German

Jennifer Bothun, 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, the Humboldt University in Berlin, 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 112 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 or Austria.  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 or Austria, 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 all St. Olaf students at their chosen university in Germany. 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 4.5 credits on the St. Olaf transcript if they complete an Interim course at St. Olaf during the same academic year.  Students normally receive up to 5.5 credits for an approved semester-long program of study in Germany if they do not complete an Interim course at St. Olaf during the same academic year.  Up to 3 course credits normally count toward the St. Olaf German major.  An internship taken abroad at the 294 or 394 level may count as one of the 3 course credits toward the German major. Remaining 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 course credits normally count toward the St. Olaf German major.  An internship taken abroad at the 294 or 394 level may count as one of the 4 course credits toward the German major.  Remaining credits may apply to another major, general education or electives.

Credits toward other majors across the sciences and humanities usually 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.

GERM 233 (January Interim abroad) may be taken to fulfill the foreign language requirement (FOL-G) and may be counted toward the major.  

Courses in English for General Education Credit

German courses in English translation (GERM 147, GERM 246, GERM 249, GERM 263, GERM 266, and ID 249) 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

A student must complete nine (9) courses beyond GERM 231, including at least one level III course. One course with a focus on the culture of a German-speaking country may be taken in English. This course must be chosen in consultation with the chair and can be at any level. One course may be taken S/U. For further information regarding credits from St. Olaf study abroad opportunities in Germany, see the Special Programs section.  

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

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

  1.  Two courses must be in German at the level of 232 or above.
  2. The other three courses may be taken in either the German or English language and may be chosen from offerings in the St. Olaf German department as well as other departments, including art history, history, music, political science, philosophy, and religion.
  3. At least two courses must be taken from the St. Olaf German department.
  4. 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).
  5. A maximum of two courses from study abroad programs in Germany or Austria may be counted toward the concentration.
  6. The student's proposed concentration must be approved by the director of the German studies concentration.
  7. One course may be taken S/U.

German Studies Courses

Courses taught in English

GERM 147The Grimm Fairy Tales and Folklore (in English)1.00
GERM 246The Age of Goethe (in English)1.00
GERM 249German Cinema (in English)1.00
GERM 263Topics in German Arts (in English)1.00
GERM 266Urbanization in Germany (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 New1.00
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 234Luther and Aquinas: Protestant and Catholic Theology in Dialogue1.00
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 placement by 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, and the 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 placement by 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 placement.

GERM 233: Language and Culture Studies in Germany (abroad)

A total immersion experience and capstone course for students completing the language requirement. This course integrates listening, speaking, reading, writing, and cultural competence by exploring the recent history and contemporary aspects of major German cities, especially Berlin. Students self-select immersion situations, keep a journal of field experiences, and write short papers on topics from journal notes. Taught in German. May be counted toward the German major or German studies concentration. Offered periodically during Interim. Open to first-year students.
Prerequisite: GERM 231 or equivalent.

250-Level Courses

GERM 250: Speaking German

This course is designed to teach speaking strategies and bring students to an Intermediate-High level of oral proficiency through practice in everyday communication such as telling stories, giving reports, and organizing social events. The course focuses on higher-order functions such as paragraph-length narration, presenting opinions, small group discussion, and formal presentations, as well as interviews, debates, and regular group conversations with classroom guests and speakers. Taught in German. Counts toward German major, German studies concentration, and management studies concentration.
Prerequisite: GERM 232 or equivalent.

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. The final project is a short paper written in German. 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 and the final project is a short paper written in German. Taught in German. Counts toward German major, German studies concentration, and management studies concentration.
Prerequisite: GERM 232 or equivalent.

270-Level Courses

GERM 270: German in the Professions

Students examine a variety of texts used in a particular professional or disciplinary field such as economics, the sciences, medicine, art, music, and theology. Coursework enhances listening and reading skills in specialized areas of the work world as well as writing and speaking proficiency in the workplace across the German professions. Recommended for students considering an internship in Germany. Taught in German. It includes strategies for writing letters, resumes, reports, and documented professional work in German. Counts toward German major, German studies concentration, and management studies concentration.
Prerequisite: GERM 251 or GERM 252.

GERM 271: Topics: Introduction to 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: German 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 274: Minority Voices

Students examine the lives and works of writers and/or filmmakers representing a significant minority group rooted in two or more cultural traditions. Students explore how the lives of these authors have been impacted by their dual heritage, how their cultural hybridity manifests itself in their works, and to what extent their voices have affected mainstream German culture. Sample topics include: Jewish-German, Turkish-German, Afro-German, and contemporary immigrant writers and/or filmmakers. Taught in German. May be counted toward German major or German studies concentration. May be repeated if topic is different.

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: 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: the Germans in exile, the 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: The Grimm 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 246: The Age of Goethe (in English)

Students examine the transformation of German political culture from feudal society to modern institutions of art, science, education and commerce. While the French Revolution (1789) is the historical axis on which this change turned, the life of Goethe (1749-1832) spans the period in which Germany made significant progress toward unity and democracy. Illustrative materials in digital and video form supplement the readings. May be counted toward German major or 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.

GERM 266: Urbanization in Germany (in English)

Students examine the transformation of Germany from a system of cottage industries to factory production in urban environments. With the industrial revolution came migration to the cities, new transportation systems, and overpopulation. While the concentration of people in these urban centers brought about the development of arts, music, theater, schools, universities, and other cultural institutions, it also created social challenges for health, labor, welfare, and education. Counts toward the German major or German studies concentration. Offered annually.

ID 249: Mare Balticum (in English, abroad)

Starting with Hanseatic and Teutonic traditions of entrepreneurship from the 13th-century, this course focuses on the political and economic history of a region that has transitioned from tribalism to feudalism, then to mercantilism, capitalism, communism,and now EU-style capitalism. The course develops in an itinerant way -- city to city -- starting in Lübeck, Germany, then proceed eastward to the cities of Wismar, Rostock, Stralsund, Greifswald, Wolgast, Szczecin, Koszalin, Danzig, Malbork, Ketrzyn, Vilnius, Kaunas, the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad (formerly Königsbergin Germany's East Prussia), Klaipeda, Riga, Tartu,Tallinn, crossing by ship to Helsinki, Finland,and again by ship to Stockholm, Sweden. Students deliver several oral presentations, including a group project of a business plan for a hypothetical start-up. Offered during Interim.

Chair, 2016-2017

Wendy W. Allen

Professor of Romance Languages - French

contemporary France; the Maghreb; second language acquisition; intercultural education

Karen R. Achberger

Professor of German

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

Amanda Randall

Assistant Professor of German

LaVern J. Rippley (on leave spring)

Professor of German

German Romanticism and German Americana; Grimm's fairy tales; Gemany in WWI and WWII