German 298. Experimental Courses
These courses are taught in English. German majors have the option to get 300-level credit with extra reading and work assignments in German.
The Monstrous and the Marvelous: German Fairy Tales and Folklore
This course examines the role of folktales, fables, and fairy tales in cultural, socio-political, as well as economic contexts. In so doing, we will identify the main structural components of German fairy tale narratives and investigate their influences in children’s psychological development and traditional gender roles, as well as the means by which fairy tale and folk motifs are transferred to other media, such as film and music.
It also focuses on the intersection of folklore with national identity, the clash between high and low culture, and gender stereotypes over the last two centuries. We begin with the efforts of the Grimm brothers to catalogue and present the people’s art to the public in sanitized versions. We then move on to fantasy texts authored by the German elite that sought to improve upon folk art. To explore the gendered roles now associated with fairy tales, we turn to Walt Disney’s appropriation of the medium. The midterm exam will cover the history and methodology of studying folklore. You will be required to collect your own fantastic story and analyze it in a short essay. The final exam will be conducted on an individual basis in the form of a presentation and a brief question and answer session.
The course is designed for those who seek to practice and develop conversational skills in German. By discussing authentic German texts, film clips and audio tapes on a variety of topics we will practice strategies for conversations, debates and argumentations. Class will include hands-on grammar exercises to foster and bolster grammatical knowledge necessary for conversation.
Introduction to German Literature
This course, taught in English, introduces students to the literary and cultural world of German-speaking countries. Through an eclectic selection of text and other visual materials, we will study literary works of different periods (18th-century to 21st-century) and genres (novel, short story, drama, poetry) in their cultural and sociopolitical contexts.