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German and German Studies

Professor of German and Comparative Literature:
Azade Seyhan

Associate Professors:
Imke Meyer, Chair
Ulrich Schönherr, at Haverford College

Visiting Assistant Professor:
Christopher Pavsek, at Haverford College

David Kenosian

Affiliated Faculty:
Robert J. Dostal
Richard Freedman, at Haverford College
Carol J. Hager
Carola Hein
Christiane Hertel
Lisa Saltzman
Kathleen Wright, at Haverford College

The Department of German draws upon the expertise of the German faculty at both Bryn Mawr and Haverford Colleges to offer a broadly conceived German Studies program, incorporating a variety of courses and major options. The purpose of the major in German is to lay the foundation for a critical understanding of German culture in its contemporary international context and its larger political, social and intellectual history. To this end we encourage a thorough and comparative study of the German language and culture through its linguistic and literary history, systems of thought, institutions, political configurations, and arts and sciences.

The German program aims, by means of various methodological approaches to the study of another language, to foster critical thinking, expository writing skills, understanding of the diversity of culture(s), and the ability to respond creatively to the challenges posed by cultural difference in an increasingly multicultural world. Course offerings are intended to serve both students with particular interests in German literature and literary theory and criticism, and those interested in studying German and German-speaking cultures from the perspective of communication arts, film, history, history of ideas, history of art and architecture, history of religion, institutions, linguistics, mass media, philosophy, politics, and urban anthropology and folklore.

A thorough knowledge of German is a common goal for both major concentrations. The objective of our language instruction is to teach students communicative skills that would enable them to function effectively in authentic conditions of language use and to speak and write in idiomatic German. A major component of all German courses is the examination of issues that underline the cosmopolitanism as well as the specificity and complexity of contemporary German culture. Many German majors can and are encouraged to take courses in interdisciplinary areas, such as Comparative Literature, Feminist and Gender Studies, Growth and Structure of Cities, History, History of Art, Music, Philosophy and Political Science, where they read works of criticism in these areas in the original German.

Major Requirements

The German major consists of 10 units. All courses at the 200 or 300 level count toward the major requirements, either in a literature concentration or in a German Studies concentration. A literature concentration normally follows the sequence 201 and/or 202; 209 or 212, or 214, 215; plus additional courses to complete the 10 units, two of them at the 300 level; and finally one semester of Senior Conference. A German Studies major normally includes 223 and/or 224; one 200- and one 300-level course in German literature; three courses (at least at the 300 level) in subjects central to aspects of German culture, history or politics; and one semester of German 321 (Advanced Topics in German Cultural Studies). Within each concentration, courses need to be selected so as to achieve a reasonable breadth, but also a degree of disciplinary coherence. Within departmental offerings, German 201 and 202 (Advanced Training) strongly emphasize the development of conversational, writing and interpretive skills. German majors are encouraged, when possible, to take work in at least one foreign language other than German.


Any student who has completed a senior thesis and whose grade point average in the major at the end of the senior year is 3.8 or higher qualifies for departmental honors. Students who have completed a thesis and whose major grade point average at the end of the senior year is 3.6 or higher, but not 3.8, are eligible to be discussed as candidates for departmental honors. A student in this range of eligibility must be sponsored by at least one faculty member with whom she has done coursework, and at least one other faculty member must read some of the student’s advanced work and agree on the excellence of the work in order for departmental honors to be awarded. If there is a sharp difference of opinion, additional readers will serve as needed.

Minor Requirements

A minor in German and German Studies consists of seven units of work. To earn a minor, students are normally required to take German 201 or 202, and four additional units covering a reasonable range of study topics, of which at least one unit is at the 300 level. Additional upper-level courses in the broader area of German Studies may be counted toward the seven units with the approval of the department.

Study Abroad

Students majoring in German are encouraged to spend some time in German-speaking countries in the c ourse of their undergraduate studies. Various possibilities are available: summer work programs, DAAD (German Academic Exchange) scholarships for summer courses at German universities, and selected junior year abroad programs.

Students of German are also encouraged to take advantage of the many opportunities on both campuses for immersion programs in German language and culture: residence in Haffner Hall foreign language apartments; the German Film Series; the German Lecture Series; the weekly Stammtisch; and more informal conversational groups attended by faculty.

GERM B001-GERM B002. Elementary German

Meets five hours a week with the individual class instructor, two hours with student drill instructors. Strong emphasis on communicative competence both in spoken and written German in a larger cultural context. This is a year-long course; both semesters are required for credit. (staff)

GERM B101, GERM B102. Intermediate German

Thorough review of grammar, exercises in composition and conversation. Enforcement of correct grammatical patterns and idiomatic use of language. Study of selected literary and cultural texts and films from German-speaking countries. Two semesters. (staff)

GERM B201. Advanced Training: Language, Text, Context

Emphasis on the development of conversational, writing and interpretive skills through an introductory study of German political, cultural and intellectual life and history, including public debate, institutional practices, mass media, cross-cultural currents, folklore, fashion and advertising. Course content may vary. (Meyer, Pavsek, Schönherr, Seyhan, Division III)

GERM B202. Introduction to German Studies

Interdisciplinary and historical approaches to the study of German language and culture. Selected texts for study are drawn from autobiography, anthropology, Märchen, satire, philosophical essays and fables, art and film criticism, discourses of gender, travel writing, cultural productions of minority groups, and scientific and journalistic writings. Emphasis is on a critical understanding of issues such as linguistic imperialism and exclusion, language and power, gender and language, and ideology and language. (Meyer, Pavsek, Schönherr, Seyhan, Division I or III)

