Fall 2016 courses in German Studies

GERM 101: Elementary German I

Acquisition of basic grammar and vocabulary, development of reading and speaking skills, introduction to cross-cultural communication. Introduces students to German culture and to cultural interdependencies between German-speaking countries and the U.S. Texts augmented by multimedia materials. Not for native speakers. Not open to students who have passed the high school German Regents examination within the past three years. Meets four times per week; grades based on quizzes, chapter tests, in-class compositions, class participation and special assignments. Successful completion of both GERM 101-102 will fulfill the Gen Ed G requirement. Students must take both GERM 101 and 102 for a letter grade to receive the G; courses must be taken at Binghamton University to receive the G.

Michelle Brussow, Frank Mischke, TBA

GERM 102: Elementary German II

Continuation of GERM 101. Acquisition of basic grammar and vocabulary, development of reading, writing and speaking skills in an interactive learning environment. Encouraging cultural awareness through texts, films, discussions, etc., and understanding German in a global context. Successful completion of both GERM 101-102 will fulfill the Gen Ed G requirement. Students must take both GERM 101 and 102 for a letter grade to receive the G; courses must be taken at Binghamton University to receive the G.

GERM 203: Intermediate German I

Carl Gelderloos, TBA

Helps students develop ability to communicate in German beyond the basic "survival" level. Begins with a systematic review of German grammar that continues through the second semester at the intermediate level. Students read a series of short literary texts and work with texts taken from popular culture, as they improve their reading, writing and discussion skills. Designed especially for students who are interested in the humanities and social sciences. Prerequisites: GERM 102 or equivalent, or consent of instructor.

GERM 241B: Fairy Tales: Enchant & Discover

Rosmarie Morewedge

Fairy Tales: Enchantment, Discovery, Social Development in Global Contexts Exploration and discussion of how the great classical fairy tales told by Charles Perrault in 17th c. France and the Brothers Grimm in 19th c. Germany have been influenced by medieval Indian, Middle Eastern and early modern Mediterranean narrative traditions, how they shape the process of civilization in 17th c. France and 19th c. Germany, and finally, how this Western European fairy tale tradition has influenced and has been influenced by modern Indian English language narratives.. How has the education of the prince found in the mirrors for princes influenced patterns of behavior and decision making of middle class readers in 19th century Germany? How are heroic concepts of merit, virtue and vice depicted in new models of behavior set for a folk becoming literate? How has Shahrazad (Scheherazade), the narrator of 1001 Arabian Nights, set the stage for feminist tales told at the court of Louis XIV in France as well as for Huegenot women, who continued the French tale-telling tradition in 19th century Germany? What impact has the Western narrative tradition had in turn on the Indian and Middle Eastern sources? How is the confluence of narrative streams depicted in modern Indian narratives reflective of relevant influences of East and West? These are the major questions we shall discuss in a context of “sticky” topics, such as ideal kingship, good government, responsible citizenship, entrepreneurship, the acquisition of wealth and wisdom, the depiction of gender roles, and the portrayal of opposing traditions of good and evil or of free speech and the imposition of silence. Finally, we shall explore how the pursuit of happiness, wealth, knowledge, wisdom and power that is observable in the class struggle in 19th Germany is turned around in the tales of Salman Rushdie, the Indian master story teller, in his fairy tale depiction of the defeat of sadness, silence, and control in which eastern and western narrative traditions appear in what he calls “the sea of stories.” Format: Lecture and group discussion; Prerequisites: interest in narrative traditions and in global interactions in the process of civilization. No knowledge of German language needed; Evaluation: class participation (including quizzes, blogs) 20% midterm, 20% final. 20% 2 papers s (~5 pages each, many short assignments) 20 % Reading list: Sarma Visnu, The Pañcatantra (Penguin) Sel. The Arabian Nights (tr. Husain Haddawy, Norton (Sel) Attar, The Conference of Birds The Great Fairy Tale Tradition: From Straparola and Basile to the Brothers Grimm, ed. Jack Zipes, Norton Salman Rushdie, Haroun and the Sea of Stories: a novel. (Penguin) Several films will be shown, including Jean Cocteau, Beauty and the Beast.

