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Current & Future Courses

 

 

Course Offerings Spring 2018

German Undergraduate Courses in German

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 the cultures of the German-speaking world. No prerequisite (for beginners). [3] MWF 10:10-11:00 (Staff) | 11:10 – 12:00 (Staff) | 12:10-1 (Richter-Nilsson)

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 the German-speaking world. Prerequisite GER 1101 or equivalent. [3] MWF 9:10-10 (Staff) |10:10-11:00 (Staff) | 11:10-12 (Staff) | 12:10-1:00 (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 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 1102 or equivalent. [3] MWF 10:10-11:00 (Tang) | 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. [3] MWF 10:10-11:00 (Schade) | 12:10-1 (Staff)

GER 3202W: Advanced German: Reading, Writing, Analysis.
Subtleties of style. Different vocabularies of textual and cultural criticism. Analysis of wide range of text genres and cultural materials. Prerequisite GER 2202 or equivalent. [3] MWF 11:10-12 (Richter-Nilsson)

GER 4553: Topics: 20th and 21st Century Culture and Literature | Representing History: Divided Germany From Both Sides
Journalism is supposed to be at place in time, literature is often neither in place nor in time. How was the division of Germany into East and West between 1961 and 1989 represented and reflected in the arts and public writing? We will study cultural signifiers, prose, texts, poems and films from German authors, journalists and filmmakers between 1961 and today to figure out how one lived in two countries of one language, divided in presence, future and ways of looking towards the past. Literary and journalistic texts by Judith Kuckart, Julia Franck, Viola Roggenkamp, Thomas Hettche, Sven Regener, Christa Wolf, Lutz Seiler, Mathias Mattusek, Wolf Biermann, Erich Neutsch, Peter Rühmkorf, Fritz J. Raddatz and others; movies by Frank Beyer, Robert Thalheim, Friedemann Fromm and others. Readings and discussions in German. [3] (HCA) TR 11-12:15 (Schmitter)

GER 4558: Business German
National differences do not disappear from a globalized world, rather they become internationally relevant. This course explores the distinct character of German business practices. We will examine German attitudes toward capital and labor, toward the role of the state and non-governmental organizations in structuring commercial relationships, toward environmental and other concerns effecting business practices in Germany, in order to identify differences that impact communication between German-speakers and non-German-speakers in business settings. The course will emphasize aural, oral, and written skills. We will investigate the role of German corporations in the United States, German finance in the European Union, and German capital in global conflict zones. In addition, the course will use practical exercises to familiarize students with business practices in German-speaking countries: advertising and marketing strategies, letters, vitae, phone calls, and personal interviews. Readings and discussions in German. Prerequisites: 3201. MWF 9:10-10 (McFarland)

German Undergraduate Courses in English

GER 1111-03: First-Year Writing Seminar | More than just a Game: International Perspectives on Soccer
This course examines soccer culture in countries such as the U.S., Germany, France, Israel, Uruguay, England, and Iran. Students will analyze the role of soccer in relationship to politics, the formation of group identities, gender, expressions of violence, and aesthetics. Through the lenses of scholarly, literary, and cinematic works, we interrogate the ways in which this sport serves as an extension of warfare. Other questions that this course addresses include: How do the arts portray this game? What role does sexual identity play within soccer culture? And, why is this sport just now gaining popularity in the US? As per title, this course will focus on the students' academic writing as well as their research skills. In addition, participants will learn how to cite properly and evaluate a large variety of sources. Students are eligible to take this class if they have fulfilled AXLE's English composition requirement. [3] (HCA) TR 11-12:15 (Knabe)

GER 2440: History of German Thought 
In this course, we will read German philosophers and critical theorists from the Enlightenment to the present day not only in order to evaluate the ideas they present but also to understand how these ideas fit into the social and political history of the German-speaking world.  The question of how thought is related to history—does philosophical thought influence history, does it reflect history, or does it evolve in a way that is largely independent from its historical context—is itself one of the central questions of German philosophy, and it will be one of the central questions of this course. We will approach the work of thinkers including Kant, Hegel, Nietzsche, Marx, Freud, Benjamin, Adorno, Arendt, Marcuse, and Habermas as part of German culture and as our entry point to a larger exploration of German culture and its history. All readings and discussions in English. (HCA) TR 1:10 – 2:25 (Koepnick)

GER 2444: German Fairy Tales: From Brothers Grimm to Walt Disney
This course juxtaposes some of the most influential, fascinating, and disturbing fairy tales by authors such as Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, Charles Perrault, and Hans Christian Andersen, with their popular transformations on the screen. We will first discuss the connection between fairy tales and the oral tradition of storytelling, and analyze how authors and collectors adapted their tales for different audiences. We will then explore the continued appeal that European fairy tales make to the visual imagination of directors and their international audiences, while also addressing problematic aspects of contemporary fairy tale retellings, such as stereotypical gender roles, lack of diversity, excessive violence, and archaic pedagogical practices in the original tales. As part of the course, students will create and analyze their own fairy tale rewritings. The course is designed to strengthen critical thinking and writing skills and to guide students toward perceptive, close readings of both literary and visual material. All readings and discussion are in English. MW 1:10-2 F 1:10-2 (Tang)

