Please note: This is NOT the most current catalog.
Chair, 2007-08: Karl J. Fink, Goethe, Herder, and Weimar Classicism
Faculty, 2007-08: Karen R. Achberger, (on leave), 20th-century literature, cinema, Austrian literature; Nicole Grewling, 19th-century German literature and culture; LaVern J. Rippley, German Romanticism, German American studies
German is among the five world languages significant by numbers of speakers, by geographic location, and by educational distinction. Even as Europe gathers strength in economic unity, it relies more than ever on the individual richness of its partner states. In a radius of 1000 kilometers (625 miles), Germany lies at the center of a European population of 300 million people. In this capacity, she plays a key role in the political, economic, and educational dynamics of the continent. Although English has become the language of the marketplace, German continues to drive innovation from bio-fuel technology to lyrical compositions. For centuries German has been a tool in the advancement of arts and sciences.
Germany participates in the Erasmus credit exchange system among partner universities in Europe. The system facilitates financial and curricular reciprocity unique to the continent with a growing tendency to stretch the transfer value to countries around the globe. For Germans, study abroad is a way of life built on the academic freedom of students from medieval times to travel from university to university on the trail of preferred professors and courses of study. Since 1945 Germany has opened its academic doors to the world, for only nominal tuition fees sharing its research in science and technology, its specialized training in the fine arts, and its rich archival collections in the humanities, with only one requirement: German language proficiency.
As Goethe wrote in his Propylaeum to higher education, learning a foreign language is directly proportional to the knowledge gained from it. That is why language placement becomes the starting point for education in the liberal arts. The students' first contact with the German program at St. Olaf College is the on-line placement exam that assures smooth transitions into the courses offered in the department and in study abroad programs in Germany. The exam is keyed to a curriculum of stituational encounters shared by students in the modern world. As students advance through our German program they engage some of Europe's greatest writers, scientists, artists, musicians, theologians and philosophers. Learning German takes students beyond the vocational benefits of bi-lingual skills to innovation and understanding found in the liberal arts.
OVERVIEW OF THE MAJOR
Majoring in German allows students to deepen their understanding of German culture and to develop their communication skills in both the written and spoken language.
In courses for the major, students gain an understanding of German literature, civilization, and contemporary culture as they develop analytical and communication skills in the language. All courses for the German major are taught in German.
German majors are strongly encouraged to participate in at least one of the study or internship opportunities abroad (see below), during either an Interim, summer, semester, or full-year program.
Level II courses beyond the language requirement are divided into two sequences.
In 250-level courses, students focus intensively on development of their language skills while learning to do close textual analysis. These courses, which are targeted primarily at first- and second-year students, provide an introduction to the content areas of the major while sharpening specific critical and linguistic skills. The targeted proficiency level is ACTFL Advanced. All 250-level courses count toward the German major and are open to non-majors.
In 270-level courses, students continue to explore new content areas in German culture at the same time advancing language skills to writing strategies for seminar papers. Courses at this level are designed to prepare students for level III seminar work. The targeted proficiency level is ACTFL Advanced or Advanced Plus.
Level III courses build upon students’ interpretive skills and the knowledge of the German-speaking world they have gained in 270-level courses, as well as through study in Germany. Students examine in depth a particular genre, author, or topic through the analysis and interpretation of representative works. The targeted proficiency level is ACTFL Superior. All study abroad courses taught in German count toward the 270-level courses.
Students need not be German majors to take Level II and III courses or to study abroad. Most begin their study of German in the 231-232 sequence. They complete this sequence and take at least one writing course on campus at the 250-level or above before spending a semester or a year studying in Germany. Courses taken in Germany may satisfy general education requirements as well as requirements for the German or other majors.
Courses taken abroad in english may count toward the major in other departments with prior approval.
REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MAJORS/MINOR
A student must take eight courses in German above 232, including two 250-level courses, two 270-level courses (one of which must be taken on campus), two 370-level courses (one of which must be taken on campus), and two other courses of the student’s choice. An internship taken abroad may count as one of the three courses a student may bring back from a semester’s study in Germany or of the four courses a student may bring back from a year’s study in Germany.
A student must take eight courses in German above 232, including an intensive speaking course (233 or 250) or a semester/year of study in Germany, three 250-level courses, two 270-level courses, and two 370-level courses, plus Education 353 and other courses required for certification.
A student must take four courses in German above 232, including an intensive speaking course (233 or 250) or a semester/year of study in Germany, two 250-level courses, one 270- or 370-level course, plus Education 353 and other courses required for certification.
The German Department offers January Interims for German credit and also sponsors semester- or year-long programs for more advanced students at three German universities: Konstanz, Paderborn, and Flensburg. Summer internships are arranged on an individual basis by student skills and German availability.
Courses in English for General Education Credit
German courses in English translation (German 147, 245, 246, and 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 German FLAC components.
German majors and students with advanced proficiency in German may apply to live for a semester or a year in St. Olaf’s German House, a co-educational honor house. Each year a native German student is selected from the University of Konstanz to live in the German House to speak German and organize cultural events with the other St. Olaf residents.
Students begin to learn German through listening, speaking, reading, and writing about topics familiar to them (their personal biographies, family, daily life, interests). Regular writing assignments are designed to learn vocabulary, check spelling, and to form thoughts with German sentence structure. Regular language lab activities aid in acquiring good pronunciation and listening skills. Offered Fall Semester.
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: German 111 or placement by test.
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 in paragraph length discourse. Taught in German with some grammar explanations in English. Prerequisite: German 112 or placement by test.
