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German Studies

German Studies exposes students to the language, literature, and culture of the German speaking areas of Central Europe.  Concentrators combine intensive study of the German language with interdisciplinary studies by complementing courses from the German Studies core program with courses from other departments that deal with topics from the German cultural tradition. The quest for national identity that dominated German history in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries has been augmented by contemporary Germany's efforts to come to terms with its past and create new ways of dealing with diversity. Our curriculum therefore looks back at the German literary, cultural, and historical tradition, examining figures from Goethe or Christa Wolf to Marx, Freud, Nietzsche, and Heidegger, alongside the “texts” of contemporary German media, including television, film, and music.  Most concentrators study abroad for one or two semesters. 
*In spring 2017, Professor Jane Sokolosky will serve as concentration advisor. Professor Kristina Mendicino will return as concentration advisor in fall 2017.

Standard program for the A.B. degree

Many students elect to complete a double concentration, combining German Studies with one of the above areas, or with fields such as International Relations or Economics, Comparative Literature or History of Art and Architecture.

Knowledge of the German language is not required for declaring a concentration in German Studies. However, since language fluency is the basis for sophisticated understanding of German culture, students must meet a language requirement by the time they graduate.

Concentration Requirements

  • Nine courses beyond GRMN 0400 or GRMN 0450;
  • At least six of the nine courses must be at the 1000-level (or higher);
  • Two of the 1000-level courses must involve writing assignments in German, and students must obtain at least a grade of B in these courses;
  • At least five of the nine courses must be taken in the Department of German Studies (or four if a student spends a whole year in Germany on Study Abroad);
  • Completion of a Senior Seminar (i.e. a course from the German Studies 1900 series) as part of the five courses within the Department of German Studies; and
  • If a student studies abroad for one semester, as many as four courses, in the case of two semesters, as many as five courses, from study abroad may count toward the concentration.
Twentieth-Century German Culture
From Faust to Freud: Germany’s Long 19th Century
Tales of Vampirism and the Uncanny
The Poetics of Murder: Crime Fiction from Poe to the Present
Historical Crime Fiction
Nietzsche - The Good European
Repetition: Kierkegaard, Nietzsche and Freud
German Aesthetics from Lessing to Heidegger
Classical German Literature: Goethe und die Klassik
Eighteenth-Century German Aesthetics
Drama and Religion
What is an Image? German Aesthetics and Art from Lessing to Heidegger
Freudian Inspirations: Psychoanalysis and the Arts
Reading Friedrich Hölderlin; An Introduction
The Individual in the Age of Industry
Crime and Punishment- Introduction to German Mystery Texts and Films
Guilt Management: Postwar German Culture
Jahrhundertwende 1900
Modern German Prose, 1978-1998
Turn of the Century
The Works of Franz Kafka
Unmittelbar nach 1945: Literatur und Film in Deutschland
The Modern Period
Kafka's Writing
Vergangenheitsbewältigung: German Literature of Memory
Dada-Performance and Digital-Interactivity
Poetry and the Sublime
Modernity and Its Discontents: The German Novella
Lyric Poetry From the Middle Ages to the Present
Projections of America
German Lyric Poetry: From Goethe to Heine
Kunstmaerchen: the Literary Fairytale in the Nineteenth Century
Modern German Drama
Heroes, Failures and Other Peculiar Characters-The German Novel from Goethe to Kafka
Grimms' Fairy Tales
The European Novel from Goethe to Proust (COLT 1420)
"Stranger Things: The German Novella"
Return to Sender: Love, Letters, and Literature
Theater and Revolution (COLT 1411B)
Introduction to German Romantic Poetry
German-Jewish Literature
Die Berliner Republik und die Vergangenheit
National Socialism and the Shoah in Recent German Prose
20 Years After: The End of GDR and German Reunification
Love and Death
Images of America in German Literature
German National Cinema from 1917 to 1989, and Cold War Germanys in Film
Berlin: A City Strives to Reinvent Itself
German Culture in the Nazi Era
After Hitler: German Culture and Politics, 1945 to Present
Literary Discourse of Minority Cultures in Germany
Literature and Other Media
Thinking After Philosophy
German Jews and Capitalist Markets in the Long Nineteenth Century
Having Beethoven Over in 1970
Film and the Third Reich
Mord und Medien. Krimis im intermedialen Vergleich
Germans/Jews, Deutsche (und) Juden
What was Socialism? From Marx to "Goodbye Lenin"
Early German Film and Film Theory
Race and Classical German Thought
Germany, Alcohol, and the Global Nineteenth Century
Music, Religion, Politics (MUSC 1675)
The Case of Wagner (MUSC 1640G)
The Promise of Being: Heidegger for Beginners (COLT 1610V)
Introduction to Yiddish Culture and Language (JUDS 1713)
Introduction to Yiddish Culture and Language (JUDS 1713)
Introduction to Yiddish Culture (JUDS 1713)
Posthumanism and the Ends of Man (COLT 1814Y)
Berlin: Dissonance, Division, Revision (COLT 1813J)
The Weimar Republic (1918-1933)
Sites of Memory
Cultural Industry and the Aesthetics of the Spectacle
Fleeing the Nazis: German Culture in Exile, 1933-1945
Made in Germany - A Cultural History of Science, Technology, and Engineering
The Works of Heinrich Kleist
Enlightened Laughter
Kafka in English
Political Romanticism
Vision and Narration in the 19th Century
German Literature 1968-1989
Poetik der AutorInnen
German Modernism
German Literature 1945-1967
Literature of the German Democratic Republic
Thomas Mann: Die Romane
Rethinking the Bildungsroman (COLT 2520G)
On the Sublime
Socialism and the Intellectuals
Reading (in) German Literature
Historicism, Photography, Film
Torture in European Literature and Aesthetic Theory
From Hegel to Nietzsche: Literature as/and Philosophy
The Essay: Theory and Praxis
Freud and Lacan (ENGL 2900T)
“Other Worlds”
Textual Border Crossings: Translational Literature
Art, Philosophy, and Truth: A Close Reading of Benjamin's Essay on Goethe's Elective Affinities
Goethe’s Faust
Theories of Poetry and the Poetic


Candidates for honors will be expected to have a superior record in departmental courses and will have to be approved by the Department of German Studies. Honors candidates must take one additional course at the 1000-level from the German studies offerings and present an acceptable Senior Honors Thesis. The additional course may be used for preparation of the honors thesis. Students are encouraged to discuss their thesis topics with the concentration advisor no later than the third week of classes in Fall of their Senior year.