GERM B209. Introduction to Literary Analysis: Philosophical Approaches to Criticism

A focus on applications and implications of theoretical and aesthetic models of knowledge for the study of literary works. (Seyhan, Division I or III; cross-listed as Comparative Literature 209 and Philosophy 209)

GERM B212. Readings in German Intellectual History

Study of selected texts of German intellectual history, introducing representative works of Theodor W. Adorno, Hannah Arend, Walter Benjamin, Sigmund Freud, Jürgen Habermas, Georg W. F. Hegel, Martin Heidegger, Werner Heisenberg, Immanuel Kant, G. E. Lessing, Karl Marx, Friedrich Nietzsche, Friedrich Schiller and Ludwig Wittgenstein. The course aims to introduce students to an advanced cultural reading range and the languages and terminology of humanistic disciplines in German-speaking countries, and seeks to develop their critical and interpretive skills. (Meyer, Pavsek, Schönherr, Seyhan, Division III; cross-listed as Philosophy 204) Not offered in 2004-05.

GERM B214, GERM B215. Survey of Literature in German

A study of the major periods of German literature within a cultural and historical context, including representative texts for each period. Previous topic: Music, Politics and Gender in German Literature. (Meyer, Pavsek, Schönherr, Division III)

GERM B223. Topics in German Cultural Studies

Course content varies. Topic for fall 2004: Kafka's Prague. Topic for spring 2005: Politics and Utopia in European Film. (Kenosian, Pavsek, Division I or III; cross-listed as Growth and Structure of Cities 230)

GERM B227. Modern Planning: The European Metropolis

(Hein, Division III; cross-listed as Growth and Structure of Cities 227 and History of Art 227)

GERM B231. Cultural Profiles in Modern Exile

This course investigates the anthropological, philosophical, psychological, cultural and literary aspects of modern exile. It studies exile as experience and metaphor in the context of modernity, and examines the structure of the relationship between imagined/remembered homelands and transnational identities, and the dialectics of language loss and bi- and multilingualism. Particular attention is given to the psychocultural dimensions of linguistic exclusion and loss. Readings of works by Friedrich Nietzsche, Sigmund Freud, Milan Kundera, Salman Rushdie, Julia Alvarez, Anita Desai and others. (Seyhan, Division III; cross-listed as Anthropology 231 and Comparative Literature 231) Not offered in 2004-05.

GERM B245. Interdisciplinary Approaches to German Literature and Culture

Course content varies. Topic for spring 2005: Sexualities and Gender in German Literature and Film. (Meyer, Seyhan, Division III; cross-listed as Comparative Literature 245 and History of Art 246)

GERM B262. Film and the German Literary Imagination

This course provides an introduction to narrative structures and strategies in fiction and film. It focuses on the different ways written texts and visual media tell their stories, represent their times and promote forms of historical and cultural remembering. Topic for fall 2004: Film before World War II. (Pavsek, Seyhan, Division III)

GERM B299. Cultural Diversity and Its Representations

A focus on representations of "foreignness" and "others" in selected German works since the 18th century, including works of art, social texts and film, and on the cultural productions of non-German writers and artists living in Germany today. Topic for fall 2004: Diaspora Film in Germany. (Seyhan, Division III; cross-listed as Comparative Literature 299 and History of Art 298)

GERM B305. Modern German Drama

Theory and practice of dramatic arts in selected plays by major German, Austrian and Swiss playwrights from the 18th century to the present. Previous topics include: German Drama: Family Affairs, 1770-2000. (Meyer, Seyhan, Division III) Not offered in 2004-05.

GERM B308. Political Transformation in Eastern and Western Europe: Germany and Its Neighbors

(Hager, Division I; cross-listed as Political Science 308)

GERM B320. Topics in German Literature

Course content varies. Previous topics include Configurations of Femininity in German Literature, Nietzsche and Modern Cultural Criticism, and Sex-Crime-Madness: The Birth of Modernism and the Aesthetics of Transgression. Topics for fall 2004: Romantic Literary Theory and Literary Modernity; Contemporary German Fiction. (Meyer, Schönherr, Seyhan, Division III; cross-listed as Comparative Literature 320)

GERM B321. Advanced Topics in German Cultural Studies

Course content varies. Previous topics include Masculinity and Femininity in German Cinema, Vienna 1900, and Gender in German Literature and Film, 1900-2000. Topic for fall 2004: War, Catastrophes and the City. Topic for spring 2005: Berlin in the 1920s. (Hein, Meyer, Schönherr, Seyhan, Division III; cross-listed as Anthropology 359, Growth and Structure of Cities 319 and 360, and History of Art 359)

GERM B348. Topics in German Art

Course content varies. Topic for fall 2004: Dresden Art and Architecture. (Hertel, Saltzman, Division III; cross-listed as History of Art 348)

GERM B380. Topics in Contemporary Art: Visual Culture and the Holocaust

(Saltzman, Division III; cross-listed as Hebrew and Judaic Studies 380 and History of Art 380). Not offered in 2004-05.

GERM B399. Senior Conference


GERM B403. Independent Study


In addition to courses that focus on the study of German language, culture and civilization offered by the Department of German, courses relating to any aspect of German culture, history and politics given in other departments can count toward requirements for a major or minor in German Studies. This is particularly true of courses in Comparative Literature, Feminist and Gender Studies, Film, Growth and Structure of Cities, History, History of Art, Music, Philosophy, Political Science and Theater. The following courses currently offered at Bryn Mawr College are recommended electives for German Studies majors (see descriptions under individual departments):

Comparative Literature
210. Women and Opera

248. German Histories: 19th-20th Centuries

329. Wittgenstein

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