German Courses

Courses in Our German Program

Each semester, the German section offers Elementary German I (GERM 1003), Elementary German II (GERM 1013), Intermediate German I (GERM 2003), and Intermediate German II (GERM 2013). We additionally offer advanced classes for students pursuing a German major or minor. The complete list of course offerings can be found in the course catalog.

(Taught by Dr. Condray; Dr. Sterling) Affectionately referred to as “German Boot Camp,” since this class will really help get your German into shape. In fact, this course and its companion course (Advanced German II) are designed to help you pass the Goethe Institute exams, which are internationally-given certification exams that you can list on your resume to prove your level of German proficiency to future employers and graduate schools. Students learn higher level vocabulary (the building block of language), how to distinguish between fine shades of meaning, how to write various kinds of texts, and both review grammar and learn new grammar that is used by educated native speakers (what you will encounter when you read newspapers, study abroad at European universities, etc.) This course also counts toward both the major and the minor.
(MWF 9:40-10:30; 11:50-12:40) 
(Taught by Dr. Hoyer) This is an introduction not only to important works of German literature, but also to strategies for how to read and analyze literature in German as a foreign language. We will begin with shorter texts in order to develop vocabulary and grammatical reading skills, and then read three longer works: “Biedermann und Die Brandstifter” (Frisch), “Die Verwandlung” (Kafka), and “Nathan der Weise” (Lessing). Assignments will include daily reading comprehension exercises and grammar work; there are 4 exams. Taught in German. Counts toward the minor and major.
MWF, 11:55-12:40 
(Taught by Dr. Sterling) A man driven insane by subsisting on a diet of only peas. A cat that comes to life and baffles a confused audience with his surreal attempts at heroism. Jealous lovers, palace intrigue, peasant uprisings, and war crimes tribunals. These fascinating topics and more can be found in the dynamic genre of German drama from the 18th century to present. In this course, we will discuss a range of works including comedies and tragedies; satires, social commentaries, and so-called “documentary” theater; and experimental works criticizing contemporary culture. You will be introduced to central concepts of dramatic theory beginning with Aristotle, and exposed to the work of key German-language dramatists like Lessing, Schiller, Kleist, Hauptmann, Brecht, and Jelinek. There are weekly reading quizzes covering basic plot items, a mid-term, and a final. Counts toward the major and minor. All course discussions and texts are in German.
Wednesdays 4:10-6:40 PM. 
(Taught by Dr. Condray) This course will investigate German migration and national identity from two perspectives: 1) from that of Germans living in other countries who are confronted with what it means to be German by examining the differences between their native and current cultures and 2) from that of groups living within Germany who consider themselves German, wholly or to some extent, yet are not immediately recognized as such by other Germans. We will begin by looking at Arkansas in the 19th century as German immigrants made their home here. We will read excerpts from the work of Friedrich Gerstäcker, a novelist who made his living as a fur trapper and trader in Wild West Arkansas during its territorial years and learn about Das Arkansas Echo, a German weekly newspaper published out of Little Rock from 1891-1932. Then, we will move on to works by Hans-Jürgen Massaquoi, an Afro-German who chronicles surviving his childhood in Germany during the Third Reich and who eventually moved to America and became the head editor of Ebony; by Stefanie Zweig, who writes about how her Jewish family escaped the Third Reich by moving to a farm in Africa; by Jana Hensel, an East German who came of age just as the German Democratic Republic was disintegrating and knew West Germany only as a foreign and hostile country; by Fatih Akin, an award-winning director who explores Turkish / German relations in his films; and by Wladimir Kaminer, a best-selling German writer and immigrant who has published 24 books in 17 years, although he knew no German when he moved to Berlin from Russia in 1989. The course will incorporate traditional literary narrative, autobiography, film, and music. Counts towards the major and the minor; all course discussions and texts are in German.
Thursdays: 3:30-6:00. 
(Taught by Dr. Hoyer) In this course we will examine the literature and art of a very vibrant, dynamic, and chaotic time period in German literary history roughly corresponding to the 1880s to 1933. It has many different names and classifications that we tend to group together under the idea of the “Turn-of-the-Century,” synonymous with “end of an era” (fin-de-siècle). Massive political, social, and epistemological change creates a great deal of anxiety and chaos, but it is precisely in times of anxiety and chaos that we tend to see artistic and literary production blossom. This era is legendary for its multifaceted productivity. Alongside the writings of such ground-breaking authors and poets as Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Franz Kafka, Else Lasker-Schüler, Rainer Maria Rilke, and Thomas Mann, we will study the theoretical musings of Walter Benjamin, the music of Arnold Schönberg, the choreography of Modern Dance, and visual creations by artist Otto Dix, as well as filmmakers G.W. Pabst and Fritz Lang. We will explore the reasons why the art and literature of this epoch represent so much chaos, upheaval, and anxiety, and work to contextualize and didacticize these works and authors in order to understand the deep social, financial, and existential worries of the late 19th and early 20th century in German-speaking countries.
