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Fall 2023 Class Schedule

Fall 2023 Class Schedule

Course Title Instructor Time Topic
101-1-22 Beginning German Meuser MWF 9:30AM-10:40AM
101-1-23 Beginning German Ryder MWF 11:00AM-12:10PM
101-1-25 Beginning German Swistelnicki MWF 3:30PM-4:40PM
102-1-20 Intermediate German Kerlova  MWF 9:30AM-10:40AM
102-1-21 Intermediate German DeSocio  MWF 12:30PM-1:40PM
102-1-22 Intermediate German Zeller MWF 3:30PM- 4:40PM
104-7- College Seminar DeSocio MWF 10:00AM-10:50AM Life and Love on the Dance Floor: Berlin Dance Music and Club Culture (College Seminar)

Focus Writing

Zeller MWF 11:00AM-11:50AM Berlin – Faces of the Metropolis

Politics, History, and Culture in 21st-Century Germany

Meuser MWF 12:00PM-12:50PM
224-0 Contemporary Germany Holt

TTh 2:00PM-3:20PM

Contemporary Germany: Germany and the African Diaspora


(Comp-Lit 202-2-23)

Analyzing Freud Weitzman MWF 1:00PM-1:50PM



Special Topics in German Literature and Culture Ryder MWF 2:00PM-2:50PM


Beer and Brewing in Germany and Chicago


(Jwsh_St 266-0-1 and Comp-Lit 270-0-1)

Introduction to Yiddish Culture: Images of the Shtetl

Moseley TTH 3:30PM- 4:50PM

Speaking as Discovery

Lys TTH 11:00AM- 12:20PM

German Expressionism

Weitzman MWF 3:00PM- 3:50PM
402-0 German Literature and Critical Thought, 1832-1900 Kreienbrock

T 2:00PM- 4:50PM

Remnants of Marx

441-0 Studies in Communication and Culture Menke T 5:15PM- 7:45PM

Theories of Freedom and Liberation


Fall 2023 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 three-quarter Intermediate German sequence has several major goals. While students continue to develop proficiency in German language skills, they employ a variety of materials in the spoken and written word. They also gain insight into Germany and its place in Europe in the past and today. Since history is a critical part of German identity, our examination of German society includes study of the Weimar democratic republic, the Nazi regime, and divided and reunified Germany. By the end of the academic year, students will be able to handle a variety of communicative tasks in straightforward social situations, including predictable and concrete exchanges necessary for functioning abroad. We are working with the new Impulse Deutsch 2 printed textbook (Machen) and online workbook (Lernen + Zeigen). We will also continue to work with a variety of original materials, including music, literature, and films.
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 104-7 : First Year Seminar - Life and Love on the Dance Floor: Berlin Dance Music and Club Culture (College Seminar) 

This course offers a study of Berlin, Germany's world-famous role as a major center of contemporary dance music (techno, house, disco) and nightclub culture. Beginning in the 1990s with the end of the Cold War and the reunification of Berlin, the city quickly became home to cutting-edge DJs, party planners, club owners, and dancers, including notorious clubs like Tresor and Berghain. Coming together, they pioneered new ways to express oneself and connect with one another through music and dance.

This course examines many aspects of this culture, from the unique genres of music and how DJs create music to the technology of sound, the experience of dancing and of clubs as spaces, and the politics of belonging, representation, and identity on the dance floor, in particular its complicated exchanges with Black communities and music in Chicago and Detroit, the birthplaces of this music. We also will consider the social, cultural, and political implications of nightlife and dance music as a site of community-building, friendship, and love within contemporary Western society, especially for queer communities.

As a College Seminar, the course will introduce you to college life and the essential, but mostly unwritten, rules, expectations, resources, and habits for you to succeed as a student. This “hidden curriculum” will include topics such as time management, emotional health, academic integrity and the mechanics of citation, and how to seek help. Our assignments will include a variety of small, weekly writing assignments and short summative, comparative, and analytic essays to begin your familiarization with college writing.

There will also be an experiential component to the course involving events with DJs in which you will talk about practical topics such as the work of DJing and making music and the politics and logistics of dance.

