German Courses - Fall 2020

All fall 2020 courses in the German & Russian Department will be held remotely (online).

Undergraduate Courses

GER 48 Myth & Saga in the Germanic Cultures

Professor Carlee Arnett

TR from 12:10-1:30

This course focuses on the mythology of the Germanic tribes during the 8th-14th centuries. Each piece of literature reflects a unique culture and society of the time and these will be compared and contrasted. Some elements of these societies have kept a presence in the modern world in the judicial system, rhetoric patterns and seasonal patterns. The course will also provide modern interpretations of the stories as well as how they would have been understood in their original context.


J.L. Byock, The Saga of the Volsungs

H.R. Davidson, Gods & Myths of Northern Europe

A. Faulkes, Edda

Taught in English. No prerequisites


GER 120: Survey of German Culture from 1945 to the Present
Professor Gail Finney
TR 10:30 -11:50 am
Wellman 109
 CRN: 53146 


Studies selected films and literary works to explore key facets of German culture and history since the end of World War II, such as the Economic Miracle, the women’s movement, the impact of guest workers, terrorism, the fall of the Berlin Wall and its aftermath, the State Secret Police in East Germany (Stasi), and the position of Turkish immigrants.

Texts include the following:

Films: Die Mörder sind unter uns (1946), Angst essen Seele auf (1974), Deutschland im Herbst (1978), Der Himmel über Berlin (1987), Das Wunder von Bern (2003), Goodbye, Lenin (2003), Gegen die Wand (2004), Das Leben der Anderen (2006).
Selections from narrative works by Wolfgang Borchert, Heinrich Böll, Peter Schneider, Wladimir Kaminer, Jana Hensel, and Anna Funder.
Poetry by Bertolt Brecht, Erich Fried, Ingeborg Bachmann, Sarah Kirsch, Helga Novak, Hans Magnus Enzensberger, Friederike Roth, and Gabriele Wohmann.

Note: Literary works will be available in a Course Reader.


GER 123: Lit of Classical Age
Professor Kirsten Harjes
TR 1:40 -3:00p
Olson 117
CRN: 53499


This course provides a critical assessment of principal works of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller within the historical and philosophical context of their times. We will read from plays and poetry written during the periods of "Storm and Stress" and "Weimar Classicism" in the 1770s to early 1800s, and learn about how European art and intellectual & political history at that time shaped these German writers: popular French and English literature, a renaissance of Greco-Roman antiquity in visual art and architecture, the beginnings of a political push for democracy and an independent nation-state, and the efforts to translate an Enlightened, universal appreciation of the individual into social justice.

Language of instruction: German
Prerequisite: GER 022, or consent of instructor
GE credit: AH, WC, WE


GER 143: Language and the Media

Professor Carlee Arnett

 MWF from 12:10-1:00pm

This course will focus on the various types of media in the German-speaking world. We will look at what types of media are popular, such as television, Internet and social media and who the participants in the use of media. We will address such questions as who makes films and what are they trying to show about Germany. What role to contemporary writers play on talk shows structuring discourse about current political events or societal concerns? What social critique is made in television programs and who controls the programming? Why has radio fallen out of favor or who is listening and to what? What role in society do blogs, cabaret, hip-hop and other creative expressions play and what is their media outlet?

The course will be taught in German.

Prerequisite: German 22, placement test or permission of instructor

Textbook: Course reader

Graduate Courses

GER 297: Special Topics in German Literature, Graduate Film Studies: The Case of Cinema in Germany
Jaimey Fisher- Tuesdays 1:10-4:00 

The seminar introduces graduate students to research and teaching in film studies, primarily by offering an overview of the history of German cinema.  The course will take up the major periods of German film history, including the Weimar, the Nazi, the 1950s-60s, the New German Cinema, and the contemporary (Berlin-School) periods, but also probe this conventional periodization.  The seminar will engage each film in its historical, political, and economic context and provide some theories of how these contexts can relate to film itself.  Special attention will be to attendant theories of film and media as well as to how to effectively teach with them.  The seminar will focus on the formal and technical aspects of these films, particularly how they represent via a technique that self-consciously mimics or resists (even when instrumentalizing) the classical Hollywood system.  Among the historical and national themes this very rich cinema brought forth are:  modernity and trauma in the Weimar era, the impact of the Nazi movement on media, postwar German reconstruction, feminism, political radicalism and terrorism in the 1970s, the “micropolitics” of the home and sexuality, and its relationship to Hollywood as well as to American political hegemony.   Knowledge of German welcome, but not required.