German courses

Here are informal descriptions of some of the advanced German courses we offer; all courses count for the major and the minor.  Courses are all taught in German with the exception of The Holocaust in Context.  Interested and linguistically-qualified undergraduates are welcome to enroll in 5000 level courses and may do so with permission from Dr. Condray (condray@uark.edu).

GERM 3003: Advanced German I. Affectionately referred to as “German Boot Camp,” since this class will really help get your German into shape.  In fact, this course and its companion course (Advanced German II) are designed to help you pass the Goethe Institute exams, which are internationally-given certification exams that you can list on your resume to prove your level of German proficiency to future employers and graduate schools.  Students learn higher level vocabulary (the building block of language), how to distinguish between fine shades of meaning, translate texts, and both review grammar and learn new grammar that is used by educated native speakers (what you will encounter when you read newspapers, study abroad at European universities, etc.)

GERM 3013: Introduction to Literature. This course could also be called: “Introduction to Reading Literature.”  The course starts off slow, reading just a few pages at a time, until you get used to reading longer passages.  By the end, you’ll be able to read Kafka’s Metamorphosis (Die Verwandlung) in the original.  Assignments include daily reading quizzes (utilizing questions you’ve prepared in advance) and chapter tests on each book.  The works covered, in addition to Kafka, are a radio play (Frisch), a drama (Dürrenmatt), and a novel (Böll).  Intro to Lit counts toward the major and the minor; plus, you can impress your friends by leaving your homework lying around (“Wow!  Are you reading this whole book in German?”).

GERM 3033: Conversation. This is a course every student who is thinking about studying, working, or researching abroad should take before he/she goes.  The course will cover how to navigate everyday German life, with chapters on asking directions, the post office, banks, hotels, the workplace, the university, the doctor’s office, cultural events, the weather, shopping (clothing, food), and apartment hunting.  Students take quizzes on vocabulary appropriate to the chapter and roll-play situations such as ordering from a menu or opening a bank account.  Additionally, periodic conversations on Blackboard allow students to engage in debates virtually.  In an oral mid-term and final, students read a text to show familiarity with pronunciation, roll play situations discussed in class, and discuss themselves and their home country in short speeches.  Especially motivated students can take this course concurrently with GERM 2013 with permission and an override from Dr. Condray (condray@uark.edu).

GERM 4003: Advanced German II. Affectionately referred to as “German Boot Camp,” since this class absolutely gets one’s German into shape.  In fact, this course and its companion course (Advanced German I) are designed to help you pass the Goethe Institute exams, which are internationally-given certification exams that you can list on your resume to prove your level of German proficiency to future employers and graduate schools.  Students learn higher level vocabulary (the building block of language), how to distinguish between fine shades of meaning, translate texts, and both review grammar and learn new grammar that is used by educated native speakers (what you will encounter when you read newspapers, study abroad at European universities, etc.)

GERM 4013: Germany and the Holocaust. In this course, students focus entirely on the Holocaust as it is represented in literature. We will approach questions of representation first from a historical-philosophical perspective, studying the initial questions of what exactly the Holocaust is, and whether it can or even should be represented in any genre. We will then proceed from memoirs and documentary, the “factual” representations, into genres considered more “imaginative,” from drama and novelizations to short stories, film, and poetry. Students will compose weekly commentaries on readings, and will write a research paper. German-speaking students will be expected to do some reading in German, although the class is taught in English.

GERM 4043: German Cinema. We begin with the silent vampire film Nosferatu and continue chronologically to films such as Das Leben der Anderen or Baader-Meinhof Komplex. We will read about how these films are classified and what they mean historically and learn German film vocabulary, and we will pay as much attention to critically-acclaimed and “high art” films as pop-cultural cult films. Films include: Der Blaue Engel, Die Feuerzangenbowle, Das fliegende Klassenzimmer, and Die Ehe von Maria Braun. There will be outside viewings and reaction/reflective assignments; a midterm and a final.

