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About this course
The major in German Studies covers a broad tradition of more than five centuries in Switzerland, Austria, Germany, and neighboring lands. Students gain deep competence in the German language while also reading great literature, analyzing distinctive artworks in many media, deducing intensive theories, and exploring political, linguistic, and cultural history. The German faculty works closely with undergraduates to develop their special areas of interest within these rich currents of German culture.
German language courses emphasize listening, speaking, reading, and writing in interaction with authentic cultural materials. The curriculum also introduces students to the basic questions and methods of literary criticism, with a focus on rigorous reading practices for a wide range of works from different genres, disciplines, and historical moments.
German Studies courses are diverse in their topics and highly relevant to other fields of study today. Pioneers in philosophy, political theory, sociology, psychology, history, classical philology, the visual arts, architecture, and music wrote and thought in German, as did founders of the modern natural and practical sciences. Majors discover Kant, Goethe, Beethoven, Einstein, Freud, Kafka, Arendt, and many other thinkers and writers who laid the groundwork for modernity and still hold keys to understanding it.
Germany is the third-largest economy in the world, and German is the first language of over 95 million people worldwide. Students with a foundation in the language, literature, history, and intellectual revolutions of Germany are prepared to enter a wide variety of vocations. Majors have gone on to postgraduate study in Germany and the United States, and many have entered top-tier law schools and graduate programs. Recent graduates work in fields as diverse as environmental policy, journalism, arts management, consulting, and engineering, as well as in governmental and nongovernmental organizations and businesses.
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First- and second-year German or equivalent.
Number of courses
10 (incl senior req)
Distribution of courses
1 GMAN course in the 150s, at least 1 in the 160s, and at least 1 in the 170s; 4 courses in area of concentration and 2 electives (numbered GMAN 160 and above) from Groups B and C;Literature concentration—at least 1 course each in 19th- and 20th-century literature
With DUS approval, some substitutions and exceptions may be possible
Senior essay tutorial (GMAN 492)
Two-term senior essay (GMAN 492 and 493)
English language requirement:
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* DUTC 130a, Intermediate Dutch I Paul North
Continued development of reading, writing, and speaking proficiency in Dutch. Students review and improve grammar skills, expand their vocabulary, read newspaper articles, and watch and listen to Dutch newscasts. Prerequisite: DUTC 120 or equivalent. Course taught through distance learning using videoconferencing technology from Columbia University. Enrollment limited; interested students should e-mail [email protected] for more information. L3 RP 1½ Course cr
* DUTC 140b, Intermediate Dutch II Staff
Use of authentic Dutch texts to expand proficiency in the language and familiarity with the culture. Focus on Dutch cultural themes that reflect students' interests and fields of study. Readings include a novel and news articles on current events. Prerequisite: DUTC 130. Course includes students from Cornell University via videoconference. L4 1½ Course cr
* DUTC 150a, Advanced Dutch Paul North
Continuation of DUTC 140. Focus on improvement of grammatical knowledge; proficiency in reading, writing, and speaking Dutch; and cultural insight and knowledge of Amsterdam and the Netherlands. Prerequisite:DUTC 140 or equivalent. Course taught through distance learning using videoconferencing technology from Columbia University. Enrollment limited; interested students should e-mail [email protected] for more information. L5
* GMAN 110a or b, Elementary German I Staff
A beginning content- and task-based course that focuses on the acquisition of spoken and written communication skills, as well as on the development of cultural awareness and of foundations in grammar and vocabulary. Topics such as school, family life, and housing. Course materials include a variety of authentic readings, a feature film, and shorter video clips. Tutors are available for extra help. To be followed by GMAN 120. Enrollment limited to 14 per section. Credit only on completion of GMAN 120. Students must preregister through Preference Selection during the online preregistration period. Details and a link to Preference Selection are provided on the German department Web site at http://german.yale.edu. L1 1½ Course cr
GMAN 120a or b, Elementary German II Staff
