German

Liza Davis, Tomson 331
507-786-3230

wp.stolaf.edu/german

Learning German can connect students with 120 million native speakers around the globe. As one of the official languages of Switzerland and Luxembourg, and the official language of Austria and Liechtenstein, as well as Germany, the world’s second largest exporter, German is the language with the largest number of native speakers in the European Union. It is the native language of a significant portion of the population in northern Italy, eastern Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, eastern France, and parts of Poland, the Czech Republic, Russia, and Romania. It is the second-most commonly used scientific language and the most widely spoken language in Europe. In a radius of 1000 kilometers (625 miles), Germany lies at the center of a European population of 300 million people, taking a decisive role in the political, economic, and educational dynamics of the continent.

Studying German offers students access to a culture of scientists and innovators, philosophers and theologians, writers, artists, and composers. German is the language of Gutenberg and Hertz, Fahrenheit and Einstein, Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud, of Luther, Goethe, Kafka, Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, and Mahler.

The German Department offers courses on-campus and abroad in German language and culture, including literature, history, and film for both majors and non-majors. A pivotal component of German language study at St. Olaf is study abroad. In keeping with a German tradition dating back to medieval times, German universities today have opened their doors to students from around the world, sharing their research in science and technology, their specialized training in the fine arts, and their rich archival collections in the humanities. St. Olaf students may study for a semester or a full year at the University of Konstanz or the University of Flensburg.

Beyond the classroom, students may also participate in the weekly German conversation table (Stammtisch), film series, German choir, and events in Deutsches Haus, an honor house where St. Olaf students live together in a German community with an exchange student from Konstanz.

Overview of the Major

In courses for the major, students gain an understanding of German culture, literature, and civilization as they develop analytical and communication skills in the spoken and written language.

Students need not be German majors to take level II and level III courses or to study abroad. After completing GERM 232 or the equivalent, they may spend a semester or a year studying in Germany. Courses taken in Germany may satisfy general education requirements as well as requirements for the German and/or other majors, with approval from the department chair. See Special Programs. 

Overview of the Concentration

The German studies concentration provides students the opportunity to explore the cultures of German-speaking countries from an interdisciplinary perspective. Students combine coursework in the German language with a selection of courses with appropriate cultural content in consultation with the program director. Students are encouraged to participate in study abroad programs in Germany.  Two courses from a study abroad program may count toward the concentration.  One course may be taken S/U.

Intended Learning Outcomes for the Major

Intended Learning Outcomes for the Concentration

Distinction

See Academic Honors

Special Programs

Study Abroad

The German Department offers a variety of opportunities to study in Germany, both during interim and during the fall and spring semesters. Programs are available in both German and English. For more information see International and Domestic Off-Campus Studies.

A four-week intensive pre-semester language and orientation course is offered to St. Olaf students studying at the University of Konstanz. (This option does not exist for students studying at the University of Flensburg.) During this time, students choose university courses from a three-tiered system corresponding to St. Olaf’s level I, II, III course system, beginning with Vorlesung (lecture) courses, followed by Proseminar, designed as an introduction to research, and then Seminar, designed for graduate-level research.

Upon successful completion of an approved semester-long program of study in Germany, students normally receive up to 4 credits on the St. Olaf transcript. One of those credits may be a pre-semester language course.  If a student takes an Interim course that year, it must be a St. Olaf Interim course (on or off campus) that is separate from the Germany semester study abroad program.  Up to 3 credits from semester study abroad normally count toward the St. Olaf German major, excluding the level III course requirement, which must be completed at St. Olaf.  Up to 2 credits may count toward a German studies concentration.  With approval, the other credits may apply to another major, general education, or electives.  

Upon successful completion of an approved full-year program of study in Germany, a student normally receives up to 9 credits plus 1 credit for Interim on the St. Olaf transcript.  Up to 4 credits normally count toward the St. Olaf German major, excluding the level III course requirement, which must be completed at St. Olaf.  Up to 2 credits may count toward a German studies concentration.  With approval, the other credits may apply to another major, general education, or electives.

Credits toward other majors across the sciences and humanities must be pre-arranged with department chairs.  Students should know that specific courses might not be offered during their time at the target university and discuss this possibility with their advisors and chairs.  Grades earned for all courses taken are recorded on the St. Olaf transcript but not calculated into the Grade Point Average.

Courses in English for General Education Credit

German courses in English translation (GERM 147GERM 249, and GERM 263) carry general education credit and are open to majors and non-majors alike. Examining key aspects of German history and culture, they are taught in English and require no previous knowledge of German. Some are offered with a German Foreign Languages Across the Curriculum component.

