Please note: The information displayed here is current as of Friday, May 29, 2020, but the official Course Catalog should be used for all official planning.
This catalog was created on Friday, May 29, 2020.
|Professor:||B. Peterson (on leave term(s) I, II, III)|
|Associate professors:||A. Guenther-Pal (chair), R. Lunt|
|Assistant professor:||V. Plumly|
|Visiting assistant professor:||M. Carone|
German has long been a key language of culture, the arts, philosophy, and the social and natural sciences. For better and for worse, Germany has played a significant role in European and world history, while united Germany is one of the driving forces behind European integration and economic development. As a result, German is an important language—not just in Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein, and the German-speaking cantons of Switzerland—but also as a second language throughout the world. The German-speaking countries are changing in ways that shatter old prejudices and make German Studies an exciting and diverse discipline to explore. With at least 20 percent of Germans having a migrant background, it is no wonder that some of the most interesting literature, music, art, film and other forms of cultural expression offers a breadth of multi-cultural perspectives.
The German Studies department at Lawrence University assists students not just in learning the German language, but also becoming familiar with the literature, history, and culture, including popular culture—film, television and popular literature--of German-speaking countries. German courses also encourage students to develop analytical and interpretive skills. This mix of information, analysis and interpretation helps them understand an increasingly dynamic, diverse and interdependent international community, a global community in which Germany is an ever more important player. The knowledge and abilities that German Studies students acquire can help them in a wide variety of careers and give them a lifetime of cultural pleasure.
The study of German begins with the language, but the Lawrence German Studies program insists that language is always part of a cultural nexus. Lawrence’s German Studies program is designed to help students develop proficiency in all four language skills: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Beginning and intermediate instruction always integrates pertinent cultural material. Most classes, even at the elementary level, are conducted in German, and the program insists that every course, at all levels, is both a language and cultural course. Once the cultural and linguistic foundations have been laid, students embark on a deeper exploration of German culture, history, and society. The German Studies department at Lawrence embraces the notion of German cultural studies. Students will also be exposed to a wider variety of cultural artifacts—film, television, nonfiction texts, popular narratives, etc.—and geographic locations (diaspora) than might be the case in more traditional German language and literature programs.
We offer many opportunities for students to study in the German-speaking world through our affiliated programs in Berlin, Freiburg, and Vienna. We also offer a short-term trip to Berlin in conjunction with the course Berlin: Experiencing a Great City. On campus students can maintain a connection to things German through the department’s lunch and dinner tables, which are all facilitated by our language assistants, as well as other departmental programming.
Required for the major in German
Students who complete the major in German will demonstrate proficiency in the four language skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing) at the intermediate-high to advanced-low level according to American Council of Teachers of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) guidelines. They will show an ability to deal independently with a variety of German literary and cultural texts and to summarize main arguments and plot in these texts and to situate texts in their literary, historical, and cultural context. At the culmination of the major, students will develop and pursue one or more questions relevant to the discipline of German studies using literary and cultural texts as a primary resource.
The major in German requires:
- 60 units beyond GER 202, including GER 285: Advanced Composition and Conversation and GER 312: Reading Texts and Contexts. At least 36 of these units must be taken at Lawrence. Only 12 units taught in English may count toward the major, but tutorials in German taken in conjunction with courses taught in English may count as German credit.
- Students usually complete a capstone project in the senior seminar or in conjunction with a departmental course taken during the senior year (see Senior Experience below).
- Students who expect to graduate present a portfolio by the second week of their final term. The student's advisor will review a portfolio consisting of the following materials submitted electronically:
- a brief statement in which students evaluate their development as German majors
- a list of courses taken for the major
- sample pages of Lesejournale from all German courses numbered 300 and above taken at Lawrence
- four papers from upper-level courses, two of which may be from courses taken abroad
- a copy of the capstone paper
Senior Experience in German
The German department's revised Senior Experience consists of a longer, research paper to be completed either through an independent study or the senior seminar. Students should develop individual paper topics by the end of Fall Term. The capstone project may be completed during Winter Term, or it may spill over into an independent study during Spring Term. In either case, the senior seminar allows students to help each other develop their ideas and arguments; they will also present their findings to the entire senior cohort.
Students who are pursuing a double major or teacher certification should work with all concerned departments to assess the feasibility of an interdisciplinary capstone.
Required for the minor in German
- Thirty-six units beyond GER 202, including GER 285: Advanced Composition and Conversation and GER 312: Reading Texts and Contexts. At least 24 of these units must be taken at Lawrence. Only six units taught in English may count toward the minor, but tutorials taken in conjunction with English courses may count as German credits.
