4813 H: German Political Songwriting
This class, conducted in German, offers an overview of political songwriting in Germany (with occasional references to Austria) between 1945 and the present. Using songwriting as a lens through which to access the cultural history of the Federal Republic and the German Democratic Republic (GDR), we will discuss important sociopolitical issues such as identity, race, gender, immigration, political dissent, generational conflict, and sexuality, as they were prevalent in the public sphere during different times in both Germanies. This class rests on the premise to use “Songs” (which is used this way in German as well to set it apart from the classical “Lied”) as an entryway to the history of the social development of Germany after 1945. The short form of a song, as well as the combination of lyrics and music (sometimes also video), the image and public persona of the songwriters, and the history of reception of their songs allow us a unique perspective on the popular culture and Alltagsgeschichte of a given period and its political system. The fact that music is particularly well suited to transport emotion will help us in understanding the lyrics and the social ambitions of the artists. This course will close with project work, during which you will collaborate to create an encyclopedia on German political songwriting after 1945 as an iPhone App and course website.
[download syllabus] [mobile learning app image gallery]
GER 4813H: Coca-Colonization? Americanization and anti-Americanism in West Germany after 1945
This class, conducted entirely in German, will survey the reception of US culture in West Germany after WWII, throughout the Cold War, and in today’s unified Germany, although the emphasis of the class lies on the Cold War period. We will begin by considering the basic nature of cultural exchanges, with a brief review of US-German relations after WWII and by considering what terms such as “culture”, “consumer society” and “popular” mean, and how they shape our everyday lives. Moving from 1945 onward, we will then scrutinize diverse cultural domains such as film, journalism, newsreels, literature, critical essays, and politics in order to gain an overview of how profoundly West German popular, consumer, and political culture was and continues to be influenced by the powerful transatlantic former Cold War ally. A survey of US-critical and anti-American movements will map out German efforts to emancipate itself from ostensible “Coca-Colonization,” and will cast into relief points of cultural conflict and political disagreement, as for example during the student movement of the late 1960s, and Chancellor Gerhard Schröder’s merging out of President George W. Bush’s “coalition of the willing” during the Iraq invasion of 2004.
GER 4691: Berlin: the Capital in the 20th Century (Taught abroad)
This course will give you an overview of Berlin’s history and local culture during the 20th century, arguably the most transformative period of German history. An integral part of our intensive study abroad segment in Berlin, this course is meant to complement your personal experience of the German capital in productive fashion by providing historical background information and inviting you to think about how the German experience of the 20th century has come to shape Berlin into the place it is today. As the German capital and as one of the world’s most contested sites – politically, militarily, artistically – Berlin provides us with a unique opportunity for mapping out the numerous transformations German society underwent during the 20th century. This course will invite students to engage with the cultural history of Germany as imprinted on the German capital during historically specific periods: Berlin as the capital of the Weimar Republic, Berlin as capital of the Third Reich, the divided Berlin as the center of the Cold War, and finally Berlin as the new capital of a reunified Germany. By engaging with contemporary topics as reflected in film, literature, photography, architecture, political speeches, and others, students will become familiar with topics that dominated the different periods of Berlin’s turbulent history. Afternoon Excursions to Berlin’s historic and contemporary sites will round off classroom discussion and will open opportunities for further, creative engagement with the material in the form of an ongoing group project. In your groups, you will be responsible for the creation of a 5-minute video documentary on a Berlin landmark, a corresponding essay, and high-quality photographs. These will be used to create a Berlin iPhone App and a course project website.
[project website] [download syllabus]
GER 4500: German Identities in Transition after 1945
This course is conceived as a “cultural capstone seminar” for graduating seniors. It invites cultural comparison with the US and an intercultural perspective on German culture and German identities at different points in time throughout the 20th century. Interdisciplinary by nature, the course combines elements from cultural studies with literary studies, film studies, and history. It thereby affords students with broad overview of locations, moments in time, and eras that were instrumental in the formation and cultural reflection of transitory German identities.
GER 3011: Germany Today: Aspects of Contemporary German Culture
The purpose of the class is to engage with contemporaneous discourses in Germany through the reading and discussion of authentic German “texts,” such as websites, newspaper and magazine articles, films, news reports, etc. In addition, students will obtain a better understanding of how German history and culture shape and influence contemporary issues. Students will also reflect critically upon difference between US and German culture, practice reading skills, and extend their vocabulary to be able to discuss a wide range of sociopolitical issues.
GER 3813-C: Advanced German Grammar
Conducted entirely in German, this class offers a communicative approach to reviewing German grammar.
GER 4061: Advance Business German II – Betriebswirtschaft
The aim of this course is to improve your business German proficiency in reading, listening, speaking and writing by means of a real-life scenario from the business world. The course revolves around the Allweiler AG in Radolfzell, their pump technology, and different orders that the company fulfills. In the course of the class you will engage with – and in a way also collaborate on – all the different stages the orders run through in the company. This class prepares for the Zertifikat Deutsch im Beruf (ZDfB).