German Courses

German Studies Courses

From German 101 to advanced seminars in German, from "Volkwagen and Beyond" to "Cold War Science Fictions," from "Fairy Tales in Social History" to "Kafka and his readers," from "Postwar Germany" to "Learning to See: Art and Media in Weimar Germany," from "Vienna 1900: Modernism and the End of Empire" to "Myths of Power," the curriculum in the German Studies Program at Binghamton University offers courses at all levels on German language, literature, culture, and society from the middle ages to the present.

  • Fall 2021

    GERM 101: Elementary German I
    Jeanette Franza, Gülden Olgun, Anja Salman, Tim Schmidt

    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
    Frank Mischke

    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 180G: German Culture: A History
    Neil Christian Pages

    Course introduces students to the political, social and cultural history of modern Germany (1871–1989). From the founding of the first German nation state in 1871 to the emergence of Expressionism in painting, to the ’golden’ age of Weimar culture, to the Nazi state and the Shoah, to the division of Germany into two states with competing ideological systems in the wake of World War II, course engages events and ideas that inform contemporary German culture and its memories and identities. We will look at art and architecture, photography and film, read about history and politics and engage literary and aesthetic approaches to German cultural history in order to gain an understanding of contemporary Germany and the Germans. Readings and discussions assist students in developing intercultural competencies and fluencies across genres and media while building skills in critical reading and thinking. Taught entirely in English.
    Gen Ed: A, N

    GERM 203: Intermediate German I
    Carl Gelderloos, Anja Salman

    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 241M: Myths of Power
    Rosmarie Morewedge

    Courts, Kings, Cities and Cathedrals in Germany: Myths of Power in Ideas, Images and Icons Focusing on the time span of the Middle Ages to the French Revolution, we shall explore in literature and the visual arts myths of power and the power of myth. The focus will be on the rise of sacral kingship, the medieval institutionalization of power, the development of major courts of the high nobility, power struggles between the church and the empire, between conservative forces and the ascending middle class in cities, as well as centripetal and centrifugal force fields that shape the center and peripheries in Central Europe. We will study the history of ideas, icons and images, read texts and watch a number of films, making use of a series of compelling historical docudramas as well as feature films, but will also critique literary and visual depictions of major historical power struggles. We will explore how these ideas, images and icons linked to myths of power-- have contributed to the shaping of aristocratic status, social hierarchies, social mobility, and ultimately to a regional, urban national identity in Germany.
    Gen Ed: H

    GERM 241N: The Nazi State
    Harald Zils

    The course looks at Germany between 1933 and 1939, at the organization and inner functioning of the Nazi government and administration. Topics include the Nazi rise to power, party structures, "Gleichschaltung" of society, economy, and media, persecution of minorities, the situation of workers and peasants, the role of the churches etc. Two midterms, one final. Course taught in English. 
    Gen Ed: H

    GERM 305: Texts & Contexts I
    Rosmarie Morewedge

    Course provides a comprehensive review of German grammar and usage through readings of texts and contexts related to German-speaking Europe and the global reach of German language and culture. We will work with different genres (fiction and non-fiction; history; geography; art; philosophy; media; visual culture) in order to develop fluency and accuracy in spoken and written German, to explore strategies for reading texts needed for an interdisciplinary approach to German Studies and to learn more about key aspects of German language and culture. Evaluation and grading are based on in-class participation, written homework and exams. Course is taught entirely in German. Prerequisite: GERM 204 or equivalent or instructor permission.

    GERM 380B: Learning to See: Art & Media in Weimar Germany
    Carl Gelderloos

    From the movies we watch to the advertisements we see, from the way we understand images to the fonts we use, the vibrant legacy of modern culture in the 1920s and 1930s continues to influence the way we use and think about media, art, technology, and communication. Drawing on richly innovative visual artworks and groundbreaking theoretical texts, this course explores the visual culture of the Weimar Republic (1919–1933) with a special emphasis on film, photography, and montage. Visual media played a central role in the cultural production and aesthetic and political debates of the time: the rise of the cinema provoked an unparalleled reexamination of the relationship between art, technology, and society, while the rapid expansion of photography into newspapers and other mass media helped spark diverse discussions of aesthetics, perception, and individuality. Why did visual media and discussions about them play such a central role in the cultural and political ferment of modern culture between two world wars? How did new visual media and technologies help contemporaries rethink other, non-visual media such as literature and aesthetic representation more generally? Why were debates about photography and film often so politically charged, and how were images related to democracy, communism, and fascism? In what ways did Weimar culture draw on new technologies to see and depict processes of modernization, urbanization, and industrialization with new eyes? From Dada to advertising culture, photojournalism to Bertolt Brecht, these are the questions we will explore in this class. 
    Gen Ed: A, H

