German

German is spoken by more than 200 million people worldwide. At Carleton we strive to create a welcoming and inclusive learning environment that allows students to experience the richness of the German-speaking world.

After three terms of German at Carleton, students have the linguistic proficiency and cultural competence to read literature and newspapers and to live and study in a German-speaking country. They are encouraged to take part in our biennial program in Berlin or to pursue overseas study with other approved programs. To understand German-speakers we dive into German-language culture, including literary, philosophical, musical and artistic expressions right from the first course in the sequence. Students will gain the skills to engage with important writers, thinkers, creators, and discoverers in the original German.

The courses 101, 102, 103, and 204 (205 taught overseas in Berlin) are a sequential series of courses designed to provide the foundation for pursuing advanced work in language, literature and culture, while exposing students to examples of literary, philosophical, musical and artistic expression right from the start. German 210-219 offer students the opportunity to delve deeper into specific topics, ranging from current news, to genre studies, to themes such as migration, the body, or film. Admission to these courses without taking German 204 is determined either by appropriate AP or other placement test scores, or by successful completion of the previous course in the sequence. Courses beyond 103 have a number of goals: to refine and expand students' linguistic ability, to give students access to great works of literature and culture, to broaden their cultural understanding, to improve their ability to engage in critical analysis, and to help them better understand themselves and the human condition. In class discussions, attention is focused on universal themes and concerns within the broad context of German culture. Courses numbered 150-159 are survey courses in translation with no prerequisites. Other courses in translation are also offered, which open interdisciplinary ways of study.

Requirements for the German Major

66 credits, including the following:

  • 12 credits of GERM 210-219
  • 6 credits of GERM 150-159
  • 6 credits of LCST 245 (best taken during the junior year)
  • 12 credits of courses in German numbered GERM 300 or higher
  • 24 elective credits of courses in German or courses in English related to German culture (these may include GERM 204 or 205, as well as courses in related fields outside the German Department)
  • 6 credits for the Integrative Exercise (comps)

Courses 101, 102, and 103 do not count toward the major.

Programs Abroad: Participation in Carleton German Programs or in another approved foreign study program is highly recommended for students majoring in German. Students interested in a program abroad that is not affiliated with Carleton should consult with a faculty member in German and with the Director of Off-Campus Studies as well as the Registrar.

Language Houses: Students have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the language by living in the Parish International House where they can organize and participate in numerous cultural activities led by German-speaking language associate. Other activities outside the classroom include a German lunch table in the dining halls, film nights, Kaffeeklatsch, a German study table in the library, "Cook and Study" events, and many more.

Requirements for the German Minor

36 credits beyond German 103 as follows:

  • 12 credits from courses numbered German 210-219
  • 12 credits from courses numbered 250 or higher, 6 of which must be at the 300 level
  • 12 elective credits of courses in German or courses in English related to German culture (these may include GERM 204 or 205, 150-159, as well as courses in related fields outside the German Department)

No more than 12 credits from non-Carleton off-campus studies programs may be applied toward the minor.

