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Kalamazoo College

Course Guide

GERM 101 – Beginning German I
An introduction to the German language with an emphasis on the personal world. Through communicative activities covering the four language skills (listening, speaking, reading, and writing), students learn to ask and answer questions and share information about themselves, their families, and their daily activities. With lab.

GERM 102 – Beginning German II
Expansion of the skills acquired in GERM 101. Students build on their basic knowledge of everyday German-speaking culture (through topics such as tourism and transportation, health care, and leisure activities), improve their communicative competence, and develop skills needed to negotiate a variety of cultural settings. With lab.
GERM 200 – Myth of a Nation: German Film
One of the most revealing ways to explore the complexities of German history and the construction of national identity in the 20th and 21st centuries is through film. This course examines German cinema as a reflection of one of the most dynamic, if problematic, nations in the modern world. Along with a basic understanding of the terms used in the formal description of film, this course provides students with the socio-historic background to be able to evaluate the role that films played in shaping and reflecting German cultural ideals from the early 20h century through the present. In English.
GERM 201 – Intermediate German
Continued expansion of the skills acquired in GERM 101 and 102. Students further develop their ability to communicate in German and their understanding of the German-speaking world by engaging with increasingly complex topics (such as education, environmental issues, politics, history, and multiculturalism). As in German 101 and 102, all four language skills are practiced, and comparisons between American and German society provide the basis for class discussions. With lab.
Prerequisite: GERM-102

GERM 202 – Reading European Cities
This course addresses the questions of how we may understand a culture by learning to "read" its cities. Texts range from maps, histories, architecture, theories of urbanism and urban ecology, to films, documentaries, memoirs, and music - an array of genres that highlights the status of the modern city as both a physical place and an imaginary construct. The broad aim of course is to provide students with conceptual tools for "reading" a city as well as a new culture critically, and thus to facilitate their intercultural competency. Berlin, Vienna, and Istanbul will serve as case studies for the practice of interpreting urban narratives, and the course will culminate with student research projects and presentations on the cities in which they plan to study abroad, or a city of their choice. In English. This course is a Shared Passages Sophomore Seminar.

GERM 203 – Advanced German I *
This course centers around themes related to life in contemporary Germany, with special emphasis on developing students' writing skills in various genres. In a unit on current events in Germany, for example, students read and listen to news reports, practice vocabulary items and linguistic structures typical of journalistic texts, and finally compose (in multiple drafts) a newspaper article on a topic of their choice. In German, with lab. May be taken after German 204.
Prerequisite: GERM-201

GERM 204 – Advanced German II *
This course centers around children's and youth novels presented within the historical and cultural context of 20th century Germany, with special emphasis on developing students' reading skills and cultural literacy. Continued practice of linguistic structures and systematic vocabulary building are also central to the course. In German, with lab. May be taken before German 203.
Prerequisite: GERM-201

GERM 301 – Introduction to German Cultural Studies *
This course serves as an introduction to upper-level courses in German Cultural Studies. It stresses the central role that culture plays in fostering an understanding of German society, and it introduces students to the tools and theories of cultural analysis. Readings and genres range from literature and film to documentaries, magazine articles, blogs, cartoons, and music, and they may be focused on a single theme across a number of time periods to provide a context toward an understanding of how a particular text reflects cultural identities. In German.
Prerequisite: GERM-203 or GERM-204
GERM 430 – German Literature & Culture
This course examines the changing nature of German culture through a variety of texts (ranging from literature, history, and popular culture to music, architecture, and film) on a particular theme. Possible themes for the course include "German-Jewish Literature and Culture," "Germany Imagines Itself: Culture and Identity in the 18th and 19th Centuries," and "Reading Berlin." May be repeated for credit (consult with the department). In German.
Prerequisite: GERM-301

GERM 435 – Minority Cultures in Germany
This course focuses on Germany as a multicultural society and on related popular cultural discourse. It explores issues surrounding immigration in Germany since 1960, focusing on the period after 1990. It examines various cultural practices as staged in film, fiction, blogs, political articles, Hip Hop, television (documentaries, talk shows, sitcoms), with an emphasis on the constructions of ethnicity, nation, race, class, and gender. We analyze several political and cultural debates that dominated the media in Germany and Europe at large (e.g. the headscarf and integration debates), and read theoretical articles examining the relationship between immigration, culture, and identity. In German.
Prerequisite: GERM 301

GERM 470 – Contemporary German Culture *
This course examines a selection of topics, themes, and issues that are part of the contemporary German cultural and political landscape. These include relations between east and west Germans, efforts to reform German higher education, social challenges posed by Germany's aging populace, German immigration laws, ongoing efforts to come to terms with the history of National Socialism, and the influence of the United States on German popular culture. Students will work with a wide variety of texts that range from autobiographical and fictional works (novels and short stories), to films, film reviews, music, on-line newspaper articles, government press releases, surveys, and political cartoons. Students will acquire and practice sophisticated vocabulary, grammatical structures, and discourse markers that will allow them to comprehend and discuss these texts. Student responses will take the form of informal conversations, prepared debates, formal presentations, discussion leadership, and written essays in various genres. In German.
Prerequisite: GERM-301

GERM 490 – Senior Seminar *
Offered annually in conjunction with GERM 430, this course examines the changing nature of German culture through a variety of texts on a particular theme. Senior German majors will complete a research project related to the subject of the course and will present their work in a public forum. In German.
Prerequisites: GERM-301 and senior standing

GERM 593 – Senior Individualized Project
Each program or department sets its own requirements for Senior Individualized Projects done in that department, including the range of acceptable projects, the required background of students doing projects, the format of the SIP, and the expected scope and depth of projects. See the Kalamazoo Curriculum -> Curriculum Details and Policies section of the Academic Catalog for more details.
Prerequisites: Permission of department and SIP supervisor


* = requirement for major