Winter 2023

Winter 2023 Courses

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Not sure about where to start with German?

Take a placement test in the Davis Language Center in Olson 53. The Center administers walk-in placement exams on the computer during regular business hours. The test takes about 20 minutes, and you get the results immediately.

If the test places you into a class we don’t offer in that quarter, email the Language Program Coordinator for advice at

CEFR (European reference scale) equivalence:

A2 = Successful completion of 1st year German at UC Davis

B2 = Successful completion of 2nd year German at UC Davis

Course definitions:

Elementary German = 1st year

GER 001: Basic grammar, vocabulary, and conversation for absolute beginners. Grammar concepts are taught in authentic cultural contexts whenever possible. Not open to heritage speakers or those who took German classes in high school.

GER 002: Continuation of basic language and culture instruction. Prerequisite: GER 001 or consent of Language Program Coordinator.

GER 003: Conclusion of elementary German. Prerequisite: GER 002 or consent of Language Program Coordinator.

Intermediate German = 2nd year

GER 020: First course in intermediate German reading, writing, speaking, and listening comprehension. Introduction to longer authentic fiction and non-fiction texts and basic text analysis vocabulary. Practice of higher-level communicative strategies. Review of 1st year grammar concepts.

Prerequisite: GER 003 or consent of Language Program Coordinator.

GER 021: Continuation of intermediate German, and review of 1st year grammar concepts.

Prerequisite: GER 020 or consent of Language Program Coordinator.

GER 022: Conclusion of intermediate German. The curriculum is designed around a special topic chosen by the instructor.

Prerequisite: GER 021 or consent of Language Program Coordinator.

Undergraduate Courses


GER 002, 003 Elementary German

GER 021, 022 Intermediate German

Upper Division

GER 101B Survey of German Literature, 1800-Present
Prof. Chunjie Zhang

German literature from the Age of Romanticism (1800) to the present with an overview of major movements and authors.

Prerequisite(s): GER 022.

GER 116 Readings in Jewish Writing & Thought in German Culture

Professor Sven-Erik Rose

The most widespread association people have with German-Jewish culture is undoubtedly the Holocaust, the cataclysm that brought this culture to an end. But if we remember only the Holocaust, we forget what this extraordinarily creative tradition contributed to Jewish, German, and world culture. For 150 years—between the late 1700s and the rise of the National Socialists to power in 1933—Jews in Germany and German-speaking lands produced a body of works and ideas that have left an indelible mark on our  modernity. An astonishing number of the salient currents in modern Jewish life have their origins in Germany. The Jewish Enlightenment began in Berlin at the end of the 18th century with the great Berlin philosopher Moses Mendelssohn. It was a Viennese playwright and journalist, Theodor Herzl, who invented political Zionism at the turn of the 19th to the 20th century. It was a Viennese Jewish doctor, a contemporary of Herzl’s—Sigmund Freud—who invented psychoanalysis. In this course, we will explore some of the most innovative German-Jewish contributions to German, Jewish, and world culture by figures, in addition to those already mentioned, such as Hannah Arendt, Martin Buber, Glikl of Hameln (Glikl bas Yehuda Leyb), Heinrich Heine, Franz Kafka, Karl Marx, Charlotte Salomon, Else Lasker-Schüler, Arthur Schnitzler, and Rahel Varnhagen. Course readings will include prose literature, poetry, philosophy, political theory, theology, psychoanalysis, painting, and cinema. All readings and discussion in English. No prerequisites, and no knowledge of German required. If you wish to take this course as a course taught in German for the German major or minor, this can be done through arrangement with the professor.

GER 120 Survey of German Culture

Prof. Chunjie Zhang

Major developments in German arts, philosophical thought, social institutions, and political history.

Prerequisite(s): GER 022; or consent of instructor.

GER 142 New German Cinema

Dr. Kristen Harjes
This course introduces students to a specific period in German filmmaking called New German Cinema, or “NGC”. NGC spans roughly two decades between the mid-sixties and the mid-80s of the 20th century. Subsidized by government grants to revitalize the timid and purely commercially driven German film industry, NGC grew into an innovative and brutally honest cinema depicting and critiquing the pressing political and social struggles of its time: Germany’s struggle with former Nazis still in political power; the pervasive silence around coming to terms with the atrocities committed in World War II; the exploitation of workers by elites in industry and politics; the racism against newly arriving workers from southern Europe; illegal abortions; and the power of slanderous media outlets destroying lives. NGC brought about internationally renowned directors such as Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Margarete von Trotta, Wim Wenders, and Werner Herzog, who has become one of the most fascinating and distinct documentary filmmakers of our time.

Prerequisites: No knowledge of German necessary, but may be taken for GER credit.

GE credits: AH, OL, VL, WC, WE 

Graduate Courses

GER 291 Foreign Language Learning- Prof. Carlee Arnett- Wednesdays 4:10-7:00- Olson 144

This course will provide an overview of the field of second language acquisition (SLA) as well as the approaches to university-level foreign language instruction in the United States with an eye to highlighting the theoretical notions underlying current trends in classroom practices across commonly taught foreign languages. Course objectives are the following: (1) to acquaint students with issues and research in foreign language teaching; (2) to show ways of using that research to achieve more effective classroom instruction; (3) to develop students’ skills in evaluating teaching performance and instructional materials; and (4) to prepare students for continued professional development.

Texts:  Brandl, Klaus. 2008. Communicative Language Teaching. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

            Kramsch, Claire and Lihau Zhang. 2018.  The Multilingual Instructor. Oxford: Oxford UP.

GER 297 Special Topics in German Literature- Prof. Elisabeth Krimmer-Tuesdays 2:10-5:00- Olson 109


This seminar is concerned with the concept of Bildung and the genre of Bildungsroman (novel of education/development) from the late eighteenth to the twentieth century.

The term ‘Bildung,’ notoriously difficult to translate, might be defined as a process of maturation through interaction with the world progressing toward self-determination and integration in society at large. Although the contours of the Bildungsroman are similarly vague and controversial, the genre has exerted great influence both in and outside of the German context (cultural texts as diverse as Star Wars and The Silence of the Lambs have been designated “novels of Bildung”). Some scholars believe that the Bildungsroman is not only unique to Germany but also Germany’s most important contribution to world literature. Others deny that the genre even exists, pointing to the vagueness of its contours and the failure of almost all Bildungsroman heroes to achieve anything like Bildung as evidence that we are dealing with a phantom genre.

In this course, we will seek to gain an understanding of the genre by analyzing some of the most famous novels of Bildung: Goethe’s Wilhelm Meister, Novalis’ Heinrich von Ofterdingen, and Grass’ Blechtrommel. We will pay particular attention to the following themes: concepts of identity formation, gender and gender bending, the interrelation between individual and society, and the social and aesthetic implications of Bildung.

GER 390B Teaching of German

Dr. Kirsten Harjes