Courses and Requirements
The goal of Hamilton's German Studies Department is to examine from an interdisciplinary perspective the language, literature, culture, historical development and politics of German-speaking countries.
A German studies minor consists of five courses. Fifth-semester language proficiency (200) and one course in translation are required.
The following courses may be counted toward the concentration. With consultation of the department adviser, other courses might be considered.
German language and literature courses: 130, 140
Other core courses (course specific prerequisites must be observed):
GOV 214 Politics in Western Europe
GOV 291 International Political Economy
GOV 355 The European Union in World Affairs
HIST 117 Europe since 1815
HIST 212 Modern Germany: 1789 to the Present
HIST 218 Twentieth-Century Europe: The Age of Two World Wars
HIST 224 Vienna: The Art of Empire
HIST 314 Nazi Germany
MUS 221 From Bach to Bartók
PHIL 431 Seminar in the History of Philosophy: Kant’s Critical System
PHIL 463 Seminar in Metaphysics: Nietzsche
Introduction to the German language. Exercises in aural comprehension, speaking, reading and writing reinforced by short cultural and literary texts. No previous knowledge of German required. Four hours of class, with additional drill sessions and laboratory work. Maximum enrollment, 16. Burwick.
Designed for motivated students who wish to accelerate their knowledge of German. Intensive study of all aspects of beginning language acquisition. Successful completion will allow students to place into GER 130 (third term German). Students who follow the sequence through GER 140 will qualify for study abroad. Two course credits. Three 50 minute and two 75 minute classes a week.
Continued development of German grammar and its use in aural comprehension, speaking, reading and writing. Readings in literature and culture supplemented with video recordings. Three hours of class, with additional sessions and laboratory work. Burwick.
Review of grammar, syntax and conversational techniques through work in aural comprehension, speaking, reading and writing. Literary texts supplemented with realia (such as news stories German songs, videos). Three hours of class. Schweiger.
Introduction to German Literature and Culture.
Continued development of German grammar and vocabulary with cultural and literary texts, including works by Kafka, Dürrenmatt and Brecht, and song texts by contemporary Liedermacher. Practice in oral and written work. Prerequisite, 130 or consent of instructor. Taught in German. Schweiger.
Regarding the Pain of Others: The Depiction of Suffering in Modern Literature.
In this course we will study a variety of texts, ranging from fiction to poetry to drama, that ask when and how pain and suffering can be represented, and most important, on whose behalf? We will be especially interested int he way that different depictions of suffering moves un different ways, with accordingly varied political results—whether by conferring sympathy onto individual typically denied it, or by depicting events blocked from public consciousness. Includes readings from writers such as Goethe, Susan Sontag, the Marquis de Sade, and Elfriede Jelinek. (Writing-intensive.) Taught in English. No knowledge of German required. Maximum enrollment, 18. Michael Lipkin.
“Art into Industry”: German Bauhaus 1919-1933.
Investigation of the Bauhaus from its origins in WWI to its 1933 shutdown by the Nazis. Examination of the relationship between art and technology, along with the social and political implications of modern design. Topics include the Bauhaus’ interdisciplinary and experimental approach, its position within larger intellectual debates of early twentieth-century Germany, and its impact on modern art and design across the world. Conducted in English; no German required. (Same as Art History 147.) Schweiger.
Dragons, Witches, Princesses: German and other Fairy Tales.
The course is about "imaginary gardens with real toads in them" (Marianne Moore) and about "desir[ing] dragons with a profound desire" (J.R.R. Tolkien). It is about "Once upon a time" - a time that is on nobody's clock but exists in our collective memory. Extensive readings from the Brothers Grimm. Further readings from Perrault, de Beaumont, Hauff, Bechstein, Andersen, Hoffmann, MacDonald, Morris, Tolkien.Taught in English.
Introduction to German Cinema.
Introduction to German cinema from the Weimar era to the present. Examination of seminal films from Fritz Lang’s M to Sebastian Schipper’s Victoria, we also explore Germany’s history from the 1930s to the twenty-first century. Emphasis on the medium’s relationship to history, propaganda, memory, identity, and entertainment. Close attention paid to the formal language and thematic preoccupations of expressionist and avant-garde cinema, fascist cinema, New German Cinema, and the New Berlin school. Works by filmmakers such as Riefenstahl, Herzog, Fassbinder, Petzold, and Akin. Conducted in English; no German required.
