German (2022 - 2024)
Placement in German Language Courses
All students with previous study of German must take the online CAS placement examination before registering for their first course in this language. The departmental placement process consists of a consultation with the director of language programs to choose the level of language instruction most appropriate to the individual student's needs and abilities.
Fulfillment of the College Core Curriculum Language Requirement
The department offers courses allowing students to complete the College of Arts and Science language requirement. Students may choose either the extensive sequence of four 4-point courses (Elementary I and II followed by Intermediate I and II) or the intensive sequence of two 6-point courses (intensive Elementary followed by Intensive Intermediate). Students planning to major in German are advised to follow the intensive sequence.
Basic Language Courses in German
All German language courses use communicative methodology. Elementary-level courses introduce students to essential linguistic and social conventions of contemporary spoken German, with an emphasis on establishing conversational skills. Intermediate level courses introduce more complex features of the language and focus on building reading and writing skills, while continuing to develop conversational ability.
Elementary German I
GERM-UA 1 Open only to students with no previous training in German; others require permission of the department. Offered every semester. 4 points.
Elementary German II
GERM-UA 2 Prerequisite: Elementary German I (GERM-UA 1), assignment by placement examination, or permission of the department. Offered every semester. 4 points.
Intermediate German I
GERM-UA 3 Prerequisite: Elementary German II (GERM-UA 2), Intensive Elementary German (GERM-UA 10), assignment by placement examination, or permission of the department. Offered every semester. 4 points.
Intermediate German II
GERM-UA 4 Prerequisite: Intermediate German I (GERM-UA 3), assignment by placement examination, or permission of the department. Offered every semester. 4 points.
Intensive Elementary German
GERM-UA 10 Open to students with no previous training in German and to others on assignment by placement examination or with permission of the department. Offered every semester. 6 points.
Completes the equivalent of a year's elementary work (GERM-UA 1 and GERM-UA 2) in one semester. Emphasizes spoken and written communication skills. Introduces students to the basic conventions, idioms, and structures of contemporary spoken German.
Intensive Intermediate German
GERM-UA 20 Prerequisite: Intensive Elementary German (GERM-UA 10) or Elementary German II (GERM-UA 2) with a B or better, assignment by placement examination, or permission of the department. Offered every semester. 6 points.
Completes the equivalent of a year's intermediate work (GERM-UA 3 and GERM-UA 4) in one semester. Continuing emphasis on developing spoken and written communication skills. Students learn more advanced features of the language and begin to read longer and more complex texts.
Post-intermediate Courses in Language, Culture, and Literature (100 Level)
These are "bridge" courses between basic language study and more advanced courses. The common goal of courses at this level is to consolidate students' command of spoken and written German, to review advanced structures of the language, and to provide core information that will be needed in advanced study of literature and culture. Particular emphasis is placed on the development of complex reading and writing skills and their integration with speaking skills. All courses at this level are conducted in German. All German courses at the 100 level require successful completion of GERM-UA 4 or GERM-UA 20, or permission of the department.
German Conversation and Composition
GERM-UA 111 Offered every fall. 4 points.
Required for the German major. Aims to improve students' proficiency in writing and speaking German in three functional areas: description, narration, and argumentation. Grammar and vocabulary are reviewed and practiced as appropriate. Students examine and discuss texts of various genres, then draft and present work of their own in each genre. Discussion and writing components are closely coordinated. Activities include presentations, peer review, guided writing, and editing.
German Culture 1890-1989
GERM-UA 133 Offered periodically. 4 points.
Explores 20th-century German culture, literature, politics, and media as a mirror of our contemporary experience. Addresses a variety of media to discuss the experience of modernity: poetry, film, advertising, journalism, short stories, and drama. Emphasis on refining written expression, honing listening and reading skills, and a review of grammar.
Austria: Culture, History, Society
GERM-UA 145 Offered periodically. 4 points.
Investigates the works of Austrian writers, artists, architects, composers, and thinkers against the backdrop of the political and social climate of the nation. Covers works from a wide variety of fields—including literary texts (poetry, prose, and drama), film, music, art, architecture, philosophy, and psychology.
Introduction to German Literature
GERM-UA 152 Offered every spring. 4 points.
Required for the German major. Representative authors and works of German literature, with emphasis on the modern period. Basic conventions of literature and literary interpretation, as well as strategies for the effective reading of shorter and longer prose works, drama, and poetry. Guided writing assignments focus on developing the language skills necessary for effective written analysis and interpretation of literary texts in German.
Techniques of Translation
GERM-UA 153 Offered periodically. 4 points.
