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. 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:

        Students who have done advanced work in a different field may petition to substitute a comparable methods course in another department. Approval of the advisor and permission of the instructor is required.

  • 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 introduces the basic structures of the German language and everyday vocabulary in the context of common cultural situations and authentic and fictional media. Students are exposed to all four skills (reading, writing, listening, and speaking). 6 credits; NE; Fall; Juliane Schicker
GERM 102 Elementary German Building on the material covered in German 101, this course introduces more complex structures and exposes students to short literary and cultural texts as well as other media. The focus of the course is on all four skills (reading, writing, listening, and speaking). Prerequisite: German 101 or equivalent. 6 credits; NE; Winter; Kiley Kost
GERM 103 Intermediate German Continuation of the study of complex 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; Not offered 2021-22
GERM 204 Intermediate German In this course, students build on their communication skills to engage in more in-depth spoken and written discussions of German-speaking literature, art, and culture. By analyzing longer and more challenging texts, films and other 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; Seth E Peabody
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 2021-22
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; S/CR/NC; HI, IS; Fall; Juliane Schicker
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; Not offered 2021-22
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; Winter; Juliane Schicker
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; Spring; Juliane Schicker
GERM 223F Thinking Green in German Prerequisite: German 204 or equivalent and concurrent registration in German 223. 2 credits; LA, IS; Not offered 2021-22
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; Not offered 2021-22
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; Fall; Kiley Kost
GERM 251 Identity, Belonging, and Spaces of Home in the Works of Fatma Aydemir In this course, offered in conjunction with the Christopher Light Lectureship, we will familiarize ourselves with the work of contemporary German author Fatma Aydemir, focussing particularly on her publications that deal with questions of migration and Heimat. We will read and discuss several fictional and nonfictional texts, participate in a creative nonfiction workshop and other events with Aydemir herself, and exhibit final projects at a public event. Prerequisite: German 204 or equivalent or instructor consent. 2 credits; S/CR/NC; LA, IS; Winter; Juliane Schicker
GERM 258 Berlin Program: Berlin Memory Politics Vergangenheitsbewältigung is the German word for reconciling the past; it is a process that has shaped collective memory in Germany and other European countries since the end of the Holocaust and World War II. Berlin in particular has been formed by its difficult history and memories, the traces of which are visible in the city today. In this class, we will examine the relationship between history, memory, and collective identity in Germany. How are narratives of the past preserved in the present? Which stories are told, which are left out, and who makes these decisions? How does the geography of a city interact with its history? How do memorials impact public space? In addition to analyzing fiction, essays, and visual culture, we will also confront this topic through several field trips and walks in Berlin. Prerequisite: German 103 or equivalent and acceptance in Berlin program. 6 credits; HI, IS; Not offered 2021-22
GERM 259 Berlin Program: German in Motion: Migration, Place and Displacement How is your identity connected to a certain place? And what happens when you leave that place, either voluntarily or out of necessity? In this course, we will learn about migration in German-speaking countries by reading historical and contemporary texts and researching policies on asylum and migration. We will critically examine concepts of the nation and nationality in historical contexts, learn about artists in exile, and encounter contemporary perspectives on migration in Europe. Course activities will include several site visits in Berlin. By reading and analyzing texts by Hannah Arendt, Bertolt Brecht, Anna Seghers, Ilse Aichinger, Paul Celan, May Ayim, Emine Sevgi Özdamar, Yoko Tawada, and Fatma Aydemir among many others, we will become mindful readers of different literary genres and craft thoughtful analyses on topics connected to migration. Prerequisite: German 103 or equivalent and acceptance in Berlin program. 6 credits; LA, IS; Not offered 2021-22
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 2021-22
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 2021-22
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; Not offered 2021-22
GERM 321 On the Edge: Monsters, Robots, and Cyborgs In this course, taught in German, students explore nonhuman figures in literature and film. How do authors and filmmakers depict monsters, robots, cyborgs, and other nonhumans? And what do these figures reveal about what makes us human? By tracing the boundaries of the human through notable texts, we consider the cultural, psychological, and technological implications of these almost-human figures. Selected works include texts by E. T. A. Hoffmann, Franz Kafka, Sharon Dodua Otoo and films by Fritz Lang and F. W. Murnau. Prerequisite: German 204 or equivalent or instructor consent. 6 credits; LA, IS; Spring; Kiley Kost
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 2021-22
GERM 359 Berlin Program: German in Motion: Migration, Place, and Displacement How is your identity connected to a certain place? And what happens when you leave that place, either voluntarily or out of necessity? In this course, we will learn about migration in German-speaking countries by reading historical and contemporary texts and researching policies on asylum and migration. We will critically examine concepts of the nation and nationality in historical contexts, learn about artists in exile, and encounter contemporary perspectives on migration in Europe. Course activities will include several site visits in Berlin. By reading and analyzing texts by Hannah Arendt, Bertolt Brecht, Anna Seghers, Ilse Aichinger, Paul Celan, May Ayim, Emine Sevgi Özdamar, Yoko Tawada, and Fatma Aydemir among many others, we will become mindful readers of different literary genres and craft thoughtful analyses on topics connected to migration. Prerequisite: German 103 or equivalent and acceptance in Berlin Program. 6 credits; LA, IS; Not offered 2021-22
GERM 400 Integrative Exercise Examining an aspect of German literature across eras or genres. 1-6 credit; S/NC; Fall, Winter, Spring