History of the Modern Museum.
This course examines the formation of modern museums from private collections, eclectic and arcane “Wunderkammern” of the early modern period, 19th century national museums, to contemporary museums and exhibits. This includes not only what people decided to collect and display, but how people choose to curate displays as an expression of cultural and national identity. We also investigate architecture, location, and other relevant spatial contexts in and around museums, particularly the Museum Quarter in Vienna, the Museum Island in Berlin, and the National Mall in the United States. Taught in English. No knowledge of German required. (Same as History 164.) Chris Burwick.
May the Forest Be with You: Ecology and Youth Literature.
Examination of issues that address environment concerns popular in German-speaking nations from the conservative idealism of the late 19th century to the radical environmentalism of the 1960s. Close readings of texts informed by theory and other media such as film, music, and technology. The goal of this course is to better understand these works, the ecological questions they raise, and how they intersect with the culture(s), history, media, politics, economy, and identity in modern Europe. Taught in English. No knowledge of German required. (Same as Environmental Studies 167.)
The Faust Legend.
Study of the Faust legend and how it has been adapted over the centuries. Topics include the origins of Faust in the 15th century in its factual (Paracelsus and Johann Faust) and spiritual (alchemy and astronomy) dimensions; the Faust Book of 1587; Marlowe’s adaptation of the Faust story (The Tragical History of Dr. Faustus); Goethe’s Faust (The First Part of the Tragedy); operas by Gounod (Faust) and Boïto (Mefistofele); the film Mephisto by H. Mann/Szabò; and T. Mann’s Doctor Faustus. Taught in English.
Topics in Advanced Reading and Writing.
Close reading of short texts and newspaper articles; advanced grammar review and extensive writing exercises. Readings focus on contemporary Germany and Austria. Designed for students who have had two years of German or equivalent. Taught in German. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, 140 or consent of instructor. Maximum enrollment, 18. Schweiger.
War & Society: Germany from Bismarck to Hitler.
A survey of German history from 1870 to 1945 with emphasis on the Franco-Prussian War of 1870/71 and the two world wars. Topics include the role of war and its memory in the formation of national identity; militarism; the rise of Nazism; racist antisemitism; and the Holocaust. (Same as History 213.) Alfred Kelly.
Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud.
This course is an introductory study of key writings by Karl Marx, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Sigmund Freud, three authors indicating revolution of critical thought in the 19 th and early 20th centuries. The goal of this course is to develop a tool-kit for engaging with Critical Theory and contemporary discourses in the humanities and social sciences. We will investigate historical and philosophical foundations of key concepts such as “interpretation,” “subject,” “history,” “society,” “morality,” and “aesthetics.” Taught in English. No knowledge of German required. Franziska Schweiger.
Advanced Language and Culture.
1/4-credit class that must be taken in conjunction with a course in English. Additional weekly session to analyze and discuss the material in the original language. May be repeated for credit. Department.
From Goethe to Grass: Survey of German Literature.
Study of major writers and literary movements from the 18th century to today, including authors from Germany, Austria and the former GDR. Works will include poetry, drama and short prose. Designed as preparation for upper-level literature seminars. Taught in German. Prerequisite, 200 or consent of instructor. Required course for German concentrators. Schweiger.
From Empire to Republic: Twentieth-Century German Literature.
Study and analysis of works spanning the era from 1871 to the beginning of the Second World War. Selections focus on literary and cultural changes including the Jahrhundertwende and the Weimar Republic. Authors include Fontane, Hauptmann, Trakl, Hofmannsthal, George, Schnitzler and Mann. Taught in German. Prerequisite, 310 or consent of instructor.
Modern Literature of the German-Speaking Countries.
Study of post-1945 literature with focus on Austria, the emergence of two contrasting Germanies, and the Neuanschluss leading to unification. Texts by Bachmann, Bernhard, Böll, Grass, Seghers, Wolf and others. Taught in German. Prerequisite, 310 or consent of instructor. Burwick.
A senior thesis required of all concentrators in the department. Open to concentrators only. Burwick.
(from the Hamilton Course Catalogue)