Continuation of GMAN 110. A content- and task-based course that focuses on the acquisition of communicative competence in speaking and writing and on the development of strong cultural awareness. Topics such as multiculturalism, food, childhood, and travel; units on Switzerland and Austria. Course materials include a variety of authentic readings, a feature film, and shorter video clips. Tutors are available for extra help. To be followed by GMAN 130. Enrollment limited to 14 per section. Students must preregister through Preference Selection during the online preregistration period. Details and a link to Preference Selection are provided on the German department Web site at http://german.yale.edu. L2 1½ Course cr
GMAN 125a, Intensive German I Patrick Wolf
Intensive training in speaking, reading, writing, and comprehending the language. Focus on the mastery of formal grammar. For beginning students of superior linguistic ability. L1, L2 2 Course cr
GMAN 130a or b, Intermediate German I Staff
Builds on and expands knowledge acquired in GMAN 120. A content- and task-based course that helps students improve their oral and written linguistic skills and their cultural awareness through a variety of materials related to German literature, culture, history, and politics. Course materials include authentic readings, a feature film, and shorter video clips. Tutors are available for extra help. After GMAN 120 or according to placement examination. Followed by GMAN 140. Enrollment limited to 14 per section. Students must preregister through Preference Selection during the online preregistration period. Details and a link to Preference Selection are provided on the German department Web site at http://german.yale.edu. L3 1½ Course cr
GMAN 140a or b, Intermediate German II Staff
Builds on and expands knowledge acquired in GMAN 130. A content- and task-based course that helps students improve their oral and written linguistic skills and their cultural awareness through a variety of materials related to German literature, culture, history, and politics. Course materials include authentic readings, a feature film, and shorter video clips. Tutors are available for extra help. After GMAN 130 or according to placement examination. Normally followed by GMAN 150 or, with permission of the director of undergraduate studies, by GMAN 171. Enrollment limited to 14 per section. Students must preregister through Preference Selection during the online preregistration period. Details and a link to Preference Selection are provided on the German department Web site at http://german.yale.edu. L4 1½ Course cr
GMAN 145b, Intensive German II Patrick Wolf
Continuation of GMAN 125. Focus on speaking, writing, and the conversion of grammatical knowledge into reading competence for literary and scholarly purposes. Prerequisite: GMAN 125. L3, L4 RP 2 Course cr
* GMAN 150a, Advanced German I Theresa Schenker
An advanced language course intended to improve students' proficiency in aural and reading comprehension, as well as in speaking and writing. Discussion of literary texts by major German authors. Emphasis on vocabulary expansion with specialized grammatical review and a focus on stylistic development in students' writing. Recommended for students planning to use the language practically and as preparation for higher-level courses in both language and literature. After GMAN 140 or 145. For entering students with a score of 5 on the German Advanced Placement test, or according to results of the placement examination. Students must preregister through Preference Selection during the online preregistration period. Details and a link to Preference Selection are provided on the German department Web site at http://german.yale.edu. L5
* GMAN 151b, Exploring Contemporary German Culture Marion Gehlker
Advanced German course focusing on vocabulary expansion through reading practice; stylistic development in writing; and development of conversational German. Critical analysis of selected aspects of contemporary German culture, such as Green Germany, social movements from the 60s to today, the changing "Sozialstaat,” and current events. Prerequisite: GMAN 140 or equivalent. L5
Group B Courses
* GMAN 162a, Contemporary German Culture Marion Gehlker
Analysis and discussion of current social and cultural trends. Topics drawn from newspapers, films, TV series, cabaret, short literary texts, and talks. Focus on oral and written production to improve upper-level linguistic skills. L5, HU
* GMAN 171a, Introduction to German Prose Narrative Regina Karl
Study of key authors and works of the German narrative tradition, with a focus on the development of advanced reading comprehension, writing, and speaking skills. Readings from short stories, novellas, and at least one novel. Writings by exemplary storytellers of the German tradition, such as Goethe, Kleist, Hebel, Hoffmann, Stifter, Keller, Kafka, Mann, Musil, Bachmann, and Bernhard. L5, HU
* GMAN 174b / MUSI 239, Literature and Music Kirk Wetters
An advanced language course addressing the close connection between music and German and Austrian literature. Topics include: musical aesthetics (Hoffmann, Hanslick, Nietzsche, Schoenberg, Adorno); opera (Wagner, Strauss-Hofmansthal, Berg); the "art song" or Lied (Schubert, Mahler, Krenek); fictional narratives (Kleist, Hoffmann, Mörike, Doderer, Bernhard). GMAN 140 or higher. L5, HU
Group C Courses
Unless otherwise indicated, courses in this group are conducted in English with both readings and discussion in English. The courses are open to all students in Yale College.
