Learning German is more than learning a language; it's also the study of a culture and its history. The German Studies program offers a wide range of courses so that the student of German can become proficient in understanding German literature, history, culture, and politics in the context of modern society. At all levels, we encourage a partnership between the study of language and culture.
Courses are offered at all levels, from beginning to advanced, in German and in English, for majors and non-majors. We encourage all of our students, and require majors, to study abroad in either Berlin, Freiburg, or Vienna. The CIEE study abroad program in Berlin is open to students with no language training in German, as well as to intermediate or advanced speakers. While enjoying a broad spectrum of courses in Germany's cultural and political capital, students live with families who give them personal insights into the cultural diversity of this great city. Advanced language students may choose to study abroad in IES programs in Freiburg or Vienna. There, qualified students can take courses either within the IES program itself or enroll directly in classes at the university.
A resident German assistant, sponsored through the Fulbright Program, assists students in grammar and arranges various co-curricular activities such as films, Stammtisch, and Kaffeeklatsch. The German Club, German House, and excursions to cultural centers in Washington and Baltimore all foster a close working relationship between students and faculty. The Gettysburg library holds an impressive collection of contemporary literary texts, films, journals, and newspapers, and critical work in German Studies.
Many German Studies majors and minors choose to double major in fields as diverse as Anthropology, Biology, Globalization Studies, History, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology, or Religion, to name just a few. The German Studies Department has a strong record of sending graduating majors and minors as Fulbright Teaching Assistants to Germany and Austria. Recent German Studies graduates are in graduate school for law, public health, German Studies, and student affairs; they pursue careers ranging from teaching to working for the U.S. Government in Washington.
German Studies Major
By the time a student graduates from Gettysburg College with a German Studies major they will be able to demonstrate
- knowledge of the interdisciplinary conceptual framework of German Studies.
- in-depth knowledge of the cultural history of Germany and/or German-speaking Europe.
- the ability to critically synthesize knowledge and methods acquired over the course of the major in a senior thesis and public presentation.
- at minimum the language proficiency level defined by the ACTFL as Advanced-Mid.
German Studies Minor
By the time a student graduates from Gettysburg College with a German Studies minor they will be able to demonstrate
- familiarity with contemporary issues in Germany.
- some knowledge of modern German culture, including film and literature.
- at minimum the language proficiency level defined by the ACTFL as Advanced-Low.
For students completing their degree May 2015 and later
German 202 or equivalent proficiency is considered a prerequisite to all higher-numbered German courses, unless specified otherwise.
A major consists of a minimum of eleven courses beyond the elementary language level, including:
- 201: Intermediate German (if relevant)
- 202: Intermediate German (if relevant)
- 240: Introduction to German Studies: Methods and Theories
- 301: Advanced German
- 302: Advanced German
- A minimum of three 300-level courses taught in German above the 302 level
- 400: Senior Seminar
- No more than two courses taught in English, selected from the following list of courses:
- First-Year Seminars taught by members of the German Department
- 120: German Literature in Translation
- 225: Yiddish Literature in Translation
- 250: Fairy Tales from Grimms to Disney
- 260: Media Violence/Violence in the Media
- 270: Transnational Writing and Film: Gender, Race, and Ethnicity in the New European Context
- 280: European Cinema
- 351: The German-Jewish Experience
- HIST-218: Modern Germany
- MUS_CLAS-109: W.A. Mozart: The Man and His Music
- PHIL-208: Kant and the 19th Century
- PHIL-366: Great Philosophers – Nietzsche
Majors must spend at least one semester studying in an approved program in a German-speaking country. Majors may count no more than two courses per semester abroad toward the major, or four courses for a year abroad. All majors are required to take at least two German courses in their senior year.
Majors who, by the end of the junior year, have not demonstrated a satisfactory level of competency in reading, writing, speaking, and listening comprehension of German, as determined by the department's staff, will be assigned additional work as necessary and appropriate to the attainment of such competency by the end of the senior year.
A minor consists of a minimum of six courses, including:
- 201: Intermediate German (if relevant)
- 202: Intermediate German (if relevant)
- 301: Advanced German
- 302: Advanced German
- Any 300-level course taught in German above the 302 level.
