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Fall 2024 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 Melovska MWF 12:30PM-1:40PM
101-1-26 Beginning German Gordon MWF 3:30PM-4:40PM
102-1-20 Intermediate German Kerlova  MWF 9:30AM-10:40AM
102-1-21 Intermediate German DeSocio  MWF 11:00AM-12:10PM
102-1-22 Intermediate German Meuser MWF 12:30PM-1:40PM
102-1-23 Intermediate German Zeller MWF 3:30PM- 4:40PM
104-7 College Seminar DeSocio MWF 9:00AM-9:50AM Love and Life on the Dance Floor: Berlin Dance Music and Club Culture

Focus Writing

Zeller MWF 2:00PM-2:50PM

German in the Business World

Ryder TTh 9:30AM-10:50AM
230-0 Berlin and the Culture of Democracy Parkinson

TTh 2:00PM-3:20PM


(Comp-Lit 270-0-1)

Kafka and Nietzsche Fenves TTh 12:30PM-1:50PM



Special Topics in German Literature and Culture Hanna Seltzer MW 9:30AM-10:50AM


Yiddish, Our Setting Sun: Yiddish Literature and Culture in the 20th


Speaking as Discovery

Lys TTH 2:00PM- 3:20PM

German Contributions to World Literature

Fenves TTH 3:30PM- 4:50PM
404-0 German Literature and Critical Thought, Since 1945 Parkinson

TH 4:00PM- 6:50PM



408-0 Critical Theory and Religion Müller-Schöll

W 3:00PM-5:50PM


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 first quarter of the three-quarter sequence of Intermediate German has several goals:

- development of linguistic proficiency

- acquisition of cultural literacy

- insight into German-speaking countries and their place in Europe in the past and today.

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. Once students complete the Intermediate German sequence, they are ready to go and experience life in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.

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 -  Love and Life on the Dance Floor: Berlin Dance Music and Club Culture

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. 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. We will examine these genres of dance music, how DJs create music and 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 in Chicago and Detroit. We also will consider the social, cultural, and political implications of nightlife and dance music as a site of community-building and love, especially for queer communities.

German 205-0 – Focus Writing - 

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 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.

Historical Studies Distro Area

Interdisciplinary Distro

Literature Fine Arts Distro Area

German 236-0 – Kafka and Nietzsche

This course takes its point of departure from two sayings: “there are no facts, only interpretations” (Nietzsche), and “Only here is suffering suffering” (Kafka). It explores the relationship between suffering and interpretation. For Nietzsche, the interpretation of suffering – real or imagined – is not only the origin of all moral and legal categories but also the source of philosophical speculation. For many of the characters that inhabit Kafka’s fictions, suffering – real or imagined – generates interminable interpretations, and the interminability of interpretation is itself the source of intensified suffering. Beginning with, and continually returning to, Kafka’s very short story, “The New Advocate,” which is about Alexander the Great’s horse, who has lowered his ambitions and thus become a lawyer, the course considers the question: what is greatness? In the first part of the course we pursue this question in the context of certain sections from Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra and from his Toward the Genealogy of Morals. In the second, we turn to a series of Kafka stories, aphorisms, and his great unfinished novel, The Castle.
Prerequisites: None.
Ethics Values Distro Area

Interdisciplinary Distro - See Rules

Literature Fine Arts Distro Area


German 246-0 – Special Topics in German Literature and Culture - Yiddish, Our Setting Sun: Yiddish Literature and Culture in the 20th

Yiddish, which was developed in the Middle Ages as a Judeo-German language, became the language which most Jews had spoken in East and West Europe until the Second World War. We will begin the class with learning about the origins of Yiddish and its development into becoming the most widespread Jewish language in Europe. We will then fast forward to the 18th and 19th centuries and the era of secularization among Jewish communities, where Western European Jews saw Yiddish as degraded language while among Eastern European Jews Yiddish became a language of bursting literary expression and flourishing literature. Persecution, poverty, the dissolution of becoming part of intellectual Europe, and Zionist ideology were all reasons for many young Jewish people to immigrate to the US and Palestine in the first decades of 20th century. While Jewish immigrants in the United States sought connections to Yiddish and clanged to it as a remnant of their old world, Yiddish was rejected in Palestine (and later in Israel) as representing the “old and weak Jew” and threatening the status of Hebrew. We will examine the texts of main Yiddish writers from the beginning of the 20th century in the literary centers of Yiddish at the time; Eastern Europe, United States, and Palestine. An important part in our class will be the geographical move of Yiddish from its “natural” habitat of Eastern Europe to the US and Palestine, and the element of loss and grief which was strongly present in the writing of Yiddish poets and authors, during the upheavals in Europe in the two World Wars, and especially after the Holocaust. Class materials will be comprised of articles and book chapters to provide the historical, cultural, and political context of the eras we will discuss, and of essays, short stories, and poems translated from Yiddish to English. No previous knowledge of Yiddish or of Yiddish culture or history is required. All course materials will be in English, as well as the lectures and class discussions

Prerequisites: None.
Literature and Arts Foundational Discipline


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.

Advanced Expression

Global Perspectives on Power, Justice, and Equity


German 322-0 - German Contributions to World Literature - Literature and Mathematics

Literature and mathematics—though often seen as at opposite ends of the “liberal arts”— have enriched each other in a variety of ways. This class is designed for students who are interested in exploring the relation between these two forms of creating, discovering, and analyzing rigorously formed structures that hover between reality and imagination. Each student will develop their own final project in consultation with the professor. After an introductory discussion of “mathematicity” (Roland Barthes) and the “mathematical person” (Robert Musil), the class is broken into three units. The first considers a small number of poetic genres and individual poems whose mathematical character is a crucial element of their meaning. In the second, we read several short stories by Jorge Luis Borges, whose short “fictions” are widely recognized as auspicious points of intersection between literature and mathematics. In the final unit, we examine literary representations of the mathematician, ranging from Musil’s “man without qualities” through Benjamín Labatut’s image of Alexander Grothendieck to Alice Munro’s luminous portrayal of Sophia Kovalevsky. All readings and discussion are in English; those who know one or more of the original languages (German, French, Spanish) are encouraged to work with the texts in their original form.

Literature Fine Arts Distro Area



GERMAN 404 – German Literature, Critical Thought, and New Media, Since 1945 - Affective Passages

What is “affect theory”? What is “the history of emotions”? This course charts seminal theoretical approaches to literary and cultural analysis through the lens of emotion and affect theory. Beginning with post-Freudian psychoanalysis, the class considers how subjectivity and attachment are staged in theory, literature, and film.

German 408 – Critical Theory and Religion

This course explores the central place the concept of “religion” has occupied in the development of critical theory and, in turn, the role critical theory has played in reframing “religion” in modernity and in the contemporary geopolitical moment. We take up the question, “Is critique secular,” as we consider the contributions, potential and actual, of “religion” to social transformation.


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