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Current & Future Courses


Course Offerings Spring 2020

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 (TBD) | 11:10 – 12:00 (Schade) | 12:10-1 (TBD)

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 (TBD) |10:10-11:00 (TBD) | 11:10-12 (TBD) | 12:10-1:00 (Lambrow)

GER 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. Emphasis is placed on developing communicative skills, reading and discussing short texts, and writing short essays.  Topically, the course explores factors that have shaped modern Germany, including migration and refugees, the legacy of WWII and the Holocaust, and the German Democratic Republic.  The course includes a review of German grammar. Prerequisite GER 1102 or equivalent. [3] (INT)

MWF: 10-11 (Schade) | 12-1 (Grek)

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 (TBD) | 12:10-1 (TBD)

GER 3202W: Advanced German I: 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 9:10-10

GER 4552: The Essential Goethe
In this course you will become acquainted with one of Germany’s most celebrated writers, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, by reading a selection of his best-known works. In addition to reading and discussing the works, we will explore their sources, the larger literary trends in which they participate, and their (lasting) influences. We will continue to circle back to the questions: who is Goethe and what was he trying to achieve in his literary works? By the end of the semester you will have engaged with major literary texts and have a familiarity with their writer, as once referred to by Lord Byron, “the illustrious Goethe.” All readings and discussions in German. Prerequisites: GER 3201 and 3202. [3] (INT)
MWF 10:10–11 | Grek

GER 4553: 30 Years After: The German Reunification in Film and Literature

The fall of the wall in November 1989 heralded the German reunification rather than the reformation of the GDR as an example of democratic socialism or ‘socialism with a human face’ as the slogan read in 1989. The thirtieth anniversary of the opening of the borders between East and West Germany gives reason to recapitulate the historic events of 1989/1990, to discuss the development of Germany since its reunification and to explore the books and films about the GDR and its end that have been published since then. Readings include Volker Braun, Christa Wolf, Thomas Brussig, Thomas Rosenlöcher, Ingo Schulze, Clemens Meyer, Cees Noteboom, Friedrich Christian Delius. Films: “Goodbye Lenin,” “Das Leben der anderen,” “Willenbrock,” “Das Versprechen”. Issues discussed cover Cold War, Perestroika and Glasnost, Reunification and East-/West-German identity, Migration and Globalization, the Far-Right Resurgence. All materials and discussions are in German. Prerequisites: GER 3201 and 3202. [3] (INT) TR 2:35-3:50 | Simanowski

German Undergraduate Courses in English

GER 2432: Soccer: Media, Art, Culture

The great Brazilian athlete Pele once called soccer the “beautiful game”—a sport second to none in inspiring memorable performances, grand passions, deep commitments, potent conflicts, media spectacles, and artistic representations. Soccer is a ritual through which cultural identities and relationships are constituted, but it is also big business today, a global industry engaging millions of viewers, consumers, and dollars every week. This course explores the relation of international soccer to various political, economic, and cultural dynamics. In a series of cross-cultural case studies, it will investigate the game's relationship to issues such as political power, globalization, gender, migration, economic and social inequality, national identity, and transnational commerce. We will discuss the history of the game and the development of its tactics, as much as we will study the particularities of soccer in Germany, Spain, England, and the United States. Last but not least, this course will address the representation of soccer in various artistic media such as literature, film, and video installation art. Class discussions will be complemented by visiting speakers and at least on field trip. Funds provided through an Immersion Grant will allow us to take 6-7 students to London and Manchester over spring break to conduct research on soccer on site as part of an ongoing or future Immersion project. MW 11-12 | F 11-12 (3) Koepnick and Sloop

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)MWF 2-3 | Lambrow

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 (3) | Zeller

GER 2555: Richard Wagner: Culture, Politics, Music

This is a course on Richard Wagner’s nineteenth-century art, ideas, and politics, including his influence on everything from media to race theory up to the present day. Readings consist of biography, critical commentary, Wagner’s own writings, and the music dramas themselves. No musical training required. [3] (INT) | TR 1:10–2:25 | Applegate and Calico



GER 7104: Pre-Exam Colloquium.

Preliminary Exam preparation. Exam topics. Major works, writers, and genres. TR 2:30-3:50 | Werner


GER 8202: Friedrich Hölderlin

Since his rediscovery by Norbert von Hellingrath just before the First World War, Friedrich Hölderlin (1770-1843) has occupied a unique position within the pantheon of German literary accomplishment. A roommate as a student at the famous Tübinger Stift with the philosophers F. W. J. Schelling and G. W. F. Hegel, and a lyric poet heavily influenced by Friedrich Schiller, Hölderlin’s meteoric career—which ended in collapse and madness in 1806—rendered in literary forms the radical profundity of German idealism, and registered in wrenching syntax the modern experience of religious abjection and political revolution. This course will read Hölderlin’s work: his poetry, including his late Odes; his novel Hyperion; his drama Der Tod des Empedokles; and his translations of Greek tragedy, as well as his surviving letters. While Hölderlin’s own writings will be the central focus of the course, their reception, by Benjamin, Heidegger, Warminski, Laplanche, Lacoue-Labarthes, Nancy, and others will provide a counterpoint to our readings. Hölderlin’s influence on modernist literature in the work of poets such as Stefan George and Paul Celan will be another point of interest. And in addition we will examine the considerable philological challenges editing his work presents, and how scholars have tried to overcome them. The year 2020 marks the 250th year since Hölderlin’s birth, a serendipitous occasion for a reconsideration of this remarkable literary, philosophical, and cultural phenomenon. M 4–6:30 | McFarland