Students who place into 201 will be permitted to take no more than one course in English that counts toward the minor. Students who place into 301 will be permitted to take two courses in English that count toward the minor. These courses are listed above under the German Major and include GER-240.
Minors are strongly encouraged, but not required, to study abroad in a German-speaking country. Minors may count up to two courses taken abroad for minor credit.
Course ListingCourse level:
100 | 200 | 300 | 400
GER-101 Elementary German
Essentials of grammar, composition, pronunciation. Course includes oral and written work, readings, and use of cultural materials. Intended for students with no previous knowledge of German. Students may not receive credit for 101 and 103.
GER-102 Elementary German
Essentials of grammar, composition, pronunciation. Course includes oral and written work, readings, and use of cultural materials. Prerequisite: German 101 or permission of instructor. Prepares for German 201. Students may not receive credit for 102 and 104.
GER-103 Fundamental German
Essentials of grammar, composition, pronunciation. Course includes oral and written work, readings, and use of cultural materials. Intended for students with some previous knowledge of German who place into 103 through achievement on the language placement exam. Students may not receive credit for 101 and 103.
GER-104 Fundamental German
Essentials of grammar, composition, pronunciation. Course includes oral and written work, readings, and use of cultural materials. Prerequisite: German 103 or permission of the instructor. Prepares for German 201. Students may not receive credit for 102 and 104.
GER-120 German Literature in Translation
Critical analysis and appreciation of form and content of selected German literary texts, films, and other works, together with an examination of the cultural, socio-historical, and political circumstances that produced them. Theme varies each year; contact the German Studies Department for more details. Conducted in English; no knowledge of German required. Fulfills Multiple Inquiries, Humanities curricular requirement.
GER-201 Intermediate German
Review of grammar from either the 101/102 or 103/104 sequence with added complexities of structure and syntax. Progressively more challenging texts introduce German culture. Intended for students who have completed either 102 or 104, or who place into 201 through achievement on the language placement exam.
GER-202 Intermediate German
Continuation of German 201. Progressively more complex texts introduce different aspects of German culture. Prerequisite: German 201 or permission of the instructor. Prepares for German 301.
GER-225 Yiddish Literature in Translation
Introduction to Yiddish literature in modern European and American contexts. Texts examined include short stories, dramas, novels, and poetry by both classic and lesser-known authors, as well as supplementary films and artwork. Topics range from the Germanic origins of the Yiddish language to representations of the shtetl and Eastern Europe, Jewish immigrants in the United States, and marginal figures with respect to gender and sexual difference. Conducted in English. Counts toward minor in Judaic Studies. Fulfills Conceptualizing Diversity curricular requirement.
GER-240 Introduction to German Studies: Methods and Theories
Examines the concept of German Studies as a branch of Cultural Studies. A critical theory seminar that trains students in the analysis of texts from different disciplines and helps to develop a critical vocabulary for scholarly reflection. Aims to develop an awareness and understanding of the manifold linguistic and cultural contexts that have contributed to the body of theory at our disposal in studying culture, and German culture in particular. Conducted in English. Open to all students, but required for all German majors. As a foundational course, it should be taken as early as possible along the major track. Offered every other spring semester (in odd years: 2015, 2017, etc)
GER-250 Fairy Tales from Grimms to Disney
An introduction to both the genre and the analysis of fairy and folktales structured around well-known European fairy tales like those collected and edited by the Brothers Grimm, their variations, and contemporary film adaptations. The first half of the semester is dedicated to becoming familiar with different theories and approaches to fairy tale scholarship. The second half of the semester explores archetypes of the folk narrative and uses different analytical approaches to question meaning.
GER-260 Media Violence/Violence in the Media
Discussion of the aesthetics and political function of violence in literature and visual culture. Topics include cultural negotiations of hierarchies of power in the family, abuse, trauma, terror, war and the representation of the Holocaust. Shorter secondary readings will complement the close reading of German literary texts, film and TV productions, and the discussion of digital games and their (alleged) contribution to the propensity for violence.