German House

German majors and students motivated to be part of a German living community may apply to live for a semester or a year in Deutsches Haus, a co-educational honor house. Each year a native German student is selected from the University of Konstanz to live in Deutsches Haus to speak German and organize cultural events with the other house residents.

Recommendations for Graduate Study

Students planning on graduate study in German should take the graduation major plus additional courses to be planned with the student’s academic advisor. In recent years, St. Olaf German majors have been accepted for graduate study at the Universities of Michigan, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Iowa, and Wisconsin.

Requirements for the German Majors/Teaching Licensure

Graduation Major Requirements 

The graduation major in German consists of a minimum of eight (8) courses*:

Two 250-level courses, at least one of which must be taught by a St. Olaf instructor2.00
Two 270-level courses, at least one of which must be taught by a St. Olaf instructor2.00
One 300-level course, which must be taken on campus with a St. Olaf instructor and preferably in the student's senior year1.00
Three additional courses relevant to German language, culture, or history (may include German 232, a German Interim abroad, and a maximum of one course in English with a significant German focus taught by a St. Olaf instructor)3.00
Total Credits8

Students may count a maximum of three (3) courses from a semester abroad or four (4) courses from a full year abroad toward the major. In order to count toward the major, courses taken abroad in Germany must be taken in German. For further information regarding credits from St. Olaf study abroad opportunities in Germany, see the Special Programs section.  

If necessary, students may request to have alternate courses approved by the department chair.

*One course may be taken S/U. 

Requirements for a German major with K-12 Teaching License

A student must complete the German major, including a semester/year of study in Germany or the equivalent experience, plus EDUC 353 and other courses required for certification.

Requirements for the German Studies Concentration (available to all students)

The German studies concentration consists of a minimum of five (5) courses*:

Three (3) courses at the level of German 232 and above, at least two of which must be taught by a St. Olaf instructor3.00
Two (2) additional courses relevant to German studies (arts, culture, economics, history, politics, etc.) taken at St. Olaf or abroad, in German or English2.00
Total Credits5

Students may count toward the concentration a maximum of two (2) courses taken in a St. Olaf-sponsored study abroad program, at least one of which must be taken in German.

If necessary, students may request to have alternate courses approved by the department chair.

The student's proposed concentration must be approved by the chair of the German Department.

*One course may be taken S/U.

Requirements for the German Studies Concentration (available to students through the Class of 2021)

The German studies concentration consists of a minimum of five courses* with cultural content from one or more German-speaking countries:

Two courses must be in German at the level of 232 or above2.00
Three courses taken in either the German or English language and chosen from offerings in the St. Olaf German department as well as other departments, including art history, history, music, political science, philosophy, and religion3.00
Total Credits5

At least two courses must be taken from the St. Olaf German department.

At least two courses must be from outside the St. Olaf German department. At least one of these must be from a field outside the discipline of German language/literature (whether taken from another department at St. Olaf or abroad).

A maximum of two courses from study abroad programs in Germany or Austria may be counted toward the concentration.

The student's proposed concentration must be approved by the chair of the German Department.

*One course may be taken S/U.

German Studies Courses

Courses taught in English

GERM 147Fairy Tales and Folklore (in English)1.00
GERM 249German Cinema (in English)1.00
GERM 263Topics in German Arts (in English)1.00

Examples of courses outside the department (with major focus on German cultural content)

ART 252Art 1880-1945 "The Shock of the New"1.00
ART 271Gothic Art1.00
HIST 224Modern Germany1.00
MUSIC 342Music of the Baroque Era1.00
MUSIC 343Music Of The Classical And Romantic Eras1.00
PHIL 260Kant's Moral Theory in Literature and Film1.00
PHIL 261Freud and the Study of Human Behavior1.00
PSCI 283European Social Democracy1.00
PSCI 285International Law1.00
PHIL 374Seminar in the History of Philosophy1.00
REL 213Lutheran Heritage1.00
REL 214Reformation Theology1.00
REL 262Catholic Rome, Lutheran Wittenberg (abroad)1.00
REL 303History of Christian Thought II1.00
REL 304History of Christian Thought III1.00

Language Courses

GERM 111: Beginning German I

Students begin to learn German through listening, speaking, reading, and writing about situations familiar to them including their personal biographies, families, daily life, studies, travels, and hobbies. Regular writing assignments help students learn vocabulary, check spelling, and form thoughts with German sentence structure. Regular speaking activities aid in acquiring good pronunciation and listening skills. Offered annually in the fall semester.

