2013-2014 German Courses
This course concentrates on the study of grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation in order to secure the basic tools of the German language. Through grammar exercises in class, dialogues, and short compositions, students will learn the fundamental skills to speak, read, and write in German. This class will meet three times (90 minutes) per week: twice with Mr. Dollinger and once with Ms. Mizelle, who will also meet with students individually or in small groups for an extra conference. Course materials include the textbook, Neue Horizonte, along with a workbook and a graded German reader that will allow students to start reading in German after the first week. We will cover at least 12 chapters from the textbook—all of the basic grammar and vocabulary that students will need to know in order to advance to the next level. There will be short written tests at the end of each chapter. Students will also learn basic facts about Germany today.
This course stresses speaking, reading, and writing German and a thorough review of German grammar. Its aim is to give students more fluency and to prepare them for a possible junior year in Germany. Readings in the fall will consist of fairy tales, short stories, poems, and three novellas by the Austrian writer Stefan Zweig. Students will give several oral presentations (on a fairy tale, on a German city, on a German artist or intellectual). In the spring semester, we will use Im Spiegel der Literatur, a collection of short stories written by some of the most famous German writers such as Thomas Mann and Bertolt Brecht. A solid grammar review, based on the book German Grammar in Review, will help students improve their speaking and writing skills. Regular conferences with Ms. Mizelle will supplement class work. Prerequisite: Beginning German at Sarah Lawrence College or another institution of higher learning or at least four semesters of German in high school.
Contemporary German Literature and Film Since 1989
In this seminar, we will focus on Contemporary German Literature and Film since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. As we read plays, prose fiction, and essays by writers such as Sven Regener, Thomas Brussig, Ingo Schulze, Christian Kracht, Clemens Meyer, Maxim Biller, Bernhard Schlink, Judith Hermann. Doris Dörrie, and Zafer Senocak, we will give special attention to: (1) social and cultural conflicts in Germany in the wake of German reunification; (2) how German writers deal with the double burden of National Socialism and East German communism; and (3) “existential” questions facing ordinary Germans today. We will also watch several famous films—such as Am kuerzeren Ende der Sonnenallee, Das Leben der Anderen, Good-bye Lenin, and Barbara—that will introduce us both humorously and tragically into the life of Germans behind the “Iron Curtain.” This course consists of three equally important components: Students will have one seminar with Mr. Dollinger, who will discuss the class materials with them in German; one seminar with Ms. Mizelle, who will work with students collectively on various grammar and vocabulary issues; and one biweekly individual conference with Mr. Dollinger. Students must demonstrate advanced language skills during registration in order to be permitted into this class. Seminar conducted entirely in German.
18th- and 19th-Century German Literature: Classicism, Romanticism, and Beyond
In this seminar, we will study and analyze some of the most famous German texts from several literary eras: Storm and Stress, German Classicism, German Romanticism, and 19th-century German Realism. Students will be introduced to canonical plays, novels, short stories, and poems by Lessing, Schiller, Goethe, Kleist, Tieck, Eichendorff, Droste-Hülshoff, Hauptmann, and Thomas Mann. Students will examine questions of genre (e.g., What constitutes a novella?), literary era (e.g., What do we mean when we speak of a “Romantic” text?), and historical and social developments in Germany since the late 18th century. But we will also deal with with the “existential,” emotional, and philosophical conflicts that torment the literary characters that we study in these works. Students need very good reading skills for this class, which consists of three equally important components: (1) Students will have one seminar with Mr. Dollinger, who will discuss the class materials with them in German; (2) one seminar with Ms. Mizelle, who will work with students collectively on various grammar and vocabulary issues; and (3) one biweekly individual conference with Mr. Dollinger. Students must demonstrate advanced language skills during registration in order to be permitted into this class. Seminar conducted entirely in German.