of intermediate German linguistic and cultural proficiency through practice in listening, speaking, reading, and writing, and discussions of German culture. Emphasis is placed on developing communicative skills, reading short texts, writing essays. Topics of discussion include German history, culture, film, and current events. The course includes a comprehensive review of German grammar, with emphasis on more advanced structures. Prerequisite GER 1102 or equivalent. 
MWF 10:10-11:00 (Schade) | 12:10-1:00 (Staff)
GER 2202: Intermediate German II
This course continues to guide students in the development of intermediate German linguistic and cultural proficiency through practice in listening, speaking, reading, and writing, and discussions of German culture. Emphasis is placed on developing communicative skills, reading short texts, writing essays. Topics of discussion include the geography and culture of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, German-language literature, and current events. The course includes a comprehensive review of German grammar and prepares students for upper-level courses in German. Prerequisite GER 2201 or equivalent. 
MWF 9:10-10:00 (Staff) | 12:10-1 (Staff)
GER 3201: Advanced German I
This course guides students in acquiring advanced German skills through a close study of contemporary German culture, politics, and society. Materials include current German-language news articles, literary texts, films, television, and music. Topics of discussion include post-Wall Germany, memory and memorialization, migration and Leitkultur, and Germany’s role in the EU. Students contribute to a blog, write essays, give presentations, and write a short research paper in German. The course is required for German majors and is a prerequisite for students entering upper-level German-language courses. Prerequisite GER 2202 or equivalent. 
MWF 11:10-12 (Schade)
Studies in Genre | Love & Friendship
Love and friendship - the most important relationships human beings create. But how do they differ? Their time structure is not the same: Love might happen in a moment – we fall in love -, friendship needs time. Both tend to be established and explored in letters. In order to explore different connotations of love and friendship, we will read letters written by lovers and friends, among them Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, Johann Wolfgang Goethe, Heinrich von Kleist, and Rahel Levin Varnhagen; and we will study excerpts of the correspondences of Johann Wolfgang Goethe/Friedrich Schiller, Gershom Scholem/Walter Benjamin, Karl Jaspers/Martin Heidegger, Hannah Arendt/Karl Jaspers, Bertolt Brecht/Helene Weigel, Ingeborg Bachmann/Paul Celan, etc. Readings, assignments, and class discussion in German.  (HCA)
TR 1:10 – 2:25 (Hahn)
GER 4560: Topics in Intellectual History | Vienna 1900
Fin-de-siècle Vienna, capital of the multiethnic and multicultural Habsburg Empire, was the site of artistic and cultural innovation, political radicalism, and social tensions. Taking an interdisciplinary approach to the rich cultural production of the city around the turn of the 19th century, the course explores themes such as architecture and urban planning; the birth of psychoanalysis and modern sensibilities; the crisis of language; modernist literature, cultural criticism, and the rise of modern journalism. In addition to novel trends in literature and the sciences and, we will also explore the visual arts and design. Literary works by authors such as Robert Musil, Arthur Schnitzler, Hugo von Hofmannsthal, and Karl Kraus; philosophical and theoretical explorations include texts by Ludwig Wittgenstein and Sigmund Freud. Readings, assignments, and class discussion in German. Prerequisite: GER 3202W, or consent of the instructor.
MWF 11:10-12 (Balint)
GER 1111-03: First-Year Writing Seminar | Pioneers of Literary Modernism
Pioneers of Literary Modernism: Brecht, Kafka, Rilke. Various literary movements arose in German-speaking countries in the early twentieth century, including Symbolism, Expressionism, and Surrealism. While Hermann Hesse and Thomas Mann preferred to write in the traditional style of the nineteenth century, others favored literary experiments that have become influential for later writers: Franz Kafka with his enigmatic tales of modern man's battles against incomprehensible forces, Bertolt Brecht with his epic plays addressing their audiences' political consciousness, and Rainer Maria Rilke with his symbolist poems reflecting the complexity of existence. Knowledge of German is not required.  (HCA)
MWF 10:10-11 (Itkin)
GER 2441: Great German Works in English
What are “great works?” Why do they endure over centuries? What is their contemporary relevance? These are some of the questions that will inform our readings of German authors from 1750 to the present. We will explore changing notions of the subject and its relations to community; the foundations of modern society; the relationship of culture and history; and shifting ideas of the nation and national identity. Our focus will be on close readings of texts as well as on the historical and social context. Readings will include works by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Heinrich von Kleist, Franz Kafka, Thomas Mann, Christa Wolf, and Herta Müller. Knowledge of German is not required; all texts will be available in English translation.
MWF 2:10-3:00 (Balint)
GER 2442: War on Screen
War has played a central role in international filmmaking to tell compelling tales of camaraderie and enmity, but also to develop the ability of moving images to capture human action, movement, pain, trauma, victory, and loss—so much so that some critics consider war and cinema as brothers in arms. Taking various films about World War II and the American fight against Nazi Germany as a point of departure, this class explores the narrative and visual conventions of how filmmakers from different cultures have put war on screen. It also examines the way in which cinema has come to depict the fundamental changes of warfare in the context of today's global war on terror.
