Spring 2022

Spring 2022 Courses

Undergraduate Courses

GER 001 Elementary German

GER 003 Elementary German 

GER 010 Off with Their Heads: Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm to Walt Disney
Prof. Elisabeth Krimmer

The course introduces students to the genre of fairy tale with a particular focus on the life and works of the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen. All works will be situated in their respective cultural, historical, and political contexts. In addition, we will discuss different adaptations of these classic tales, for example, in U.S. popular culture, in particular Disney adaptations, but also French adaptations and Hollywood feature films such as Enchantedand Maleficent. Throughout we will pay particular attention to the construction of race, gender, sexuality, and power in these tales. Students will also get to know different theories of and approaches to folk tales and fairy tales, including historical and psychoanalytic analysis. The fairy tales to be discussed include Hansel and Gretel, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, and Little Mermaid. 

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GER 020 Intermediate German

GER 022 Intermediate German

GER 045 Vampires & Other Horrors 

GER 104 Translation
Prof. Kirsten Harjes

In this course, we will work mostly on German-to-English translations, using excerpts of a variety of literary texts from 1600 to the present as our source texts. Genres include prose, poetry, dramatic dialogue, movie scripts, and song lyrics. You will begin to learn how to address typical grammatical road blocks in German-to-English translation while refining your German writing and reading skills. In addition to our daily translation work, we will read and discuss translation theories from the fields of literature, philosophy, and applied linguistics, by authors such as J.W.v. Goethe, W.v. Humboldt, A. Schopenhauer, W. Benjamin, F. Schleiermacher, O. Paz, V. Nabokov, M. Arnold, and N. Chomsky. 

Prerequisites: GER 22, or consent of instructor


GER 127 Major Writers in German: Franz Kafka
Prof. Sven-Erik Rose

In this course we will explore one of the 20th century’s most brilliant, enigmatic, and influential prose writers, Franz Kafka (1883-1924), in the literary and historical context of early 20th-century Central Europe. Kafka wrote most of his works between 1912 and 1924 (though few were published during his lifetime), and we will be able to read most of them: his three novels, and his most important short fiction and parables. Our exploration of Kafka will be organized by major themes, such as Kafka's treatment of family relations; the nature of art and the role of the artist; the cultural and socio-political situation of European Jews; and the individual in modern bureaucratic society. Throughout, we will pay special attention to Kafka’s fascinating treatment—and derangement—of place and space, of which examples include: a mysterious court that has no official address but can appear seemingly anywhere; an unapproachable castle; and an America in which the Brooklyn Bridge stretches from New York City to Boston.

All readings will be in English, and no previous background in literary studies or German is expected.

GER 168 German Multiculturalism
Prof. Chunjie Zhang

This course explores the representations of cultural and ethnic diversity in German-language literature and cinema from the nineteenth century to the present. Students will discuss themes such as race, nation, language, culture, and gender in multicultural contexts. The themes in the course include African German, Turkish-German, Japanese-German literature and films as well as literary works about European colonialism and exoticism. The course materials also contain different genres ranging from film, drama, short story, personal report, and essay. The goal of this course is to provide students with a variety of materials in the history of German literature and culture in order to critically engage with contemporary multiculturalism with historical knowledge and develop future perspectives. 

Graduate Courses

German 297 Special Topics

Sec 001 - Life Writing, Graphic Novels and the Holocaust
Prof. Elisabeth Krimmer
Tuesdays, 12:10-3:00pm, Olson 109

In recent years, both the German and the American book market have been flooded with the various genres of life writing. According to Nielsen BookScan, the total sales in memoirs saw an increase of over 400% between 2004 and 2008. In some cases, the strong public preference for life writing over fiction has led authors to refashion projects that were initially conceived as novels into memoirs. But the dominance of the genre of memoir is not just numerical. Ben Yagoda suggests that the “memoir has become the central form of the culture: not only the way stories are told, but the way arguments are put forth, products and properties marketed, ideas floated, acts justified, reputations constructed or salvaged” (Memoir: A History, 28).

This course examines the concept of life writing in the context of the Holocaust with particular attention to graphic memoirs. Graphic memoirs of the Holocaust compound the ethical and aesthetic challenges of life writing: the troubled issue of authenticity; the friction between the capabilities of the human memory and the aesthetic demands of narrative; the ethical challenge attendant on the visualization of violence; the often neglected dimension of gender in the context of the Holocaust. In order to allow insights into what is at stake in the textual and visual representation of the Holocaust, we will discuss theoretical texts on the concept of life writing, on the representation of the Holocaust, on the Holocaust and gender, and on graphic novels. Authors to be discussed include Charlotte Salomon, Art Spiegelman, Miriam Katin, Barbara Yelin, and Nora Krug. Knowledge of German not required. 

Sec 002 - German-Jewish Modernity and Modernism
Prof. Sven-Erik Rose
Thursdays 4:10-7:00pm, Olson 109

The aim of this seminar is twofold: to survey key primary works of German-Jewish culture, with a special focus on how this corpus confronts and participates in questions of modernity and modernism, and also to provide a snapshot of the contemporary field of German-Jewish studies as reflected in significant monographs published in the last 5-10 years. Pursuing these dual aims, the course will balance primary works with, each week, the introduction and a chapter or two of a recent monograph by a literary scholar or a cultural historian working in German-Jewish studies. By studying key primary texts in tandem with contemporary scholarly approaches to them, this seminar will make students conversant with an array of German-Jewish authors, texts, and historical problematics while also illuminating a range of exciting methodological approaches, both theoretical and pragmatic: different ways to organize books around key questions or signifiers; ways of engaging with primary and secondary sources;  relationships to archives, and so forth. No matter the field in which you ultimately write your dissertation, exposure to these varied contemporary interventions in German-Jewish studies should—this is an aspiration of the course—model, and demystify, ways to pursue a book-length study. We will have occasion to speak by Zoom with some of the authors of the recent studies that we will be exploring.

In the course of the quarter, we will explore primary works and sources by writers, artists and thinkers including Hannah Arendt, Franz Kafka, Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, Moses Mendelssohn, Leon Pinsker, Else Lasker-Schüler, Charlotte Salomon, Arthur Schnitzler, and Gershom Scholem. Problematics that we will engage with will include the role of mixed-sex dancing in the nineteenth-and early twentieth-century genre of Ghettogeschichten (ghetto tales), a middlebrow regional fiction genre that describes traditional Jewish life in central and eastern Europe; the dialectic of Jewish (in)visibility in the Weimar Republic; the early twentieth-century discourse of Jewish primitivism; German-Jewish Sephardism as reflected in German-Jewish historical novels; the role of German as a medium of Jewish nationalism; fraught tropes of love in German-Jewish cultural history; modernist prose written in Yiddish in Weimar Berlin; and Bible translations into German, in particular the translation that Martin Buber and Franz Rosenzweig began in 1925 and the translation by the pioneering Austrian-Jewish feminist Bertha Pappenheim of parts of the Tsene-Rene, the Yiddish-language so-called “women’s bible.” We will survey recent monographs by Darcy Buerkle, Marc Caplan, Elisabeth Gallas, Katja Garloff, Abigail Gillman, Sonia Gollance, Jonathan Skolnik, Scott Spector, Samuel Spinner, Marc Volovici, and Kerry Wallach.