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Fall 2021 Class Schedule

Fall 2021 class Schedule

Course Title Instructor Time Topic
101-1-20 Beginning German Zeller MTWF 9:00AM-9:50AM
101-1-21 Beginning German Meuser MTWF 10:00AM-10:50AM
101-1-22 Beginning German Swistelnicki

MTWF 11:00AM-11:50AM

101-1-23 Beginning German Hutter

MTWF 1:00PM-1:50PM

101-1-25 Beginning German   Meuser

MTWF 3:00PM- 3:50PM

102-1-20 Intermediate German Kerlova  MTWF 9:00AM-9:50AM
102-1-21 Intermediate German Kerlova  MTWF 10:00AM-10:50AM
102-1-22 Intermediate German Melovska MTWF 12:00PM- 12:50PM
102-1-23 Intermediate German Ryder

MTWF 3:00PM- 3:50PM

104-6-20 First Year Seminar Weitzman MWF 9:30AM-10:50AM Lies, Sophistry, Propaganda, Bluster, Equivocation, and Bullshit
205-0 Focus Writing Zeller MWF 11:00AM-11:50AM Fokus Schreiben: Berlin - Faces of the Metropolis
209-0 German in the Business World Ryder MWF 12:00PM-12:50PM
230-0 Berlin and the Culture of Democracy von Holt TTH 3:30PM-4:50PM
232-0 The Theme of Faust Through the Ages Fenves MWF 10:00AM-10:50AM
303-0 Speaking as Discovery - Advanced Conversation Lys TTH 9:30AM- 10:50AM
335-0 Minority Voices in Germany von Holt TTH 12:30PM- 1:50PM

German History: Germany Since 1945

Stokes TTH 2:00PM- 3:20PM Comb HIST 344-2
402-0 History of Literature and Critical Thought, 1832-1900 Weber  TH 9:00AM- 12:00PM

Community in Question 

407-0 Pro-seminar Kreienbrock

W 2:00PM- 4:50PM


441-0 Studies in Communication and Culture Weitzman M 2:00PM- 4:50PM

Introduction to Irony


Fall 2021 course descriptions

GER 101-1,2,3 : Beginning German 

The Beginning German sequence offers students a systematic introduction to German language and culture emphasizing the four modalities: speaking, listening comprehension, reading and writing. The first quarter (101-1) offers a systematic review of basic German words, phrases with a cultural focus on Germany, an introduction of simple grammar items, and short interview practice at the end of the quarter. The second quarter (101-2) includes a variety of writing assignments, cultural presentations, reading poems by Goethe, the visit of a Mystery Guest, as well as intensive work with the strong and irregular verbs. In the third quarter (101-3), students will read and discuss short stories and plays by Grimm, Brecht and Kafka! The highlight will be an in-class skit performance which culminates in the almost famous *Evening O' Skits* featuring the best student selected skits from first and second-year German.
Prerequisite in German for 101-1: None or one year of high-school German.
Prerequisite in German for 101-2: 101-1 or placement exam results.
Prerequisite in German for 101-3: 101-2 or placement exam results.

GER 102- 1,2,3 : Intermediate German

The Intermediate German sequence offers students a systematic review of German language and culture to increase linguistic proficiency and cultural literacy. The pedagogy used fosters learning in the four modalities: speaking, listening comprehension, reading and writing. Each quarter has a specific focus: In the Fall Quarter (102-1) students concentrate on speaking and communication and on the history of the GDR and the 20th anniversary of Germanyʼs reunification, in the Winter Quarter (102-2) on writing and on contemporary German culture, and in the Spring Quarter (102-3) on reading, theatre, and performance and on 20th -century literature by German-speaking authors.
Prerequisite in German for 102-1: 101-3 or placement exam results
Prerequisite in German for 102-2: 102-1 or placement exam results.
Prerequisite in German for 102-3: 102-2 or placement exam results.