    GERM 380H: Modern Yiddish Culture
    Gina Glasman

    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 course.
    Gen Ed: H, J

    GERM 380O: 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, Comparative Literature, Cinema, or German; or permission of instructor. This course fulfills the "Post-1800" distribution requirement for the Art History major.
    Gen Ed: A

    GERM 480U: Kafka and His Readers
    Neil Christian Pages

    Seminar explores the work and reception of Franz Kafka (1883–1924), arguably the most famous writer of German Modernism and the inspiration for the troublesome idiom “Kafkaesque.” We will examine the Kafkan text with and against some of the cultural productions that have emerged from it, from the illustrations of R. Crumb, to the installation art of Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller, to musical compositions, the films of Steven Soderbergh and Michael Haneke, the work of visual artists like Jeff Wall, the literary texts of authors like Jonathan Franzen, Haruki Murakami and J.M. Coetzee and the criticism of thinkers like Benjamin, Adorno, Derrida and Blanchot. While considering Kafka’s literary legacy, his academic function, his impact on thinking about art and representation, and the debates about the translation of his work, we will also reflect on the process of reading and interpretation generally as well as on what literature does and the ways in which literary criticism works. 

    GERM 481H: Hitler
    Harald Zils

    An investigation into the life and afterlife of Adolf Hitler. We examine various turning points in Hitler's life based on various portrayals, including the self-portrayal in Mein Kampf. What can be learned about this person that goes beyond mere demonization? What is the function of biographies for society, and how useful are they for historiography? How much do they reflect the current issues of their respective times? The second part of the course takes on Hitler's afterlife in social and cultural discourse inside and outside Germany: The remembrance of Hitler as a dire warning, as an obligation, as a provocation; Hitler as the protagonist of glorifications and conspiracy theories; Hitler as a trope and as a caricature. The course will use speeches, memoirs, and also products of mass culture like Downfall and Jojo Rabbit as source material to document the interplay of memory, guilt, longing for justice and attempts to comprehend the unforgivable. Course taught in English. 

    GERM 481M: Theories of Media
    Jeffrey Kirkwood

    This course will offer an intensive study of core media theoretical texts—both historical and contemporary. Media theory has undergone increasing institutionalization and now exerts an ever-greater force on the study of art, philosophy, cinema, science, and literature. By engaging with a canon of foundational theoretical texts we will explore the impact of various genealogies of thinking about media technologies on the many fields it has come to shape. Readings for the course include Ernst Kapp, Gilbert Simondon, Lewis Mumford, Donna Haraway, Friedrich Kittler, Michel Serres, Bernhard Siegert, N. Katherine Hayles, Jean Baudrillard, Sybille Krämer, Bernard Stiegler, Niklas Luhmann, and others. 
    Gen Ed: A

  • Spring 2021

    GERM 101: Elementary German I
    Frank Mischke

    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
    Christina Feil, Jeanette Franza, Tim Schmidt

    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
    Christina Feil

    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
    Jan Hohenstein

    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
    Christina Feil

    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 241A: From Hero to Knight
    Rosmarie Morewedge