GER-270 Transnational Writing and Film: Gender, Race, and Ethnicity in the New European Context
Introduction to transnational writing and film in the European context. Applies theoretical writings on transnationalism to the artistic works of transnational writers and filmmakers living primarily in German-speaking lands. Contemplates the cultural aspects of globalization and mass migrations in the European context and examines the roles gender, race, and ethnicity play in transnational identifications. Conducted in English. Fulfills Conceptualizing Diversity curricular requirement.
GER-280 European Cinema
Introduction to the cinemas of Europe of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Study of well-known movements such as Weimar Expressionism, Italian Neorealism, French Nouvelle Vague, etc. The course challenges the widely accepted binary opposition between European Art Cinema and Hollywood by also considering popular genre cinema. Similarities and differences between national cinemas are studied in their respective historical, cultural, and commercial contexts. Conducted in English. Cross-listed with Film Studies.
GER-301 Advanced Stylistics, Composition, and Conversation.
Continuation of the work of German 201, 202. Designed for advanced work in language and intended for students who have successfully completed German 202 or its equivalent. 301 and 302 offers the opportunity to increase sophistication of written and spoken German in a variety of contexts. Students write professional letters, creative pieces, editorials, film reviews, etc. Media and popular culture provide insight into contemporary German life. Collaborative learning is encouraged; students read and edit each other's work.
GER-302 Advanced Stylistics, Composition, and Conversation.
Designed for advanced work in language and intended for students who have successfully completed German 301. 301 and 302 offer the opportunity to increase sophistication of written and spoken German in a variety of contexts. Students write professional letters, creative pieces, editorials, film reviews, etc. Media and popular culture provide insight into contemporary German life. Collaborative learning is encouraged; students read and edit each other's work.
GER-305 Germany Today
Study of the cultural, social, economic, and political developments in postwar German from 1945 to the present. Extensive use of critical/analytical readings, memoirs, literature, film, newspapers/magazines, and German television. Conducted in German, with additional language practice integrated into the course. Recommended as a bridge course between advanced German language and other 300-level courses.
GER-306 Introduction to German Cinema
This course introduces students to the history of German film from its origins in the late nineteenth century to the present. Study of basic film terminology and theory in order to create the vocabulary and conceptual frameworks necessary to discuss the films under consideration. This course explores the film cultures of the Weimar period, the Third Reich, the postwar era in East and West, and post-unification Germany in their respective social, political, and cultural contexts. Conducted in German, with additional language practice integrated into the course. Recommended as a bridge course between advanced German language and other 300-level courses.
GER-312 Cultural History from Hegel to Hitler
Examines issues in German cultural history from the Enlightenment through World War II. An endeavor in interdisciplinary cultural studies, this course examines social, political, philosophical, and artistic traditions for the two centuries under consideration. It engages a variety of documents: manifestos, literary and journalistic texts, paintings, films, scholarly articles, etc. It explores broader social and cultural trends, conflicts, and debates, many of which continue to shape Germany today. Conducted in German.
GER-320 Generational Shifts in Contemporary German Culture
Exploration of different generational perspectives on key events in twentieth-century German history using contemporary cultural texts. Highlighted are first- and second-, sometimes even third generation views on World War Two, the Holocaust, East Germany, the student movement, and migration. The course offers insight into both the contemporary German cultural landscape as well as ongoing debates on national identity in the post-unification era. Conducted in German. Fulfills Conceptualizing Diversity curricular requirement.
GER-325 German Lit Since 1945
Study of the literature of German-speaking countries from the end of World War II to the present. Course introduces students to authors and genres representing important literary currents and historical developments of the postwar era. Individualized Study Guided reading or research under the supervision of a faculty member. Prerequisite: Permission of department.
GER-331 The Politics of Memory in German Media
A study of contemporary literary, filmic, and journalistic texts as well as monuments and architecture that represent the German history of the twentieth century. What is remembered? What is forgotten? Analysis aims to understand the processes that form cultural memory and national identity, and the tensions inherent in private memory and public commemoration. Conducted in German.
GER-333 German Intellectual History between Utopia and Catastrophe
This course is designed to familiarize students with intellectual traditions and formations such as German idealism, Marxism, anarchism, psychoanalysis, the Frankfurt School, environmentalism, etc. The main focus lies on how these traditions have informed and shaped larger cultural developments not only within Germany but across the globe. Conducted in German.