GER 2555: Topics in German Studies | Berlin
This course explores Germany's capital and one of the world's most exciting cities, Berlin. Once the epicenter of the Cold War in Europe, the command post of Hitler's Germany, and the site of radical cultural changes in the 1920s, today's Berlin is a young, creative, multicultural metropolis. The course peels back the layers of history that formed the modern city. Topics of discussion include history, politics, literature, film, music, architecture, and the urban landscape. Course materials include a historical reader, films, literary excerpts, and articles. The course is designed to strengthen critical thinking and writing skills and to guide students toward perceptive, close readings of literary, historical, visual, and cinematic material. All course material is in English translation. This course is recommended (though not required) for students who plan to enroll in Vanderbilt's summer 2018 study abroad program in Berlin. See instructor for details. No prerequisite. [3] MWF 11:10-12 (Schade)

GER 2556: Topics in Intellectual History | Women at the Margins: German Jewish Women Writers
Selected Readings: Memoirs of Glückel of Hameln, Henriette Herz, Rahel Levin Varnhagen, Fanny Lewald, Poems by Else Lasker-Schüler and Nelly Sachs, Texts by Hannah Arendt, Cordelia Edvardson, Barbara Honigmann and Esther Dischereit. TR 9:35-10:50 (Werner)

GER 2557: Topic in Genre | Remaking Theater Classics for the Modern Stage and Screen
Looking at contemporary theater today, we find "Macbeth" on the big Hollywood screen, a "Spring Awakening" musical on Broadway or a new translation of "Uncle Vanya" in a New York Off-Off-theater. World theater classics are now adapted into popular media and rewritten for modern stages and screens. This course focuses on plots, themes, and forms of the dramatic genre and its actual adaptations. We will close-read some of the major works of German, Russian, and Scandinavian theater and explore how these plays are transformed and recontextualized in contemporary discourses. The course will also engage students in a variety of writing formats, such as drama and film analysis, dramatic translation, and the art of adaptation. Readings include plays by Georg Büchner, Frank Wedekind, Anton Chekhov, and August Strindberg; screenings will feature Werner Herzog's film and Alban Berg's opera version of "Woyzeck" as well as Ingmar Bergman's film adaptation of the "Magic Flute"; Knowledge of German is not required; all texts will be available in English translation and films with English subtitles. [3] (HCA)   TR 2:35-3:50 (Richter-Nilsson)

German Graduate Courses

GER 5111: German for Graduate Reading
Survey of grammar and vocabulary, with extensive reading. Available only to graduate students for no credit. [0]
MWF 12:10-1 (Romero)

GER 7104: Pre-Exam Colloquium
Preliminary Exam preparation. Exam topics. Major works, writers, and genres. TR 2:30-3:50 (Werner)

GER 8301: Pre-Dissertation Colloquium.
Qualifying Exam Colloquium. Dissertation topics. Major thinkers, works, genres, and eras. TR 2:30-3:50 (Werner)

GER 8203: 20th Century German Literature | Me, myself and I: Experience Created by Writing
The question "what is imagined and what is your experience?" is probably the most frequent writers are confronted privately and in public - a question touching also our every-day-life when we try to express ourselves. It is as banal as lucid, while: What is an experience which is not formulated, does it merely exist? And: how can ready-made expressions meet personal experience at all? How does, on the other hand, language conduct what we think and feel about ourselves? And: aren´t the stories that deeply impressed us part of our experience? We will read and discuss memoirs, essays and novels relating to this topic, among others by Henriette Herz, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Peter Kurzeck, Herta Müller, Eva Menasse, Elke Schmitter, Andreas Maier, Gisela von Wysocki. Taught in German. W 3:30-6:00 (Schmitter)

