Course description and goals:

This course presents an overview of the history of German cinema. Participants in this course view and analyze representative examples of German cinema from the Weimar Republic through post-reunification Germany. Upon completion of this course, you should be able to identify various themes and issues specific to German cinema and to critically approach, discuss, and write about films. One stated goal of this course is to develop and implement a vocabulary that will enable you to articulate and critically discuss what a film is trying to communicate on both the visual and narrative level.

Films will be viewed in class and outside of class as homework assignments. All films will be screened in the original German with English subtitles. Readings and discussions in English. One hour of class time per week will be dedicated to honing your writing skills. Students with advanced knowledge of German may choose to write their papers in German (instructor’s permission required).


Learning Objectives:

1) To identify the major developments/movements in the history of German cinema

2) To use the appropriate terminology for writing about film in short essays

3) To analyze films in the appropriate cultural context

4) To compare German cinema to other national cinemas

Given the ubiquity of characters, events, and themes stemming from the Middle Ages and their continued presence in contemporary popular culture (Age of Empires, Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings, The Legend of Zelda, etc.) one might well ask: When and how did it all begin? This course explores a literature conceived during a time when the printing press had not yet been invented and large parts of Europe were afflicted by political instability and social unrest. Readings and discussions of representative literary genres of the German Middle Ages such as Arthurian romances, “Minnesang” (love lyric), and the heroic epic will introduce you to courtly literature, culture, and society of medieval Germany.

The course is structured around readings and interactive classroom discussions supplemented by lectures on key elements introduced in the readings or important historical and cultural events. There will be periodic presentations by the students. Class participation by students is absolutely essential and integral to the nature of this course. The class is conducted in German. Readings will be mostly in modern German; supplemental works are in English or German. No prior knowledge of medieval literature is required.

Prerequisites for GR-299: GR-232, its equivalent, or instructor’s permission. Prerequisites for GR-399: Students must have completed two (2) courses beyond GR-230 taught in German or have instructor’s permission.

Introductory German II is the continuation of Introductory German I (GR 110). This course is designed for students with one semester of college-level German or the equivalent. Students are introduced to the basics of the German language: Participants will practice listening, speaking, reading, and writing in German to conduct basic communication in everyday situations and to further their understanding of contemporary German culture. Active participation and self-expression will be particularly emphasized to enable students to further develop their oral proficiency and to communicate in German from an early stage.

Three weekly class meetings will cover the fundamentals of German grammar and pronunciation, expand students’ existing vocabulary, and explore the culture of Germany and German-speaking countries. Topics will include travel in German-speaking countries; Switzerland; leisure-time activities; and housing in Germany.

Weekly sessions with a TA will give students an opportunity to further practice the skills they have acquired during class meetings.

The class is taught in German. Prerequisites: GR 110. Alternatively, students may take the departmental online placement exam or obtain the instructor’s permission prior to enrollment.

H, I; CS; 4.00 credits