Germanic Languages | Introduction to Contemporary Germany
G362 | 3611 | Robinson


Topic: Introduction to Contemporary Germany

Course Description:
This course is an introduction to contemporary German culture. In
order to wrap our thoughts around what is contemporary, we begin with
the aftermath of the First World War in Germany’s Weimar Republic. We
end by anticipating 21st century developments toward a post-national
Germany in the framework of the European Union. In the first part of
the course, we consider important epochs of German history from the
WWI through Nazism and the post-WWII division and reunification of
Germany. In the second part of the course we focus on cultural
milestones in architecture, literature, film, and mass media, in order
to understand how the relationship between culture and society shapes
national and non-national identities. In the last part of the course,
we use our knowledge of major epochs and major cultural developments
to engage with the contemporary theoretical debates over issues such
as what a European Union constitution should look like and what place
religious, ethnic and gender identities have in a changing German
national framework.
Course goals include: 1) developing analytical tools (and theoretical
vocabulary) for the criticism of modern culture; 2) developing your
sense of the major divisions in various media of 20th-21st century
German (such as architecture and film); 3) developing your ability to
relate cultural milestones to social and political history; 4)
learning to closely analyze individual works with respect to their
general cultural significance; 5) improving your spoken and written
German.

Your grade is based on participation (20%), forum posting (20%),
wiki-site (20%), midterm (15%) and final (25%).

Textbook:
Fritz Stern, Five Germanys I Have Known (Paperback)
Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 1st edition
ISBN-10: 0374530866
ISBN-13: 978-0374530860