The history, theory, and practice of translation through German and English texts taken from a variety of cultural backgrounds. Diverse grammatical, syntactical, and stylistic problems foster a deeper understanding of the German language. Also stresses the acquisition of vocabulary and complex idiomatic structures necessary for effective reading comprehension, as well as written expression.
Advanced Literature and Culture Courses Conducted in English (200 Level)
Courses at the 200 level are conducted in English. Literature-oriented courses at this level may count in fulfillment of the College's minor in literature in translation. Many of these courses are cross-listed with other NYU departments or programs. No knowledge of German is required for courses at this level, and there are no prerequisites.
Introduction to German Culture
GERM-UA 220 Offered periodically. 4 points.
Crucial periods and events in German cultural history since the Enlightenment and important figures in modern intellectual and aesthetic history. The philosophies of Kant and Nietzsche; the music of Mozart and Wagner; the literary contributions of Lessing, Goethe, Fontane, and Brecht; and the art movements of Dada and Bauhaus all serve as the basis for a discussion of the complex constellation of Kultur, politics, and power in the German intellectual tradition.
Marx, Nietzsche, Freud
GERM-UA 240 Offered periodically. 4 points.
Examines the work of these three seminal authors by focusing on their notions of interpretation, history, subjectivity, politics, religion, and art. The seminar does not present their work chronologically, but rather creates a dialogue between the authors around each topic and, thereby, delineates the origins of much modern thought.
Marx and the Culture of Capitalism
GERM-UA 242 Offered periodically. 4 points.
Organized around a careful reading of volume one of Capital, but also features readings from those who inspired Marx and those his work influenced. Follows the trajectory of Capital from the commodity and the concept of value to machinery, cooperation, and accumulation.
The German Intellectual Tradition
GERM-UA 244 Offered periodically. 4 points.
Designed to familiarize students with the major currents of German intellectual and literary history. Organized thematically, conceptually, or according to the trajectories associated with crucial thinkers. Special emphasis is placed on the impact those thinkers have had on literary and aesthetic phenomena.
Introduction to Theory
GERM-UA 249 Offered periodically. 4 points.
Focuses on crucial theoretical developments in German literary and philosophical discourses. Introduces students to contemporary theoretical issues at the forefront of academic debate and seeks to give students a grounding in the origins of current discussions. Includes considerations of literary phenomena, critical legal studies, feminist and deconstructive theories, the Frankfurt School, and psychoanalysis.
German Art, 1800 to the Present
GERM-UA 250 Offered periodically. 4 points.
The history of art in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. The main theme is the relation between German art and the eminent German tradition of philosophical and critical writing on art. Features lectures on major artists and their works; classroom discussion of the works as well as assigned texts; and at least two field trips to New York museums. Readings in primary sources: artists’ writings and manifestos, art theory and criticism, and aesthetics.
Topics in German Cinema
GERM-UA 253 Offered periodically. 4 points.
Selections are studied generically, thematically, or by historical period. Emphasis is also placed on issues of film analysis and theory. Possible course topics are new German cinema, film and feminism, early German film, and film and nationalism.
GERM-UA 265 Offered periodically. 4 points.
Focuses on the emergence of mass culture and shows how the modernist and avant-garde movements questioned the very institution of art in their work. Materials include works of literature, theory, film, and the visual arts.
Madness and Genius
GERM-UA 285 Offered periodically. 4 points.
Explores the relationship among talent, inspiration, and psychological instability in works of the 19th and 20th centuries. Considers the link between inspiration and possession, Western culture's valorization of originality, the political purpose of characterizing originality as psychologically transgressive, and the allegorization of the creative process through depictions of madness.
Topics in 19th-Century Literature
GERM-UA 297 Offered periodically. 4 points.
Topics in 20th-Century Literature
GERM-UA 298 Offered periodically. 4 points.
Advanced Literature and Culture Courses Conducted in German (300 Level)
Courses at this level provide a broad historical overview of specific periods in German literary and cultural development. Advanced German language skills are practiced, with particular emphasis on the ability to summarize and on the expression of supported opinion. Students read more texts of greater linguistic and conceptual complexity than those used at the 100 level. Readings are drawn from literary and nonliterary sources. Students must complete a minimum of two 100-level courses before enrolling in courses at the 300 level.
GERM-UA 349 Offered periodically. 4 points.
Traces the development of romanticism in Germany in the period 1789-1830. Examines the philosophy of idealism and its aesthetic effect on the various phases of the romantic movements. Considers the Jena, Heidelberg, and Berlin schools in light of their works and their artistic and sociopolitical theories. Representative writings include poetry, novellas, fairy tales, and essays.
German Literature of the 19th Century
GERM-UA 355 Offered periodically. 4 points.
