Please note: This is NOT the most current catalog.
Chair, 2009-10: Karen R. Achberger, 20th-century literature, cinema, Austrian literature
Faculty, 2009-10: Karl J. Fink, Goethe, Herder, history of science; Steffan Kaupp, foreign language education; LaVern J. Rippley, German Romanticism, German-American studies (on leave Spring Semester)
Learning German can connect students with 120 million native speakers around the globe. As the official language of Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg, and Liechtenstein as well as Germany, the world’s 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 and 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, with only one requirement: German language proficiency. With adequate proficiency in German, St. Olaf students may study for a semester or a full year at the University of Konstanz or the Humboldt University in Berlin.
Beyond the classroom, students may also participate in the weekly German conversation table (Stammtisch), film series, and events in Deutsches Haus, an honor house where St. Olaf students live together with an exchange student from Germany.
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. All courses for the German major are taught in German.
German majors are strongly encouraged to participate in at least one of a variety of study abroad opportunities offered during the January Interim and the summer sessions as well as in semester and full-year programs.
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 engage in close study of visual and written texts. These courses, 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 Intermediate High according to a standard set by American Council of Teachers of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). 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 while at the same time advancing language skills and developing writing strategies for seminar papers. Courses at this level are designed to prepare students for level III seminar work. The targeted proficiency level continues at the ACTFL Intermediate High level.
Level III courses build upon students’ interpretive skills and the knowledge of the German-speaking world gained in 270-level courses, and 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 Advanced. Most study abroad courses taught in German count toward the 270-level.
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/TEACHING MINOR
A student must complete eight courses in German above 232, including two 250-level courses, two 270-level courses, two 370-level courses, and two other courses of the student’s choice. One each of the required 250, 270, and 370 courses must be taken on campus.
Requirements for a German major with K-12 Teaching License
A student must complete eight courses in German above 232, including 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.
The German Department offers January Interims for German credit and also sponsors semester- or year-long programs for more advanced students at two German universities: Konstanz and Humboldt University - Berlin. Summer and January internships are arranged through partner universities according to student skills and availability in the German work place.
German 251 or 252 is the required prerequisite for a semester or year at the University of Konstanz or at Humboldt University-Berlin.
German 233 (January Interim abroad) may be taken to fulfill the foreign language requirement (FOL-G) and may be counted toward the major. The presemester in Konstanz or Berlin may count as one of the two 250-level courses required for the major. An internship taken abroad at the 294 or 394 level 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.
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 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, such as History 224, to be planned with the student’s academic advisor. In recent years, German majors have been accepted for graduate study at the Universities of Michigan, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Iowa, and Wisconsin.
Students begin to learn German through listening, speaking, reading, and writing about situations familiar to them including their personal biographies, family, daily life, studies, travels, and hobbies. 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 annually in the 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 for 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, 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. 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 short papers on topics from journal notes. Taught in German. May be counted toward the German major. Prerequisite: German 231 or equivalent. Offered during Interim. Open to first-year students.
Students move to an Intermediate-High level of 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 formal 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 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. 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. 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 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. Prerequisite: German 251 or 252.
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 culture. Sample topics include: Jewish-German, Turkish-German, Afro-German, and contemporary immigrant writers and/or filmmakers. The course emphasizes strategies for writing term papers in German. Taught 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, and post-1945 Germany. The course emphasizes strategies for writing term papers in German. Taught 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. The course emphasizes strategies for writing term papers in German. Taught in German. Prerequisite: German 251 or 252.
Students spend four weeks during Interim or summer break in a selected German 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. 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, 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. Prerequisite: at least one 270-level course. May be repeated if topic is different.
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 German-American heritage, the German Holocaust, Germany in the European Union, and Germanic myths. Taught in German. Prerequisite: at least one 270-level course. May be repeated if topic is different.
Students spend four weeks during Interim or summer break in the German 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. 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. Offered based on department decision.
398 Independent Research
courses in English translation
Reading and discussion of writings that ultimately go back to oral traditions, including folk books such as the Nibelungenlied, Till Eulenspiegel, and Faust, fables created on models from antiquity during the eighteenth century, fairy tales collected by the Brothers Grimm, and Kunstmärchen (literary fairy tales by known writers). Emphasis both on the literary aspects of the works and on their historical contexts.
Students encounter 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 the study of architecture (Loos) and music (Schönberg), as well as psychology (Freud), literature (Schnitzler), philosophy (Wittgenstein), and the cult of death and suicide of fin-de-siècle Vienna. Offered during Interim.
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. Students become aware of the increasing social and political importance of mass media for understanding the past.