GER 8205: Sem: Intellectual Constel | The Digital Flâneur: Mapping Twentieth-Century Berlin
This seminar explores the cultural history of Berlin in the twentieth century using theories and tools of the digital humanities. We examine the culture and geopolitics of twentieth-century Berlin from auditory and spatial perspectives, taking Walter Benjamin's notion of the flâneur as our guide. The flâneur has long been a favorite emblem of urban modernity but it is also ripe for critique, as the freedom to wander a European cityscape at will has never been equally available to all. We engage classic texts about the city (Döblin, Roth, Simmel) and current scholarship on several topics (the Berlin Wall, urban planning, green spaces, migrant experience, queer Berlin, music, sport) to understand multiple ways of being and moving in that city at different moments in the twentieth century. We also work with questions and tools of the digital humanities based on the premise of Todd Presner's HyperCities, "a collaborative research and educational platform for traveling back in time to explore the historical layers of city spaces in an interactive, hypermedia environment." As flâneurs in the world of digital humanities, students will peruse multiple digital tools (such as Atom, CityGML, Cloudant, GitHub, Mapbox, GeoJSON, QGIS, Neo4J and Wikidata) over the course of the semester, examining what they represent and exclude. Students work on projects in time travel, curating tours of Berlin built on historical maps since 1900 featuring still and moving images, audio, historical documents, and prose. As an exercise in digital public humanities, students' projects will be featured on a public website. Anderson/Calico TR 1:10 – 2:25

Russian Courses in Russian

RUS 1102: First-Year Russian II
Continuation of 1101 with emphasis on reading and talking about texts. No credit for students who have earned credit for a more advanced Russian language course. Prerequisite: 1101. [5] (INT) MTWRF 11:10-12 (Zhernokleyev/Johnson)

RUS 2202: Second Year Russian II
Reading, speaking, listening, and writing. Grammar review and reading of contemporary Russian texts. No credit for students who have earned credit for 2211 {205} or 2212 {206}. Prerequisite: 2201. [4] (INT) MTWR 12:10-1 (Dimova/Johnson)

RUS 3305: Advanced Conversation & Composition
Advanced conversation and composition skills. May be repeated once for credit. Prerequisite: 2202. [4] (INT) TR 1-2:30 | W 3:10-4 (Johnson)

Russian Courses in English

RUS 1111: First-Year Writing Seminar | Classic Russian Short Novels
In the nineteenth century, Russia witnessed an unprecedented explosion of literary and intellectual activity, a renaissance yielding some of the masterpieces of world literature. Concentrating on short classic novels, we will examine works by the most prominent authors of this period, putting special emphasis on Russia's unique handling of the sudden influx of European philosophy and culture. Knowledge of Russian is not required. [3] (HCA)   TR 1-2:35 (Dimova)

RUS 2273: Russian Science Fiction
Russia has one of the greatest and most diverse science fiction traditions in the world. It is famous for such masterpieces as Andrei Tarkovsky’s space-age film Solaris, the philosophical “hard science fiction” novels of the Strugatsky Brothers, and Yakov Protazanov’s Aelita, the communist epic that inspired Fritz Lang’s Metropolis. This course will offer an overview of the best of Russian science fiction, discussing its significance for various media ranging from literature and film to video games and science fiction magazines. Knowledge of Russian is not required. [3] (INT)  TR 4-5:30 (Dimova)


RUS 2800: Viewing Communism in Eastern Europe (1945-1989)
This course explores the Communist experience in postwar Eastern Europe through local sources: film, fiction, photography, memoirs, and political documents. Beginning with the Communist revolutions in Eastern Europe during the Second World War, the course traces topics including the formation of the police-state, economic and political variations in socialism, dissent, the Cold War, gender norms, healthcare policies, everyday life under Communism, and the public memory of the Second World War. The course concludes with the East European revolutions of 1989, wars in the early 1990s, and the legacy of the Communist period. [3] TR 2:35 – 3:50 (Greble)

RUS 3890: Selected Topics | Russian Religious Thought

Nineteenth century Russia witnessed a blossoming of art and literature due to a religious polemic with the West. Steeped in the mysticism of Eastern Orthodox Christianity, the Russian culture ultimately found itself at odds with the reason-centric European modernity. Through the reading of literary and philosophical texts and the study of religious art, this class will retrace the development of Russian religious thought from its Byzantine roots to the collapse of the Holy Empire in the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. Especial attention will be paid to the role of Orthodox Christianity as a defining force in Russian culture. The class will culminate in reading early twentieth century Russian thinkers, who, as epitomized by Nikolai Berdyaev, wrestled with the religious significance of Soviet atheism. Knowledge of Russian is not required. [3] (INT) MW 1:10-12:25 (Zhernokleyev)

Courses taught Outside of the Department

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 10:10 – 11 (McFarland)

HIST 1584W: Foreigners and Citizens: Law and Rights in Modern Europe
French Revolution to late 20th century. Laws, institutions, and debates over citizenship and human rights. Experiences of refuge, migration, assimilation, and ethnic cleansing. Influence of nationalism, communism, liberalism, secularism, and multiculturalism on discourses of civil and human rights. 
11-12:25 (Greble) 

PHIL 3011: Critical Theory
The Frankfurt School; mass culture, ideology, and modernism in the arts; the disenchantment of reason; alienation and fascism; the prospects for experience and political critique. Readings include Adorno, Horkheimer, Marcuse, Benjamin, and Habermas. 
TR 2:35-3:50 (Cornelissen)