German

Germany is the political and economic powerhouse behind the European Union and, with the recent refugee crisis, aspires to exemplify European Enlightenment ideals of tolerance and understanding. The country's literature and culture are appreciated widely and complement those of Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Liechtenstein, the other countries where German is an official language. Our goal at Carleton German is to allow students to experience the richness and potential 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 the German language and its people, we dive into German-language culture, including literary, philosophical, musical and artistic expressions. 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 prepare students in the basic language skills (listening, speaking, reading, and writing) through the study of grammar, literature, and culture, and to provide the foundation for pursuing advanced work in language and literature. German 210-219 offer students the opportunity to dive deeper into specific topics, ranging from current news topics, to genre studies, and themes such as migration, horror, 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

For Class of 2018

66 credits, including the following:

  • 24 credits of literature/culture in German, which may include up to six credits of German 209 and/or 210
  • Literary and Cultural Studies 245 or English 295 (best taken during the junior year)
  • six credits in literature other than German, read in the original language or in translation
  • the integrative exercise

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

Majors are encouraged to take other related courses in fields such as history, philosophy, religion, classics, and art or music history, in order to gain further perspectives in their literary studies. A special major involving German literature and another discipline may sometimes be arranged upon consultation with the department.

For Classes of 2019 and higher

66 credits, including the following:

  • 6 credits of GERM 210-214
  • 6 credits of GERM 215-219
  • 6 credits of GERM 150
  • 6 credits of LCST 245
  • 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

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.

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. Each year a language associate from Germany resides in the house.

Requirements for the German Minor

For Class of 2018

In order to receive the Minor in German students must satisfactorily complete the following:

  • 36 credits beyond 103, of which at least twenty-four will be taught in German;
  • 18 of these credits may be obtained in advanced language courses (German 205, 207, 208 or 210).
  • The remaining courses may be from the German section or from approved courses offered by other departments (philosophy, history, linguistics, music, etc.)

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

For Classes of 2019 and higher

36 credits beyond German 103 as follows:

  • 24 required credits:
    • 6 credits from courses numbered German 210-214
    • 6 credits from courses numbered German 215-219
    • 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, 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. No more than twelve 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, Josiah B Simon
GERM 102 Elementary German Further study of the basic structural patterns of the German language. Prerequisite: German 101 or equivalent. 6 credits; NE; Winter; Juliane Schicker, Josiah B Simon
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; Josiah B Simon, Juliane Schicker
GERM 105 Berlin Program: Beginning German in Berlin This course is designed for participants in Carleton's OCS Berlin program with little or no prior knowledge of German. Students will develop a basic foundation in the five skills of reading, writing, listening, speaking, and intercultural communication, with the goal of accomplishing a variety of basic everyday needs in Berlin. Topics will include communication with hosts, travel and transportation, shopping, and meals. Although students will be introduced to some fundamental grammar points, the emphasis is on the development of conversational abilities. 6 credits; NE; Fall; Sigi Leonhard
GERM 140 Culture or Barbarity? The German Question German culture has had a profound influence on world history, but one often wonders how the culture that produced Goethe, Schiller, Luther, Beethoven, and Kant was also the source of some of the greatest atrocities of the twentieth century. We will attempt to understand the reasons for this dichotomy by considering the development of Germany within the context of Europe from Roman times to the present. Taught in English 6 credits; HI, IS; Not offered 2017-18
GERM 150 The Sound of Germany: German Cultural History 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 culture of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, starting in the 1750s and tracing its impact into the present time. The course is based on 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 2017-18
GERM 151 Soul Searching: Faust and the Devil in German Cultural History Would you sell your soul to the devil? In this course, we will explore the legend of Faust and portrayals of the devil from the Renaissance and Enlightenment to the present day, drawing on examples from classic and popular literature, film and music. Through the lens of the Faustian theme, students of all disciplines and majors are invited to survey key moments and figures in German-language culture and history. Taught in English. 6 credits; LA, WR2, IS; Winter; Josiah B Simon
GERM 175 Berlin Program: Berlin Field Studies in English Individually or in small groups, students will work on a major project that incorporates research done on-site in Berlin and during our travels. The main objective of the course is to interact with Berlin and Berliners (and Europe and Europeans). Possible topics include music, visual arts, immigration, media, politics, personal history topics, or Germany's role within Europe. Conducted in English. 6 credits; NE, IS; Fall; Sigi Leonhard, David G Tompkins
GERM 204 Intermediate German In this course, students build on basic communication skills to engage in more in-depth spoken and written discussions of German-speaking 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; Josiah B Simon
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. 6 credits; NE; Fall; Sigi Leonhard
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 2017-18
GERM 211 German Film After 1945: German Discussion Section This optional discussion section for German 219 offers course participants proficient in German the opportunity to apply their background in foreign languages and cultures to the topic of German postwar film. Students will discuss and engage with original texts from various German media that complement the required course readings, such as German film reviews, print and TV interviews, literary sources or short films. We will also critique subtitles and analyze the use of idiomatic German in selected scenes. Prerequisite: German 204 or equivalent; Concurrent registration in German 219. 2 credits; NE; Not offered 2017-18
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 2017-18
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 This course explores German and Austrian literature and art of the turn of the century (c. 1880-1920) with a focus on the topics of sexuality and gender. We will read, among others, Freud, Schnitzler, Wedekind, Hofmannsthal; study artists such as Klimt and Kokoschka; and listen to composers such as Mahler, Zemlinksy, and Schoenberg. Texts and class discussions will be in English. 6 credits; HI, WR2, IS; Spring; Juliane Schicker
GERM 233 Schiller! Why would people want to make, much less steal, a bust of a long-dead German author? What could he have done that inspired such admiration? This class introduces students to Friedrich Schiller "poet, philosopher, historian, and Carleton icon” with a focus on his groundbreaking dramatic work. We will analyze and occasionally also perform scenes from Schiller's contributions to the European stage, ranging from Storm and Stress plays to Classical and Romantic tragedies, to historical dramas. Students will consider Schiller's writings through the lenses of politics, family relationships, and revolution, and also explore his productive friendship with Goethe. Taught in English. 3 credits; LA, IS; Not offered 2017-18
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 2017-18
GERM 247 Indo-European Folktales Since its publication in 1812, the Grimm Brothers' Children's and Household Tales found a readership that spanned countries, languages, and generations. Its universal appeal can be traced to its origins: it reflects not only the influence of early nineteenth century Germany, but also oral folklore traditions that go back thousands of years and range from as far away as Iceland, the Middle-East, and India. This course introduces students to a wide selection of these and other folktales from the Indo-European tradition as well as to numerous perspectives for understanding these folktales. We will examine the aesthetic, social, historical, and psychological values that these tales reflect, and will also discuss significant theoretical and methodological paradigms within folklore studies, including structural, socio-historical, psychoanalytic, and feminist perspectives. Finally, we will discuss the continuing influence of this folk tradition on popular and elite culture of our time. All readings, discussion, and coursework will be in English. 6 credits; LA, IS; Not offered 2017-18