Mondays, 4:10-6:40. 
(Taught by Ms. Devich) This is a course every student who is thinking about studying, working, or researching abroad should take before he/she goes. The course will cover how to navigate everyday German life, with chapters on asking directions, the post office, banks, hotels, the workplace, the university, the doctor’s office, cultural events, the weather, shopping (clothing, food), and apartment hunting. Students take quizzes on vocabulary appropriate to the chapter and roll-play situations such as ordering from a menu or opening a bank account. Additionally, periodic conversations on Blackboard allow students to engage in debates virtually. In an oral mid-term and final, students read a text to show familiarity with pronunciation, roll play situations discussed in class, and discuss themselves and their home country in short speeches. The course counts towards the major and the minor. Especially motivated students can take this course concurrently with GERM 2013 with permission and an override from Dr. Condray (
MWF 9:40 AM - 10:30 AM and 12:55 PM - 1:45 PM  
(Taught by Dr. Sterling) The goal of Advanced German II is to provide students with an organized, thematic review of complex elements of German grammar, from passive voice to indirect discourse. Coursework and homework include regular review of grammar topics, lecture on grammar (in German), reading, vocabulary building; and integrating advanced grammar into writing and speaking. Assignments include homework, tests, short writing assignments, and oral proficiency practice. We will also tackle questions of usage (modal particles, adverbs, word order, distinctions in meaning). At the end of this course, you will know German grammar inside and out AND know how to talk about grammar an important skill for the student of a foreign language. This course seeks also to prepare students for Goethe Institute examinations, internationally accredited German-language certification tests. Students are required to purchase one text (the same text used in German 3003) and also to have a good paper dictionary (i.e. not online) that they can bring to class. This course counts toward both the major and the minor in German.
MWF 10:45 AM - 11:35 AM 
(Taught by Dr. Condray) As the worlds of business and technology become increasingly intertwined, students of each field need to be familiar with the vocabulary and specialized terms used by both.  This course will focus on German used in the work place and will follow a project based approach.  You will develop concrete skills such as constructing a German-style résumé (Lebenslauf), practicing interview skills, describing a project in your field to non-specialists, crafting an elevator speech, and learning to work with a team creatively to solve problems.  We will also discuss business on a larger scale, such as what happens to the economy when disruptive technologies are introduced, investigate individual German companies, and follow tech and business stories in the German media.  Open to all majors.  Prerequisite: GERM 3003, 3013, or instructor consent.  
Tu/Th 9:30 - 10:45 AM
(Taught by Dr. Hoyer) Beginning with the legendary conflict between Rome and the Germanic tribes in 9AD, we will trace historical and cultural developments that consistently pit the “Roman” in the Holy Roman Empire against the “Germanic” in its emperors, all the way to the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire, the beginning of the “Rheinbund” in 1806, and the first stirrings of a German nation-state. Students will have reading homework and questions to answer, periodic grammar homework, one major writing project and one presentation/film. We will discuss everything from war and borders to the development of languages (written and spoken), art, and philosophy, and a lot in between, including the emergence of science, commerce, Christian-Jewish-Muslim relations throughout history, and the development of political parties. Counts towards the major and the minor.
MWF 2:00 - 2:50 PM
(Taught by Dr. Sterling) This course will explore the various responses to the German legacy after 1945, including the clash between exile authors and those who remained in Hitler’s Germany in “inner emigration”; the apolitical literature of Gruppe 47; the rise of radio plays and short stories; literary experiments in poetry, prose, and drama; the political alternatives of East German literature; and finally the backlash of the political student movement in 1968. The year 1945 is viewed by many as a break in German history and literature, the results of which can still be felt today. The horrors of the Holocaust, the oppression of the Hitler regime, the physical destruction of Germany itself, and finally occupation by foreign powers led an entire generation to question the possibility of life and art in the aftermath of indescribable violence. German literature after 1945 is marked by the struggle to understand and overcome the experience of widespread hatred and death, frequently by novel and challenging means. In this course you will read texts from a variety of genres, including dramas (Wolfgang Borchert, “Draußen vor der Tür”), political journals (“Der Ruf”), novels (Günter Grass, “Die Blechtrommel”), radio plays (Ingeborg Bachmann, "Der gute Gott von Manhattan"), short stories (Ilse Aichinger, “Spiegelgeschichte”), and poetry (Paul Celan, Nelly Sachs, Volker Braun, Wolf Biermann). At the end of the semester you will write a comparative paper in which you discuss how two works of different genres address the concerns of the post-war generation in similar and/or disparate ways.


Monday 4:10 - 6:40 PM
(Taught by Dr. Condray) Capstone course open only to graduate students in German that provides a comprehensive review of all of German literature from its beginnings in the Germanic period to the current day.
Th 3:30-6 PM