GER 8205: Digitization and German Media Theory 

In German media theory the ongoing process of digitization is seen either as a disruption that alters our relationship with communication, privacy, traveling, work, politics, and identity, or it is regarded as the continuation of society´s urge to know itself and optimize its procedures. Taking the perspectives of some precursors and classics of German media studies (Siegfried Kracauer, Arnold Gehlen, Friedrich Kittler) as points of departure, this course examines in what ways certain aspects of digitization – selfies, quantification, dataveillance, artificial intelligence, cybernetic governance, digital labor, platform capitalism, transhumanism – are reassessed in contemporary German discourses on digital media. W 3:15-5:45 | Simanowski

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

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. [4] (INT)| TWRF 11:10-12 | Johnson

RUS 2202: Second-Year Russian II

Reading, speaking, listening, and writing. Grammar review and reading of contemporary Russian texts. Prerequisite: 2201. [4] (INT) | MTWR 12:10-1 | Zhernokleyev/ Johnson

RUS 3307: Advanced Russian Language through Visual Culture and Media

Designed for third-year language learners and beyond (including heritage and native speaker), this course offers an introduction to Russian cinema from its origins in the early 20th century to the post-Soviet era. It includes an examination of early silent films, documentary and avant-garde films of the early Soviet era, Stalinist and socialist realist films, late Soviet art house and popular cinema, and finally contemporary film. The course situates Russian and Soviet film in historical discourses about mass culture, cultural education, political propaganda, entertainment, nation-building, cultural diversity, and migration. It also discusses the relation of film and cinema to visual culture in general and to other media and their transformation in our age of digital new media. This course will be taught in Russian. All readings, films, discussions, and assignments are in Russian. Prerequisite: RUSS 2202 or equivalent. [3] (HCA) | MWF 11:10-12 | Denischenko

Russian Courses in English

RUS 1111: Utopia: Engineering Human Society

This First-Year Writing Seminar examines the concept of utopia at the intersection of philosophical, political, and artistic and literary thought. While the first half of the course is dedicated to understanding the western classics of utopian thought, the second half considers attempts to realize these and other imagined utopias in Russian culture and society, from the mid 19th century through the Bolshevik Revolution to the height of Stalinism. Through close readings and examination of a broad range of materials, students learn to analyze and produce different modes of writing. Knowledge of Russian not required. [3] MWF 2-3 | Denischenko

RUS 1500: Introduction to Russian and East European Studies

History and culture of Russia and East Europe, 1700-present. Political history, intellectual history, literature, and culture of region. Russia and East Europe in historical and geopolitical context. Knowledge of Russian not required. [3] (P) TR 1:10-2:25 | Gorski

RUS 1910W: 19th Century Russian Literature

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. [3] MWF 1-2 | Zhernokleyev

RUS 2810:  Revolutions and Post-Communisms in Eastern Europe and Eurasia, 1981-2010

Life in the Soviet Imperium. Revolutions of 1989 in Eastern Europe. Disintegration of the U.S.S.R., 1989-1991. Challenges of neoliberal transitions to free-market democracies. Post-socialist culture. Ecology and environmentalism; globalization; gender; religion and ideology; mass media; violence; ethno-nationalism; and authoritarianism. [3] (P) TR 9:35-10:50 | Greble and Gorski

 RUS 3890: Russian Religious Imagination

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. MW 2:35-3:50 | Zhernokleyev


Courses Taught Outside of the Department

HIST 8340: Studies in German History: Problems and Sources in Modern German History

The course examines different approaches to German history of the nineteenth and twentieth century. These include different interpretations, methodologies, genres and source materials. Topics include continuities and discontinuities, the transnational turn, environmental history, literary and visual sources, the sources for political history, the commodity as source, biography/prosopography and microhistory. W 12:10 – 3:00pm | Blackbourn

CMAP 8004: Media Ecology

Media as environment. Impact of interplay between technology and culture on all aspects of human life. Effects of media technologies on built environments such as urban centers, academic learning spaces, museum and gallery settings, hospitals, transitory spaces, domestic interiors, natural surroundings. Special focus on questions of media and climate change; the ecology of video gaming and artificial intelligence; environments of reading. Team-taught by interdisciplinary group of faculty. W 6:30 – 9:30 | Koepnick, Fay, Clayton, Ramey, Shin