GERM 241O: What is Interpretation?

Harald Zils

This is a survey course for all students who want to learn more about the craft and art of "interpretation" in the humanities, maybe because they have found that what they learned in High School does not help them too much in college. The course introduces a variety of methods, among them immanent and historical, mythological and psychoanalytical, materialistic and anthropological approaches. Methods will be tested on two longer stories and one movie. Grading is based on a presentation, a midterm and a term paper. Taught in English.

GERM 305: Texts & Contexts I

Neil Christian Pages

Course provides a comprehensive review of German grammar and usage through readings of texts and contexts related to German-speaking Europe and the global reach of German language and culture. We will work with different genres (fiction and non-fiction; history; geography; art; philosophy; media; visual culture) in order to develop fluency and accuracy in spoken and written German, to explore strategies for reading texts needed for an interdisciplinary approach to German Studies and to learn more about key aspects of German language and culture. Evaluation and grading are based on in-class participation, written homework and exams. Course is taught entirely in German. Prerequisite: GERM 204 or equivalent or instructor permission.

GERM 380B: Learning to See: Art & Media in Weimar Germany

Carl Gelderloos

From the movies we watch to the advertisements we see, from the way we understand images to the fonts we use, the vibrant legacy of modern culture in the 1920s and 1930s continues to influence the way we use and think about media, art, technology, and communication. Drawing on richly innovative visual artworks and groundbreaking theoretical texts, this course explores the visual culture of the Weimar Republic (1919-1933) with a special emphasis on film, photography, and montage. Visual media played a central role in the cultural production and aesthetic and political debates of the time: the rise of the cinema provoked an unparalleled reexamination of the relationship between art, technology, and society, while the rapid expansion of photography into newspapers and other mass media helped spark diverse discussions of aesthetics, perception, and individuality. Why did visual media and discussions about them play such a central role in the cultural and political ferment of modern culture between two world wars? How did new visual media and technologies help contemporaries rethink other, non-visual media such as literature and aesthetic representation more generally? Why were debates about photography and film often so politically charged, and how were images related to democracy, communism, and fascism? In what ways did Weimar culture draw on new technologies to see and depict processes of modernization, urbanization, and industrialization with new eyes? From Dada to advertising culture, photojournalism to Bertolt Brecht, these are the questions we will explore in this class.

GERM 380G: German Turkish Cinema

Ingeborg Majer-O'Sickey

Whatever else has been said about the motivation that has driven Turkish German cinema since its inception in the early 1960s, most of its filmmakers share a desire to do more than merely entertain us. Indeed, it’s not going too far out on a limb to claim that these transnational filmmakers are cultural ambassadors of a sort. There is nothing namby pamby about this task: their films are edgy and confrontational. They show that the space of Turkish culture in Germany is not only a highly contradictory space, but a space of political and social contestation. Second generation German Turkish filmmakers are also driven by a strong desire to render understandable their Turkish cultural inheritance across cultural boundaries. However, many young filmmakers do more than this: they stake out and dramatize identity markers, such as ethnicity, gender, generation, nationality, sexual orientation and sexual difference, in ways you’ve never seen before. They invite us to see these highly contested spaces (called Germany) through the lens of the cultural Other. In other words, whether through documentary or feature films, TV serials, romcoms, or sitcoms, contemporary Turkish German filmmakers try to express the “truth” of life experiences of Turkish people in the diaspora in terms of transnational filmmaking. During the semester, students will gain a solid grounding in this "hybrid" cinema; to learn to "read" film as a particular medium with its own vocabulary and representational grammar; and to practice dialectical thinking about this cinema's claims, in particular, its claims that it represents the “real” and the “authentic”, set in the political and cultural climate of their times. Major goals in this course are to · Achieve gateway skills such as clarity in speaking and writing; intellectual courage and honesty; and self-disciplined work habits. · Become a discerning critic of contemporary topics in current Turkish German Cinema studies. · Achieve the ability to engage in cross cultural communication outside and inside the class room setting. · Sharpen your collaborative learning and discussion methods. · Overcome parochial, egocentric and sociocentric thinking and reasoning. Students who sign up for the O portion of this course will train to deliver two oral presentations (2) about different genres (film critiques; articles or essays in academic film studies; and so on). Format: lecture and discussion Requirements: Regular attendance. Midterm (30%). 2 oral presentations (25%); Term paper (12 pgs., draft-revision; 35%); Participation (10%).