TR 1:10-2:25 (McFarland)
GER 7102: Foundations II: Theories of Literary and Cultural Analysis
Key texts on modern thought, media, and the human condition. GER 7102 is one of three mandatory foundation courses for Ph.D. candidates in the German Ph.D. program and a prerequisite for taking the Preliminary Exam. 
R 3-5:30 (Koepnick)
GER 8203: Sem: 20th C. German Literature | Ideas of 1917
1917 is considered a turning point in German, if not European and global history: the unlimited submarine warfare, the entry of the U.S. into the war, the Russian Revolution marked the beginning of what Adam Tooze termed “The Deluge” or the “Remaking of Global Order”. The seminar explores the contributions of intellectuals such as Ernst Cassirer, Max Maurenbrecher, Max Weber and Georg Simmel to these debates about the global reorientation as well as the representations of these tumultuous changes in the arts: DADA, expressionism, poetry, photography, and film.
W 4 – 6:30 (Werner)
GER 8205: Sem: Intellectual Constel | Archive, Author, Work
Did Friedrich Hölderlin compose a drama called “Empedokles”? Did Franz Kafka write a novel called “Der Prozeß”? In their familiar forms, these literary works were assembled by editors, and not by these well-known authors. The ensuing scholarly reception, far from converging on a single ideal text, has created in both cases three very different versions of these works, each claiming to be the ‘original.’ How are we to read texts if we cannot be sure of their connection to such basic categories of literary analysis as ‘author’ and ‘work’? And how about theoretical writing? Walter Benjamin’s “Über den Begriff der Geschichte” can be rendered as a short text, taking up a couple of pages, or it can be presented in all its variations, filling an entire book, as in the new critical Benjamin edition. The question is even more complicated if we take into account such new media as digital editions, which change the presentation of literary and theoretical texts dramatically. How can these media be used? We will study the first part of a critical edition of Hannah Arendt’s work that tries to use both, print and digital presentation, in their own and very specific way.
T 4-6:30 (Hahn)
RUS 1101: First-Year Russian I
This course guides students in acquiring the fundamentals of Russian for meaningful communication in an authentic cultural context. Students will develop basic language skills through practice in listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Topics of discussion include hobbies and activities, your daily routine, your family, your studies, food, your living environment, the regions of Russia, and more. Students will begin to interpret and discuss Russian texts from a variety of media to enhance their knowledge of Russian culture. No prerequisite (for beginners).  (INT)
MTWRF 11:10-12 (Zhernokleyev/Johnson)
RUS 2201: Second Year Russian I
This course guides students in the development of intermediate Russian linguistic and cultural proficiency through practice in listening, speaking, reading, and writing, and discussions of Russian culture. Emphasis is placed on developing communicative skills, reading short texts, writing essays. Topics of discussion include Russian history, culture, film, and current events. The course includes a comprehensive review of Russian grammar, with emphasis on more advanced structures. Prerequisite RUSS 1102 or equivalent.  (INT)
MTWR 12:10-1 (Strudler/Johnson)
RUS 3303: Advanced Grammar and Reading
Advanced grammar and reading skills. May be repeated once for credit. Prerequisite: 2202.  (INT)
TR 1:10-2:25 | W 3:10-4 (Johnson)
RUS 1111: First-Year Writing Seminar: Between Stalin and Hitler: Eastern Europe in World War II
From 1938 to 1945, the lands between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany experienced brutal occupations, mass violence and genocide, civil war, and grave humanitarian crises. Ordinary people faced choices: to work with the arriving armies, to hide, or to join a resistance. This course brings together diverse first-hand accounts of people who lived and experienced the war in Eastern Europe through diaries, memoirs, and novels. We will analyze the challenges and experiences of the war and the difficult choices faced by people living in Eastern Europe. This is a First-Year Writing Seminar. Students will be introduced to the norms and expectations of college-level research and writing. We will hold library sessions and writing workshops periodically throughout the semester.
MWF 2:10-3 (Greble)
RUS 1910W: 19th Century Russian Literature | The Russian Novel
The 19th century novel is widely regarded as the supreme achievement of Russian literature. The directness, honesty, and forcefulness with which it depicts the most essential aspects of human experience is balanced by a profound sense of life’s sacredness. By focusing on two contemporaneous novels Dostoevsky’s The Idiot and Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, the course will explore the Russian novel in the moment of its most intense development. While dealing with the same philosophical problems – the intensity of erotic fascination and its uncontrollable potential for violence – Tolstoy and Dostoevsky offer two radically different approaches to narrative. Through careful reading, thoughtful discussion and continuous writing the students will learn to appreciate the novel as a unique medium through which to engage life’s exciting and challenging complexity. Knowledge of Russian is not required.