GMAN 208b / HIST 254b, Germany from Unification to Refugee Crisis Jennifer Allen
The history of Germany from its unification in 1871 through the present. Topics include German nationalism and national unification; the culture and politics of the Weimar Republic; National Socialism and the Holocaust; the division of Germany and the Cold War; the Student Movement and New Social Movements; reunification; and Germany's place in contemporary Europe. HU
GMAN 213a / PHIL 261a, Realism, Idealism, and Romanticism Paul Franks
Investigation of the possibility of individual agency and absolute reason in modernity. Introduction to figures from classical German philosophy such as Kant, Goethe, Mendelssohn, Jacobi, Fichte, Schelling, Schlegel, and Hegel. Themes include realism, idealism, romanticism, skepticism, nihilism, freedom, individuality, systematicity, and romantic irony. HU
* GMAN 225b / FILM 346b / LITR 362b, Intermediality in Film Brigitte Peucker
Film is a hybrid medium, the meeting point of several others. This course focuses on the relationship of film to theater, painting, and video, suggesting that where two media are in evidence, there is usually a third. Topics include space, motion, framing, color, theatricality, tableau vivant, ekphrasis, spectatorship, and new media. Readings feature art historical and film theoretical texts as well as essays pertinent to specific films. Films by Fassbinder, Bergman, von Trier, Jarman, Godard, Haneke, Antonioni, Greenaway and others. HU
GMAN 234a / LITR 244a, German Fairy Tales Henry Sussman
The influence of German fairy tales on the genre of fiction and on the emergence of psychology, psychoanalysis, and folklore. The fairy tale's relation to romanticism; the importance of childhood sensibility to the fields of education, psychology, criticism, and cybernetics; the expansion of children's literature into new mass media. HU
* GMAN 248a / HUMS 236a / LITR 240a, Goethe's Faust Kirk Wetters
Goethe's Faust, with special attention to Faust II and to the genesis of Faust in its various versions throughout Goethe's lifetime. Emphasis on the work in context of Goethe's time and in the later reception and criticism. Reading knowledge of German beneficial but not required. HU
* GMAN 254a / JDST 335a / PHIL 274a, Jewish Philosophy Paul Franks
Introduction to Jewish philosophy, including classical rationalism of Maimonides, classical kabbalah, and Franz Rosenzweig's inheritance of both traditions. Critical examination of concepts arising in and from Jewish life and experience, in a way that illuminates universal problems of leading a meaningful human life in a multicultural and increasingly globalized world. No previous knowledge of Judaism is required. WR, HU
* GMAN 272a / FILM 443a / HUMS 472a, Fear Paul North and Francesco Casetti
Examination of fear, as the pivotal passion in late modernity, through literature, philosophy, and film. Special emphasis on the twentieth century and the way cinema represents, causes, and reflects on fear. None. HU
* GMAN 273a / FILM 319a / LITR 368a, The Third Reich in Postwar German Film, 1945-2007 Jan Hagens
Close study of the intersection of aesthetics and ethics with regard to how German films, since 1945, have dealt with Nazi history. Through the study of German-language films (with subtitles), produced in postwar East, West, and unified Germany through 2007, students consider and challenge perspectives on the Third Reich and postwar Germany, while learning basic categories of film studies. HU
* GMAN 286b, Medieval German Romance and Epic Mary Paddock
Study of three great medieval works of Arthurian romance and courtly epic: Parzival, Tristan, and the Nibelungenlied. Literary transmission in both oral and written cultures, conventions and inventions of courtly narrative, courtly patronage and its historical context, moral and religious codes of knighthood and chivalric heroism. Readings in English translation. WR, HU
* GMAN 308b / LITR 439b, Rilke and Yeats Carol Jacobs
Close readings of individual works by Rainer Maria Rilke and William Butler Yeats, with an eye to the theoretical implications of their writings. HU Tr
* GMAN 315b / HUMS 243b / LITR 431b / PHIL 482b, Systems and Their Theory Henry Sussman
Conceptual systems that have, since the outset of modernity, furnished a format and platform for rigorous thinking at the same time that they have imposed on language the attributes of self-reflexivity, consistency, repetition, purity, and dependability. Texts by Kant, Hegel, Bergson, Kafka, Proust, and Borges. HU
* GMAN 337a / HUMS 240a / LITR 341a, Literature of Travel and Tourism Kirk Wetters
A critical, historical introduction to the functions of travel narratives from the late eighteenth century to the present. Topics include travel and autobiography, fiction versus non-fiction, cosmopolitanism, travel as a means of individual experience and education, anthropology, and the contemporary culture of tourism. Focus will be on four works: Ransmayr's Atlas of an Anxious Man (2012), Sebald's â€‹The Rings of Saturn (1995), Goethe's Italian Journey (1813/1817) and Georg Forster's account of the Cook voyage (1772-1775). readings and discussion in English. WR, HU