    Beginning with Orff's Carmina Burana, Game of Thrones, Spamalot, and Monty Python and the Holy Grail, we will construct heroic, courtly and narrative codes in the Middle Ages. We study tales that were recited and performed in Germany as they move from oral performance into the written tradition. Learning about the cognitive revolution that took place in the turn from the oral to the written tradition will be carried out through close reading of the entire Song of the Nibelungs. Access to literacy and the acquisition of this new mode of communication will be studied in terms of their effect on different layers of society. We will also read and explore great tales that define relations between the West and the East during the times of the Crusades, heroic tales of ancient warriors that turn up in courtly dress, as well as Arthurian romances that portray and shape courtly society and civilization. How does the heroic code change into the knightly code? Tellers and writers of tales seek to create a literature that forges values and ideas of heroism, nation building, governance, knighthood, chivalry, courtly love, civilization, kingship, justice, warfare, service to God, the encounter with the Orient, and implications of the rise of the new merchant class in the cities. Works will be read in English translation.. The course will be taught in English with a special discussion section in German for students who have completed Intermediate German or the equivalent. Texts and Movies: The Lay of Hildebrand The older lay and the younger lay BB The Song of the Nibelungs, (complete epic) tr. Frank G. Ryder Siegfried, Kriemhild's Revenge Fritz Lang Duke Ernst, tr. J.W. Thomas and Carolyn Dussere Poor Henry/Der arme Heinrich, Hartmann von Aue, BB Parzival, Wolfram von Eschenbach Excalibur, John Boorman Tristan und Isolde, Gottfried von Strassburg The Book of Memory, Carruthers, Mary (selections) The Power of the Written Tradition, Jack Goody (selections). H

    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 241S: A Novel and its Context: Thomas Mann's Magic Mountain
    Harald Zils

    Course is taught in English. Intensive reading and discussion of Thomas Mann's "The Magic Mountain," published in 1924, one of the major novels of the 20th century. Course explores the work in its context: history, politics, philosophy, literature, music, medicine, psychoanalysis. Students will give two presentations and write a 10-page term paper. Everyman's Library edition of the translation by John E. Woods (important: hardcover edition, ISBN 1400044219) will be used. H, O, W.

    GERM 306: Texts and Contexts II
    Neil Christian Pages

    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 380I: Post-War Germany
    Harald Zils

    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 midst 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 silence public discourse and to suppress memories in favor of a truce for the present.
    The course will focus on four decisive years: 1945; 1949; 1956; and 1961.
    Course taught in English. H, W

    COLI 381Q/GERM 380V/JUST 384D/HIST 381U/ARTH 387B: Vienna 1900: Modernism and 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, architecture and music (Klimt, Schiele, Loos, Bauer, Schönberg) and a lasting literary legacy (Schnitzler, Musil, Hofmannsthal, Trakl, Roth, Kraus, Zweig). By engaging specific works (buildings, paintings, texts, objects) 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 as objects of study and how cultures of memory are reflected in works of art, in historiography, literary works, commemorative practices and cultural institutions like museums and universities. A, H 


    COURSES FROM OTHER DEPARTMENTS CROSSLISTED IN GERMAN

    GERM 380D: German Jews
    Allan Arkush

    This course will examine the lives of representative German Jews from the middle of the 18th century to the beginning of the Nazi era. It will focus on these individuals’ relationship to Judaism and Jewish life and the changing German world in which they lived. Among the figures studied will be philosophers (Moses Mendelssohn), politicians (Gabriel Riesser and Walter Rathenau), rabbis (Leo Baeck), and feminists (Bertha Pappenheim). Selected Topics: the fight for Jewish civil rights in the 19th century, the reception of Jews in the German public sphere, responses to anti-Semitism, new philosophies of Judaism. H

    GERM 380G: The Holocaust: A Victims' History
    Gina Glasman

    How did the Jews of Europe respond to German occupation and its machinery of death during the Second World War? Our class will explore an answer to this question by seeking to reconstruct a history of the Holocaust through the voices of its victims. We will examine various forms of contemporary testimony including diaries and the spoken word. Works of history, as well as documentary cinema, will also frame our conversation about chronicling the effects of Nazi genocide through the surviving record of the murdered and the dead. N, W