MWF 2:10-3 (Zhernokleyev)
RUS 1874: Russian Fairy Tales
Russia has one of the most vibrant fairy tale traditions in the world, best known for such creative and eccentric figures as Baba Yaga, a cannibal witch, who lives in a hut on chicken’s legs, and Koschei, an evil wizard whose death is hidden in an egg under an oak tree. We will begin this course with an overview of Russia’s distinctive fairy tales, discussing them in terms of their content, context and cultural significance, as well as applying approaches such as structuralism and feminism. We will then explore famous adaptations of fairy tales, plots and themes by Tolstoy, Nabokov, Bulgakov, Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky and others, tracing the path of the fairy tale from Pagan Rus to Putin’s Russia. Knowledge of Russian is not required.
MW 4:10-5 / F 4:10-5 (Strudler), & R/F -4:10-5 (TBD)
RUS 2434: Russian Cinema |
From Lenin’s Media Strategy to Stalin’s Dream Factory
This course examines the shifts of Soviet media aesthetics from the 1920s to the 1940s with a special focus on notions of propaganda and the emergence of socialist realism. We will concentrate on films, art, and visual culture to ask how political thinking, aesthetics and media strategies influenced each other. Furthermore, we will read contemporary poetological and political programs to examine how the inherent concepts of political power and aesthetic potentials are intertwined. This calls into question the dominant narrative, according to which the early coalition between revolutionary politics and the avant-garde was replaced by the totalitarian intervention in the 1930s. However, in the field of audiovisual media, the terms propaganda and socialist realism remained vague, which calls for a theoretical readjustment. Especially the latter concept leaves open the question whether it refers to a particular style, to a discourse as a mere power instrument, or to the substitution of social reality itself.  (INT)
TR 1:10-2:25 (Pischel)
RUS 2436: Tolstoy’s War and Peace
Tolstoy refused to call War and Peace a novel. In this most ambitious of his works Tolstoy attempts much more than a portrayal of Russian society during Napoleon’s invasion. As the master’s brush moves between the battlefields and the ballrooms, offering exquisite studies of birth, death, sacrifice, conspiracy, friendship or loneliness, Tolstoy the thinker continues to ponder the meaning of history, nature, family, love, and religion. However, Tolstoy’s ultimate desire is not to describe this or that aspect of life but to depict life itself in its tragically violent and yet often sublime complexity. Can this be done? The class will seek to answer this question through a careful reading of War and Peace as well as other shorter works of Tolstoy. Knowledge of Russian is not required.  (INT)
MWF 10:10-11 (Zhernokleyev)
CMA 1600: Introduction to Film and Media Studies
Cinema today exists in the plural. It stretches across cultural boundaries, inhabits various institutional frameworks, and involves diverse media platforms. This course serves as an introduction to major concepts of film style and moving image analysis. We will build a vocabulary to describe mise-en-scene, cinematography, editing, and sound and discuss different historical models of spectatorship. As important, we will study the diversity of contemporary moving image production (including non-fiction, experimental, televisual, web-based, and gaming-oriented) and explore critical methods addressing questions of genre, form, and history. Students will be expected to engage with familiar films in unfamiliar ways and to understand cinema as part of an ever-expanding media landscape.
MWF 11:10 – 12 (Koepnick)
CMAP 8003: Media and Society
This seminar provides a rich set of concepts and perspectives on the role of media in modern society. It addresses different political and economic frameworks of media production and distribution; the role of authorship and copyright in an era of digital distribution and sampling; the tensions between privacy and publicness in a time of advanced data collection, marketing, and surveillance; the use of media in past and present political decision making; the role of different media in the negotiation of gender and sexual difference; media and disability; media and the politics of power, body, knowledge, and identity. This seminar also focuses on the recent rise of social networking and the ubiquity of our media encounters; the transformation of entertainment industries and academic institutions in times of online connectivity and digital data management; and general questions of media accessibility in a globalized society. Students will familiarize themselves with critical tools to assess the impact of social processes onto past and present media landscapes and learn how to map the impact of various older and newer media onto their respective political, economic, and cultural contexts.
W 7-10 (Zeller)
Muslims in Europe
This course explores the history of Europe’s diverse Muslim communities in the 19th and 20th centuries. Focusing on cases from France, Germany, the United Kingdom, the Russian empire and the Soviet Union, and the Ottoman and post-Ottoman Balkans, it investigates legal, political, social, economic, and cultural dimensions of Muslims engagements with European states and societies. Topics include how distinct Muslim judiciaries and legal councils took shape in Europe, the ways that global networks, ideological movements, and international law shaped Muslim experiences and rights as Europeans, and the place of gender, religious belief, ethnicity, class, and race in framing discourses about Muslims in Europe.
MWF 12:10 - 1 (Greble)