Course description:

This course is an interdisciplinary survey of culture, literature, and philosophy during the Age of Goethe (the era of European Romanticism: 1770-1830). Focus on the concepts of the individual and self-consciousness, freedom and self-development, and subsequently the rise of alienation in the early nineteenth century. All readings and discussion in English. No prior familiarity with German intellectual history required.

Learning outcomes:

By the end of the semester, students should be able to:

  • demonstrate a fundamental understanding of the revolutionary transformations which occurred during the Age of Goethe;
  • discuss how these transformations informed the aesthetic production of the time;
  • identify a number of seminal literary and philosophical texts and figures from the Age of Goethe.

In this course, we will conduct a critical examination of life in pre- and post-reunification Germany with a focus on Berlin. The course is structured around readings and interactive classroom discussions of materials such as contemporary films, literary texts, songs and excerpts from various news media to increase your communicative competence in important areas of cultural life. There will be periodic student presentations. Active class participation is absolutely essential and integral to the nature of this course.


By the end of the semester, successful learners will be able to discuss:

·       --The role of Berlin as a cultural center during the 20th and 21st centuries.

·       --The impact of divided vs. reunited Berlin on the individual and on interpersonal relationships as represented in contemporary literature, film, and music.

·       --The impact of divided vs. reunited Berlin on cultural, political, and social institutions as represented in contemporary literature, film, and music.

Introductory German I is a beginning course, which introduces students to the basics of the German language. Students will practice listening, speaking, reading, and writing in German to conduct basic communication in everyday situations and to develop an understanding of contemporary German culture. Active participation and self-expression will be particularly emphasized to enable students to develop their oral proficiency and to communicate in German from an early stage.

Three weekly class meetings with the instructor will cover the fundamentals of German grammar and pronunciation, build a basic vocabulary, and explore German culture. Topics will include the German language, German-speaking countries and their cultures, family and friends, food and shopping, and holidays and vacations.

Mandatory 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. No prerequisites. Students receive H or I credit provided that they have not taken more than two years of German at the secondary level.

H, I; 4.00 credits