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Haverford College

Course Catalog

German and German Studies: 2009-2010

DescriptionFacultyMajor RequirementsMinor RequirementsRequirements for HonorsStudy AbroadCoursesDepartment Homepage


The Department of German draws upon the expertise of the German faculty at both Bryn Mawr and Haverford colleges to offer a broadly conceived German studies program, incorporating a variety of courses and major options. The purpose of the major in German is to lay the foundation for a critical understanding of German culture in its contemporary international context and its larger political, social, and intellectual history. To this end, we encourage a thorough and comparative study of the German language and culture through its linguistic and literary history, systems of thought, institutions, political configurations, and arts and sciences. The German program aims, by means of various methodological approaches to the study of another language, to foster critical thinking, expository writing skills, understanding of the diversity of culture(s), and the ability to respond creatively to the challenges posed by cultural difference in an increasingly multicultural world. Course offerings are intended to serve both students with particular interests in German literature and literary theory and criticism and those interested in studying German and German-speaking cultures from the perspective of communication arts, film, history, history of ideas, history of art and architecture, history of religion, institutions, linguistics, mass media, philosophy, politics, urban anthropology, and folklore.
A thorough knowledge of German is a common goal for both major concentrations. The objective of our language instruction is to teach students communicative skills that would enable them to function effectively in authentic conditions of language use and to speak and write in idiomatic German. A major component of all German courses is the examination of issues that underline the cosmopolitanism as well as the specificity and complexity of contemporary German culture. Many German majors can and are encouraged to take courses in interdisciplinary areas, such as comparative literature, history, political science, philosophy, music, and feminist and gender studies, where they read works of criticism in these areas in the original German.

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At Haverford College
Associate Professor Ulrich Schönherr, Co-Chair
Visiting Assistant Professor Imke Brust

At Bryn Mawr College
Fairbank Professor in the Humanities and Professor of German and Comparative Literature Azade Seyhan
Professor Imke Meyer, Co-Chair
Visiting Assistant Professor David Kenosian


At Haverford College
Professor of Philosophy Kathleen Wright
Associate Professor of Music Richard Freedman

At Bryn Mawr College
Rufus M. Jones Professor of Philosophy Robert J. Dostal
Associate Professor of Political Science Carol J. Hager
Associate Professor of History of Art Christiane Hertel

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Major Requirements

The German major consists of 10 units. All courses at the 200 or 300 level count toward the major requirements, either in a literature concentration or in a German studies concentration. A literature concentration normally follows the sequence 201 and/or 202; 205 or 206; or 214, 215; plus additional courses to complete the ten units, two of them at the 300 level; and finally one semester of Senior Conference. A German studies major normally includes 223 and/or 224; one 200- and one 300-level course in German literature; three courses (at least one should be a 300-level course) in subjects central to aspects of German culture, history, or politics; and one semester of German 321 (Advanced Topics in German Cultural Studies). Within each concentration, courses need be selected so as to achieve a reasonable breadth, but also a degree of disciplinary coherence. Within departmental offerings, German 201 and 202 (Advanced Training) strongly emphasize the development of conversational, writing, and interpretive skills.

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Minor Requirements

A minor in German and German studies consists of six units of work. To earn a minor, students are normally required to take German 201 or 202, four additional units covering a reasonable range of study topics, of which at least one unit is at the 300 level. The one remaining upper-level course may be taken either within the German program, or be chosen with the approval of the department from the recommended electives for German studies majors.

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Study Abroad

Students majoring in German are encouraged to spend some time in German-speaking countries in the course of their undergraduate studies. Various possibilities are available: summer work programs, DAAD (German Academic Exchange) scholarships for summer courses at German universities, and selected junior year abroad programs (Berlin, Freiburg, Vienna). Students of German are also encouraged to take advantage of the many opportunities on both campuses for immersion programs in German language and culture: residence in Haffner Hall foreign language apartments at Bryn Mawr College; the German Film Series; the German Lecture Series; the weekly Stammtisch, and more informal conversational groups attended by faculty members.

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Requirements for Honors

Any student whose grade point average in the major at the end of the senior year is 3.8 or above qualifies by grade point average alone for departmental honors. Students whose major grade point average at the end of the senior year is 3.6 or better, but not 3.8, are eligible to be discussed as candidates for departmental honors. A student in this range of eligibility must be sponsored by at least one faculty member with whom s/he has done course work, and at least one other faculty member must read some of the student’s advanced work and agree on the excellence of the work in order for departmental honors to be awarded. If there is a sharp difference of opinion, additional readers will serve as needed.

