Fall 2014 courses in German Studies
Elementary German I - GERM 101
Tom Hanel, Michelle Brussow, Frank Mischke, Gülden Olgun
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. Offered only in the fall semester. Students will not be able to begin the regular elementary German sequence again until the following fall. 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.
Elementary German II - GERM 102
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.
Intermediate German I - GERM 203
Carl Gelderloos, Gülden Olgun
This course is intended as a first step in the expansion of your German language skills beyond the basic functionality acquired in the first two semesters. By engaging with a variety of authentic cultural materials (short literary texts, video blogs featuring native speakers, newspaper articles, online content, etc.), students will develop their comprehension skills as well as their skills of spoken and written expression. Where the early stages of language learning prioritize the communication of information, you will learn structures and strategies for expressing your own opinions, experiences, and interpretations. Integrated skill development, functional communicative proficiency, and cultural awareness are the chief goals of the course. German is the main language of instruction.
Fairy Tales: Enchant and Discover - GERM 241B
Fairy Tales: Enchantment, Discovery, Social Development in Global Contexts 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 shape the process of civilization in 17th c. France and 19th c. Germany, and finally, how this Western European fairy tale tradition has influenced and has been influenced by modern Indian English language narratives.. How has the education of the prince found in the mirrors for princes influenced patterns of behavior and decision making of middle class readers in 19th century Germany? How are heroic concepts of merit, virtue and vice depicted in new models of behavior set for a folk becoming literate? How has Shahrazad (Scheherazade), the narrator of 1001 Arabian Nights, set the stage for feminist tales told at the court of Louis XIV in France as well as for Huegenot women, who continued the French tale-telling tradition in 19th century Germany? What impact has the Western narrative tradition had in turn on the Indian and Middle Eastern sources? How is the confluence of narrative streams depicted in modern Indian narratives reflective of relevant influences of East and West? These are the major questions we shall discuss in a context of "sticky" topics, such as ideal kingship, good government, responsible citizenship, entrepreneurship, the acquisition of wealth and wisdom, the depiction of gender roles, and the portrayal of opposing traditions of good and evil or of free speech and the imposition of silence. Finally, we shall explore how the pursuit of happiness, wealth, knowledge, wisdom and power that is observable in the class struggle in 19th Germany is turned around in the tales of Salman Rushdie, the Indian master story teller, in his fairy tale depiction of the defeat of sadness, silence, and control in which eastern and western narrative traditions appear in what he calls "the sea of stories." Format: Lecture and group discussion; Prerequisites: interest in narrative traditions and in global interactions in the process of civilization. No knowledge of German language needed; Evaluation: class participation (including quizzes, blogs) 20% midterm, 20% final. 20% 2 papers s (~5 pages each, many short assignments) 20 % Reading list: Sarma Visnu, The Pañcatantra (Penguin) Sel. The Arabian Nights (tr. Husain Haddawy, Norton (Sel) Nizami, Haft Paykar (Oxford Wold Classics) Sel The Great Fairy Tale Tradition: From Straparola and Basile to the Brothers Grimm, ed. Jack Zipes, Norton Salman Rushdie, Haroun and the Sea of Stories: a novel. (Penguin) Several films will be shown, including Jean Cocteau, Beauty and the Beast. Course counts as an 'H'.
Volkswagen and Beyond - GERM 241E
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, for better and for worse; 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. 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 in the background. Course taught in English. Grading is based on two presentations, an exam and a group project. Course counts as an 'A', 'O'.
Texts and Contexts I - GERM 205
Neil Christian Pages
Course provides a comprehensive review of German grammar 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.
German Literature After the Wall - GERM 380A
The fall of the Iron Curtain gave a fresh start to literature and the arts in a newly unified Germany. New authors, both in the East and West, challenged the monopolies of opinion and taste of old guards. They joyfully rediscovered story-telling; they borrowed some styles and tricks from the movies; and worldwide audiences found their new topics fascinating -- among them Oprah Winfrey, whose book club catapulted German author Bernhard Schlink („The Reader") to number one on the New York Times bestseller list. The course, taught in English, discusses novels and short stories by Ingo Schulze, Daniel Kehlmann, Hans-Ulrich Treichel, Emine Sevgi Özdamar and others. Grading is based on two presentations (one in a team), a take home exam and a seven page term paper. Course counts as an 'H', 'O'.
From Hero to Knight - GERM 380J
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 an 'H'.
Cyborgs & Maschinenmenschen in German Literature and Culture - GERM 381D
In this interdisciplinary seminar we will explore the encounter of technology and the human body in German literature, film, and visual art. From musical automata in the Enlightenment and Romanticism to nanotech robotic insects in the twentieth century, technological bodies have long provided a provocative way of asking what it means to be human. We will follow this thread through forms and genres of 19th and 20th century German culture to participate in a dialogue about the role of technology, nature, and humanity in the modern world. Artists and writers may include E.T.A. Hoffmann, Karl Marx, Hannah Höch, Bertolt Brecht, and Max Frisch. Close formal analysis of texts and cultural objects from various periods and media will hone your critical skills, while seminar discussion and analytic essays will improve your ability to discuss complex aesthetic, cultural, and social topics in spoken and written German with accuracy and nuance. Course taught in German. Course counts as an 'H'.