GERM 249 German Post War Culture This course offers an introduction to German culture after 1945 through the lens of film. We will treat films over a broad range of topics, with a special emphasis on (1) the shifting angles from which filmmakers remember the Holocaust and World War II, (2) migration and multiculturalism, especially German-Turkish relations, and (3) reflections on the GDR past and on life in post-reunification Germany. The careful analysis of each film will be framed by a discussion of its socio-historical context, in order to reflect the unique manner in which cinema engages with historical, cultural and political debates. In translation. Not offered 2017-18
GERM 253 In the Shadow of Goethe and Schiller: German Women Writers around 1800 In the German literary sphere around 1800 female authorship was viewed as a transgression. At a time when Goethe and Schiller created texts that would soon dominate the German canon, women were routinely warned of the dangerous side effects of reading, and declared unfit to produce any work of literary merit. This course is structured around a diverse group of women writers who, while remaining under the radar of readers and critics, devised successful strategies for writing. We will analyze their poetic production, with particular attention to biography, gender, and society. Taught in German. Prerequisite: German 204 or equivalent. 3 credits; LA, IS; Not offered 2017-18
GERM 254 Berlin Program: The World's a Stage -- Theater in Berlin This course is structured around the theater productions of the fall season in Berlin. Our group will attend six to eight performances of German language plays, ranging from the Enlightenment to the post-war period. In preparation for each outing, students will read and discuss the original play, and study its historical and literary context. In the course of the term, we will hone our skills as theater spectators and learn how to describe and critique different performance styles and directorial choices. Prerequisite: German 103 or equivalent. 6 credits; LA, IS, WR2; Fall; Sigi Leonhard
GERM 263 Alternative Visions: Counter Cinema from New German Cinema to the Berlin School "The old cinema is dead! We believe in a new cinema!" This bold declaration, signed by a group of German filmmakers at the Oberhausen Film Festival in 1962, marks a radical break with German postwar film. Influenced by the French New Wave and the 1968 student protests, the directors of New German Cinema created works that were both artistically ambitious and socially critical. We will discuss iconic films of this period by directors such as Fassbinder, Herzog, Schlöndorff, and Wenders, and contrast their vision with the politics and aesthetics of a later generation of German filmmakers, the Berlin School. Conducted in German. Prerequisite: German 204 or equivalent. 3 credits; LA, IS; Not offered 2017-18
GERM 271 Iron Curtain Kids: Coming of Age in East Germany What was it like to grow up behind a wall, know Western music only through vinyl records from the black market, and revolt with HipHop, graffiti, and breakdance against a restrictive government? How did artists present life in block buildings, socialist youth groups, and a society without freedom of speech, travel, and expression? We will explore the youth culture of East Germany (1949-1989) through film, music, literature, and other media, compare it with today's world, and examine, e.g., Die neuen Leiden des Jungen W., Am kürzeren Ende der Sonnenallee, Beat Music, and the movie Russendisko. Conducted in German. Prerequisite: German 204 or equivalent. 6 credits; LA, IS; Not offered 2017-18
GERM 273 Mystery, Murder, Madness: Crime Stories in German Literature This course focuses on the rich German tradition of crime and detective stories, with a focus on the long nineteenth century. Contrasting authentic crime reports with fictionalized accounts of murder, rape, and mysterious occurrences, we will approach literary crime scenes as narrative spaces where contested concepts of truth, justice, and morality emerge, and where changing notions of perception come to the fore. Conducted in German. Prerequisite: German 204 or equivalent. 3 credits; LA, IS; Not offered 2017-18
GERM 275 Berlin Program: Berlin Field Studies in German Individually or in small groups, students will work on a major project in German that incorporates research done on-site in Berlin and during our travels. The main objective of the course is to interact with Berlin and Berliners (and Europe and Europeans). Possible topics include music, visual arts, immigration, media, politics, personal history topics, or Germany's role within Europe. Prerequisite: German 103 or equivalent. 6 credits; S/CR/NC; NE, IS; Fall; Sigi Leonhard, David G Tompkins
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; Fall; Sigi Leonhard
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 2017-18
GERM 354 Studies in Twentieth-Century Prose and Poetry An examination of the modern novella and lyric, including works by such authors as Kafka, Brecht, Hesse, Rilke, George, Hofmannsthal, Mann, Frisch, Wolf, Bäll, Frischmuth, Kaschnitz, and others, in their historical and cultural context. Prerequisite: German 204 or equivalent. 6 credits; LA, IS; Not offered 2017-18
GERM 360 Song That Sleeps in Everything Starting with the Baroque era, we will examine German poems as expressions of the literary movements that gave birth to them. Since the class will focus on each poem as representative of an aesthetic code grounded in specific literary movements, this class is also an excellent introduction to German literary history. We will read the poems, discuss them, listen to recordings and do our own lyrical or dramatic readings. Selections will include poems set to music, as well as twentieth century Cabaret. Interested students may also try their hand at translation. 6 credits; LA; Spring; Sigi Leonhard
GERM 372 The Latest--Current Themes in German Literature, Film and the Media In this course, students will read and discuss a number of new works from the German-speaking countries that deal with important contemporary issues--the pressures of growing up and finding a job in uncertain economic times, the catastrophe of 9/11, the ever-present theme of finding love, immigrant perspectives, the challenges of aging, etc. We will examine novels and stories that deal with these topics, but also articles in magazines (Der Spiegel, Die Zeit, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung) and films, trying to understand how various genres and media differ in their approaches to our themes. At the center of our discussion there will thus be the question of what forms of expression a society finds for the formulation of its most urgent challenges, and how these texts take part in the public debate. Prerequisite: German 204 or the equivalent. 6 credits; LA, IS; Not offered 2017-18
GERM 400 Integrative Exercise Examining an aspect of German literature across eras or genres. 6 credits; S/NC; Fall, Winter