    GERM 481B: Colonization/Violence/Genocide
    Giovanna Montenegro

    This course explores the themes of colonization, mass violence, genocide and cultural memory through literature, film, and visual culture. Beginning with literature of the conquest and colonization of the Americas including works such as Bartolomé de Las Casas’ A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies, we will explore rhetorical arguments used to defend indigenous peoples’ rights while analyzing indigenous-authored texts such as those of Titu Cusi Yupanqui, Guamán Poma Ayala and Mexica (Aztec) accounts of the conquest. We will investigate how French author Michel de Montaigne used cultural relativism to critique religious persecution at home in his essay Of Cannibals. Using theoretical and historical readings from indigenous studies and genocide studies, we will investigate the repercussions of colonization, mass violence, and genocide (Dirk Moses, Mahmood Mamdani, Jürgen Zimmerer). For example, on the latter points the course will examine accounts and representations of genocide carried out by the German Empire in Southwest Africa against the Herero people (through the film Skulls of my People, Dir. Vincent Moloi, 2017), and recent attempts to discuss reparations in Germany vis-à-vis the Holocaust. Likewise, we’ll examine links between earlier conquest narratives as well as more recent testimonial literature produced in 20th-century conflicts within Latin America. The final part of the course will focus on the cultural memory of conquest, colonization, mass violence, and genocide and will include theoretical texts on lieux de mémoire (sites of memory) and commemorative sites and evaluate recent attempts to decolonize spaces as well as address justice and reparations. 

  • Fall 2020

    GERM 101: Elementary German I
    Christina Feil, Gülden Olgun, Tim Schmidt

    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

    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 180B: Global Tales
    Rosmarie Morewedge

    Exploration and discussion of fairy tales and how the great classical fairy tales told in the noble salons of 17th c. France and by the Brothers Grimm in 19th c. Germany have been influenced by medieval Indian, Middle Eastern and early modern Mediterranean narrative traditions; how they shaped the process of civilization in 17th c. France and 19th c. Germany; and finally, how the strands of the Western European fairy tale tradition have in turn influenced modern Indian English fantasy narratives. Topics such as the development of the self, the role of women, good government, responsible citizenship, class conflict, entrepreneurship, the acquisition of wealth and wisdom, the pursuit of happiness, the acquisition and retention of power, membership in organic communities and becoming mindful of one’s relationship to nature are some of the great topics introduced in the amazing tales we shall study. 

    G, H

    GERM 203: Intermediate German I
    Christina Feil, Carl Gelderloos

    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 241D: The Fairy Tale
    Zoja Pavlovskis-Petit

    Structure and meaning of fairy tales. Oral vs. literary fairy tales. Different approaches to interpreting fairy tales: anthropological, psychological, socio-historical, structuralist. Lectures approximately once a week; discussion; take-home midterm and final exams; two 10-page papers.

    H, W

    GERM 241F: Cold War Science Fictions
    Carl Gelderloos

    This course explores science fiction literature and film from both sides of the “Iron Curtain” during the Cold War (1945–1990). By situating these works from the US, Eastern Europe, and the Soviet Union within their cultural and geopolitical contexts, we will learn how science fiction constituted a unique paradigm for understanding – and critiquing – modern society, whether of the capitalist or state socialist variety. How did science fiction, as the cultural form most associated with progress and the future, provide a novel perspective on an era marked both by the ecstasy of the space race and the terror of nuclear annihilation? Conversely, how did the context of the Cold War shape the imagination of what kinds of human futures were likely, possible, desirable, or inevitable? And what might these works help us understand about our own relationship to the future? Topics we’ll cover include the space race; fears and excitement about technology; utopia and dystopia; labor, the human, and the cyborg; aliens and the imagination of difference; SF as gender critique; virtuality and cyberpunk. We’ll read novels, short stories, and essays by Ursula Le Guin, Samuel Delany, Philip K. Dick, Joanna Russ, Stanisław Lem, the Strugatsky brothers, Ivan Efremov, Fredric Jameson, Thomas Pynchon, Leon Trotsky, and view films such as Solaris, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Alien, and Blade Runner.

