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Spring 2020 courses in German Studies

GERM 101: Elementary German I

Frank Mischke, Nadia Schuman

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

Tim Schmidt, Gülden Olgun

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

Ruth Seifert
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

Ruth Seifert

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

Ruth Seifert

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

Rosmarie Morewedge

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. H

GERM 241G/ENG 200W/PHIL 280C: Introduction to Marx and Critical Theory

Carl Gelderloos

"The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles." So begins Part One of the Communist Manifesto of Marx and Engels. This sentence also stands at the beginning of a tradition in philosophy, history, and politics that places everyday human labor and struggle at the heart of historical change. This course offers an introduction to this tradition, with an emphasis on its origins in the 19th century and its development in the 20th century, particularly in the work of writers associated with the Frankfurt School. As we will see, this critical tradition draws its strength from the ways in which it considers questions of power, economy, society, and culture as inextricable from each other rather than as separate disciplines. Because it holds that cultures and ideologies cannot be understood without considering how given societies and economies are organized, the tradition of critical theory is materialist; because it highlights the importance of struggle and contradiction, it is dialectical. Topics we will consider include capitalism, revolution, utopia, mass culture, dialectical reasoning, historical materialism, the state, fascism, antifascism, and the human relationship to nature. Readings may include works by Marx, Hegel, Nietzsche, Freud, Adorno, Benjamin, Lukács, Kracauer, Brecht, and Fanon.
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GERM 241L/MDVL 280C: Myths of Power

Rosmarie Morewedge

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.


GERM 306: Texts and Contexts II

Carl Gelderloos

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 380V: Vienna 1900: Modernism & the End of Empire

Neil Christian Pages

Course explores the ideas, impulses and implosions that accompanied the rise of Modernism in Vienna around 1900. Like the multicultural, multi-ethnic empire of which it was the capital, the culture of Habsburg Vienna at the fin de siècle was marked by fragmentation, experimentation and contestation. Struggles with politics, identities and aesthetics generated new ways of thinking (Freudian psychoanalysis), political movements (Zionism; Marxism; fascism), radical experiments with art and architecture (Klimt, Schiele, Loos, Bauer, Schönberg) and a lasting literary legacy (Schnitzler, Musil, von Hofmannsthal, Trakl, Roth, Kraus, Zweig). By engaging specific works (buildings, paintings, texts) across disciplines, students will develop skills in reading and interpretation and gain an understanding of the cultural history of “Vienna 1900” specifically and theories of Modernism generally. We will also question how eras and cultural legacies are constructed and how cultures of memory are reflected in works of art, in historiography and in literary works.

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Courses crosslisted in German

GERM 380F: Art, Image, Psychoanalysis

Jeffrey Kirkwood

This course explores the history of psychoanalysis as both a critical fixture in the interpretation of images during the 20th century, as well as a theory deeply tied to developments in aesthetics and technology. Despite having become a standard theoretical tool in the interpretation of art and film, psychoanalysis, since its inception, has had difficulty accounting for the nature and function of images. Through readings of core psychoanalytic and pre-psychoanalytic texts (Freud, Ferenczi, Rank, Klein, Lacan, etc.) and an engagement with 20th century movements in art and film (including Dada, Surrealism, Weimar cinema, and contemporary criticism) we will examine the ways in which psychoanalysis has informed and been informed by the history of image-making. Prerequisite: any 100- or 200-level course in Art History, English, Comparative Literature, Cinema, or German and Russian Studies; or permission of instructor. This course fulfills the "Post-1800" distribution requirement for the Art History major.

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GERM 380G: The Holocaust

Gina Glasman

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.
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Last Updated: 1/23/20