German Courses

GERM 101 Elementary German This course stresses a firm understanding of the basic structural patterns of the German language through reading, writing, speaking, and listening drills. For students with no previous knowledge of German or for those whose test scores indicate that this is the appropriate level of placement. 6 credits; NE; Fall; Juliane Schicker, Seth E Peabody
GERM 102 Elementary German Further study of the basic structural patterns of the German language. Prerequisite: German 101 or equivalent. 6 credits; NE; Winter; Kiley Kost
GERM 103 Intermediate German Continuation of the study of basic structural patterns of the German language, and the reading and discussion of longer texts, films, and other media from German-speaking cultures. Prerequisite: German 102 or equivalent. 6 credits; NE; Spring; Seth E Peabody
GERM 150 German Music and Culture from Mozart to Rammstein In this course, we survey significant developments in German-language culture, broadly defined, from the Enlightenment to the twentieth century. Students of all disciplines and majors are invited to receive an overview of the music and culture of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, starting in the 1750s and tracing its impact into the present time. The course includes literature, film, music, language, history, habits, news, etc., and surveys major figures, movements, and their influence on the world’s civilization. The course encourages critical engagement with the material at hand and provides the opportunity to compare it with the students’ own cultural background. Taught in English. 6 credits; LA, IS, WR2; Winter; Juliane Schicker
GERM 152 Personhood What is it to be human? What is the difference between human and animal? How do technology and AI alter our understanding of humanity? How does the rhetoric of personhood affect our judgment of others? What is an immigrant, a migrant, a refugee, a foreigner, an alien? In this English-language survey of German thought and literature, we will ask these questions with foundational philosophers from the Enlightenment to the present, engage with contemporary theorists on post-colonialism and nationalism, and rethink the concept of personhood by analyzing crucial new contributions from literature, theater, film, and art. Taught in English. 6 credits; LA, WR2, IS; Not offered 2020-21
GERM 204 Intermediate German In this course, students build on their basic communication skills to engage in more in-depth spoken and written discussions of German-speaking literature and culture. By analyzing longer and more challenging texts, films and cultural media, continuing grammar review, and writing compositions, students acquire greater facility and confidence in all four language skills (writing, speaking, listening, and reading). Prerequisite: German 103 or equivalent. 6 credits; NE; Fall; Kiley Kost
GERM 205 Berlin Program: Intermediate Composition and Conversation This course is designed for students with intermediate proficiency in German, who wish to extend their knowledge of German language and culture through reading, discussions, and writing. Students will work on developing the ability to articulate opinions, exchange substantive information and to argue points of view; honing analytic and interpretive writing skills; and expanding their linguistic toolkit. The class format features discussions with grammar exercises interspersed as needed. Prerequisite: German 103 or equivalent and acceptance in Berlin Program. 6 credits; NE; Not offered 2020-21
GERM 208 Coffee and News An excellent opportunity to brush up your German while learning about current issues in German-speaking countries. Relying on magazines, newspapers, podcasts, and streamings, students will discuss common topics and themes once a week to exchange their ideas over snacks with a small group of students.  Prerequisite: German 204 or equivalent. 2 credits; HI, IS; Not offered 2020-21
GERM 210 What’s Under Your Bed: Ghosts, Germans, and the Uncanny This class explores creepy and uncanny texts from the German-speaking world in the fields of literature, music, and film to examine their connections to the particular cultural moments in which they emerged. Horror themes such as madness, death, and the supernatural will haunt our texts and discussions and will shed light on the state of society in its different epochs. Along the way, we will discuss forms, conventions, and styles that connect the broad diversity of our texts. We will refine written expression in German and develop the ability to express, discuss, and argue opinions. Prerequisite: Take German 204 or equivalent. 6 credits; LA, IS, WR2; Not offered 2020-21
GERM 212 Contemporary Germany in Global Context Over the past few years, Germany has been touted as the new leader of Europe, or even of the “free world,” and at the same time has seen a surge of bitter political division within its borders. The Berlin Wall fell thirty years ago, yet tensions between East and West remain stark. Chancellor Angela Merkel implemented an open-arms policy toward refugees, yet the extremist AfD party has orchestrated a troubling rise to power based on xenophobic sentiments. And while Germany has emerged as a global environmental leader, it has simultaneously faced passionate protest from its own youth regarding failure to meet the challenges of climate change. In this class, we examine the complexities behind these seeming contradictions in contemporary Germany by analyzing diverse texts ranging from political speeches to poetry slams. Taught in German; advanced grammar review supports analytical tasks. Prerequisite: German 204 or equivalent. 6 credits; HI, IS; Winter; Seth E Peabody
