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Amherst College German for 2018-19

101 Elementary German I

Our multimedia course acquaints students with present day life and culture in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Authentic documents and interviews with native speakers from all walks of life serve as a first-hand introduction to the German-speaking countries. An interactive learning software, as well as related Internet audio-visual materials emphasize the mastery of speaking, writing, and reading skills that are the foundation for further study. Three hours a week for explanation and demonstration, one hour a week in small TA sections.

Fall and spring semesters. Lecturer Schrade.

2018-19: Offered in Fall 2018 and Spring 2019
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2010, Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018

102 Elementary German II

A continuation of GERM 101, with increased emphasis on reading of selected texts. Three class meetings per week plus one additional conversation hour in small sections.

Requisite: GERM 101 or equivalent. Fall and spring semesters. Lecturer Schrade.

2018-19: Offered in Fall 2018 and Spring 2019
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2009, Spring 2010, Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018

205 Intermediate German

Systematic review of grammar, aural and speaking practice, discussion of video and television programs, and reading of selected texts in contemporary German. Stress will be on the acquisition and polishing of verbal, reading, writing, and comprehension skills in German. Three hours per week for explanation and structured discussion, plus one hour per week in small sections for additional practice with German language assistants.

Requisite: GERM 102 or two years of secondary-school German or equivalent. Fall semester: Professor Gilpin. Spring semester: Lecturer Schrade.

2018-19: Offered in Fall 2018 and Spring 2019
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2010, Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Fall 2017, Spring 2018

210 Advanced Composition and Conversation

Practice in free composition and analytical writing in German. Exercises in pronunciation and idiomatic conversation. Supplementary work with audio and video materials. Oral reports on selected topics and reading of literary and topical texts. Conducted in German. Three hours per week, plus one hour per week in small sections for additional practice with German language assistants.

Requisite: GERM 205 or equivalent, based on departmental placement decision. Spring semester. Professor Gilpin.

2018-19: Offered in Spring 2019
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2009, Spring 2010, Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2018

312 Advanced Reading, Conversation, and Composition

This course evolves around sites of memory related to German history. It is based on discussion, and close analysis of a wide range of cultural materials, including selections from all types of media. Materials will be analyzed both for their linguistic features and as cultural documents. Textual analysis includes study of vocabulary, style, and selected points of advanced grammar. Round-table discussions, oral reports and structured composition exercises that enable students to navigate German language and culture successfully. Conducted in German. Three class hours per week, plus an additional hour in small TA-sections.

Requisite: GERM 210 or equivalent. Omitted 2018-19. Lecturer Schrade.

2018-19: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2010, Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016

315 German Cultural History to 1800

An examination of cultural developments in the German tradition, from the Early Middle Ages to the rise of Prussia and the Napoleonic Period. We shall explore the interaction between socio-political factors in German-speaking Europe and works of “high art” produced in the successive eras, as well as Germany’s centuries-long search for a cultural identity. Literature to be considered will include selections from Tacitus’ Germania, the Hildebrandslied, a courtly epic and some medieval lyric poetry; the sixteenth-century Faust chapbook and other writings of the Reformation Period; Baroque prose, poetry, and music; works by Lessing and other figures of the German Enlightenment; Sturm und Drang, including early works by Goethe, Schiller, and their younger contemporaries. Selected audio-visual materials will provide examples of artistic, architectural, and musical works representative of each of the main periods. Conducted in German.

Requisite: GERM 210 or equivalent. Fall semester. Professor Rogowski.

2018-19: Offered in Fall 2018
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2010, Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Fall 2017

316 German Cultural History from 1800 to the Present

A survey of literary and cultural developments in the German tradition from the Romantic Period to contemporary trends. Major themes will include the Romantic imagination and the rise of nationalism in the nineteenth century, the literary rebellion of the period prior to 1848, Poetic Realism and the Industrial Revolution, and various forms of aestheticism, activism, and myth. In the twentieth century we shall consider the culture of Vienna, the “Golden Twenties,” the suppression of freedom in the Nazi state, issues of exile and inner emigration, and the diverse models of cultural reconstruction after 1945. Authors represented will include Friedrich Schlegel, Brentano, Heine, Büchner, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, Heinrich and Thomas Mann, Kafka, Brecht, Grass, Wolf, and Handke. Music by Schubert, Wagner, Mahler, and Henze; samples of art and architecture. Conducted in German.

Requisite: GERM 210 or equivalent. Spring semester. Professor Brandes.

