Beginner's German I
Professor/InstructorJames Warren Rankin
This course lays the foundation for functional acquisition of German, with attention to interpretation (listening/reading), production (speaking/writing) and cultural understanding. Class time is devoted to interactive language tasks that foster comprehension, vocabulary acquisition and fluency. Five hours per week. No credit given for GER 101 unless followed by GER 102.
Beginner's German II
Continuation of 101, with added emphasis on reading, communicative writing strategies, listening comprehension, vocabulary acquisition, and cultural analysis through film. Five hours per week.
Intensive Intermediate German
Intensive training in German, building on 101 and covering the acquisitional goals of 102 and 105: communicative proficiency, mastery of discourse skills and reading strategies to interpret and discuss contemporary German short stories, film and drama. Successful completion of the course (B- or above) leads to automatic eligibility for GER 107G in the Princeton-in-Munich program. Limited to students with a grade of A/A- in 101. Nine hours per week.
Beginner's German in Review
The course provides students who have some background in German a brief review of material covered in 101, and then works on speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills at the level of 102. Five hours. Prerequisite: scores from placement/proficiency test administered during fall orientation and consultation with instructor.
The course aims to solidify previously acquired German, while expanding the range of usable vocabulary and syntax. Emphasis in class on task-based approaches to grammar, writing, listening comprehension and cultural understanding, using texts and film. Prerequisite: SAT Subject Test score of 570 and demonstrated oral competence, or successful completion of 102. To be followed by 107 to satisfy the A.B. language requirement. Four hours per week.
Further acquisition of proficiency in speaking, listening, reading, and writing using online media, film, and texts as a basis for interaction and analysis. The fall course provides extensive review of basic structures and vocabulary for incoming students with high school German instruction; the spring course dovetails with 105 in terms of cultural and grammatical topics. Prerequisite: SAT Subject Test score of 650 and demonstrated oral competence, or successful completion of 105. Satisfies the A.B. language requirement. Three hours per week.
Studies in German Language and Style: Society, Politics, and Culture in Germany, 1890-1945
Discussions of exemplary texts from modern German society and culture, including essays, speeches, autobiographies, works of literature, art, and film. The course offers an introduction to important issues in modern Germany: the Kaiserreich to the end of monarchy, Berlin as a modern metropolis, World War I, the democratic experiment of the Weimar Republic, and the rise and structures of National Socialism. Intensive practice in spoken and written German with emphasis on vocabulary acquisition and complex syntactical forms. Two 90-minute seminars. Prerequisite:107 or instructor's permission.
Studies in German Language and Style: Contemporary Society, Politics, and Culture
Continuation of 207 (which is not, however, a prerequisite). Discussions of social, political, and cultural aspects of contemporary Germany. Basis of discussions are essays, literary texts, and films. Individual assignments to develop oral and written expression. Particularly recommended to students contemplating study or work in Germany. Two 90-minute seminars. Prerequisite: 107 or instructor's permission.
Introduction to German Literature after 1700
Professor/InstructorMichael William Jennings
The main periods of German literature from Lessing to the present studied through texts chosen to help the student acquire fluency in reading German and in the principles of literary interpretation. Two classes.
Introduction to German Philosophy
Professor/InstructorJoel Benjamin Lande, Michael William Jennings
Covers German intellectual history from the Enlightenment to the present by focusing on the theoretical texts of its major authors (Kant, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, Weber, Heidegger, Arendt, Habermas). In addition to addressing the core discipline of philosophy, this course focuses on aesthetics, social, and political thought as well. All readings in English. Two lectures, one preceptorial.
Introduction to Media Theory
Professor/InstructorDevin A. Fore, Thomas Yaron Levin
Traces the development of critical reflection on media through careful readings of a wide range of media theoretical texts from the late 19th to the early 21st century. Topics range from the birth of single-point perspective to photography, from gramophones to radio, from pre-cinematic optical devices to film and television, and from telephony and typewriters to cyberspace. Covers the relationship between representation and technology, the historicity of perception, the interplay of aesthetics, techniques, and politics, and transformations of reigning notions of imagination, literacy, communication, reality, and truth. Two 90-minute seminars.
Topics in German Drama and Theater
Exploration of specific problems in the history of German theater, drama, and dramatic theory. Topics may range from the baroque drama to the importance of Brechtian theater for modernism, and from the dramatic representation of political conflicts to contemporary theater and performance studies.
Topics in Prose Fiction
Critical investigations of particular problems in the development of German literary prose. Topics may include love as a mode of literary self-expression, the role of utopia in the rise of the modern novel, the history of the German novella, detective fiction, and the modern short story and experimental prose. Prerequisite: 107.