Study of German prose and drama from the end of romanticism to the development of expressionism before the turn of the century. Selected texts deal with poetic realism, the rise of new literary forms leading to naturalism, and Austrian and German manifestations of impressionism and expressionism.
20th- and 21st-Century German Prose
GERM-UA 366 Offered periodically. 4 points.
Investigates significant prose texts of German-language authors from 1900 to the present. Genres discussed include the short story, the novella, and the novel.
Post-1945 German Literature
GERM-UA 369 Offered periodically. 4 points.
Examines works by some of the major German language writers in the decades following World War II. Treats the historical and intellectual background of the period and the confrontation with both the past and the future in representative works.
Modern German Drama
GERM-UA 377 Offered periodically. 4 points.
Development of German-language drama from the early plays of Brecht. Concerns include political motivations of dramatic development, problems in writing 20th-century tragedy, meaning of the grotesque and the absurd, and neonaturalist elements.
GERM-UA 385 Offered periodically. 4 points.
Survey of significant authors and developments in German poetry, with emphasis on the 19th and 20th centuries. Traces basic themes and examines narrative, dramatic, and lyric structures in poetry.
Topics in 19th-Century Literature
GERM-UA 397 Offered periodically. 4 points.
Examines various intersections between cultural, social, and scientific discourse. Study of German novellas and drama from romanticism to realism and naturalism with a focus on form, genre, and narrativity.
Advanced Seminars Conducted in German (400 Level)
These courses examine authors, groups of works, and intellectual, aesthetic, and social movements of particular significance in the development of German literature and culture. These courses have a narrower focus than do those at the 300 level; the emphasis is on in-depth examination rather than on overview. Readings are longer and more linguistically demanding than those used at the previous level. Language work focuses on conjecture and the expression of abstract concepts in both written and spoken German. Students must complete a minimum of two 100-level courses before enrolling in courses at the 400 level.
GERM-UA 455 Offered periodically. 4 points.
Examines Goethe as the pivotal literary figure of his time. Considers Goethe's prose, poetry, and drama from the late Enlightenment through storm and stress to classicism and beyond.
The Age of Goethe
GERM-UA 456 Offered periodically. 4 points.
Examines German reaction to the Enlightenment in the literature of storm and stress and of classicism. Considers irrationalism, social protest, and Humanitätsdichtung as successive stages of the expansion of consciousness in an age in which Goethe was the central, but not the only significant, literary figure. Readings by authors including Herder, Lenz, Schiller, and Hölderlin.
GERM-UA 457 Offered periodically. 4 points.
Examines the figure of Faust in legend and literature, beginning with its first appearance in the 16th century. Discussion of the influence of Faust in German and other European literary traditions. Readings include excerpts from the 1587 Historia von D. Johann Fausten; Goethe's Urfaust and excerpts from his later dramatic versions (Faust, Ein Fragment; Faust I and II); and Thomas Mann's Doktor Faustus.
Literature of the Weimar Period
GERM-UA 468 Offered periodically. 4 points.
The chaotic Weimar period (1918-33) began with revolution and ended with the Nazi takeover. German modernism evolved from expressionism to the aesthetics of "new sobriety" (Neue Sachlichkeit). From the more traditional (Thomas Mann, Hermann Hesse) to the experimental and revolutionary (Bertolt Brecht, Anna Seghers), the works of this period problematize its subsequent glorification as the golden ‘20s. Readings include works by Brecht, Hesse, Roth, Seghers, Klaus Mann, and Thomas Mann.
Seminar on 19th-Century Authors
GERM-UA 487 Offered periodically. 4 points.
Seminar on 20th-Century Authors
GERM-UA 488 Offered periodically. 4 points.
Each of these seminars provides advanced students of German with an in-depth knowledge of one major author of either the 19th or 20th century. Works by the chosen author are examined in terms of how he or she contributes to, and possibly challenges, prevailing aesthetic, political, and cultural trends of his or her time.
Honors, Internship, and Independent Study
GERM-UA 500 Prerequisite: permission of the department and admission to the honors program. Offered in the spring. 4 points.
GERM-UA 977, 978 Prerequisite: permission of the department. 2 or 4 points per term.
GERM-UA 990 Prerequisite: permission of the department. May be repeated for credit. Offered every semester. 2 or 4 points.
GERM-UA 999 Prerequisite: permission of the department and admission to the honors program. Offered in the fall. 4 points.
Graduate Courses Open to Undergraduates
Graduate courses offered by the department are open to seniors with the permission of the director of undergraduate studies and the professor of the course. A student wishing to take a graduate course conducted in German must be able to demonstrate sufficiently advanced German language ability.