GERM 213 Staging Revolution From classic drama to concrete poetry, from epigrams to Instagram, how are revolutions and social movements spurred forward by the medium in which they are promoted? Not just literal revolution, but what literary revolutions themselves have resulted from such processes? Students will be exposed to many different kinds of texts and films of varying length, and challenged to ask the question: how is language being used here? Course goals include refinement of written and spoken expression, and further development of reading and listening skills. Readings/viewings from Schiller, Schnitzler, Lang, Brecht, Dürrenmatt, Sander, Bachmann, Jandl, Bernhard, Maron, Jelinek, Otoo, #metoo. Conducted in German. Prerequisite: German 204 or equivalent. 6 credits; LA, IS; Not offered 2020-21
GERM 215 Refugees Welcome? Debating Migration and Multiculturalism in Post-War Germany This class brings together diverse voices--journalists, philosophers, and political scientists, as well as authors and filmmakers--in order to trace Germany’s contested development to a multi-ethnic and multi-religious society. Starting with the “guest worker” program of the 1960s to the ongoing refugee crisis, Germans have asked themselves “What is ‘deutsch’?” We will explore Germany’s rich history of negotiating national identity through public discourse, including topics such as German-Turkish relations, Jewish emigration after the Cold War, and the role of Islam in modern Germany. We will focus on refining students’ reading skills: We will survey works from a variety of genres, expand our vocabulary, and explore different layers of German writing through contextualization, translation, analysis and discussion. We will hone our reading strategies for works of fiction and non-fiction, discuss the pros and cons of various (online) dictionaries, and review relevant grammar topics. Prerequisite: German 204 or equivalent. 6 credits; LA, IS; Not offered 2020-21
GERM 216 German Short Prose The course introduces students to the joys and challenges of reading short German fictional and non-fictional texts of various genres from three centuries, including fairy tales, aphorisms, short stories, novellas, tweets, essays, and newspaper articles. We will read slowly and with an eye to grammar and vocabulary building, while also concentrating on developing an understanding of German cultural history. Texts and class discussions will be in German. Prerequisite: German 204 or equivalent. 6 credits; LA, IS; Not offered 2020-21
GERM 221 (re/ex)press yourself: Sexuality and Gender in Fin-de-Siècle Literature and Art In this course, we will explore literature and art of German-speaking countries around the topics of gender and sex(uality). We will focus on the years between 1880 and 1920, but also venture into more recent times. What was the image of men and women at the time and how did these images change or remain the same? How did science factor into these images? What was/is considered “normal” when it comes to sex(uality) and gender, and what German-speaking voices have been pushing against those norms? How did these voices use literature and art to reflect or criticize such norms? Texts and class discussions will be in English.  6 credits; HI, WR2, IS; Not offered 2020-21
GERM 223 Thinking Green: Sustainability, Literature, and Culture in Germany Germany is a recognized worldwide leader in environmental movements thanks to the nuclear power phase-out, the renewable energy transition, and the rise of the Green Party. Similarly, there is a long aesthetic tradition depicting nature and the nonhuman world in German-language literature and poetry. In this course, conducted in English, we will trace the development of contemporary Germany’s environmental practices through its literary and cultural legacy by reading and analyzing texts from established writers and thinkers. We will connect these literary and historic roots to contemporary environmental issues, look at successful protest movements, and explore Germany as a model for environmental initiatives and engaged citizenship around the globe. 6 credits; LA, IS; Spring; Kiley Kost
GERM 241 Crisis of Identity/Identity of Crisis: Introduction to German Jewish Literature and Thought This course draws on short literary and philosophical texts, poems and visual artworks to examine the historical and cultural conditions of the "golden age" of German Jewish literature and thought surrounding the First World War. In response to the religious and philosophical "crisis" of Jewish identity during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, we will explore what it means to live between two distinct cultural traditions, how this struggle impacts questions of authorship, cultural belonging and personal identity, and how critical engagement with the past helps to shape and determine our hopes and aspirations for the future. In English translation. 6 credits; HI, IS, WR2; Not offered 2020-21
GERM 247 Mirror, Mirror: Reflecting on Fairy Tales and Folklore Many people are familiar with the fairy tales collected and published by the Brothers Grimm and have seen iterations of such stories in animated Disney films and live-action reboots. In this class, taught in English, we will critically examine folktales, consider their role in shaping societal standards and how they spread specific values across cultures. We will study the origins of Grimms’ fairy tales before discussing their larger role across media and cultures. Our study of traditional German fairy tales will be informed by contemporary theoretical approaches including feminist theory, ecocriticism, psychology, and animal studies. 6 credits; LA, IS; Not offered 2020-21
GERM 256 Berlin Program: Crossing Boundaries Who is allowed in? Who is refused entry? How is Berlin divided? How does the city come together? From the first city walls shortly after its 1237 founding to its most famous wall erected in 1961 to today’s debate on accepting migrants, Berlin’s borders have always had profound effects on its own residents and the world at large. In this course, we will encounter walls in texts, films, plays, museums, and excursions, as well as the difficulties in crossing these boundaries. We will thereby focus on issues of religious tolerance, immigration, xenophobia, the Cold War, and Berlin as cultural and political capital. Prerequisite: Acceptance to Berlin Program. 6 credits; HI, IS; Not offered 2020-21