Topics in German Poetry
Studies of a particular question related to the development of German-language poetry and poetics. Topics may range from readings of major German poets (Goethe, Hölderlin, George, Rilke, Benn, Celan) to the paradigmatic status of the genre for 20th-century conceptions of the avant-garde. Prerequisite: 107.
German Intellectual History
A study of major German philosophers and religious and social thinkers from the Reformation to the present. Selected works of Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, Freud, Heidegger, or German-Jewish thinkers will be read together with contemporary interpretations. Two 90-minute seminars.
Topics in German Culture and Society
Exploration of key moments in German culture in light of its history and institutions. Topics may range from Marxist aesthetics to theories of fascism to German women writers. Readings and discussion in German.
Topics in German Film History and Theory
Professor/InstructorThomas Yaron Levin
What is film? Is it a language? Can one speak of cinematic literacy? Does film transform perception? Is there filmic thinking? This seminar on the theory and poetics of cinema will examine the varieties of ways -- semiotic, psychoanalytic, narratological - that filmmakers, philosophers and critics have analyzed film form, the cinematic experience, the construction of cinematic subjectivity, questions of aesthetic politics and notions of medium specificity.
Literature, Philosophy, and Politics in the Weimar Republic
Professor/InstructorDevin A. Fore
An interdisciplinary examination of continuity and change in the culture and the cultural politics of Germany between 1919 and 1933. Topics include expressionism in the visual arts and literature; Berlin Dada; the Conservative Revolution; abstract versus representational art (Thomas Mann, Neue Sachlichkeit); the Bauhaus and mass housing; montage in film and literature (Sergei Eisenstein, Walter Benjamin); the political theater (Bertolt Brecht, Erwin Piscator), and the optics of the modern metropolis (Walter Ruttmann, Alfred Döblin). Two 90-minute seminars.
Topics in the History and Theory of the Media
What defines life? And where do we locate the boundary between its proper and improper instances, between the natural and the monstrous? First emerging in the early 19th century, the prospects of artificial life continue to provoke both exhilaration and anxiety today. By examining works of philosophy, literature and film over a historical period ranging from early Romanticism to contemporary nanoculture, this seminar explores humanity's desire to become like the gods, fashioning species, companions, and slaves at will, even as these creations menace us through their intractability and threaten to take on an uncanny life of their own.
Masterworks of European Literature: The Romantic Quest
Works central to the tradition of modern European literature, including Goethe's Faust, Byron's Don Juan, Flaubert's Sentimental Education, Nietzsche's Beyond Good and Evil, and Mann's Doctor Faustus. Each work treats the quest for greatness; each will be examined as to its form and place in the history of ideas. Two 90-minute seminars.
Topics in German Medieval Literature
Professor/InstructorSara S. Poor
Exploration of German medieval literature. Topics may include medieval German Arthurian literature and the relationship between gender and power in the medieval epics.
Fairy Tales: The Brothers Grimm and Beyond
Professor/InstructorSara S. Poor
What do fairy tales do? More than children's entertainment, they instruct, amuse, warn, initiate, and enlighten. Throughout history, they have functioned to humanize and conquer the bestial and barbaric forces that terrorize us. They have also disguised social anxieties about gender and sex. The history and social function of fairy tales will be explored in the context of Germany in the 18th-20th centuries. Texts include selections from the Grimms' Marchen, as well as from the literature of the Romantic, Weimar, and postwar periods. Prerequisite: 107. Two 90-minute seminars.
Topics in Germanic Literatures
Critical investigation of German language literature from 800 to present. Topics may include medieval German Arthurian literature, the Austrian literary avant-garde, love stories, as well as focused studies of selected authors. Two 90-minute Seminars.
Nietzsche and Modern European Literature
Professor/InstructorMichael William Jennings
The philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche as an important progenitor of the European modernist culture that arose in the period of urban capitalist modernity, roughly 1870-1930. Particular emphasis will be placed on a series of textual encounters between Nietzsche and such authors as Gide, Mann, Lawrence, Rilke, Yeats, Musil, and Malraux; their readings and rewritings of Nietzsche lent decisive impulses to the formal and thematic concerns of modernism. Two 90-minute seminars.
The Cultural Theory of the Frankfurt School
Professor/InstructorMichael William Jennings, Thomas Yaron Levin
An examination of the work of the Frankfurt School of critical social theory on questions of modern culture. The course will focus on the textual debates among Theodor Adorno, Walter Benjamin, Max Horkheimer, and Siegfried Kracauer on the complex relationship of aesthetics and politics. These often polemical socio-philosophical texts attempt to map a contemporary cultural landscape reconfigured by the "culture industry," transformations in perception, the emergence of the mass, and new technologies of reproduction such as radio, cinema, and television. One three-hour seminar.