    H, W

    GERM 241N: The Nazi State
    Harald Zils

    The course looks at the Nazi regime in Germany between 1933 and 1945, at the organization and inner functioning of the government and administration. Topics include the Nazi rise to power, party structures, "Gleichschaltung" of society, economy, and media, persecution of minorities, the situation of workers and peasants, the role of the churches etc. Course taught in English.
    Course counts as H, W

    GERM 305: Texts & Contexts I
    Rosmarie Morewedge

    Course provides a comprehensive review of German grammar and usage through readings of texts and contexts related to German-speaking Europe and the global reach of German language and culture. We will work with different genres (fiction and non-fiction; history; geography; art; philosophy; media; visual culture) in order to develop fluency and accuracy in spoken and written German, to explore strategies for reading texts needed for an interdisciplinary approach to German Studies and to learn more about key aspects of German language and culture. Evaluation and grading are based on in-class participation, written homework and exams. Course is taught entirely in German. Prerequisite: GERM 204 or equivalent or instructor permission.

    GERM 380H: Modern Yiddish Culture
    Gina Glasman

    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 course.

    H, J

    GERM 380K: Imperial Germany
    Harald Zils

    Course taught in English – This survey course takes a close look at the German Empire at the end of the 19th century: political and social structures, economic and cultural developments. We will pay particular attention to the young German nation’s attempts to find its position in an international context. One exam, one review paper with presentation, term paper.

    H

  • Spring 2020

    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.
    H, N, O

    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.

    H

    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.

    A, H


    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.

    H, W

    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.
    H, W

  • Fall 2019

    GERM 101: Elementary German I
     Jan Hohenstein, Gülden Olgun, Ruth Seifert

    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
    Frank K. Mischke

    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 203: Intermediate German I
    Carl Gelderloos

    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 241E, 241L: Volkswagen and Beyond
    Harald Zils

    What makes "German Engineering" so special that the phrase brings up twice as many Google hits as "American Engineering?" For a long time, there have been common qualities in the products of German design. The course investigates into the creative ideas that have been driving the history of German engineering and its continuations in society (Bauhaus, Volkswagen, Kraftwerk). It shows how ideas of beauty and well-formedness, even principles of "good" engineering are determined by economic situations and political issues; and how engineers' designs influence the self-image of a whole society in return. Students are introduced to creative artists' statements and aesthetic programs, but for a huge part of the course we will analyze concrete manifestations of engineering aesthetics and the role of science, technology and engineering in German and US societies. Note: This is a humanities course, not an engineering course. We will not discuss BMW's anti-locking brakes; we will discuss the institutional and intellectual traditions and mindsets that engineer the engineering. Course taught in English. Grading is based on two presentations, an exam and a group project.
    Course counts as A, (O,) W

    GERM 241N: The Nazi State
    Harald Zils

    The course looks at the Nazi regime in Germany between 1933 and 1945, at the organization and inner functioning of the government and administration. Topics include the Nazi rise to power, party structures, "Gleichschaltung" of society, economy, and media, persecution of minorities, the situation of workers and peasants, the role of the churches etc. Course taught in English.
    Course counts as H, W

    GERM 241H: Modern Yiddish Culture
    Gina Glasman

    In the half century before the Second World War, a Yiddish ­speaking "Jewish Street" stretched from Buenos Aires to Boston, from London to Łódź, 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).

    Course counts as H,J

    GERM 305: Texts & Contexts I
    Jan Hohenstein

    Course provides a comprehensive review of German grammar and usage through readings of texts and contexts related to German-speaking Europe and the global reach of German language and culture. We will work with different genres (fiction and non-fiction; history; geography; art; philosophy; media; visual culture) in order to develop fluency and accuracy in spoken and written German, to explore strategies for reading texts needed for an interdisciplinary approach to German Studies and to learn more about key aspects of German language and culture. Evaluation and grading are based on in-class participation, written homework and exams. Course is taught entirely in German. Prerequisite: GERM 204 or equivalent or instructor permission.