2018-19: Offered in Spring 2019
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2009, Spring 2010, Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2018

327 The Age of Goethe

Classical German literature and music, from the 1780s to the 1830s, has influenced German and Western culture until today. While considering music and art, this course will focus primarily on the greatest writers of the period: Goethe, Schiller, and Hölderlin. Placing their literature in the philosophical and political contexts of Idealism and of German enlightened absolutism, we will distinguish this “high art” from contemporary early romantic concepts as well as from German Jacobine activism, which was strongly influenced by the French Revolution. We will also examine the legacy of this rich cultural era in its impact on Western romantic, transcendentalist, and symbolist movements—and its influence on the rise of the myth of the Germans as a “nation of poets and thinkers.” Readings will include Goethe’s Faust I, Egmont, Iphigenie, and Römische Elegien; Schiller’s Die Räuber and Maria Stuart; Hölderlin’s Hyperion and selected poems; essays and manifestos by Kant, Fichte, and Forster. Listening assignments include Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte and selected Lieder of the period. Conducted in German.

Requisite: GERM 210 or equivalent. Omitted 2018-19. Professor Brandes.

2018-19: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2010, Fall 2017

333 Comedy and Humor

The course with the shortest reading list ever – not! Contrary to popular opinion, Germans (and their Austrian and Swiss neighbors) do have a sense of humor that has produced a wide variety of both high-brow and popular forms, ranging from the absurdist skits of Karl Valentin and Liesl Karlstadt, to raunchy “Ostfriesenwitze,” and to the current boom in sex and “relationship” comedies in film. We will explore broadsheets and cartoons (Wilhelm Busch, Loriot, E. O. Plauen, Uli Stein), populist theater forms such as the operetta (Strauss, Lehar) and farcical “Volkstheater,” sophisticated literary comedies (Tieck, Büchner, Sternheim, Dürrenmatt), social satire in print and other media (Heine, Kraus, Tucholsky, Staudte, Irmtraud Morgner, Robert Gernhardt, Eckhard Henscheid, Luise Pusch, Elfriede Jelinek), parody pastiche in song and movies (Comedian Harmonists, Max Raabe, Bully Herbig), and political humor in cabaret from the Wilhelmine period, the Weimar Republic, inside and outside the Third Reich, communist East Germany, and the multi-ethnic Germany of today (Wedekind, Werner Finck, Erika Mann, Gerhart Polt, Sinasi Dikmen). Primary materials will be supplemented by theoretical readings, including Arthur Koestler, Volker Klotz, Susanne Schäfer, and-of course-Sigmund Freud. Conducted in German.

Requisite: GERM 210 or equivalent. Fall Semester. Professor Rogowski.

2018-19: Offered in Fall 2018
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2012, Spring 2015

334 Cold War German Culture, East and West

How did post-war Germany respond to the dilemma of being the frontier between Communism and the Free World? How did the two German societies develop their own identities and adapt, rebel, or acquiesce culturally in regard to the powers in control? We will situate major literary and cultural developments within the context of political and social history. Topics include coming to terms with the Nazi past; political dissent, democratization, and economic affluence; reactions to the Berlin Wall; the student revolt and feminism; the threat to democracy and civil rights posed by terrorism; the peace movement in the East and the West. Readings in various genres, including experimental literary texts. Authors include Heinrich Böll, Günter Grass, Peter Schneider, and Peter Weiss in the West and Volker Braun, Heiner Müller, Ulrich Plenzdorf, and Christa Wolf in the East. Conducted in German. 

Requisite: GERM 210 or equivalent. Omitted 2018-19. Professor Brandes.

2018-19: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2010, Fall 2016

335 Modernism and Its Discontents

This course will trace the impact of early twentieth-century modernization on the cultural consciousness of artists and politicians. We will first study classical modernism in the context of European and Western avant-garde movements, with emphasis on art and society in Germany. Topics include the effect of rapid urbanization and the rise of modern mass culture; modern constructions of gender and nature; the emergence of visual culture and mass media; the aesthetic revolt and literary visions of Futurism, Dada, and Expressionism; and the radical activism of proletarian didactic art. We will then trace the anti-modernist responses, such as Kaiser Wilhelm’s retrogressive push for national art; the socialist realist doctrine of Stalin’s cultural policies; Hitler’s prohibition of modernist art as “degenerate”; and finally the censorship and self-censorship of certain modernist artists, in the name of political progress. Texts by Hofmannsthal, Hauptmann, Schnitzler, Wedekind, Heinrich Mann, Kafka, Hesse, Rilke, Benjamin, Brecht, and Anna Seghers; selected art by Modersohn-Becker, Kirchner, and Kollwitz; samples of architecture, early radio, films, and music. Conducted in German.

