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Germanic Studies Minor

Minor Requirements (9 Credits)

Required Courses:
GER 301 Advanced German, Part II

For students who have completed at least two years of college or university-level language studies or the equivalent. This course offers cultural readings from a variety of sources, including some literary pieces, as well as magazine and newspaper articles reflecting the contemporary scene in the countries where the language is spoken. Vocabulary expansion and development of techniques of expression are accomplished through oral and written exercises.This course has a substantial reading, writing and speaking requirement.

Two of the following, at least one of which must be a GER course above the GER 301 level:
GER 373 German Film as Medium of Culture

This course examines important issues in the cultural life of Germany through the medium of film, to which the German contribution has been foundational and continuously innovative. Texts are included to provide background, context or a look at parallel literary expression.

GER 374 Strangers in Paradise?: Historical and Cultural Texts on Immigration into Switzerland

This course will trace the different waves of immigration into Switzerland through the lens of cultural and political texts produced in German (or translated into German) over the last thirty years, both by those who have immigrated to Switzerland and by Swiss natives in reaction to the immigrants' presence. We will begin our examination of the various tensions immigration has engendered with Rolf Lyssy's film Die Schweizermacher, a comedy about the hurdles facing would-be naturalized citizens in the mid-seventies. Next, in a variety of literary, filmic and legal texts, we will look at the situation of Italians, Spaniards,Tamils, Turks, immigrants from Balkan countries, and, most recently, from Iraq. Finally, we will study the contemporary campaigns of the Swiss People's Party (SVP), and the heated debates fueled by their right-wing provocations about who does and does not belong in this ''paradise'' known as Switzerland. This course is taught in German.

    Topics in German Literature and Culture
CLCS 220 Inventing the Past: The Uses of Memory in a Changing World

The construction of memory is one of the fundamental processes by which the workings of culture can be studied. Every country, every culture and every community has a specific memory culture that finds expression in a congruence of texts: of literature and film, of law and politics, of memorial rituals, and historiography. The aim of this course is to enable students to recognize different forms of the construction, representation and archiving of memory; to analyze processes of individual and collective identity formation through memory; and to understand the power differentials operant in the negotiations and performance of a national memory.

CLCS 238T Reading the Postcolonial City: Berlin and Hamburg

Colonialism has left its traces not only very obviously on the former colonies themselves but also on the face of the cities of the colonisers. Host of the ''Congo Conference'' that carved up the continent in 1885, Germany was late into the ''scramble for Africa.'' However, it has long been implicated in colonialism through trade, scientific exploration, and Hamburg’s position as a ''hinterland'' of the Atlantic Slave Trade. Seeking to explore colonial echoes in less obvious places, namely in contemporary Berlin and Hamburg, the course asks how we can remember colonialism in the modern world, become conscious of its traces, and encourage critical thinking about the connections between colonialism, migration and globalization. As an Academic Travel, this course will include an on-site component where the class will team up with postcolonial focus groups in Berlin and Hamburg, going onto the street and into the museum to retrace the cities’ colonial connections, and to experience and engage with the colonial past through performance-based activities.

HIS 202T History of Switzerland

Switzerland can be seen as a striking exception to the idea of a modern Western nation state: one of the oldest republics, with four official languages, neutral by tradition with at the same time a strong military tradition, a direct democracy and nevertheless one of the most stable states in the world. Hence, it has convincingly been called a ''country of minorities'' or just ''an exception''. This course analyzes the political, economic, social, and cultural development of Switzerland as a coherent and significant part of the history of medieval and modern Europe, with visits to places such as Bern, Basel, Schwyz, St. Gallen, and Zurich. Key themes covered include the founding of the Swiss Confederation in the thirteenth century, the initiation of the Swiss Reformation by Ulrich Zwingli in the sixteenth century, the introduction of the federal government in the nineteenth century, and the present day polemics of immigration and direct democracy. Local day trips to the medieval Ticinese towns of Riva San Vitale and Mendrisio round out the course.

HIS 240 History of Modern Germany

This course focuses on the central issues raised in the study of modern German history. The main historical themes and trends of political, economic, social and cultural development are analyzed. Special attention is paid to the role of Bismarck, the Weimar Republic and the Third Reich as the historic legacy of contemporary Germany.

HIS 260 The Holocaust and Genocide

Why do people commit genocide? Seeking to answer this question this course analyzes the contexts, causes, and developments that drive human beings to seek to exterminate whole groups of people based solely on the perception that they belong to a specific group. The class examines the role played by racism and paranoia in the radicalization of individuals and whole societies, and explores the contexts of imperialism, violence, and de-individualization in the modern world. The focus is on the Holocaust as the event which defined the concept of genocide, analyzing its history and using insights from sociology, political science, religious and cultural studies, and psychology. The class further investigates indigenous genocides, sexual violence and the politics of famine, the question of just war, and the attempts to cope with genocide-related trauma.

HIS 351 Nationalism and Ethnic Conflict in Europe

This course undertakes an in-depth discussion of the origins and development of nationalism as an ideology, as a political movement, and as a source of internal and international conflict in Europe. Following an introduction to important approaches in the theory of nationalism, special attention is devoted to the periods of the Napoleonic Wars, the First World War and its impact, and the period after the end of the Cold War in 1989.