Chair, 2014-15: Margaret Hayford O'Leary, Norwegian literature, culture, and language
Faculty, 2014-15: Karen R. Achberger, German and Austrian literature since 1900, cinema, German environmental studies, Ingeborg Bachmann (on leave); Sylvia Fischer, German language and literature; Kirk Martinson, German language, culture, linguistics, and cinema; LaVern J. Rippley, German Romanticism, German-American studies, Grimm's fairy tales, Germany in WWI and WWII
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 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, 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 III courses or to study abroad. After completing German 112 or the equivalent, they may spend a semester or a year studying in Germany. Courses taken in German may satisfy general education requirements as well as requirements for the German and/or other majors, with approval from the department chair.
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.
REQUIREMENTS FOR THE GERMAN MAJORS/TEACHING MINOR
A student must complete nine courses beyond German 231, including at least one level III course. One 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. Three courses may be counted from study in Germany.
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 Education 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 religion, philosophy, music, and history.
(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.
German Studies Courses
Courses taught in English:
German 147: The Grimm Fairy Tales and Folktales
German 246: Age of Goethe
German 249: German Cinema
Examples of courses outside the department (with major focus on German cultural content):
History 218: Reformation Europe
History 224: Modern Germany
Music 342: Music of the Baroque Era
Music 343: Music of the Classical and Romantic Eras
Philosophy 260: Kant's Moral Theory in Literature and Film
Philosophy 261: Freud and the Study of Human Behavior
Religion 213: Lutheran Heritage
Religion 214: Reformation Theology
Religion 234: Luther and Aquinas: Protestant and Catholic Theology in Dialogue
Religion 262: Catholic Rome, Lutheran Wittenberg (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.
German 233 or 234 (January Interim abroad) may be taken to fulfill the foreign language requirement (FOL-G) and may be counted toward the major. The pre-semester course 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.
Courses in English for General Education Credit
German courses in English translation (German 147, 246, 249, 263, 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 FLAC component.
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, St. Olaf 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, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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. Prerequisite: GERM 231 or equivalent. Offered occassionally during Interim. Open to first-year students.
An immersion experience for students at the intermediate level or above, this course combines morning language classes with afternoon excursions, work with Austrian language partners, and service learning. Each week, students study a different topic of everyday Austrian culture, such as immigration and multiculturalism, social and religious groups, political parties, and Vienna as a music capital. Taught in German. Prerequisite: GERM 231 or equivalent. Counts toward German major and German studies concentration. Offered during Interim.
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. May be counted toward German major or German studies concentration. Prerequisite: GERM 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. May be counted toward German major or German studies concentration. Prerequisite: GERM 232 or equivalent.
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. May be counted toward German major or German studies concentration. Prerequisite: GERM 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. May be counted toward German major or German studies concentration. Prerequisite: GERM 251 or GERM 252.
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.
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 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, 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. Prerequisite: GERM 251 or GERM 252. May be repeated if topic is different.
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. May be counted toward German major or German studies concentration. Prerequisite: GERM 251 or GERM 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 German culture. Sample topics include: Jewish-German, Turkish-German, Afro-German, and contemporary immigrant writers and/or filmmakers. The course emphasizes strategies for writing papers in German. Taught in German. May be counted toward German major or German studies concentration. Prerequisite: GERM 251 or GERM 252. May be repeated if topic is different.
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. May be counted toward German major or German studies concentration. 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. May be counted toward German major or German studies concentration. 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 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. Prerequisite: at least one 270-level course. May be repeated if topic is different. Counts towards medieval studies major.
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.
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. May be offered as a 1.00 credit course or .50 credit course. May be counted toward German major or German studies concentration.
398 Independent Research
courses in English translation
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.
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.
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 film studies concentration. May be counted toward German major or German studies concentration.
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 topics differ. Offered annually.
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, to the mercantilism, capitalism, communism, and now EU-type capitalism. The course developes in an itinerant way -- city to city -- starting in Lübeck, Germany, then proceeding eastward to the cities of Wismar, Rostock, Stralsund, Greifswald, Wolgast, Szczecin, Koszalin, Danzig, Malbork, Ketrzyn, Vilnius, Kaunas, the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad (former Königsberg in Germany's East Prussia), Klaipeda, Riga, Tartu, Tallinn, crossing by ship to Helsinki, Finland, and again by ship to Stockholm, Sweden. Students will deliver many oral presentations, including a group project of a business plan for a hypothetical start-up.