Requisite: GERM 210 or equivalent. Omitted 2018-19. Professor Brandes.

2018-19: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2014, Spring 2018

337 Günter Grass

Since the overwhelming success of his first novel The Tin Drum (1959), his Nobel Prize in Literature (1999), and his admission that as a 17-year old, he joined the Nazi-SS (2006), Grass has been one of the most original and provocative contemporary writers. He was also an outspoken public intellectual. Often headily evocative in his rhythmic prose, the author has probed the development of Germany from Nazism through Cold War division to unification with a relentlessly vivid eye. We will read Grass primarily as a novelist, but also trace the correlations between his political engagement and his fiction, poetry, and art. Readings include The Tin Drum, Cat and Mouse, Dog Years, Writing After Auschwitz, and The Call of the Toad. Selections from his poetry, art and movies. Conducted in German.

Requisite: GERM 210 or equivalent. Omitted 2018-19. Professor Brandes.

2018-19: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2017

338 Modern Drama

Why is drama an art form of such tremendous importance to Germans, Austrians, and the Swiss? Few cultures can boast a similar preoccupation with, interest in, and public support of, the theater. This course examines the rich legacy of dramatic innovation and experimentation from about 1890 to the present day, ranging from the scandals surrounding Frank Wedekind’s exposition of sexual hypocrisy to the iconoclastic provocations of present-day Regietheater. We will read and discuss selected plays by authors such as Gerhart Hauptmann, Arthur Schnitzler, Georg Kaiser, Bertolt Brecht, Marie-Luise Fleisser, Peter Weiss, Heinar Kipphardt, Friedrich Dürrenmatt, Max Frisch, Botho Strauß, Marlene Streeruwitz, Elfriede Jelinek and others. Readings will be supplemented by audiovisual materials on artists like Pina Bausch, Johann Kresnik, and Heiner Müller. Conducted in German.

Requisite: GERM 210 or equivalent. Spring Semester. Professor Rogowski.

2018-19: Offered in Spring 2019
Other years: Offered in Spring 2009

344 Popular Cinema

(Offered as GERM 344 and FAMS 326) From Fritz Lang’s thrilling detective mysteries to Tom Tykwer’s hip postmodern romp Run Lola Run, from Ernst Lubitsch’s satirical wit to the gender-bending comedies of Katja von Garnier, this course explores the rich legacy of popular and genre films in the German-speaking countries.

Topics to be covered include adventure films, comedies, and costume dramas of the silent period, including Fritz Lang’s Spiders (1919) and Joe May’s The Indian Tomb (1920); the musical comedies of the Weimar Republic and the “dream couple” Lilian Harvey and Willy Fritsch; Nazi movie stars and the “non-political” entertainment films of the Third Reich, such as Josef von Baky’s blockbuster Münchhausen (1943); the resurgence of genre films in the 1950s (“Heimatfilme,” romantic comedies, melodramas, etc.); the Cold War Westerns in the West (based on the novels by Karl May) and in the East (starring Gojko Mitic); the efforts to produce audience-oriented films in the politicized climate of the 1960s and 1970s; the big budget quasi-Hollywood productions by Wolfgang Petersen; and the recent spate of relationship comedies.

We will discuss the work of, among others, actors and performers Karl Valentin, Heinz Rühmann, Zarah Leander, Hans Albers, Heinz Erhardt, Romy Schneider, Loriot, and Otto, and directors including Ernst Lubitsch, Fritz Lang, Joe May, Wilhelm Thiele, May Spils, Katja von Garnier, Detlev Buck, Tom Tykwer, and Doris Dörrie. Conducted in English, with German majors required to do a substantial portion of the reading in German. Two class meetings of 80 minutes plus screenings.

Omitted 2018-19. Professor Rogowski.

