Spring 2019 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.
GERM 102: Elementary German II
Jan Hohenstein, Anna Pfeifer
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 181G: Intensive German Grammar
This course offers a thorough review of the major areas of German grammar. The course
emphasizes linguistic accuracy and is designed to familiarize students with the most
important aspects of German grammar at the elementary and intermediate levels, such
as the major verb tenses, the cases and declinations of nouns, articles, and adjectives,
word order, pronouns, and the like. Student needs and preferences will help determine
what areas receive special focus; this course is for all students who want to consolidate,
improve, and perfect their knowledge of German grammar and their ability to use spoken
and written German with accuracy and nuance. Prerequisites: Successful completion
of GERM 102 or equivalent, or instructor's permission.
GERM 203: Intermediate German I
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 204: Intermediate German II
Continuation of GERM 203. First step in expansion of German-language skills beyond
functional areas of information exchange, description and narration. By reading and
responding to a variety of stimulating texts (modern fiction, lyrics, newspaper articles,
historical texts, film clips), students develop both comprehension skills and the
ability to express and support their own opinions and interpretations. Equal emphasis
on both spoken and written expression. Includes review of more complex grammatical
structures and activities designed to broaden vocabulary resources.
GERM 241E/COLI 280A/ENG 200A: Fairy Tales in Social History
A study of the shift from the oral folk tale to the literary fairy tale in France
and Germany to discover how tales mirror symbolically the social historical processes
that occur in the transformation of an agrarian society into an industrialized society
that dreams of social mobility. We shall explore great fairy tales that mirror the
transformation of social attitudes and behavior in connection with societal changes
occurring from absolutism to enlightenment, from authoritarian aristocratic rule to
the French Revolution and to utopian but also progressive and satirical thinking that
continued in its wake. We will explore the role of tales in the civilizing process,
as the development of the self and social evolution become grand themes. Formal aspects
of tales, gender construction, the intersection of gender and class, confrontational
and participatory modes of behavior, the historical location of authority and negotiations
with power by the rising middle class, and implications of the development of literacy
by the middle class will be further topics of discussion. In English; no knowledge
of German required; an additional weekly one hour discussion section of the course
will be offered to those wishing to work in German.
Gen Ed: H, W
GERM 241L/MDVL 280C: Myths of Power
Courts, Kings, Dynasties and Cities in Germany: Myths of Power in Images and Icons
Focusing on the time span of the Middle Ages to the French Revolution, we shall explore
the rise of sacral kingship, the institutionalization of power, the development of
major courts of the high nobility, power struggles between the more conservative forces
of power and the ascending middle class in cities, as well as centripetal and centrifugal
force fields that shape the center and the periphery . We will study icons and images,
read texts and watch a number of films, making use of a series of compelling docudramas
produced by the German broadcaster ZdF, as well as feature films, but will also critique
literary and visual depictions of these historical power struggles. We will explore
how these iconic images – linked often to myths of power-- have contributed to the
shaping of aristocratic status, social hierarchies and social mobility, and ultimately
to a regional, urban and/or national identity in Germany.
Gen Ed: H, W
GERM 306: Texts and Contexts II
Texts and Contexts II: GERM 306 offers students the opportunity to refine modes of expression, improve accuracy and fluency and build cultural competency in German by engaging with important trends, ideas and events in the German-speaking world. It prepares students for more advanced work in German Studies in an interdisciplinary context. Students will engage texts and images from a range of genres (literature, history, philosophy, politics film, popular culture, news media, art) to improve critical reading abilities and accuracy in writing. The course also reviews advanced grammar structures in context. Taught entirely in German. Prerequisite: GERM 305 or instructor permission.
GERM 380 courses—taught in English
GERM 380G: The Holocaust
The Holocaust: A History of the Resistance from Anti-Fascist Brigades to the Warsaw
Ghetto Uprising. This class explores the history of Jewish resistance to the existential
threat posed by Nazism, both before and during the Second World War. All kinds of
responses to that threat – political and cultural, collective and individual – will
form part of our inquiry into this terrible historical moment. History, memoir literature
and popular song will act as our guides. All sources will be in English translation.
Gen Ed: H, W
GERM 380I: Post-War Germany
After Germany's defeat in 1945, the country, divided into four, then two parts by
the victorious allies, found itself in political, moral, intellectual and economic
crisis. In the eye of the Cold War, German societies in east and west had to choose
whether to come to terms with the past in order to make decisions for the future;
or to remain silent and to suppress memories in favor of a truce for the present.
The course focuses on four decisive years in the history of the two new states: 1949;
1956; 1961; and 1968. Three presentations (two short, one long), midterm, final. Course
taught in English.
Gen Ed: H, W
GERM 380K: Modern Yiddish Culture
In the half century before the Second World War, a Yiddish speaking "Jewish Street"
stretched from Buenos Aires to Boston, from London to Lodz, with many cities in between.
What characterized the culture of this mostly urban and modernizing society is the
subject of this class. Cinema and short stories, poetry and politics provide our vehicle
to explore the world of Eastern European Jewry in a time of radical transformation
and approaching catastrophe (all material is in English). If a student has taken a
200-level version of Modern Yiddish Culture they will not receive credit for this
Gen Ed: H, J
GERM 380N: Staging Revolutions
In this course we will read plays about revolution. Specifically, we will be exploring
German works from the 18th to the 21st centuries (in English translation) that deal
with revolutions, revolts, uprisings, and violence. As the literary form that actually
involves people modeling a social situation on a stage in front of other people, drama
seems uniquely suited to represent the thoughts, ideas, and impulses behind moments
of political and social conflict and upheaval, as well as to explore questions of
agency, individuality, collectivity, and nation; yet how does drama represent mass
social and political events with only a few actors on stage, and how does the genre
respond to this problem of representation? Our focus on revolutions will allow us
to see how the history of German drama offers a wide variety of strategies by which
literature grapples with society, history, and politics. We will read texts by Aristotle,
Lessing, Schiller, Büchner, Kant, Hegel, Marx, Brecht, and Arendt, among others. This
is a writing class, which means both that you will learn to write analytically about
literature, and that analytic writing will be the primary tool with which you will
probe and learn about the texts we will be reading. Writing is a process that involves
many overlapping and recursive stages, including planning, brainstorming, rereading,
drafting, revising, reviewing, rewriting, and revising. Your active, thoughtful participation
at all stages of this process is essential to your success in this course. Course
taught in English
Gen Ed: C, H
GERM 381C: German Culture 1871–1989
Neil Christian Pages
Course surveys major themes, events and intellectual discourses in German cultural history from the founding of the first German nation state in 1871 to the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. The course will place special emphasis on the year "1918" and its reverberations in German culture and politics. GERM 381C equips students with skills in critical analysis of texts, formal writing and oral expression needed for more advanced work in German Studies. It is excellent preparation for study abroad in a German-speaking country. Taught in German. Prerequisites: Interest in German cultural history and a desire to learn more. Students should have completed GERM 305 or the equivalent.