German 205-0 – Focus Writing - Berlin – Faces of the Metropolis

This course is designed especially for students who wish to improve their writing skills in order to become independent, confident and proficient writers of German. The thematic basis for the course is the city of Berlin and the personalities, places, historical events, cultural trends, and visions that have shaped it during the 20th and are shaping it during the 21st Century. Course materials will include current texts from newspapers and magazines, fictional works by German-speaking authors, as well as feature films, episodes of a German telenovela, music, and videos. Students will learn to analyze and to produce portraits of people and places, narratives, and film reviews. Grammar topics relevant for each unit will be reviewed thoroughly and integrated in context.

Prerequisite in German: German 102-3.

GERMAN 213-0 – Politics, History, and Culture in 21st-Century Germany

This course is specifically designed for students who would like to prepare for studying abroad and/or would like to deepen their cultural and linguistic knowledge regarding integration and multicultural life in Germany. The topics covered in the course will focus partly on topics covered in the German integration course (Integrationskurs), a program developed in Germany specifically for immigrants. Topics will include a brief history of Germany in the 20th century and how it affects life in the 21st century, the meaning of democracy, Germany as a welfare state, life in unified Germany and Europe, political and educational structures, religious and intercultural integration and social networks. With this course, students will be prepared for the final examination, the “Life Germany” test, an examination written for immigrants in Germany.

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

This course counts for Distribution Area III 


German 224-0 – Contemporary Germany - Contemporary Germany: Germany and the African Diaspora

Courses under this rubric focus on the German political, social, and cultural scene after 1945. Topics vary and may include: Contemporary Germany: Germany and the African Diaspora, a seminar which will explore images of Germany in the works of Black writers, filmmakers, and musicians from Germany and abroad and images of Blackness in the works of white German authors and filmmakers. It will treat the contemporary legacies of German colonialism, transformations of discussions about race and racism following World War II and the Holocaust, and conceptions of multiculturalism and Europeanism. Students will engage with the works of Black German and Afro-German writers and artists who critique Germany’s self-conception as white, as well as texts by thinkers from the African diaspora (like W.E.B. Du Bois and Audre Lorde) for whom experiences in Germany served as sources of intellectual and artistic stimulation. German 224 may be repeated for credit with different topics.
Prerequisites: None.
This course counts for Distribution Area IV.

German 244 – Analyzing Freud

This class examines the life and work of the groundbreaking Viennese psychologist Sigmund Freud from a comparative and interdisciplinary angle. Long after his death, Freud’s legacy continues to be controversial: some claim that his theories are no longer relevant in the light of new research, whereas others defend his theories and/or expand upon the implications and influence of his ideas, in the realm not only of psychology, medicine, and neuroscience, but also in the fields of sociology, cultural studies, philosophy, literary studies, criminal justice, queer studies, gender’s studies, and many more. What is certain, however, is that Freud’s work—and the image of his life—have marked the modern world. This class will read fundamental texts from Freud’s body of work in dialogue with texts by Freud’s near and distant predecessors and followers, both to situate Freud in his historical and cultural context, and to think through the many different kinds of questions that Freud’s work addresses.
Prerequisites: None.
This course counts for Distribution Area VI.


German 246-0 – Special Topics in German Literature and Culture - Beer and Brewing in Germany and Chicago

Courses taught under this heading may address various topics at the intersection of German literature, culture, and history, including Beer and Brewing in Germany and Chicago. Did you know that the first riot in Chicago was due to Germans gathering to drink beer and discuss politics? Do you know the one very important ingredient missing in the original German Reinheitsgebot (purity law) of 1516? This course provides an overview of many different historical and practical aspects of beer and brewing in German-speaking culture. We will read fictional and philosophical interpretations of beer and its cultural impact, explore the rich history of German beer making in Chicago from the 1850s to today, and learn about the science of brewing and different brewing techniques used by German brew-masters. A tasting of non-alcoholic malted beverages will be included, as well as a tour of a local Chicago brewery. Please consult Caesar for current topic. German 246 may be repeated for credit with different topics.
Prerequisites: None.
This course counts for Distribution Area VI. 