* GMAN 375a / HUMS 239a / LITR 436a, Reading Late Capitalism Henry Sussman
The fate of Marxian literature in view of sociocultural history of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Exploration of the parameters and dimensions of Marx's core texts, and pursuit of the fate of such major constructs as the commodity, alienation, class-conflict, and assembly-line manufacture, in the literature, cinema, and theoretical oversight of both centuries. Authors include Flaubert, Zola, Kafka, Lukács, Benjamin, Derrida, Jameson, and Piketty. Previous coursework analyzing elaborate arguments and recognizing different methodological frameworks. WR, HU
* GMAN 376b / HUMS 242b / LITR 246b, Twentieth-Century German Fiction Henry Sussman
Introduction to twentieth-century German fiction. Selected readings range from experimental (Walser, Kafka, Roth, Wolf) to classical (Mann, Musil) and from Austrians (Musil), Germans (Mann, Döblin, Wolf), Swiss (Walser), and Austro-Hungarians (Roth). Topics include: modernist improvisation and the turn to language; undercurrents of mystification and superstition in German thought; and radical political instability and cultural exploration under the Weimar Republic WR, HU
* GMAN 382b / JDST 217 / PHIL 424b, Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit Paul Franks
A close reading of sections of one of the major works in post-Kantian philosophy. Themes include varieties of scepticism and responses to scepticism; the relationship of epistemology to questions concerning structures of social practices of reasoning; the historical character of reason; the relationship between natural processes and social developments; the intersubjectivity of consciousness; and the possibility of a philosophical critique of culture. Attention paid both to commentaries that focus on historical development and to approaches that view historical narratives as allegories whose deeper meaning may be formulated as a logical or semantic theory. Two previous philosophy courses, including some exposure to Kant and German Idealism, through either DRST 004 or PHIL 126 or PHIL 214 or PHIL 261. Students are particularly encouraged but not required to take PHIL 261 before taking this course. HU
* GMAN 415b / HUMS 370b / LITR 233b, Büchner: Between Romantic Comedy and Modern Science Rüdiger Campe
Close reading of works by Georg Büchner, romantic poet and founder of the anticlassical tradition in German literature. The range of Büchner's writings in terms of discourse and performative style, including comedy, tragedy, psychological case study, political pamphlet, philosophical lecture, and scientific paper. Attention to the interrelation between literary and nonliterary semantics. Readings in English and German. Discussion in English. HU
* GMAN 100a, German for Reading Marion Gehlker
Students learn the skills with which to read German-language texts of any difficulty with some fluency. Study of syntax and grammar; practice in close reading and translation of fiction and expository prose in the humanities and sciences. Conducted in English. Does not satisfy the language distributional requirement.
* GMAN 158a / JDST 416a, Reading Yiddish Joshua Price
This course is designed to build literacy in Yiddish, the vernacular of Ashkenazi Jewry. With focus on the accelerated treatment of Yiddish grammar, regularly supplemented with simple primary texts (poems, songs, folktales), and followed by close readings of (modern) Yiddish literature, students will be able to navigate most Yiddish texts with the aid of a dictionary. May not be taken concurrently with elementary or intermediate German.
* GMAN 159b / JDST 418b, Reading Yiddish II Joshua Price
Intermediate study of Yiddish literary language with annotated readings from classic authors including: Mendele, Sholem Aleichem, Peretz, Bergelson, Der Nister, Bashevis, as well as American and Soviet Yiddish poetry. Secondary readings in English will offer a broader introduction to the modern Yiddish canon. Continuation of GMAN 158/JDST 416. Previous knowledge of German or Hebrew-Aramaic recommended but not required.
* GMAN 478a or b, Directed Readings or Individual Research in Germanic Languages and Literatures Paul North
Individual study under faculty supervision. Applicants must submit a prospectus and bibliography approved by the faculty adviser to the director of undergraduate studies. The student meets with the adviser at least one hour each week and takes a final examination or writes a term paper. No credit granted without prior approval of the director of undergraduate studies.
* GMAN 492a and GMAN 493b, The Senior Essay Tutorial Paul North
Preparation of an original essay under the direction of a faculty adviser.
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How to Apply
All applicants for freshman admission must submit one of the following:
Additional requirements for all freshman applicants:
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