    GERM 380B: Learning to See: Art & Media in Weimar Germany
    Carl Gelderloos

    From the movies we watch to the advertisements we see, from the way we understand images to the fonts we use, the vibrant legacy of modern culture in the 1920s and 1930s continues to influence the way we use and think about media, art, technology, and communication. Drawing on richly innovative visual artworks and groundbreaking theoretical texts, this course explores the visual culture of the Weimar Republic (1919-1933) with a special emphasis on film, photography, and montage. Visual media played a central role in the cultural production and aesthetic and political debates of the time: the rise of the cinema provoked an unparalleled reexamination of the relationship between art, technology, and society, while the rapid expansion of photography into newspapers and other mass media helped spark diverse discussions of aesthetics, perception, and individuality. Why did visual media and discussions about them play such a central role in the cultural and political ferment of modern culture between two world wars? How did new visual media and technologies help contemporaries rethink other, non-visual media such as literature and aesthetic representation more generally? Why were debates about photography and film often so politically charged, and how were images related to democracy, communism, and fascism? In what ways did Weimar culture draw on new technologies to see and depict processes of modernization, urbanization, and industrialization with new eyes? From Dada to advertising culture, photojournalism to Bertolt Brecht, these are the questions we will explore in this class. Course taught in English
    Course counts as A,H,W

    GERM 480U: Kafka and His Readers
    Neil Christian Pages

    Seminar explores the work and reception of Franz Kafka (1883–1924), arguably the most famous writer of German Modernism and the inspiration for the troublesome idiom "Kafkaesque." We will examine the Kafkan text with and against some of the cultural productions that have emerged from it, from the illustrations of R. Crumb, to the installation art of Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller, the musical compositions of Carsten Nicolai, the films of Steven Soderbergh and Michael Haneke, the literary texts of authors like Jonathan Franzen, Haruki Murakami and J.M. Coetzee and the criticism of thinkers like Adorno, Derrida and Blanchot. While considering Kafka's literary legacy, his academic function, his impact on thinking about representation, and the debates about the translation of his work, we will also reflect on the process of reading and interpretation generally as well as on what literature does and the ways in which literary criticism works.

    Course counts as W

    GERM 481B: Early Cinema
    Jeffrey Kirkwood

    In a media environment saturated with screens it is easy to forget that our habits of viewership, however intuitive they may seem, were learned. The nature of our interactions with and understanding of images on screens becomes legible when returning to a historical moment in which the conventions of cinematic spectatorship were just being established—a time in which the explosion of popular cinema was transforming notions of aesthetics, narrative, and psychology. Beginning with an exploration of proto-cinematic devices and meditations on the nature of perception, and continuing through the very first full-length narrative films in the 1910s, the course examines a period that arguably represents the most radical revision of the practices of seeing, watching, and vision prior to the "digital revolution." Through primary and secondary sources on illusions of movement, early forms of cinema, and the emergence of long-format narrative films, as well as rare archival films, the course confronts the technological and cultural conditions responsible for what could be called "modern vision."

    Course counts as A

  • Spring 2019
    GERM 101: Elementary German I

    Frank Mischke

    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
    Anna Pfeifer

    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
    Gülden Olgun

    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
    Anna Pfeifer

    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.
    Gen Ed: H, W

    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.
    Gen Ed: H, W

    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 380 courses—taught in English
    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.
    Gen Ed: H, W

    GERM 380I: Post-War Germany
    Harald Zils

    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
    Gina Glasman

    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 course.
    Gen Ed: H, J

    GERM 380N: Staging Revolutions
    Carl Gelderloos

    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.

  • Fall 2018 

    GERM 101: Elementary German I
    Tom Hanel, Jan Hohenstein, Gülden Olgun, Anna Pfeifer

    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
    Frank Mischke

    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 203: Intermediate German I
    Carl Gelderloos, Anna Pfeifer

    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 241A: From Hero to Knight
    Rosmarie Morewedge