German 266-0 – Introduction to Yiddish Culture: Images of the Shtetl

In collective memory the shtetl (small Jewish town) has become enshrined as the symbolic space of close-knit, Jewish community in Eastern Europe; it is against the backdrop of this idealized shtetl that the international blockbuster Fiddler on the Roof is enacted. This seminar explores the spectrum of representations of the shtetl in Yiddish literature from the nineteenth century to the post-Holocaust period. The discussion will also focus on artistic and photographic depictions of the shtetl: Chagall and Roman Vishniac in particular. The course will include a screening of Fiddler on the Roof followed by a discussion of this film based upon a comparison with the text upon which it is based, “Tevye the Milkman.”
Prerequisites: None.
This course counts for Distribution Area VI.

German 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 327-0 – German Expressionism

This course will look at the rise and fall of German Expressionism in literature, visual art, and film from the late nineteenth century to the ascent of the Third Reich. We will discuss how the artistic innovations of Expressionism reflected distinctive political, philosophical, and social ideas and conditions of Germany in the years just before and in the wake of the First World War, looking closely at the aesthetics and poetics of this short-lived but influential movement. We will also consider certain themes and issues that Expressionist art particularly addressed, including: urbanization and cosmopolitanism; capitalism and inequality; war and trauma; portrayals of extreme states such as violence, ecstasy, and mental illness; sexuality, desire, and the representation of women; horror and the occult; the role of ethnic and cultural minorities and the appeal of the exotic.
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 402 – German Literature and Critical Thought, 1832-1900 - Remnants of Marx

"What is left of Marx? This class investigates the emergence and actuality of Karl Marx’s thought in the context of its political, philosophical, scientific, and literary contexts in the first half of the 19th century. We will read Marx in conversation with a variety of interlocutors among them the philosophers Hegel and Feuerbach as well as the writers Heinrich Heine, Ludwig Börne, and Georg Büchner.

Readings will focus on the early writings of Marx: The Difference Between the Democritean and Epicurean Philosophy of Nature; German-French Yearbooks (On the Jewish Question, Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right, letters to Ruge and Bakunin); The Communist Manifesto; The 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte; German Ideology; Theses on Feuerbach as well as some journalistic writings (Law on the Theft of Wood). Key concepts that will be discussed are the notion of critique, the idea of universal human rights, the swerving motion (clinamen) of historical progress, the status of affects (anger, shame) in political discourse, and the aesthetics of revolution.
In addition to close readings of Marx’s writings, we will discuss their reception in 20th-century theoretical debates in the works of Bertolt Brecht, Georg Lukacs, Louis Althusser, Jacques Derrida, and Werner Hamacher."

GER 441-20 : Studies in Communication and Culture - Theories of Freedom and Liberation

“Freedom” is a basic term in Western culture, for it became the formal designation of the right way to live—to think, to act, to exist—through which European culture replaced the classical idea of the good life, which had consisted in the exercise of the virtues. At the same time, however, “freedom” is a thoroughly ambiguous and dubious word that, from the beginning of its function as a basic concept, contained implicit and explicit programs for new forms of domination, including domination in the relation of the self to itself, to the world, and to others.  For this reason, a critique of freedom is necessary.

The seminar will focus on the idea that freedom exists only in becoming, that is, as “liberation.” For it is precisely this idea of liberation that underlies the dominant narratives of post-classical Western culture (and modernity in particular): liberation defines its notions of history, subjectivity, education, politics, the arts, etc. And it is therefore also the thought and process of liberation that most clearly exhibits the dialectical knot that links freedom and domination in their contradiction. From this perspective, processes of liberation will be examined in the seminar. We will ask, for example: what drives those processes?  How do they proceed?  How do they fail and/or how do they establish new orders of domination?

The seminar will pursue these questions by examining a variety of methodological approaches. These include the following: the exploration of the putative Greek origin of Western freedom in the history of ideas (Meier, Patterson, Raaflaub); the systematic conceptualization of the relations between freedom, capacity, and habit (Arendt, Hegel); the psycho-social analysis of the entanglement between emancipation and domination (Fanon, Hartman); the relation between experience and liberation in aesthetic theories of freedom (Adorno, Blanchot, Heidegger, Nancy); and the question of the relation between religion and freedom (Lévinas, Santner).


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