2009-2010 Undergraduate Catalog

German and German Studies

Students may complete a major or minor in German and German Studies.


Imke Meyer, Professor and Co-Chair
Ulrich Schönherr, Associate Professor and Co-Chair


Bryn Mawr College
David Kenosian, Lecturer
Imke Meyer, Professor and Co-Chair
Azade Seyhan, Professor

Haverford College
Imke Brust, Visiting Assistant Professor
Ulrich Schönherr, Associate Professor and Co-Chair

The Bryn Mawr-Haverford Bi-College 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 and German Studies is to lay the foundation for a critical understanding of German culture in its contemporary global 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 global 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 goal for both major concentrations. The objective of our language instruction is to teach students communicative skills that 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. German majors can and are encouraged to take courses in interdisciplinary areas, such as comparative literature, film, gender and sexuality 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. Courses relating to any aspect of German culture, history, and politics given in other departments can count toward requirements for the major or minor.

College Foreign Language Requirement

The College’s foreign language requirement may be satisfied by completing GERM 101 and 102 with an average grade of at least 2.0 or with a grade of 2.0 or better in GERM 102.

Major Requirements

The German and German studies 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 or 245; one 200- and one 300-level course in German literature; three courses (at least one at the 300 level) in subjects central to aspects of German culture, history, or politics; and one semester of GERM 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, GERM 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 GERM 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 course 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.

GERM B/H001, B/H002 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. (Brust, Kenosian, Meyer, Language Level 1)

GERM B/H101, B/H102 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. (Kenosian, Meyer, Schönherr, Seyhan, Language Level 2)

GERM H201 Advanced Training: Language, Text, Context

Emphasis on the development of conversational, writing, and interpretive skills through an introductory study of German cultural, intellectual, and political life and history, including literature, film, public debate, institutional practices, mass media, pop culture, cross-cultural currents, and folklore. Course content may vary. (Schönherr, Division I or 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, history, 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, 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 III; cross-listed as COML B209 and PHIL B209)

GERM B212 Readings in German Intellectual History

Study of selected texts of German intellectual history, introducing representative works of thinkers such as Theodor W. Adorno, Hannah Arendt, 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 terminologies of humanistic disciplines in German-speaking countries, and seeks to develop their critical and interpretive skills. Course content varies. Topic for Spring 2010: Marx, Nietzsche, Freud, and the Rhetoric of Modernity. Previous topics include: The Enlightenment and Its Critics. (Meyer, Schönherr, Seyhan, Division III; cross-listed as PHIL B204)

GERM H215 Survey of German Literature

This course introduces selected periods and genres of German-language literature in a European and/or global context. Course content varies. (Brust, Kenosian, Division III)

GERM B/H223 Topics in German Cultural Studies

Course content varies. Topic for Fall 2009: Writing Nations: Africa and Europe. Topic for Spring 2010: History in European and Middle Eastern Literature. Previous topics include: Kafka’s Prague; Decadent Munich 1890-1925. (Brust, Kenosian, Division I or III; cross-listed as CITY B247, COML B223, HART B223, and HIST B247)

GERM H224 Topics in German Visual Culture

Course content varies. Topic for Spring 2010: New German Cinema. (Brust, Division III)

GERM B231 Cultural Profiles in Modern Exile: Ethnographies of Memory: Women’s Narratives on Modern Migrancy, Exile, and Diaspora

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 multi-lingualism. Particular attention is given to the psychocultural dimensions of linguistic exclusion and loss. Readings of works by Julia Alvarez, Anita Desai, Sigmund Freud, Milan Kundera, Friedrich Nietzsche, Salman Rushdie, and others. (Seyhan, Division III; cross-listed as ANTH B231 and COML B231)

GERM B245 Interdisciplinary Approaches to German Literature and Culture

Course content varies. Topic for Fall 2009: Nation and Identity in Post-War Austrian Literature and Film Previous topics include: Sexualities and Gender in German Literature and Film. (Meyer, Division III; cross-listed as COML B245)

GERM B262 Film and the German Literary Imagination

Course content varies. Previous topics include: Foreign Affairs: Travel in Post-War German and Austrian Film; Global Masculinities: The Male Body in Contemporary Cinema. (Meyer, Division III) Not offered in 2009-10.

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 Spring 2009: Middle Eastern Cultures in Contemporary Germany. (Seyhan, Division I or III; cross-listed as CITY B299 and COML B299) Not offered in 2009-10.

GERM B303 Modern German Prose

This course focuses on selected genres, periods, and/or themes in German-language narratives. It also asks about the ways in which narratives create and shape meanings, identities, and histories that both reflect and deeply affect the cultural contexts from which they emerge. The course also situates selected German prose fiction in a European and/or global context. Course content varies. Topic for Fall 2009: Tall Tales: Modern German Prose Fiction 1795-2000. (Meyer, Division III)

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. Course content varies. Previous topics include: Dangerous Liaisons: Monogamy and Polygamy in Modern German Drama; Faust: Approaches to Legend in Literature, Drama, and Film; Representations of Family in German Drama. (Seyhan, Meyer, Division III; cross-listed as COML B305) Not offered in 2009-10.

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

(Hager, Division I; cross-listed as POLS B308) Not offered in 2009-10.

GERM B310 Topics in German Literature

Course content varies. Previous topics include: Decadent Munich: 1890-1925. (Kenosian, Division III; cross-listed as CITY B322) Not offered in 2009-10.

GERM B320 Topics in German Literature and Culture

Course content varies. Previous topics include: Contemporary German Fiction; Romantic Literary Theory and Literary Modernity; Configurations of Femininity in German Literature; and Nietzsche and Modern Cultural Criticism. (Meyer, Schönherr, Seyhan, Division III; cross-listed as COML B320, ENGL B320, HART B320, and HEBR B320) Not offered in 2009-10.

GERM B321 Advanced Topics in German Cultural Studies

Course content varies. Topic for Spring 2010: Picturing Gender: Masculinity and Femininity in German Cinema. Previous topics include: Vienna 1900; Berlin in the 1920s; and Kafka’s Prague. (Kenosian, Meyer, Schönherr, Seyhan, Division III; cross-listed as CITY B319 and COML B321)

GERM H359 Music—Text—Performance

This course explores the rich and diverse representation of music in all its socio-aesthetic complexity from antiquity to the present. The thematic scope will range from mythological, philosophical, and religious interpretations of music through issues of gender, race, and politics in literature and opera, to theories of media, operatic performances, and psychoanalytical implications of voice and sound. (Schönherr, Division III)

GERM B380 Topics in Contemporary Art

(Saltzman, Division III; cross-listed as HART B380 and HEBR B380) Not offered in 2009-10.

GERM B/H399 Senior Seminar

(Kenosian, Meyer, Schönherr, Seyhan)

GERM B403 Supervised Work


GERM B421 German for Reading Knowledge

This course will provide graduate and undergraduate students with the skills to read and translate challenging academic texts from German into English. We will quickly cover the essentials of German grammar and focus on vocabulary and constructions that one can encounter in scholarly writing from a variety of disciplines. Does not fulfill the Language Requirement. (Kenosian)