Teacher certification in German (K-12)
German majors can seek certification to teach German at the elementary and secondary levels. To be certified, students must spend a term in a German-speaking country studying the language and culture and must pass an oral and writing proficiency test. Students can add an endorsement in a second area (such as another language or English as a second language) by completing the appropriate minor. Students who plan to seek teacher certification should review the requirements in the Education Studies section of the catalog and meet with the director of teacher education, preferably before the end of the sophomore year.
Courses - German
GER 101: German 1The first course of a two-term sequence that introduces students to the basics of German. The traditional four skills of speaking, writing, reading, and listening are practiced, yet the prime concern is adequate comprehension and response within a given situation.
GER 102: German 2A continuation of German 101. Students improve their communicative skills with continued practice in the four skills of speaking, writing, reading, and listening while learning about the culture of German-speaking countries.
GER 191: Directed Study in GermanDirected study follows a syllabus set primarily by the instructor to meet the needs or interests of an individual student or small group of students. The main goal of directed study is knowledge or skill acquisition, not research or creative work.
GER 195: Internship in GermanAn opportunity for students to apply their German language skills in business, government, and the non-profit sector on the regional, national, and international level. Arranged in collaboration with and supervised by a member of the department. Includes readings, discussion, report, and/or portfolio. Advance consultation and application required.
GER 201: Intermediate German IFurther development of the four basic skills with an emphasis on increasing the student’s ability to understand literary as well as non-literary texts of increasing difficulty.
GER 202: Intermediate German IISpecial emphasis on building reading and writing skills and expanding vocabulary. Cultural units include “Die Schwarzwaldklinik,” a German TV series that develops listening comprehension and raises issues for student essays.
GER 276: Grim(m) Stories? Comparative Fairy Tales in TranslationThe course focuses on tales collected by the Brothers Grimm, but it will also include works from broader continental contexts (Africa, Asia, Europe) and more modern adaptations. Students will be introduced to various interpretative approaches (e.g. feminist, Marxist, psychoanalytic, postcolonial, structuralist) that will enable them to analyze tale types, themes, and motives across cultures. Taught in English. Course will count toward the humanities general education requirement for BA and BA/BMus students.
GER 278: Introduction to German Film (in English)With its pivotal role in the inauguration of the cinema, knowledge of German film is critical to an understanding of the history of film. Considered as one of the most accessible aesthetic forms, the moving image pervades our everyday lives, and yet we seldom think of what we do as "reading" films. Throughout this course, students will be introduced to the practice of reading German films using three structuring lenses: 1) film and cultural history, 2) formal and generic elements, and 3) film criticism.
GER 285: Advanced Composition and ConversationStudents improve and refine writing and speaking skills through study of a variety of written texts, discussion based on readings, grammar exercises, and systematic vocabulary building. The primary work in the course involves composing (in multiple drafts) texts that fall into diverse categories, including descriptive, argumentative, and persuasive essays.
GER 290: Berlin: Experiencing a Great City (in English)This course introduces students to one of the world’s great cities. Classwork includes the history, culture, and literature of Berlin as well as preparations for a series of day-long walking tours of the city that students will conduct themselves for their classmates with the help of a guidebook. In addition, students will conduct comparative research on some aspect of life in the U.S. or Germany. Students must complete both the classroom portion of the course and the Berlin trip to receive credit. Taught in English. Not open to students who have previously received or need to receive credit for GER 389.
GER 312: Reading Texts and ContextsThis course serves as a transition from the language sequence to advanced courses in German literature and culture. Texts vary from novels to non-fiction, from drama to poetry, and from written forms to film. While familiarizing students with both literary and cultural analysis, the course stresses literature’s place in fostering an understanding of German society.
GER 355: The Holocaust in German Culture (in English)This course focuses on literary responses to the Holocaust, but it also deals with film and the issue of commemoration. After a discussion of the difficulty of representing the Holocaust, the course examines the Holocaust’s role in the construction of German-Jewish identity and its impact on post-war German culture. Taught in English. German majors and minors may participate in a two-unit tutorial in which discussions and some course readings will be in German.
GER 357: Film in Germany (in English)This course selects from 90 years of filmmaking in Germany. Films range from expressionism to Nazi propaganda and from escapist comedies to avant garde art. Learning to “read” German films critically also means finding out how to understand movies from Hollywood and beyond. Possible topics include “From Caligari to Hitler,” “German Literature as Film,” and “What Makes Lola Run.” Taught in English. German majors and minors may participate in a two-unit tutorial in which discussions and some course readings will be in German.
GER 359: Inventing Germany (in English)Students use literary and non-fiction texts to examine German national identity as it developed from the French Revolution through Bismarck and two world wars to “reunification” in 1990. Topics include the role of Germany in Europe, the legacy of divided Germany, and diversity in German society today. Taught in English. German majors and minors may participate in a two-unit tutorial in which discussions and some course readings will be in German.
