Elementary German (50:470:101 and 102)

This is the basic introduction to the German language. It provides crucial communicative skills and a solid foundation for further study in German, as well as an introduction to German culture.

Elementary German I (101) assumes no prior knowledge of German, no prior experience with another foreign language, and no knowledge of grammar terminology. It is for beginners. 

Elementary German II (102) is the continuation of 101 and is also the appropriate starting point for most students who had one year of German in high school.

Students who took German in high school or have learned the language to some degree in some other way should take the online placement test to determine which course to take. 

Study of a foreign language through at least the 102 level is a graduation requirement in the College of Arts and Sciences. 

Regardless of placement test results, students who have had three years of German in high school may not take 101 for credit; students who have had more than three years in high school may not take 102 for credit.

Intermediate German (50:470:131 and 132)

The course provides a complete review of German grammar. In addition, reading texts are discussed in German. Fifteen to twenty minutes in each meeting are reserved for conversation about any topic that comes up. This prepares students for the next higher course, Conversation and Composition. Students who have had two or more years of high school German should normally enroll in this course. 

German Cinema in Translation 1 (50:470:271)

We will study early German cinema from the 1920’s and 30’s, in which Expressionism is the key artistic movement; films studied include The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Metropolis, Nosferatu,The Blue Angel and M; we will then study two of the most famous propaganda movies produced during the Nazi period – Triumph of the Will and  Olympia. Finally, we will  assess the renaissance of German cinema in the 1970’s and early 80’s by focusing on the work of two key directors – Werner Herzog and Rainer Fassbinder.

German Cinema in English Translation (50:470:272)

The course examines some of the most influential German movies of the last twenty years. The movies chosen for study have all enjoyed commercial success as well as critical acclaim. Eight movies will be studied, under the following three categories: 1. Depiction of World War II; 2. Life in East Germany up to the Reunification in 1989; 3. Life on the Margin. The three categories will be used as a sounding board to examine how the movies reflect the contemporary and recent political, social and cultural climate of Germany. The movies will all be available on a free stream provided by Rutgers throughout the semester, to view anytime. Other movies with similar themes will be referenced, but these are the movies we will concentrate on:

  1. Depiction of World War II: Downfall (2004), Sophie Scholl (2005)
  2. Life in East Germany: Goodbye Lenin! (2003), The Lives of Others (2008)
  3. Life on the Margin:   Run, Lola, Run! (1998), Perfume (2006), A Coffee in Berlin (2012), Victoria (2015) 

Advanced Grammar and Stylistics (50:470:301)

Can anyone make sense of German gender? What are all those cases for, again? How does the endings system work? What is the subjunctive? How do I use the passive voice? These are some of the questions that will be answered in Advanced Grammar.

The course provides a comprehensive review of German grammar, with special emphasis on areas that tend to be problematic, as well as an introduction to the concept of stylistic registers and practice in writing in different styles. This is where you get the chance to relearn all the things you didn’t quite master in Elementary and Intermediate, or have halfway forgotten. It’s also the place to finally really learn some things like the subjunctives and the passive, which you have surely been exposed to, but perhaps only briefly. And this course will also introduce you to some grammatical fine points that you probably never even thought of. But it will also provide some degree of an introduction to understanding better why things are the way they are and how you can explain them. And finally, it will provide some understanding of how the German language is used differently in different contexts, and how informal conversation is different from a literary text, which is in turn different from a business letter or a scholarly book.  

German Conversation and Composition I (50:470:305)

This will be a multi-level course designed to serve the needs of all German students above the Elementary level. Students with a German placement of 131 or higher, as well as continuing German students at all levels, should take this course.

The course will improve speaking, understanding, writing, and reading skills, as well as enhancing awareness and understanding of German life and culture. In Fall, 2017, given expressed student interests and considering the German parliamentary election that is coming up during the semester, the course will focus on German political structures and on business and the economy. Other thematic areas such German entertainment media and sports, etc., may be addressed, depending on student needs and interests.

Students may enter the course at various levels. Individual and small group work as well the extensive use of digital technology will allow course materials to be tailored to individual needs and interests. 


German Culture and Civilization (470:339)


In Fall 2018, this will be the primary German course for all students above 102. New students with placements of 131 and up should take this course, as should all continuing German students.

German Culture and Civilization will cover a variety of topics in German culture and language. Tentative cultural goals for the Fall of 2018 include understanding German national identities, immigration in Germany, German geography, some knowledge of German history, German music, and German visual arts.

Tentative grammar goals will include control of verb second and verb last word order, work on what to put first in a German sentence, command of the case system, control  of noun phrase morphology, better command of subjunctives and conditional sentences.

We will use a variety of strategies to make the course work for students on multiple levels.

The basic goal of the course will be to make sure that every student completes the course with a higher level of competency in spoken and written German and a greater knowledge of German culture and civilization than he or she had at the beginning of the course.

While we will have a plan to cover certain areas of grammar, vocabulary, and cultural competence, and a general concept of using various media, many details will be determined after we see enrollment and learn something about the students in the class. We may have different assignments for different students on different levels. We may even move large amounts of routine work to the online platform, Sakai, and then have for example, one class meeting per week for students on an intermediate level, and one for students on a more advanced level.