GERM 380H: Towards a New World Literature

Gisela Brinker-Gabler

Processes of decolonization since the 60s and of globalization in the last 30 years have produced a rich body of contemporary “mobile” and ex(tra)territorial literature that explores and reflects on postcolonial and (im)migrant experiences, diasporic, exile, and refugee conditions. Students will read a selection of significant works about cultural encounters occurring in various parts of the world in order to study key elements, thematic and aesthetic aspects of this new “world literature.” We will examine major critical approaches to this literature and discuss theoretical foundations of key concepts: postcolonial criticism, transnationalism, neonomadism, transculturality, and cosmopolitics. Authors include J.W. Goethe, V.S. Naipaul, Olive Senior, Richard Rodriguez, Leila Sebbar, Villem Flusser, Pico Iyer, Yoko Tawada, Emine Özdamar, and Teju Cole. Theoretical contributions by, among others, Homi Bhabha, Salman Rushdie, Gayatri Ch. Spivak, Stuart Hall, Gomez-Penna, Francoise Lionnet, Julia Kristeva, Ulrich Hannerz, Sheller/ Urry, Rosi Braidotte, Villem Flusser, Wolfgang Welsch, Ali Mazrui. Requirements for Graduates: Informal one-page response to assigned readings (weekly); one oral presentations, one final research paper (15 pages). Requirements for Undergraduates: two short papers 4-5 pages), and a take-home final exam with essay (7 pages; including poster for conference).

GERM 380J: From Hero to Knight

Rosmarie Morewedge

Beginning with Orff’s Carmina Burana, Game of Thrones, Spamalot, and Monty Python and the Holy Grail, we will construct heroic, courtly and narrative codes in the Middle Ages. We study tales that were recited and performed in Germany as they move from oral performance into the written tradition. Learning about the cognitive revolution that took place in the turn from the oral to the written tradition will be carried out through close reading of the entire Song of the Nibelungs. Access to literacy and the acquisition of this new mode of communication will be studied in terms of their effect on different layers of society. We will also read and explore great tales that define relations between the West and the East during the times of the Crusades, heroic tales of ancient warriors that turn up in courtly dress, as well as Arthurian romances that portray and shape courtly society and civilization. How does the heroic code change into the knightly code? Tellers and writers of tales seek to create a literature that forges values and ideas of heroism, nation building, governance, knighthood, chivalry, courtly love, civilization, kingship, justice, warfare, service to God, the encounter with the Orient, and implications of the rise of the new merchant class in the cities. Works will be read in English translation.. The course will be taught in English with a special discussion section in German for students who have completed Intermediate German or the equivalent. Texts and Movies: The Lay of Hildebrand The older lay and the younger lay BB The Song of the Nibelungs, (complete epic) tr. Frank G. Ryder Siegfried, Kriemhild’s Revenge Fritz Lang Duke Ernst, tr. J.W. Thomas and Carolyn Dussere Poor Henry/Der arme Heinrich, Hartmann von Aue, BB Parzival, Wolfram von Eschenbach Excalibur, John Boorman Tristan und Isolde, Gottfried von Strassburg The Book of Memory, Carruthers, Mary (selections) The Power of the Written Tradition, Jack Goody (selections). 

Last Updated: 4/4/16