GER 104-6-20 : First Year Seminar - Lies, Sophistry, Propaganda, Bluster, Equivocation, and Bullshit

Ever since Socrates defeated the Sophists, the question of truth, lying, and whatever comes in between has been crucial for thinking about communication and thought. But what does it mean, exactly, to lie – or, if not exactly to lie, to seek to overpower the person you are talking to with a stream of empty rhetoric, intentional ambiguity, deflection, bluffing, or other modes of deceptive or manipulative speech? To what ends have such practices been put throughout history, and what are their political, social, and psychological consequences? This seminar will look at the practice and implications of various forms of deceptive or coercive speech in a selection of novels, films, essays, and philosophical texts. Possible readings may include: Arthur Schopenhauer, The Art of Being Right; Friedrich Nietzsche, “On Truth and Lying in an Extra-moral Sense”; Orson Welles, F for Fake; Patricia Highsmith, The Talented Mr. Ripley; and Hannah Arendt, “Lying in Politics.”


GER 205-0 : Focus Writing

This content-based grammar and composition course is designed for students who wish to improve their writing and grammar skills in order to become independent, confident, and proficient communicators of German. The thematic basis for the course is the city of Berlin and the personalities, places, historical events, cultural and artistic trends, and visions that have shaped this historically unique, increasingly diverse, dynamic, and fascinating city during the twentieth and are shaping it during the twenty-first century. Course materials will include current and historical materials from various sources, including fictional works by German-speaking authors, news features, cultural reports, feature films, and short films. Participants will learn how to analyze and produce portraits, narratives, film reviews, and literary interpretations, and cultural reports, and acquire the relevant linguistic skills. They will further have the chance to explore connections between Chicago and Berlin with a focus on architecture and German heritage and will be able to express themselves creatively in different contexts. Among the highlights is the production of a student magazine.


Prerequisite in German: German 102-3. 


German 209-0 – German in the Business World

In this course, students will acquire basic business-related German language skills and attain a cross-cultural perspective on German and American business practices. The emphasis will be on communicative situations such as oral and written social interactions with customers, sales dialogues, business travel, basic formats of business letters and internship applications. The course is taught entirely in German and emphasizes developing cultural knowledge and German language skills to prepare students for basic professional activities in and with German-speaking countries.

Prerequisite in German: One 200-level course in German or permission of the DUS.  


German 230-0 – Berlin and the Culture of Democracy

This class aims to introduce students to the history and culture of Berlin from 1900 to the present. Drawing on a wide range of media, from maps through film to music, the class concentrates on a series of transformative moments in German cultural history seen through the prism of Berlin. Students will engage with the varied historical, socio-political, and artistic changes in German culture throughout the twentieth century, including the vibrant and provocative culture of the 1920s and early 1930s, with a focus on changing forms of gender identity (the “New Woman”) and sexual subcultures (as in the film Cabaret). Further, students will examine the everyday and extraordinary history of German-Jews in Germany around the devastating caesura of the Jewish genocide executed by the National Socialists. After examining the megalomaniacal plans that the Nazis made for Berlin, the class turns to the devastated city of 1945 and the divided city of the Cold War, where the conflict between “East” and “West” emerges in the “concrete” form of the Berlin Wall. Further topics include the events surrounding the collapse of the Wall and the creation of the Berlin Republic, the changing face of national culture in light of the migration of the so-called Turkish “guest workers” of the post-War years, particularly through the art of later generations of Turkish-German authors and filmmakers in Berlin.
Prerequisites: None.
This course counts for Distribution Area IV and Area VI.


GER 232-0 : The Theme of Faust Through the Ages

“To sell one’s soul,” “to strike a bargain with the devil,” or even “to beat the devil at his own game”—these expressions and similar ones continue to enjoy undiminished popularity. For more than five-hundred years the legend of Faust has served as means to express the daring and danger of pursuing an aspiration even if it comes at the cost of one’s “soul.” The specter of a “Faustian bargain” often appears when narratives identify individuals whose inordinate achievements are both destructive and self-destructive. The theme of Faust provides a perspective in which one must thus reflect on the highest and lowest values.