GERM 4123: The German Novella. This is a literature seminar modeled on the European style and thus good preparation for those of you who are headed abroad.  The novella is much more than a short novel and is a genre in its own right with specific characteristics.  Dr. Condray refers to the novella as the “X-Files” of the 19th century, since most of the stories cover some aspect of the supernatural such as demonic possession or a plague of spiders that materialize from nowhere.  Students read a novella a week and have three hour lecture/discussions; all materials and discussions are in German.  There are weekly reading quizzes covering basic plot items, a mid-term, and a final.

GERM 4133: The German Drama. A literature seminar modeled on the European style; so, this is good preparation for those of you who are headed abroad.  We’ll cover a play a week and have three hour lecture/discussions in German.  Plays covered include both comedies and tragedies from a variety of literary periods.  There are weekly reading quizzes covering basic plot items, a mid-term, and a final.

GERM 4213: German Civilization. Beginning with the legendary conflict between Rome and the Germanic tribes in 9A.D., we will trace historical and cultural developments that consistently pit the “Roman” in the Holy Roman Empire against the “Germanic” in its emperors, all the way to the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire and the beginning of the “Rheinbund” in 1806. Students will have reading homework and questions to answer, as well as one major writing project and one presentation. We will discuss everything from war and borders to the development of languages (written and spoken), art, and philosophy, and a lot in between, including such salacious details as witch persecution, methods of torture, beautiful and also silly stories.

GERM 470V: Advanced Stylistics. Based on the Goethe Oberstufenpruefung, this class is geared to advanced-high to near-native German learners who wish to improve their academic German writing skills. Each week we will work through different sorts of current and historical themes in the form of the ZOP/C2, practicing Nominalization, extended adjective constructions, synonyms and dictionary definitions, and stylistic conventions.  Required purchases: Stilwoerterbuch, Synonymwoerterbuch (Duden). The final exam for the class will be a mock ZOP.

GERM 470V: Deutsche als Ausländer, Ausländer als Deutsche. This course explores Germans living as foreigners abroad (by choice or in exile), established immigrants and native-born citizens in Germany who are considered foreigners by their countrymen because of race, and multicultural Germany in general.  We will read texts by Friedrich Gerstaecker, the son of opera singers who lived as a hunter and trapper in 19th century Arkansas, Stefanie Zweig, whose Jewish family fled the Third Reich by emigrating to Kenya, Hans-Jürgen Massaquoi, who survived the Third Reich as an Afro-German child and teenager,  Jana Hensel, who grew up in the last days of communist East Germany, Wladimir Kaminer, an immigrant who has become a best-selling German author in spite of knowing no German when he moved to Berlin, and Fatih Akin, an award-winning second-generation Turkish-German film maker.

GERM 5223: Early German Literature. Taught entirely in German; some readings in Middle High German. This class is a survey of Germanic texts and literary modes from the Early Middle Ages up to and through the late Baroque period. We will read several longer texts, such as the Nibelungenlied, Parzival, and Simplicius Simplicissimus, as well as plays and shorter texts of the Humanist and Early Baroque eras, and poetic texts ranging from Minnesang to Baroque Sonnets.  Students will be expected to keep up with weekly readings and do occasional research-oriented projects, and will do short writing assignments every other week (in German).

GERM 5343: Early Modern Literature. (ca. 1890-1933) We will read such greats as prose authors Thomas Mann and Franz Kafka, dramatists such as Hofmannsthal, and poets Rilke and Lasker-Schüler. We will also study film and musical works, look at graphic art, and read some theories of art and literature. Undergraduates can take this course with instructor permission; undergraduates frequently take our 5000 level courses after having studied abroad and do fine.

GERM 5363: Literature after 1945. In this course, we will read works by well-known authors including Günther Grass, Heinrich Böll, Max Frisch, and recent Nobel prize winners Elfriede Jelinek and Herta Müller that were written during or treat the end of the war, the rebuilding period and the Wirtschaftswunder, the student movement and 70s terrorism, the DDR, the fall of the wall and reunification. Counts towards the major and the minor.

GERM 5703: Perspectives in Literature. Capstone course open to graduate students in German that provides a comprehensive review of all of German literature from its beginnings in the Germanic period to the current day.

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