    Beginning with Orff's Carmina Burana, Game of Thrones, Spamalot, and Monty Python and the Holy Grail, we will construct heroic, courtly and narrative codes in the Middle Ages. We study tales that were recited and performed in Germany as they move from oral performance into the written tradition. Learning about the cognitive revolution that took place in the turn from the oral to the written tradition will be carried out through close reading of the entire Song of the Nibelungs. Access to literacy and the acquisition of this new mode of communication will be studied in terms of their effect on different layers of society. We will also read and explore great tales that define relations between the West and the East during the times of the Crusades, heroic tales of ancient warriors that turn up in courtly dress, as well as Arthurian romances that portray and shape courtly society and civilization. How does the heroic code change into the knightly code? Tellers and writers of tales seek to create a literature that forges values and ideas of heroism, nation building, governance, knighthood, chivalry, courtly love, civilization, kingship, justice, warfare, service to God, the encounter with the Orient, and implications of the rise of the new merchant class in the cities. Works will be read in English translation.. The course will be taught in English with a special discussion section in German for students who have completed Intermediate German or the equivalent. Texts and Movies: The Lay of Hildebrand The older lay and the younger lay BB The Song of the Nibelungs, (complete epic) tr. Frank G. Ryder Siegfried, Kriemhild's Revenge Fritz Lang Duke Ernst, tr. J.W. Thomas and Carolyn Dussere Poor Henry/Der arme Heinrich, Hartmann von Aue, BB Parzival, Wolfram von Eschenbach Excalibur, John Boorman Tristan und Isolde, Gottfried von Strassburg The Book of Memory, Carruthers, Mary (selections) The Power of the Written Tradition, Jack Goody (selections).

    Course counts as 'H.'

    GERM 241C: Global Tales
    Rosmarie Morewedge

    Exploration and discussion of how the great classical fairy tales told by Charles Perrault in 17th c. France and the Brothers Grimm in 19th c. Germany have been influenced by medieval Indian, Middle Eastern and early modern Mediterranean narrative traditions, how they shaped the process of civilization in 17th c. France and 19th c. Germany, and finally, how the strands of the Western European fairy tale tradition have in turn influenced modern Indian English language narratives. Reading and discussion of great tales from the Panchatantra, The Arabian Nights, of Charles Perrault, the Brothers Grimm and Salman Rushdie.

    Course counts as H, W

    GERM 241D: The Fairy Tale
    Zoja Pavlovskis-Petit

    Structure and meaning of fairy tales. Oral vs. literary fairy tales. Different approaches to interpreting fairy tales: anthropological, psychological, socio-historical, structuralist. Lectures approximately once a week; discussion; take-home midterm and final exams; two 10-page papers.

    Course counts as H, W

    GERM 241N: The Nazi State
    Harald Zils

    The course looks at the Nazi regime in Germany between 1933 and 1945, at the organization and inner functioning of the government and administration. Topics include the Nazi rise to power, party structures, "Gleichschaltung" of society, economy, and media, persecution of minorities, the situation of workers and peasants, the role of the churches etc. Course taught in English.

    Course counts as H, W

    GERM 305: Texts & Contexts I
    Neil Christian Pages

    Course provides a comprehensive review of German grammar and usage through readings of texts and contexts related to German-speaking Europe and the global reach of German language and culture. We will work with different genres (fiction and non-fiction; history; geography; art; philosophy; media; visual culture) in order to develop fluency and accuracy in spoken and written German, to explore strategies for reading texts needed for an interdisciplinary approach to German Studies and to learn more about key aspects of German language and culture. Evaluation and grading are based on in-class participation, written homework and exams. Course is taught entirely in German. Prerequisite: GERM 204 or equivalent or instructor permission.

    All GERM 380 courses taught in English
    GERM 380A: Modern Women in Literature and Film
    Gisela Brinker-Gabler

    With an overview of the wide range and tradition of 20th-century women writers, the course will focus on a century of representation of women "practicing modernity." Leaving behind the so-called "cult of domesticity," ascribed to women in the Victorian era, a new model of woman emerged encouraging women to liberate themselves, manage their own lives and to leave behind anything that might restrict their pursuit of happiness and self-realization (e.g., in professional career, activity in a social or political movement or in new styles of love and life defying convention and social norms). What kind of choices did women have in the modern world and the modern city? How did they succeed or fail or both in pursuing happiness and fulfillment? What conflicts did they have to work through, what different practices and decision-making processes emerge from their lives? In this seminar students will learn about key women writers, who created new narratives, and poetic and visual languages, and they will analyze and discuss their books that were turned into films, presenting the challenge and the new consciousness about women in the modern world. BOOKS: Lou Andreas-Salome, FENITSCHKA, Nella Larsen, QUICKSAND, Virginia Woolf, MRS. DALLOWAY, Anita Loos, GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES, Irmgard Keun, THE ARTIFICAL SILK GIRL, Ingeborg Bachmann, THREE PATHS TO THE LAKE. Films: A DOLL'S HOUSE, THE HOURS, JULIA, HOW TO MAKE AN AMERICAN QUILT.