Dr. Faustus has undergone many mutations since he first appeared in central Europe around the early sixteenth century. This class will be begin with a question at the foundation of the Faust legend: what is our “soul” worth? While examining this and kindred questions about the nature of the moral self, the class will continually reflect on what we are doing when we evaluate a work of art in relation to the moral culture of its “time” or “period.” In addition to listening to some musical compositions and reading some shorter texts, we will examine the earliest versions of Faust, which derives from the beginnings of the Protestant Reformation and then proceed to read Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s great drama of cosmic knowledge and sexual seduction, Faust I, followed by selections from its strange sequel Faust II, in which Faust invents paper money and then becomes a real-estate developer or social-engineer who wants to reorganize the very nature of our planet. We will ask what Goethe, near the end of his life, gave to “world literature” (a term of his own invention) when he presented his final version of Faust as a man committed to a total terrestrial transformation that inadvertently destroys innocent lives. As a conclusion to our analysis of Goethe’s Faust, we will read two very different kinds of poetic responses, Paul Celan’s “Death Fugue” and Carol Ann Duffy’s “Mrs. Faust.” And in the final two weeks of the class we will view three versions of the Faust legend for our times: Taylor Hackford’s The Devil’s Advocate from the 1990s, Sophie Barthes’ Cold Souls from the 2000s, and Danny Boyle’s Yesterday from 2019."

Prerequisites: None.
This course counts for Distribution Area V and Area VI.

GER 303-0 : Speaking as Discovery

This course is designed to help students improve their listening comprehension and speaking skills to become creative, independent, and sophisticated users of spoken German. The content focuses on exploring standpoints, developing arguments, and expressing points of view using a variety of media such as authentic material from the German press, German television, news broadcasts, documentaries and film excerpts for interpretive activities and discussions. The class discussion is tailored to students’ interests and needs.

Prerequisite in German: Two 200-level courses in German or permission of the DUS.

German 335-0 – Minority Voices in Germany

Starting out from the question: “What is German?”, this course explores the changing understandings of national identity in postwar Germany. In this context, the course examines fiction, autobiography, poetry, and political and theoretical writings by and about “minority voices” in Germany in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Questions the course will explore include: What is the relationship between autobiographical writing and identity? What is a “minority” and how might we conceive of “minority voices” in terms of ethnicity, religious belief, gender, class, and community? What can our readings teach us about the role of “minority literature” in Germany?

Prerequisite in German: Three 200-level courses in German (at least one in literature) or permission of the DUS.

This course counts for Distribution Area VI. 

German 344-2 – German History: Germany Since 1945

Debates about the development of the postwar German states from 1945 to the present. Social, political, economic, and everyday history within the context of East, West, and unified Germany.  Taught with History 344-2; may not receive credit for both courses.  

GER 402-0 : History of Literature and Critical Thought, 1832-1900 - Community in Question (REMOTE)

One of the many questions raised by the recent Covid-19 pandemic, concerns the notion of. "community" and more specifically, its relation to the kinds of separation and "distancing" imposed by it. This course seeks to respond to this situation by returning to a discussion started in the 1980s, mainly in France, about the continuing relevance or irrelevance of the notion of "community," and related words, including "communism," "communion," "communication." One of the distinctive aspects of the French discussion was that the notion of literature and more generally writing played an important role. The seminar proposes to return to the discussion between Jean-Luc Nancy and Maurice Blanchot concerning the notion of "community," and its relation to "literature" (Nancy even writes of "literary communism"). Nancy continued to reflect on the possible relevance of this notion in the following decades, including his experience of the recent pandemic. At the core of the discussion is the question of what can form the basis of the "common" that is the root of all "community" as well as of the other words mentioned, and to what extent it necessarily implies an irreducible dimension of separation -- of which the experience of reading and writing "literary texts" might be an exemplary instance.

GERMAN 407 – Proseminar (1)

SFall writing workshops in which students complete a research-level paper in conjunction with work in others courses.

GER 441-20 : Studies in Communication and Culture - Introduction to Irony

How did irony become such a contentious topic in philosophy and culture? What is irony good for? Should we stop it? Is irony dead? Can it even die? This course examines the development of the slippery “concept” (or non-concept, according to Paul de Man) of irony as at once rhetorical figure, literary device, and epistemological danger from Socrates to the present. Readings will cover the historical development of irony in philosophy, political theory, literary criticism, and literature, being attentive to the various forms of position-taking irony entails vis-à-vis that which is being ironized. We will also study irony in connection to related themes such as humor and comedy, theatricality, camp, and nihilism. Above all, we will ask the question of why the seemingly simple matter of irony proves to be such a tenacious problem in Western thought, and why it continues to be a topic of debate and controversy (including the repeated announcements of its “end”) up to today.


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