GERM 112: Beginning German II

Students continue to develop basic language skills with emphasis on expanding vocabulary and on writing assignments that aid in the practical application of grammatical concepts. Communicating in German about familiar personal topics, students acquire vocabulary about sports, food, holidays, school, the environment, and life in German speaking cultures.
Prerequisite: GERM 111 or by placement test.

GERM 231: Intermediate German I

Students explore life in the German-speaking countries through reading, discussing, and retelling narrative texts. The course emphasizes vocabulary building, a thorough review of German grammar, andthe composition of short narratives to develop writing skills for paragraph-length discourse. Taught in German with some grammar explanations in English.
Prerequisite: GERM 112 or by placement test.

GERM 232: Intermediate German II

Students continue to explore life in German-speaking countries, using cultural readings, films, and other authentic materials to develop vocabulary and composition skills. Drafting short reports enables students to practice writing skills for paragraph-length discourse. Selected grammar topics are reviewed as needed. Open to first-year students. Taught in German. May be counted toward the German major or German studies concentration.
Prerequisite: GERM 231 or by placement test.

250-Level Courses

GERM 251: Understanding Narratives

Students examine narrative texts, such as short stories, novel excerpts, and other fictional works, including film, with respect to plot and characters, relationships and themes, narrative strategies and structures. Weekly writing assignments offer practice in narration, extended description, as well as expressing and supporting an opinion about the texts and the ways they engage their respective times. The course is designed to teach writing strategies and includes basic and advanced grammar review, as needed. Taught in German. May be counted toward German major or German studies concentration.
Prerequisite: GERM 232 or equivalent.

GERM 252: Exploring Non-Fiction

Students examine expository texts such as (auto)biographical writings, journalistic articles, German websites, and critical essays, with an eye to understanding the strategic organization of the text, the information presented, and the various layers of critical voices in a text. Coursework includes weekly writing assignments on the analysis of structure, style, argumentation, evidence, and perspective in a text. The course is designed to teach students writing strategies. Taught in German. Counts toward German major, German studies concentration, and management studies concentration.
Prerequisite: GERM 232 or equivalent.

GERM 253: "Gateway to the World": Global Connections/Local Identities of Hamburg

Students immerse themselves in Hamburg, Germany, one of Europe's major historical port cities recognized for its international character. Students examine social, cultural, political, and economic transformations of Europe and deepen their German language skills. They study diverse texts, conduct ethnographic fieldwork, keep a journal of cultural and linguistic observations, write short papers, and complete a research project involving internationalism in Hamburg. Taught in German. Offered alternate years during Interim. Counts toward the German major and German studies concentration.
Prerequisite: completion of FOL-G with grade of B or better or permission of the instructor.

270-Level Courses

GERM 271: Topics in German Literature

Students encounter German literature and develop skills and strategies for reading and interpreting literary texts in their historical and cultural contexts. Interpreting the texts, students practice writing and oral communication individually and in small groups. The specific topic may vary and may be broadly or narrowly defined to include a survey, genre, theme, period, or the literature of one German-speaking country. Taught in German. May be counted toward German major or German studies concentration.
Prerequisite: GERM 251 or GERM 252.

GERM 272: Turning Points in German History

Students examine a major period of German history and its impact on the institutional, intellectual, and artistic heritage of Europe. This course involves close reading and analysis of primary sourcesas well as critical evaluations of the period and focus on history as an interpretive reconstructionof the past. Sample periods include: the Reformation, Weimar Classicism, the German revolutionof 1848, post-1945 Germany, and post-unification.The course emphasizes strategies for writing papers in German. Taught in German. May be counted toward German major or German studies concentration. May be repeated if topic is different.
Prerequisite: GERM 251 or GERM 252.

GERM 273: Contemporary Germany as Seen Through the Media

This course is designed to teach media literacy in the German context with emphasis on ideological, cultural, aesthetic, and ethical perspectives. Students examine current issues, events, culture, politics, education, entertainment, advertising, and other non-literary topics as treated in contemporary German print and electronic media, including press, television, film, internet, and radio. Students compare and contrast presentations by different German media and by German versus U.S. media. The course emphasizes strategies for writing papers in German. Taught in German. Counts toward German major, German studies concentration, and management studies concentration.
Prerequisite: GERM 251 or GERM 252.

