Course Descriptions

German Program Courses

Courses Taught in English


Courses in Translation - Literature and Culture (LC)

The following courses are taught by German Studies faculty in translation. These courses are ideal for the following students:

  • Those interested in an introduction to the literature and culture of German-speaking countries
  • Those interested in fulfilling a General Education requirement
  • Although these courses do not count towards the German major or minor, such students often take these courses to expand their knowledge of German-speaking countries.
  • Students in Women's Studies, Western European Studies and/or Russian and East European Studies

LC 110 Playing Revolution (LT)

This course works with a selection of German plays from the 18th century to the 20th century that take as their theme revolutionary ideas regarding religion, family, politics, social norms, class, and/or morality. A principal objective of this course is to heighten appreciation of German literature through a broadened knowledge about and increased understanding of each piece’s connection to the historical period, social and political circumstances, and literary trend in which it was produced. We will examine the relevant social criticism found in each play and explore the question of if and/or why these pieces remain relevant reading at the beginning of the 21st century. In addition to the main works, there is a course reader that contains supplementary texts chosen to facilitate an understanding of not only each author and play, but also dramatic theory as well as historical situations that may have provoked the authors to create their works. Offered occasionally. Students must take Ger 387 instead, if majoring or minoring in German Studies.

LC 112 German Romanticism (IT)

Romanticism was a period of great achievement in art, music, and literature in Germany. Works display great emotion in reaction to a century characterized by war, nation building, censorship, migration, and rapid technological and scientific advancement. A strong interest in German cultural heritage, the Middle Ages, and in Germanic myths and legends is also clearly manifested in Romantic pieces. Elements of the fantastic and Gothic combine with a yearning for the everlasting to create riveting literature, majestic artwork, and captivating music. We will engage with Romantic literature, art, and music, as well as with political, philosophical, and scientific writings of Romanticism and situate these within the broader context of 19th-century Germany. Offered in alternate years. Students must take Ger 340 instead, if majoring or minoring in German Studies.

LC 116 German Postwar Cinema (AR, G)

This comparative course focuses on the different cinematic traditions that emerged in East and West Germany. It addresses the interaction between socio-historical context and the creative process as seen through film structure, style and content. The course includes discussions of propaganda, avante garde, feature and popular cinema and films by Beyer, Dorrie, Fassbinder, Sanders Brahms, Staudte and Wolf. All lectures, materials and discussions are in English. Offered occasionally.

LC 170 German Realism (IT)

Transcending the confines of literature and art and pervading culture and politics, Realism—together with the related Biedermeier and Naturalism movements—was an intellectual tradition in 19th-century Germany that lasted nearly 70 years, from the revolution year of 1830 to the turn of the century. A hallmark of Realism is the observation and description of the tangible world in an objective manner, regardless of the realm of expression (literature, politics, philosophy etc.). While the main impetus of German Realism was prose literature, other forms of expression—including art, song, poetry, political pamphlet, drama, philosophy, politics, and even furniture and architecture—belong to this era. This course explores Realism’s place in and influence on German culture, history, and politics during the 19th century. Offered in alternate years. Students must take Ger 375 instead, if majoring or minoring in German Studies.

LC 270 Detective Fiction (LT)

Since the beginning, detective fiction has been wildly popular with reading audiences all over the world. Despite its popularity (or, maybe, because of it), detective fiction is often defamed as “trivial literature” – the least valued of the three fields of literature. This course challenges this classification and provides a comparative introduction to the world of this large and complex genre of fiction. We will trace the evolution of detective fiction across Western nations and from its informal beginnings in the Middle Ages through its official establishment in the 19th century, through the creation of much of the foundational theory of the genre during what is known as the “Golden Age of Detective Fiction,” up to the modern detective novel. We will analyze a number of examples of sub-genres of this fiction and examine various types of detectives. Along the way, we will investigate the connection between the classical detective story and the real-life private detective (Vidocq, Pinkerton) and look into the reciprocal relationship between this literature and the development of the modern police force in Europe and the United States. Viewings of film adaptations of some works will assist in the analysis of the far-reaching cultural implications of the genre’s popularity. Offered in alternate years.

LC 272 From Utopia to Science Fiction: Imagining the Future in Russia and Germany (IT, G)

This course traces the development of utopian thought in the 19th and 20th centuries as it manifested itself in Russia and in Germany. Special attention will be given to the dialogue between utopia, dystopia, anti-utopia, and science fiction in Russian and German fiction, political texts, film, art and music. Special focus will be placed on the utopian ideal in communism and on its future in the context of post-communist culture. All lectures, readings, and discussions are in English. Offered occasionally.

LC 274 The Superwoman of Central European Fiction and Film (CHC, G)

This course examines the role of women in Central Europe, including Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia through literature and film. It focuses on the process of identity formation of women and their struggle to come to terms with the failed promises of emancipation made by respective communist revolutions. In the process, it assesses the historical and cultural conditions of creating the New Socialist Personality, the communist ideal "superperson." The course also contains a comparative element with select authors from the former "West" and the experiences of women after the fall of the Iron Curtain. All course work is in English. Offered occasionally.


Professor Gordon Horowitz in the History Department and Professor Kathleen Montgomery in Political Science also offer courses which cover Germany, Austria and Switzerland.