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Fall 2019 courses in German Studies

GERM 101: Elementary German I

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.

Jan Hohenstein, Gülden Olgun, TBA

GERM 102: Elementary German II

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.

Frank Mischke

GERM 203: Intermediate German I

Carl Gelderloos, TBA

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 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.

 

All GERM 380 courses taught in English

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: 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,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 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

Last Updated: 4/11/19