2018-19: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Fall 2009, Spring 2017

351 Vienna—City of Music

(Offered as GERM 351 and MUSI 451) This course explores the unique position of Vienna—the city where Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, and Schubert as well as Brahms, Bruckner, Mahler, and Schönberg, lived and worked—as a center of (classical) music making.  Topics to be addressed may include: the tradition of sponsorship of the arts in the German-speaking world; Vienna’s status as the capital of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, as well as that of the Austro-Hungarian Empire; the significance of Catholic religious practices for music making; the city’s role in the training of classical musicians and singers; the historical and cultural contexts out of which important musical works emerged, from Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, Schubert’s song cycles, and Mahler’s symphonies, to the operas of Richard Strauss and Alban Berg; notorious scandals in the musical life of the city, such as those surrounding the premiere of Schönberg’s Pierrot Lunaire or Ernst Krenek’s “jazz opera” Jonny spielt auf; the city’s rich Jewish history; the popular traditions of dance music (such as Strauss waltzes) and operetta; and the way in which Vienna now markets itself to tourists as a center of music making. The exact roster of topics and assignments will be determined by what performances and events are being offered during Spring Break, when we will take students on a week-long trip to Vienna. Conducted in English, with German majors required to do a substantial portion of the reading in German. No students should hesitate to register for the course on the basis of economic concerns. Students with questions about these costs should speak with the instructor.

Admission with consent of the instructors. Limited to 12 students. Spring Semester. Professors Rogowski and Schneider.

2018-19: Offered in Spring 2019

354 Nietzsche and Freud

Modern thinking has been profoundly shaped by Nietzsche’s radical questioning of moral values and Freud’s controversial ideas about the unconscious. This course explores some of the ways in which German literature responds to and participates in the intellectual challenge presented by Nietzsche’s philosophy and Freud’s psychoanalysis. Readings include seminal texts by both of these figures as well as works by Rilke, Thomas Mann, Hermann Hesse, Musil, Schnitzler, and Expressionist poets. Conducted in English, with German majors required to do a substantial portion of the reading in German. 

Omitted 2018-19. Professor Rogowski.

2018-19: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2008, Spring 2017

360 Performance

(Offered as GERM 360, ARCH 360, EUST 360 and FAMS 316) What is performance? What constitutes an event? How can we address a phenomenon that has disappeared the moment we apprehend it? How does memory operate in our critical perception of an event? How does a body make meaning? These are a few of the questions we will explore in this course, as we discuss critical, theoretical, and compositional approaches in a broad range of multidisciplinary performance phenomena emerging from European—primarily German—culture in the twentieth century. We will focus on issues of performativity, composition, conceptualization, dramaturgy, identity construction, representation, space, gender, and dynamism. Readings of performance theory, performance studies, gender studies, and critical/cultural studies, as well as literary, philosophical, and architectural texts, will accompany close examination of performance material. Students will develop performative projects in various media (video, performance, text, online) and deliver a number of critical oral and written presentations on various aspects of the course material and their own projects. Performance material will be experienced live when possible, and in text, video, audio, digital media and online form, drawn from selected works of Dada and Surrealism, Bauhaus, German Expressionism, the Theater of the Absurd, Tanztheater, and Contemporary Theater, Performance, Dance, Opera, New Media, and Performance Art. A number of films, including Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari, Oskar Schlemmer’s Das Triadische Ballett, Fernand Léger’s Ballet Mécanique, and Kurt Jooss’ Der Grüne Tisch, will also be screened.  Conducted in English, with German majors required to do a substantial portion of the reading in German.

Limited to 18 students. Omitted 2018-19. Professor Gilpin.

2018-19: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2009, Spring 2011, Spring 2014, Fall 2017

363 Traumatic Events 

(Offered as GERM 363, ARCH 363, EUST 363, and FAMS 370) How is memory constructed and represented? How is it possible to bear witness, and what exactly is involved? Who is authorized to testify, to whom, when? Whose story is it? Is it possible to tell "the story" of a traumatic event? What are the disorders of testimony, and how and where do they emerge? This course will observe the workings of trauma (the enactment and working-through of collective and individual symptoms of trauma), memory, and witnessing in various modes of everyday life. We will examine notions of catastrophe, disaster, accident, and violence, and explore the possibilities and impossibilities of bearing witness in many forms of cultural production: in fiction, poetry, architecture, critical theory, oral and written testimonies, visual art, monuments, memorials, philosophy, science, cartoons, film, video, theater, television reportage, newspaper documentation, and performance, online and in our public and domestic spaces. We will study various representations of trauma, paying particular attention to events in Germany and Europe from the twentieth century, as well as to 9/11 and other recent international events. Material to be examined will be drawn from the work of Pina Bausch, Joseph Beuys, Christian Boltanski, Cathy Caruth, Paul Celan, Marguerite Duras, Peter Eisenman, Shoshana Felman, Florian Freund, Jochen Gerz, Geoffrey Hartman, Rebecca Horn, Marion Kant, Anselm Kiefer, Ruth Klüger, Dominick LaCapra, Claude Lanzmann, Dori Laub, Daniel Libeskind, W.G. Sebald, Art Spiegelman, Paul Virilio, Peter Weiss, Wim Wenders, Elie Wiesel, Christa Wolf, and others. Conducted in English with German majors required to do a substantial portion of the reading in German.

