Fall 2018 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.
Tom Hanel, Jan Hohenstein, Gülden Olgun, Anna Pfeifer
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, Anna Pfeifer
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 241A: From Hero to Knight
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).
Course counts as 'H.'
GERM 241C: Global Tales
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 shaped the process of civilization in 17th c. France and 19th c. Germany, and finally, how the strands of the Western European fairy tale tradition have in turn influenced modern Indian English language narratives. Reading and discussion of great tales from the Panchatantra, The Arabian Nights, of Charles Perrault, the Brothers Grimm and Salman Rushdie.
Course counts as H, W
GERM 241D: The Fairy Tale
Structure and meaning of fairy tales. Oral vs. literary fairy tales. Different approaches to interpreting fairy tales: anthropological, psychological, socio-historical, structuralist. Lectures approximately once a week; discussion; take-home midterm and final exams; two 10-page papers.
Course counts as H, W
GERM 241N: The Nazi State
The course looks at the Nazi regime in Germany between 1933 and 1945, at the organization and inner functioning of the government and administration. Topics include the Nazi rise to power, party structures, "Gleichschaltung" of society, economy, and media, persecution of minorities, the situation of workers and peasants, the role of the churches etc. Course taught in English.
Course counts as H, W
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.
All GERM 380 courses taught in English
GERM 380A: Modern Women in Literature and Film
With an overview of the wide range and tradition of 20th-century women writers, the course will focus on a century of representation of women "practicing modernity." Leaving behind the so-called "cult of domesticity," ascribed to women in the Victorian era, a new model of woman emerged encouraging women to liberate themselves, manage their own lives and to leave behind anything that might restrict their pursuit of happiness and self-realization (e.g., in professional career, activity in a social or political movement or in new styles of love and life defying convention and social norms). What kind of choices did women have in the modern world and the modern city? How did they succeed or fail or both in pursuing happiness and fulfillment? What conflicts did they have to work through, what different practices and decision-making processes emerge from their lives? In this seminar students will learn about key women writers, who created new narratives, and poetic and visual languages, and they will analyze and discuss their books that were turned into films, presenting the challenge and the new consciousness about women in the modern world. BOOKS: Lou Andreas-Salome, FENITSCHKA, Nella Larsen, QUICKSAND, Virginia Woolf, MRS. DALLOWAY, Anita Loos, GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES, Irmgard Keun, THE ARTIFICAL SILK GIRL, Ingeborg Bachmann, THREE PATHS TO THE LAKE. Films: A DOLL'S HOUSE, THE HOURS, JULIA, HOW TO MAKE AN AMERICAN QUILT.
GERM 380B: Learning to See: Art & Media in Weimar Germany
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. Course taught
Course counts as A, H, W
GERM 380D: German Jews
This course will examine the lives of representative German Jews from the middle of the 18th century to the beginning of the Nazi era. It will focus on these individuals' relationship to Judaism and Jewish life and the changing German world in which they lived. Among the figures studied will be philosophers (Moses Mendelssohn), politicians (Gabriel Riesser and Walter Rathenau), rabbis (Leo Baeck), and feminists (Bertha Pappenheim). Selected Topics: the fight for Jewish civil rights in the 19th century, the reception of Jews in the German public sphere, responses to anti-Semitism, new philosophies of Judaism. Not suitable for freshmen.
GERM 380S: Stalingrad
Harald Zils, Sidney Dement
The battle of Stalingrad, fought more than seventy years ago, is burned into the cultural memories of Germans and Russians to this day. More than 700,000 people died; it was the beginning of the end of Hitler's War. This course investigates the battle and its aftermath in German and Russian culture. In order to examine the multiple perspectives on this cultural and historical watershed more fully, GERM 380G, taught by Prof. Zils, and RUSS 380D, taught by Prof. Dement, meet together. We discuss the historical event, its consequences for WW II, the soldiers' and civilians' perspectives, the images of the war in German and Russian propaganda and its impact on German and Russian public discourse, movies, art and literature. Two 8-page papers, one group presentation. This is a course that is team-taught by faculty members of the German Studies and Russian Studies programs. Therefore there are sections listed and cross-listed in the German Studies as well as in the Russian Studies program. All sections will meet and be taught as one.
Course counts as H, W
GERM 481C: Reformation: Religion & Society
HIST 481Q/MDVL 480C/GERM 481C - Reformation: Church and Society Professor Sean Dunwoody Fall 2018 Course Description: For Hegel, it was "the all-enlightening sun" that followed upon the darkness of the Middle Ages, one that lighted the path to freedom for the World Spirit. For Marx, it was an ultimately failed revolution cooked up "in the brain of the monk," born out of the contradictions of feudal society. For Weber, it set into motion a process that has resulted in our being trapped in the "iron cage" of modern industrialized capitalist society. For historians since, it has occasioned tremendous debate. Few events in European history can claim the central role assigned to the Reformation; few historical events have proven to be as fertile a ground for the cultivation of historiographical debates. In this seminar, we will study the major debates that have shaped the field and consider how historians continue to ask new questions with new sources. Students shall prepare for and actively participate in weekly readings. They will also be expected to prepare a research paper grounded in critical engagement of primary sources and in the light of scholarly conversations.
Course counts as C, N