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  • 001 Elementary German HU
    Meets five hours a week with the individual class instructor, one hour with student drill instructors. Strong emphasis on communicative competence both in spoken and written German in a larger cultural context. This is a year-long course; both semesters (001 and 002) are required for credit.

    002 Elementary German HU

    101 Intermediate German HU
    Meets three hours a week with the individual class instructor, one hour with student drill instructor. Thorough review of grammar, exercises in composition and conversation. Enforcement of correct grammatical patterns and idiomatic use of language. Study of selected literary and cultural texts and films from German-speaking countries. Two semesters. Does not count toward the major.

    102 Intermediate German HU

    190 Introduction to Gender and Sexuality Studies HU (Cross-listed in Independent College Programs and Gender and Sexuality Studies)
    Prerequisite: none

    201 Advanced Training: Language, Text, and Context HU
    This course is intended for students who wish to refine their speaking, writing, and reading skills beyond the Intermediate level. Designed as a comprehensive introduction to modern German culture, we will discuss a variety of literary, political, historical and philosophical texts, including feature films and video materials. Weekly grammar reviews will complement these activities. Prerequisite: Intermediate German.

    202 Advanced Training: Introduction to German Studies HU
    I. Meyer, U.Schönherr
    Interdisciplinary and historical approaches to the study of German language and culture. Selected texts for study will be drawn from autobiography, anthropology, Märchen, satire, philosophical essays and fables, art and film criticism, discourses of gender, travel writing, cultural productions of minority groups, and scientific and journalistic writings. Prerequisite: Intermediate German.

    212 Revolution and German Culture (1789-1989) HU
    Focusing on exemplary philosophical, political, and literary texts (including movies), the course will closely examine the multi-faceted German reception of the revolutions of 1789, 1848, and 1918, as well as the student rebellion of 1968. In addition, we will analyze the various narrative strategies employed by philosophers of history, politicians, and writers alike to conceptualize and represent the historical events.

    214 Survey of Literature in German HU
    A study of the major periods of German literature within a cultural and historical context, including representative texts for each period.

    215 Survey of Literature in German: Introduction to Postwar Literature HU
    The seminar is designed to give a broad overview of the various aesthetic trends which have shaped contemporary German-speaking literature after the Second World War. Focusing on representative works, including prose, and poetry, the course will retrace the attempts at re-establishing a modernist literary tradition that had been almost completely destroyed during fascism.

    223 Topic in German Cultural Studies HU (Cross-listed in Comparative Literature and African and Africana Studies)

    224 New German Cinema HU

    258 Re-imagining the City: Berlin and Vienna in Literature and Film HU (Cross-listed in Comparative Literature)
    An examination of the imagination and re-imagination of two important European capitals, Berlin and Vienna, in twentieth-century literature and film, especially in the aftermath of the world wars. We will pay special attention to the geographical, cultural, religious, and political differences between the two cities, and we will ask to what extent such differences produced different forms of artistic re-imaginings, different artistic responses to the destruction and transformation brought about by war. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing

    262 The Male Body in Contemporary Cinema HU (Cross-listed in Comparative Literature and Gender and Sexuality Studies)

    305 Modern German Drama HU

    320 Contemporary German Fiction HU

    321 Topics in German Literature: Literature and New Media: From the Gutenberg-Galaxy to Cyberspace HU (Cross-listed in Comparative Literature)

    359 Music - Text - Performance HU (Cross-listed in Comparative Literature)
    This course will explore the rich and diverse representations of music in all its socio-aesthetic complexity from antiquity to the present. The thematic scope of our investigations shall range from mythological, philosophical, theological, and semiotic questions, through issues of gender, race, and politics, to theories of (operatic) performance. (Taught in English with an extra session in German) Prerequisite: One 200-level course in the Humanities.

    399 Senior Conference HU

    480 Independent Study HU
    Prerequisite: Consent of the instructor.

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  • Comparative Literature 200 Intro to Comparative Literature
    Music 250b Words and Music World
    Philosophy 225a Hegel
    Philosophy 229b Nineteenth-Century Philosophy


  • Comparative Literature 211 The Holocaust and its Aftermath
    History 319 Hitler, National Socialism, and German Society
    History of Art 348 Topics in German Art
    Political Science 308 Germany and its Neighbors

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