Course Catalog

GERM101Beginning German I: The Personal World An introduction to the German language with an emphasis on the personal world. Through communicative activities covering the four language skills (listening, speaking, reading, and writing), students learn to ask and answer questions and share information about themselves, their families, and their daily activities.
GERM102Beginning German II: The German-Speaking World Expansion of the skills acquired in GERM 101. Students build on their basic knowledge of everyday German-speaking culture (through topics such as tourism and transportation, health care, and leisure activities), improve their communicative competence, and develop skills needed to negotiate a variety of cultural settings.Prerequisite: GERM-101. GERM-102L must be taken concurrently
GERM200Myth of a Nation: German Film One of the most revealing ways to explore the complexities of German history and the construction of national identity in the 20th and 21st centuries is through film. This course examines German cinema as a reflection of one of the most dynamic, if problematic, nations in the modern world. Along with a basic understanding of the terms used in the formal description of film, this course provides students with the socio-historic background to be able to evaluate the role that films played in shaping and reflecting German cultural ideals from the early 20h century through the present. In English.
GERM201Intermediate German: Topics in German Culture Continued expansion of the skills acquired in GERM 101 and 102. Students further develop their ability to communicate in German and their understanding of the German-speaking world by engaging with increasingly complex topics (such as education, environmental issues, politics, history, and multiculturalism). As in German 101 and 102, all four language skills are practiced, and comparisons between American and German society provide the basis for class discussions.Prerequisite: GERM-102; GERM-201L must be taken concurrently
GERM203Advanced German I: Germany Today This course centers around themes related to life in contemporary Germany, with special emphasis on developing students' writing skills in various genres. In a unit on current events in Germany, for example, students read and listen to news reports, practice vocabulary items and linguistic structures typical of journalistic texts, and finally compose (in multiple drafts) a newspaper article on a topic of their choice. In German. May be taken after German 204.Prerequisite: GERM-201; GERM-203L must be taken concurrently
GERM204Advanced German II: German Stories and Histories This course centers around children's and youth novels presented within the historical and cultural context of 20th century Germany, with special emphasis on developing students' reading skills and cultural literacy. Continued practice of linguistic structures and systematic vocabulary building are also central to the course. In German. May be taken before German 203.Prerequisite: GERM-201; GERM-204L must be taken concurrently
GERM/SEMN239Cold War Kids This course examines the various shapes and impacts of youth rebellion in the GDR (= East Germany) and looks at how the state reacted to these rebellions with attempts at indoctrination and control. The course examines these topics through readings, film, and music that offer a wide variety of perspectives on the topic and allow the students to develop analytic skill and improve their understanding of cultures beyond their own experience.
GERM/SEMN295Marx and the Arts What role does art play in the struggle to combat different forms of social, economic, and racial injustice? From the moment Karl Marx wrote his first reflections on this topic, this question has continued to preoccupy philosophers and artists from different schools of the Marxist tradition. In this course, we will examine the highly contested relation between art and politics within the legacy of Marxist thought. Focusing on key artists and thinkers concerned with the revolutionary potential of art, we will continually seek to explore the relevance of historical and theoretical debates to our current historical moment.
GERM301Introduction to German Cultural Studies: Reading Texts in Contexts This course serves as an introduction to upper-level courses in German Cultural Studies. It stresses the central role that culture plays in fostering an understanding of German society, and it introduces students to the tools and theories of cultural analysis. Readings and genres range from literature and film to documentaries, magazine articles, blogs, cartoons, and music, and they may be focused on a single theme across a number of time periods to provide a context toward an understanding of how a particular text reflects cultural identities. In German.Prerequisite: GERM-203 or GERM-204
GERM410German Songs and Sagas, Folk and Fairy Tales This course examines common structural and thematic elements in German epic and lyric poetry, folk and fairy tales from the Middle Ages to the Second World War. The first half of the course will be devoted primarily to a key text in the history of German literature, the medieval epic Das Nibelungenlied. After reading the text closely (in modern German translation), students will study the reception of the Nibelungenlied in 19th and early 20th century German culture (through Wagner's opera and Fritz Lang's film) and its importance for burgeoning German nationalism. In the second half of the course, students will trace key themes from the Nibelungenlied--love and loss, honor and war, and the nature of the heroine and hero/warrior--in folk and fairy tales and in lyric poetry from the Enlightenment to the 20th century. In German.Prerequisite: GERM-301
GERM420Introduction to German Cinema This course will offer an overview of German cinema through the analysis of nine films from the Weimar Republic through the post-Wende period. We will screen and discuss films from a wide variety of periods of German cinematic history during this course: the Weimar Era, the Third Reich, Postwar Cinema, New German Cinema, East German or DEFA Cinema, Women's Cinema, and post-Wende cinema. Our primary focus in this course will be on learning the basics of film language and analysis; developing skill in close textual reading of film through sequence analysis; and understanding the film both as art and as cultural artifact within its historical (and film historical) contexts. In German.Prerequisite: GERM-301
GERM430/GERM 490Themes in German Literature and Culture This course examines the changing nature of German culture through a variety of texts (ranging from literature, history, and popular culture to music, architecture, and film) on a particular theme. Possible themes for the course include "Green Germany," "German-Jewish Literature and Culture," "Germany Imagines Itself: Culture and Identity in the 18th and 19th Centuries," and "Reading Berlin." May be repeated for credit (consult with the department). In GermanPrerequisite: GERM-301
GERM435Minority Cultures in Germany This course focuses on Germany as a multicultural society and on related popular cultural discourse. It explores issues surrounding immigration in Germany since 1960, focusing on the period after 1990. It examines various cultural practices as staged in film, fiction, blogs, political articles, Hip Hop, television (documentaries, talk shows, sitcoms), with an emphasis on the constructions of ethnicity, nation, race, class, and gender. We analyze several political and cultural debates that dominated the media in Germany and Europe at large (e.g. the headscarf and integration debates), and read theoretical articles examining the relationship between immigration, culture, and identity. In German. Prerequisite: Take GERM-301
GERM470Contemporary German Culture This course examines a selection of topics, themes, and issues that are part of the contemporary German cultural and political landscape. These include relations between east and west Germans, efforts to reform German higher education, social challenges posed by Germany's aging populace, German immigration laws, ongoing efforts to come to terms with the history of National Socialism, and the influence of the United States on German popular culture. Students will work with a wide variety of texts that range from autobiographical and fictional works (novels and short stories), to films, film reviews, music, on-line newspaper articles, government press releases, surveys, and political cartoons. Students will acquire and practice sophisticated vocabulary, grammatical structures, and discourse markers that will allow them to comprehend and discuss these texts. Student responses will take the form of informal conversations, prepared debates, formal presentations, discussion leadership, and written essays in various genres. In German.Prerequisite: GERM-301
GERM490/GERM 430Senior Seminar This course examines the changing nature of German culture through a variety of texts (ranging from literature, history, and popular culture to music, architecture, and film) on a particular theme. Possible themes for the course include "Green Germany," "German-Jewish Literature and Culture," "Germany Imagines Itself: Culture and Identity in the 18th and 19th Centuries," and "Reading Berlin." May be repeated for credit (consult with the department). In GermanPrerequisite: GERM-301 and Senior Standing
GERM593Senior Integrated Project Each program or department sets its own requirements for Senior Integrated Projects done in that department, including the range of acceptable projects, the required background of students doing projects, the format of the SIP, and the expected scope and depth of projects. See the Kalamazoo Curriculum -> Senior Integrated Project section of the Academic Catalog for more details.Prerequisite: Permission of department and SIP supervisor required.