    GERM 380B: Learning to See: Art & Media in Weimar Germany
    Carl Gelderloos

    From the movies we watch to the advertisements we see, from the way we understand images to the fonts we use, the vibrant legacy of modern culture in the 1920s and 1930s continues to influence the way we use and think about media, art, technology, and communication. Drawing on richly innovative visual artworks and groundbreaking theoretical texts, this course explores the visual culture of the Weimar Republic (1919-1933) with a special emphasis on film, photography, and montage. Visual media played a central role in the cultural production and aesthetic and political debates of the time: the rise of the cinema provoked an unparalleled reexamination of the relationship between art, technology, and society, while the rapid expansion of photography into newspapers and other mass media helped spark diverse discussions of aesthetics, perception, and individuality. Why did visual media and discussions about them play such a central role in the cultural and political ferment of modern culture between two world wars? How did new visual media and technologies help contemporaries rethink other, non-visual media such as literature and aesthetic representation more generally? Why were debates about photography and film often so politically charged, and how were images related to democracy, communism, and fascism? In what ways did Weimar culture draw on new technologies to see and depict processes of modernization, urbanization, and industrialization with new eyes? From Dada to advertising culture, photojournalism to Bertolt Brecht, these are the questions we will explore in this class. Course taught in English
    Course counts as A, H, W

    GERM 380D: German Jews
    Allan Arkush

    This course will examine the lives of representative German Jews from the middle of the 18th century to the beginning of the Nazi era. It will focus on these individuals' relationship to Judaism and Jewish life and the changing German world in which they lived. Among the figures studied will be philosophers (Moses Mendelssohn), politicians (Gabriel Riesser and Walter Rathenau), rabbis (Leo Baeck), and feminists (Bertha Pappenheim). Selected Topics: the fight for Jewish civil rights in the 19th century, the reception of Jews in the German public sphere, responses to anti-Semitism, new philosophies of Judaism. Not suitable for freshmen.

    GERM 380S: Stalingrad
    Harald Zils, Sidney Dement

    The battle of Stalingrad, fought more than seventy years ago, is burned into the cultural memories of Germans and Russians to this day. More than 700,000 people died; it was the beginning of the end of Hitler's War. This course investigates the battle and its aftermath in German and Russian culture. In order to examine the multiple perspectives on this cultural and historical watershed more fully, GERM 380G, taught by Prof. Zils, and RUSS 380D, taught by Prof. Dement, meet together. We discuss the historical event, its consequences for WW II, the soldiers' and civilians' perspectives, the images of the war in German and Russian propaganda and its impact on German and Russian public discourse, movies, art and literature. Two 8-page papers, one group presentation. This is a course that is team-taught by faculty members of the German Studies and Russian Studies programs. Therefore there are sections listed and cross-listed in the German Studies as well as in the Russian Studies program. All sections will meet and be taught as one.

    Course counts as H, W

    GERM 481C: Reformation: Religion & Society
    Sean Dunwoody

    HIST 481Q/MDVL 480C/GERM 481C - Reformation: Church and Society Professor Sean Dunwoody Fall 2018 Course Description: For Hegel, it was "the all-enlightening sun" that followed upon the darkness of the Middle Ages, one that lighted the path to freedom for the World Spirit. For Marx, it was an ultimately failed revolution cooked up "in the brain of the monk," born out of the contradictions of feudal society. For Weber, it set into motion a process that has resulted in our being trapped in the "iron cage" of modern industrialized capitalist society. For historians since, it has occasioned tremendous debate. Few events in European history can claim the central role assigned to the Reformation; few historical events have proven to be as fertile a ground for the cultivation of historiographical debates. In this seminar, we will study the major debates that have shaped the field and consider how historians continue to ask new questions with new sources. Students shall prepare for and actively participate in weekly readings. They will also be expected to prepare a research paper grounded in critical engagement of primary sources and in the light of scholarly conversations.

    Course counts as C, N