Students continue to explore life in German-speaking countries, with cultural readings, films, and other authentic materials that help students develop vocabulary and the composition of short reports to develop writing skills in paragraph length discourse. Taught in German, the course includes a review of selected grammar topics. Prerequisite: German 231 or placement by test.
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. Students self-select immersion situations, keep a journal of field experiences, and write a short paper on a topic from journal notes. Taught in German. Prerequisite: German 231 or equivalent. Open to first-year students. Fulfills the language requirement. May be counted toward the German major.
Students move from intermediate to advanced oral proficiency through practice in daily life communicative skills such as in interviews, party games, telling stories, giving reports, and organizing social events. The course focuses on higher-order functions such as paragraph-length narration, presenting opinions, group discussions, and individual presentations, as well as interviews, debates, and regular group conversations with classroom guests and speakers. Taught in German. Prerequisite: German 232 or equivalent.
Students examine fictional works such as short stories, novel excerpts, and other narrative texts, including film, with weekly writing assignments on plot analysis, characterization and multiple layers of voices in a text. Students retell stories in oral and written form and adapt them to different audiences. Coursework includes a review of basic grammar as well as advanced grammar for writing papers in German, with help sessions by native German exchange students. The course is designed to teach students writing strategies and the final project is a short term paper written in German. Taught in German. Prerequisite: German 232 or equivalent.
Students examine expository texts such as (auto)biographical writings, journalistic articles, 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, with help sessions by native German exchange students. The course is designed to teach students writing strategies and the final project is a short term paper written in German. Taught in German. Prerequisite: German 232 or equivalent.
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. Recommended for students considering an internship in Germany. Taught in German with strategies for writing letters, resumes, reports, and documented professional work in German. Prerequisite: German 251 or 252. May be repeated if topic is different.
Students examine the lives and writings of selected authors representing a significant minority group rooted in two or more cultural traditions. Students explore how the lives of these authors have been influenced by their dual heritage, how their cultural hybridity is seen in their writings, and the extent to which the voices of these authors have affected mainstream culture. Sample topics include: Jewish-German writers, Turkish-German writers, and contemporary immigrant writers. Taught in German with emphasis on strategies for writing term papers in German. Prerequisite: German 251 or 252. May be repeated if topic is different.
Students examine a major period of German history and its impact on the institutional, intellectual, and artistic heritage of Europe. Course involves close reading and analysis of primary sources as well as critical evaluations of the period and focus on history as an interpretive reconstruction of the past. Sample periods include: the Reformation, Weimar Classicism, the German revolution of 1848, German modernism and post-holocaust Germany. Taught in German with strategies for writing term papers in German. Prerequisite: German 251 or German 252. May be repeated if topic is different.
Students explore current issues, events, culture, politics, education, entertainment, advertising, and other non-literary topics as they are treated in contemporary German print and electronic media, including the press, television, film, the web, and radio. Comparing and contrasting presentations by different German media and by German versus U.S. media, students develop media literacy, including ideological, cultural, aesthetic, and ethical perspectives. Taught in German with strategies for writing term papers in German. Prerequisite: German 251 or 252. May be repeated if topic is different. Also counts toward media studies concentration.
Students spend four weeks during Interim or summer break interning in Germany. 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. Prerequisite: at least one 250-level course.
298 Independent Study
Students explore the form, history and theory of a particular genre or medium, including film, the novella, young adult literature, drama, poetry and short story, or the works of a single author or period. Coursework includes close reading, discussion, analysis and interpretation of texts. Taught in German. Prerequisite: minimum of one 270-level course. May be repeated if topic is different.
Students explore a particular topic in language, literature, history, or culture through close reading, discussion, analysis, and interpretation of selected works, including theoretical texts. Sample topics include: Kafkas Europe, the Faust epic, women's voices, German heritage, the German holocaust, and Germany in Europe. Taught in German. Prerequisite: minimum of one 270-level course. May be repeated if topic is different.
Students spend four weeks during Interim or summer break interning in Germany. 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. Prerequisite: at least one 270-level course.
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. Prerequisite: Determined by individual instructor. Offer based on department decision.
398 Independent Research
courses in English translation
Students read and discuss works stemming from the oral tradition, including chapbooks such as Till Eulenspiegel and Faust, fables modeled on antiquity during the 18th century, fairy tales collected by the Brothers Grimm during the 19th century, and literary fairy tales (Kunstmarchen) by well-known writers of the Romantic and modern periods, from Goethe to Hesse. Emphasis on literary aspects and historical contexts. Taught in English.
Students encounter firsthand Vienna's rich cultural heritage of museums, theaters, operas, operettas, concerts, coffeehouses. Coursework focuses on the shift in Vienna from the late-19th-century romanticism of the declining Habsburg Empire to an unprecedented modernism in all the arts. Includes study of architecture (Loos) and music (Schonberg), as well as psychology (Freud), science (Mach), and philosophy (Wittgenstein), and the cult of death and suicide of fin-de-siècle Vienna. Taught in English. FLAC available. Offered during Interim.
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. Taught in English.
A survey of German films from Caligari (1919) to Sophie Scholl (2005), 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. Students become aware of the increasing social and political importance of mass media for understanding the past. Taught in English. FLAC available. Counts toward media studies concentration.
Interdisciplinary Studies 249 Mare Balticum (abroad and in English translation)
This course circles the Baltic Sea, covering forces of integration--social, economicc, linguistic, and historical--that create an identifiable region. Thematic structures include the Hanseatic League (1200-1650), the papal order of Teutonic Knights (1200-1701), the Latin Church and alphabet, the gothic brick architecture, integration into the European Union, environmental issues and others. Offered during Interim.