Fall Semester. Professor Gilpin.

2018-19: Offered in Fall 2018
Other years: Offered in Fall 2008, Fall 2010, Fall 2014

364 Architectures of Disappearance

(Offered as GERM 364, ARCH 364, and EUST 364) This course will address a number of developments and transformations in contemporary urban architecture and performance from an international perspective. We will explore issues including, but not limited to, trauma, memory, absence, perception, corporeality, representation, and the senses in our examination of recent work in Germany and elsewhere, and read a number of texts from the fields of philosophy, critical theory, performance studies, and visual and architectural studies, in an attempt to understand how architecture is beginning to develop compositional systems in which to envision dynamic and responsive spaces in specific cultural contexts. We will focus our research on the work of a number of German and international architects, performance, and new media artists, including Jochen Gerz, Renata Stih and Frieder Schnock, Horst Hoheisel, Micha Ullman, Shimon Attie, Daniel Libeskind, Peter Eisenman, Rem Koolhaas, Greg Lynn, Mark Goulthorpe, R & Sie(n), Axel Kilian, Paul Privitera, Hani Rashid and Lise-Ann Couture, Herzog and de Meuron, Archigram, William Forsythe, Jan Fabre, Rachel Whiteread, Rebecca Horn, Sasha Waltz, Richard Siegal, Michael Schumacher, Robert Wilson, the Blix Brothers of Berlin, Pina Bausch, Granular Synthesis, Sponge, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Toni Dove, and many others.  Conducted in English, with German majors required to do a substantial portion of the reading in German.

Limited to 15 students. Enrollment requires attendance at first class meeting. Spring Semester. Professor Gilpin.

2018-19: Offered in Spring 2019
Other years: Offered in Spring 2010, Fall 2013, Spring 2016

365 Making Memorials

(Offered as GERM 365, ARCH 365, and EUST 365) This is a course about what happens to difficult memories: memories that are intensely personal, but made public, memories that belong to communities, but which become ideologically possessed by history, politics, or the media. How are memories processed into memorials? What constitutes a memorial? What gets included or excluded? How is memory performed in cultural objects, spaces, and institutions? What is the relationship between the politics of representation and memory? Who owns memory? Who is authorized to convey it? How does memory function? This course will explore the spaces in which memories are “preserved” and experienced. Our attention will focus on the transformation of private and public memories in works of architecture, performance, literature, and the visual arts, primarily in Germany, Europe, and the United States. Preference given to German majors and European Studies majors, as well as to students interested in architecture/design, performance, the visual arts, interactive installation and/or the environment. Conducted in English, with German majors required to do a substantial portion of the reading in German.

Limited to 20 students. Omitted 2018-19. Professor Gilpin.

2018-19: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2009, Fall 2012, Fall 2016

368 SPACE

(Offered as GERM 368, ARCH 368, EUST 368, and FAMS 368) This research seminar will explore conceptions of space as they have informed and influenced thought and creativity in the fields of cultural studies, literature, architecture, urban studies, performance, and the visual, electronic, and time-based arts. Students will select and pursue a major semester-long research project early in the semester in consultation with the professor, and present their research in its various stages of development throughout the semester, in a variety of media formats (writing, performance, video, electronic art/interactive media, installation, online and networked events, architectural/design drawings/renderings), along with oral presentations of readings and other materials. Readings and visual materials will be drawn from the fields of literature and philosophy; from architectural, art, and film theory and history; from performance studies and performance theory; and from theories of technology and the natural and built environment. Emphasis on developing research, writing, and presentation skills is a core of this seminar.

Preference given to German majors and European Studies majors, as well as to students interested in architecture/design, performance, film/video, interactive installation, and/or the environment. Conducted in English. German majors will select a research project focused on a German Studies context, and will do a substantial portion of the readings in German. Part of the Global Classroom Project. The Global Classroom Project uses videoconferencing technology to connect Amherst classes with courses/students outside the United States.

Limited to 15 students. Enrollment requires attendance at the first class meeting. Omitted 2018-19. Professor Gilpin.

2018-19: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2015, Spring 2018

490 Special Topics

Independent reading course.

Fall and spring semesters. The Department.

2018-19: Offered in Fall 2018 and Spring 2019
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2010, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018

498, 499 Senior Departmental Honors

Fall semester. The Department.

2018-19: Offered in Fall 2018
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2010, Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Fall 2017