GERM 257 Berlin Program: Walking the Metropolis As much as a place affects its people, every person’s footprints leave a literal and figurative imprint on the place. This course investigates the relationship between space and thought, movement within the metropolis, and the influences between art and environment. We will encounter the texts of Kafka in Prague, the actress Marlene Dietrich in pre-war Berlin, the psychoanalyst Freud in Vienna, the stories of Tawada and Otoo in today’s German capital, among many others. With visits to memorials and museums, to following the walks of famous thinkers down avenues and canals, we will analyze the thoughts of those before us and create our own new analysis in the old world. Prerequisite: Acceptance to Berlin Program. 6 credits; LA; Not offered 2020-21
GERM 267 Catastrophe! Natural Disaster in German Literature Are natural disasters ever really natural? In this course, taught in German, we will read works of literature and poetry that portray disaster. Focusing on disaster as the site of interaction between humans and the environment, we will explore and discuss the impact of modern technology, contemporary environmental issues, and the concept of disaster in the shadow of war. Thinking in terms of environmental justice, we will also consider who is impacted by such disasters and in what ways. We will read various genres of literature including works by Hoffmann, Frisch, Wolf, Haushofer and Maron among many others. Prerequisite: German 204 or equivalent. 6 credits; LA, IS; Not offered 2020-21
GERM 305 Berlin Program: Advanced Composition and Conversation This course is designed for students with advanced proficiency in German, who wish to extend their knowledge of German language and culture through reading, discussions, and writing. Students will work on developing the ability to articulate opinions, exchange substantive information and to argue points of view; honing analytic and interpretive writing skills; and expanding their linguistic toolkit. The class format features discussions with grammar exercises interspersed as needed. Prerequisite: German 204 or equivalent. 6 credits; NE; Not offered 2020-21
GERM 320 Life under Socialism: Culture and Society in East Germany What was life like under “actually existing socialism?” What films, books, music, and other media did people in the German Democratic Republic (or East Germany) consume and how did they cope with their country’s dictatorship? How can the experiences of people—particularly women—living in the GDR provide useful context for contemporary socio-political issues in the United States and beyond? We will discuss topics such as gender equality, education, health care, and queer life in the GDR. Taught in German. Prerequisite: German 204 or equivalent. 6 credits; HI, IS; Spring; Juliane Schicker
GERM 321 The Invention of Childhood: Coming of Age in Nineteenth-Century Germany This class introduces students to the cultural history of childhood through the lens of German literature and thought. Starting with the “discovery of childhood” in the age of enlightenment and concluding with the “loss of innocence” associated with Freud’s theories and Fin-de-siècle culture, we will trace changing notions of education, family life, gender, and sexuality. Our discussions will draw on a wide array of texts--including children’s literature, coming-of-age stories, pedagogical treatises, paintings, photographs, and reading primers. We will also explore how modern takes on nineteenth-century "black pedagogy" and teenage rebellion, such as Haneke’s film The White Ribbon and the Broadway musical Spring Awakening, adapt these tales of childhood terror for contemporary audiences. Prerequisite: One course above German 204. 6 credits; LA, IS; Not offered 2020-21
GERM 342 Faust and the Soul We all know the story: Faust sells his soul to the devil. It does change over time though: once for 24 years of magic, then for knowledge, also for bliss. From the first Faust book via Christopher Marlowe’s play, to Goethe’s masterpiece and Thomas Mann’s novel, all the way to contemporary film and even Homer Simpson selling his soul for a donut, what is at stake in the Faust legend? Just what is the soul? Via the figure of Faust, how can we understand key periods and works in German-language literature, film, and thought throughout the ages? Taught in German. Prerequisite: German 204 or equivalent. 6 credits; LA, IS; Not offered 2020-21
GERM 352 Spying and Surveillance in German Literature and Film Not limited to cell phone tapping or wartime intelligence, surveillance is a practice as old as sight itself. Its representations and reporting reach as far back as Actaeon and Diana and all the way forward to the NSA and Angela Merkel. In this course, students will undertake critical readings of surveillance and seminal portrayals of it from the history of German-language literature and film. We will examine the purposes surveillance has served throughout history, the effects it has had on people, the state, and technology, and the ways in which it has been aestheticized in modern fiction, press, and film. Conducted in German. Prerequisite: German 204 or the equivalent. 6 credits; HI, IS; Not offered 2020-21
GERM 357 Berlin Program: Walking the Metropolis As much as a place affects its people, every person’s footprints leave a literal and figurative imprint on the place. This course investigates the relationship between space and thought, movement within the metropolis, and the influences between art and environment. We will encounter the texts of Kafka in Prague, the actress Marlene Dietrich in pre-war Berlin, the psychoanalyst Freud in Vienna, the stories of Tawada and Otoo in today’s German capital, among many others. With visits to memorials and museums, to following the walks of famous thinkers down avenues and canals, we will analyze the thoughts of those before us and create our own new analysis in the old world.  Prerequisite: Acceptance to Berlin Program. 6 credits; LA; Not offered 2020-21
GERM 400 Integrative Exercise Examining an aspect of German literature across eras or genres. 1-6 credit; S/NC; Fall, Winter, Spring