GER 375: NovellenAlthough Novellen developed as a literary form throughout Europe, it was particularly popular in Germany from the late 18th through the 20th centuries. This course introduces students to the Novelle as a form, to a variety of interesting works of literature and to the cultural, social and political developments in which Novellen were written and read.
GER 377: Introduction to German Film StudiesWith its pivotal role in the inauguration of the cinema, knowledge of German film is critical to any understanding of the history of film. This course is intended to be an introduction both to German cinema and to the discipline of film studies. Considered perhaps as one of the most accessible aesthetic forms, the moving image pervades our everyday lives and yet we seldom think of what we do in the movie theatre as “reading.” Throughout this course, students will be introduced to the practice of reading the filmic text using three structuring lenses: 1) history, 2) formal and generic elements, and 3) film criticism.
GER 388: German DramaStudy of German dramatic literature that may or may not culminate in a workshop performance of a play or portions of plays. Students will situate German plays in their literary, historical and cultural context and also perform short dramatic readings. Assignments may also include short essays and oral presentations.
GER 389: Berlin: Experiencing a Great CityAn introduction to one of the world's great cities. Classwork includes the history, culture and literature of Berlin and preparations for day-long walking tours that students will lead. Students will do some readings and discussions in German and write their comparative paper in German Students must completed both the classroom portion of the course and the Berlin trip to recieve credit. Taught in English. Not open to students who have previously received credit for GER 290.
GER 390: Tutorial Studies in GermanIndividual study arranged and carried out in close consultation with an instructor.
GER 391: Directed Study in GermanDirected study follows a syllabus set primarily by the instructor to meet the needs or interests of an individual student or small group of students. The main goal of directed study is knowledge or skill acquisition, not research or creative work.
GER 395: Internship in GermanAn opportunity for students to apply their German language skills in business, government, and the non-profit sector on the regional, national, and international level. Arranged in collaboration with and supervised by a member of the department. Includes readings, discussion, report, and/or portfolio. Advance consultation and application required.
GER 399: Independent Study in GermanAdvanced research on a topic of the student’s choice, arranged in consultation with the department. Students considering an honors project should register for this course.
GER 412: Literature and Social ProblemsFew would question literature's status as art, but literary texts are often also locations where authors explore imaginary solutions to real social problems. Unlike political pamphlets or non-fiction accounts, literature lets readers experience various problems and issues as they impact the lives of individual characters caught in difficult situations, e.g., class, ethnic, and gender conflicts, ecological disasters.
GER 416: Kinder- und JugendliteraturThis course examines the development of the distinct genre of literature for children and adolescents since the 18th century. It combines the analysis of classic texts, e.g., Heidi or Karl May, with close readings of modern cult classics.
GER 417: Deutsche? Demokratische? Republik?In the years since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, both the promise and the problems of the German Democratic Republic have faded from memory. Indeed, the experience seems to have receded into the distant past. This course explores both the lofty goals and difficult circumstances of the DDR’s birth and its gradual decline and fall. The course pays particular attention to literary and filmic representations of hope and fear that the country engendered.
GER 418: Topics in German Cultural StudiesTopics in German Cultural Studies allows for an in-depth examination of topics across time, for example, women’s writing or crime fiction, or it permits a detailed analysis of special topics, for example, Turkish-German culture in contemporary German film.
Topic for Winter 2020: From Caligari to Cabaret: The Culture of the Weimar Republic
This course explores the main literary, aesthetic and cultural trends from Germany’s Weimar Republic, 1918-1933, a politically turbulent era that gave rise to one of the most fertile and interesting periods of cultural production in German history. We will examine works of literature, film, visual art, cultural criticism, and music as well as cultural phenomena such as fashion, feminism, the “Third Sex.” Taught in German.
GER 421: Grimms MärchenThis course examines the entire corpus of the Grimm’s fairy tales, from the well-known to the obscure. Students will learn to find structural similarities and to situate the tales in their historical, social and literary context.
GER 422: Der deutsche Krimi: Narratives of Crime and DetectionIn this course we will examine the development of crime and detective fiction in the German-speaking countries through close reading of several different media--novels, short stories, film, radio drama, television, and essays.
GER 431: Topics in German-Jewish StudiesStudy of German-Jewish authors, intellectual figures, and topics from the Enlightenment to the present. This course will examine the role of dual identities, issues of assimilation/acculturation, Jewish identification and the notion of Jewish self-hatred. Representative writers include Mendelssohn, Heine, Kafka, Freud, Benjamin, Celan, Becker, Hilsenrath, and Honigmann. May be repeated when topic is different.
Topic for Spring 2020: Modern German-Jewish Identities
This course examines German Jews’ simultaneous belonging to and alienation from German identity. By way of modern literary, cultural, and aesthetic works, it interrogates the German national imaginary, assimilation, crises of modernity, German-Jewish self-positioning, and German-Jews’ relationship to Germany today. Selected topics include: queering identity, women writing in exile, and post-memory.