World War II in German Film (50:470:386, may be listed as Special Topics in German Cinema)

US or British film makers depicting World War II may choose to play up the aspect of heroic adventure, as many older films did, or they may choose to emphasize the horror and the cost, as films like Saving Private Ryan do, but they almost always work from the assumptions that the war was just and necessary and the Allies fought on morally right side. German filmmakers have even more horrific losses to depict, but they cannot work from the same assumptions; on the contrary, they must deal with the fact that their country was led into the war by a thoroughly evil government and committed, during the war, some of the worst crimes against humanity known to history.  How do filmmakers deal with the combined grief and guilt that Germany faced after 1945? This course looks at “the other side of World War II” by studying a series of important films from the Nazi era itself through the post-war decades up into the 2000s.

The work of the course will consist of viewing and discussing the films, and writing a variety of short responses and longer essays, probably including a short essay at mid-term and a final paper of about 2.5 – 4  pages. Films are shown in German with English subtitles.  Lectures, discussions, and written work are all in English. German majors and minors may be asked to do the papers in German. 

Germany Today  (50:470:401) -- Taught in German

Starting with a short review of the history of World War II, this course treats the formation and development of the two Germanys, East and West, from 1949-1990, and their unification. Topics treated are Germany’s geography, the individual German states or “Länder” and their regional differences, the German constitution and the Law, political parties, the German Congress or “Bundestag,” and Germany’s chancellors and presidents from 1949-1990. In addition, the course treats German politcal and economical developments and their significance for Europe and the world. 

German Literature in English Translation (50:470:261) -- Taught in German

Stories of knights and ladies, magic rings, mighty warriors, and heroic quests: no, this course does not study modern fantasy literature or Hollywood blockbusters, but German literature of the Middle Ages. Taught entirely in English, the course traces developments in literary history, and introduces students to some of the greatest works of German, indeed of European literature. Partially fulfills Rutgers Camden language requirement under pre-2003 catalogs; satisfies Literature Requirement (4.b.) under 2003 and subsequent catalogs. 

German Literature in English Translation (50:470:261 and 262)

Taught entirely in English, these courses provide a survey of German literature from the Middle Ages through the present. Balanced reading selections trace developments in literary history, and introduce students to the works of acclaimed German authors. In the fall semester, the course (261) generally focusses on earlier literature from the Middle Ages up into the early 19th century. In the spring, the course (262) generally focuses on more modern literature of the 19th and 20th centuries. Partially fulfills Rutgers Camden language requirement under pre-2003 catalogs; satisfies Literature Requirement (4.b.) under 2003 and subsequent catalogs. 

German Cinema in English Translation I: Beginnings through 1945

Course taught in English. Surveys the history and development of German cinema from the beginnings through the end of World War II. The course consists mainly of the viewing and discussion of selected films, including classics such as Nosferatu (the best Dracula movie) and M(the psycho-thriller starring Peter Lorre). Partially fulfills Rutgers Camden language requirement under pre-2003 catalogs; satisfies Literature Requirement (4.b.) under 2003 and subsequent catalogs. Also counts towards the Film Studies minor. 

German Cinema in English Translation II: 1945 to Present

Course taught in English. Surveys the history and development of German cinema from the end of World War II to the present through the viewing and discussion of selected films. Includes a variety of cinematic responses to the war and the Nazi past (The Tin Drum, The Boat), as well as the films of the “New German Cinema” and others. Partially fulfills Rutgers Camden language requirement under pre-2003 catalogs; satisfies Literature Requirement (4.b.) under 2003 and subsequent catalogs. Also counts towards the Film Studies minor. 

German 447: German Literature from 1850 to the Present

This course will serve as an introduction to the study of German literature in German. Students will develop their reading, writing, speaking, and listening abilities in German, as well as learning something about the German literature of the later 19th and 20th centuries. The course is intended for students who have completed 470:132, Intermediate German, or the equivalent. It may be taken at the same time as 470:305, German Conversation and Composition. All German majors and minors who have completed Intermediate should take this course.

German 447 will begin with short, relatively simple readings, and proceed to longer and more difficult texts. The work of the course will consist of the readings, class discussions (in German, although English will be allowed when absolutely necessary), and a variety of written and oral assignments. 

German 448: German Literature from 1850 to the Present

Conducted entirely in German, this course will survey important writers of 20th-century German literature and the cultural and philosophical movements they represent. 

Individual Studies in German (50:470:353 and 493)

Advanced individual study of predetermined topic. Normally limited to German majors with junior or senior standing. By permission only. 

Readings in Special Fields (50:470:458)

Advanced independent study of predetermined topic. Normally limited to German majors with junior or senior standing. By permission only. 

Honors in German (50:470:495)

For senior German majors writing honors theses. By permission only. 

Epic in Word and Image (50:415:489)
 (Fulfills Heritages and Civilizations Requirement in Arts and Scienes; fulfills “foreign language” requirement in School of Business. May be counted towards German major under certain conditions.)

Epic in Word and Image studies the epic tradition in Western culture from Classical Antiquity into the Middle Ages. We will read some of the most important ancient and medieval epics — The Iliad, The Odyssey, The Aeneid, The Nibelungenlied, Parzival, and The Divine Comedy — and we will study important ancient and medieval works of visual art that are related to these epics.

The epic is one of the most important cultural traditions that defined Western culture from the beginnings well into modern times. While the epic in the narrow sense of a long narrative poem has lost its mass audience in the last couple of centuries, the idea of the long fictional narrative about a hero remains at the core of our culture, with sci-fi and fantasy franchises like Star Wars, The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter representing in many ways the continuation of the epic tradition. To study the epic is thus also to study Western culture.

The epic emerges from orality into literacy with Homer, and then again and anew with certain medieval works. Visual artists have also participated in the epic tradition from more or less the beginning; indeed, responses to the epic idea in visual art are probably older than writing. The course studies the epic tradition in oral, literate, and visual manifestations.