GERM 276: Green Germany

Students examine Germany’s successful sustainability initiatives and their roots in a long history of cultural values and scientific innovation. They study primary and secondary sources including interviews, journalistic articles, literary works, and films; these texts form the basis of students’ written and oral analyses. Drawing on diverse disciplinary perspectives, students gain transferable knowledge and skills for addressing complex international environmental concerns. Counts toward German and environmental studies majors and German studies and environmental studies concentrations.
Prerequisite: GERM 251, GERM 252, or permission of the instructor.

GERM 294: Academic Internship (abroad)

Students spend four weeks during Interim or summer in an individually selected German or Austrian workplace. Opportunities include work in health care, communications, and manufacturing as well as non-profit organizations, libraries, businesses, laboratories, offices, and churches. Assignment of position varies with availability in host institutions. Maybe counted toward German major or German studies concentration.
Prerequisite: at least one 250-level course.

GERM 298: Independent Study

370-Level Courses

GERM 371: Topics in German Literature

Students explore the form, history and theory of a particular genre or medium, including film, the novella, drama, poetry and short story, or the works of a single author or period. Coursework includes close reading, discussion, analysis and interpretation of visual and/or written texts. Taught in German. May be counted toward German major or German studies concentration. May be repeated if topic is different.
Prerequisite: at least one 270-level course.

GERM 372: Transdisciplinary Topics in German Studies

Students explore an interdisciplinary topic in language, literature, history, or culture through close reading, discussion, analysis, and interpretation of selected works, including theoretical texts. Sample topics include: Germans in exile, German-American heritage, the German Holocaust, Germany in the European Union, and Germanic myths. Taught in German. May be counted toward German major or German studies concentration. Counts towards medieval studies major. May be repeated if topics are different.
Prerequisite: at least one 270-level course.

GERM 394: Academic Internship (abroad)

Students spend four weeks during Interim or summer in the German or Austrian workplace. Opportunities include working in health care, communications, and manufacturing as well as non-profit organizations, libraries, businesses, laboratories, offices, and churches. Assignment of position varies with availability of host institutions. May be counted toward German major or German studies concentration.
Prerequisite: at least one 270-level course.

GERM 396: Directed Undergraduate Research

This course provides a comprehensive research opportunity, including an introduction to relevant background material, technical instruction, identification of a meaningful project, and data collection. The topic is determined by the faculty member in charge of the course and may relate to his/her research interests. Offered based on department decision. May be offered as a 1.00 credit course or .50 credit course.
Prerequisite: determined by individual instructor.

GERM 398: Independent Research

May be counted toward German major or German studies concentration.

Courses in English Translation

GERM 147: Fairy Tales and Folklore (in English)

This course provides an introduction to the study of folklore and presents a spectrum of approaches to the interpretation of fairy tales. Students read and discuss writings stemming from oral traditions such as the Nibelungenlied, and chapbooks including Till Eulenspiegel, and Faust; eighteenth-century fables created on models from antiquity; fairy tales collected by the Brothers Grimm; and Kunstmärchen (literary fairy tales by known writers). Students explore the literary aspects of the works and their historical contexts. Counts toward German studies concentration.

GERM 249: German Cinema (in English)

A survey of German films from Caligari (1919) to The Counterfeiters (2008), this course examines 20th-century German history through the lens of Germany's most renowned films. Students develop analytical and critical skills in "reading" films as cultural products and as cinematic works of art. The course focuses on the increasing social and political importance of mass media for understanding the past. Counts toward German major and film studies, German studies, and media studies concentrations.

GERM 263: Topics in German Arts (in English)

Students examine the artistic heritage of the German-speaking countries and develop the skill of interpreting and analyzing art works in their cultural context. The specific topic may vary and may be broadly or narrowly defined to include a specific art form, theme, period, artist, or the art of the German-speaking countries. Topics include: the arts in turn-of-the-century Vienna, the Bauhaus, Weimar cinema, and German Expressionism. Taught in English. Counts toward the German major or German studies concentration. May be repeated if topic is different. Offered annually.

Chair, 2018-2019

Wendy W. Allen

Professor Emerita of Romance Languages - French

Karen R. Achberger

Professor of German

German cinema; 20th-century German and Austrian literature; Ingeborg Bachmann; Green Germany; fin-de-siècle Vienna

Seth E. Peabody

Visiting Assistant Professor of German

German film; environmental humanities; German literature around 1800

Amanda Randall

Assistant Professor of German

intellectual history; German film; 20th- and 21st-century German literature