GER-335 Redefining German: Gender, Nation, Migration
Critical inquiry into changing notions of Germany, Germanness, and the German language. What does it mean to be German in the twenty-first century? Through close examination of literature, film, and other cultural texts, this course considers current topics such as citizenship, national pride, guest workers, religion, ethnicity, gender, and minority visibility. It addresses the pressing question of multiculturalism versus integration. Conducted in German. Counts toward major/minor in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Fulfills Conceptualizing Diversity and Interdisciplinary curricular requirements.
GER-340 Modernity and the Metropolis
Investigation of cities such as Berlin, Vienna, and Prague as sites of early twentieth-century cultural development and contestation that have shaped contemporary notions of urban space in today’s globalizing world. Taking the modern city as a point of departure, this seminar examines various media forms popularized within German-speaking metropolitan centers. Topics covered include avant-garde literary and artistic movements; coffeehouse culture; theater and cinema; the role of mass transportation; and shifting paradigms of gender, work, and economic class. Conducted in German. Fulfills Conceptualizing Diversity curricular requirement.
GER-351 The German-Jewish Experience
Exploration of the history, literature, and culture of Jews in German-speaking lands. With a focus on topics including emancipation, acculturation, religion, race, women and gender, identity, anti-Semitism, and Zionism, this course also considers the impact of East European Jews and Yiddish on German culture. Texts examined range from memoirs and fiction to film, music, and art. Conducted in English; additional German component available for German majors and minors. Counts toward major/minor in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and minor in Judaic Studies. Fulfills Conceptualizing Diversity and Interdisciplinary curricular requirements.
GER-352 The Dream of Flying
Explores the the history of human fascination with flying from the myth of Icarus to Fritz Lang’s “Woman in the Moon” and discuss numerous canonical works of German literature and German audio-visual culture (film and German television). A number of shorter theoretical texts will provide a framework for the discussion of differences and a number of surprising similarities between different periods of German cultural thought.
GER-375 Talking and Silence
Explores a number of canonical works of German literature and audio-visual culture from the 18th to the 21st century. All works discussed partake in the discourse of "Schweigen" - a German term that refers not just to silence but also to the absence of communication, thus connecting romantic notions of "unspeakability", the limits of language, negotiations of trauma, and depictions of censorship. Schweigen will be a common denominator for the discussion of poetry and prose, film, and television productions.
GER-400 Senior Seminar
Capstone course for German majors. Intensive study of selected aspects of German culture. Students begin working with instructor at the end of their Junior year to choose individual senior thesis topics. The course culminates in a written thesis and public presentation of the thesis. Conducted in German.
GER-450 Individualized Study-Tutorial
Individualized tutorial counting toward the minimum requirements in a major or minor, graded A-F
GER-451 Individualized Study-Tutorial
Individualized tutorial counting toward the minimum requirements in a major or minor, graded S/U
GER-452 Individualized Study-Tutorial
Individualized tutorial not counting in the minimum requirements in a major or minor, graded A-F
GER-453 Individualized Study-Tutorial
Individualized tutorial not counting in the minimum requirements in a major or minor, graded S/U
GER-460 Individualized Study-Research
Individualized research counting toward the minimum requirements in a major or minor, graded A-F
GER-461 Individualized Study-Research
Individualized research counting toward the minimum requirements in a major or minor, graded S/U
GER-462 Individualized Study-Research
Individualized research not counting in the minimum requirements in a major or minor, graded A-F
GER-463 Individualized Study-Research
Individualized research not counting in the minimum requirements in a major or minor graded S/U
GER-470 Individualized Study-Internship
Internship counting toward the minimum requirements in a major or minor, graded A-F
GER-471 Individualized Study-Intern
Internship counting toward the minimum requirements in a major or minor, graded S/U
GER-472 Individualized Study-Internship
Internship not counting in the minimum requirements in a major or minor, graded A-F
GER-473 Individualized Study-Internship
Internship not counting in the minimum requirements in a major or minor, graded S/U
GER-474 Summer Internship
Summer Internship graded A-F, counting in the minimum requirements for a major or minor only with written permission filed in the Registrar's Office.
GER-475 Summer Internship
Summer Internship graded S/U, counting in the minimum requirements for a major or minor only with written permission filed in the Registrar's Office