German and Scandinavian Studies

Berlin Wall graffiti

The Department of Germanic Languages & Literatures offers a rich and diverse program of literary and cultural studies, including film and music, as well as language instruction in German, Swedish, Dutch, Danish, Norwegian, and Icelandic. Undergraduates may pursue a Concentration in German Studies or Scandinavian Studies, or a Secondary Field in German Studies.

Director of Undergraduate Studies in German: Lisa Parkes
Director of Undergraduate Studies in Scandinavian: Agnes Broomé

Gateway Courses

Spring 2022

GERMAN 10B: Beginning German
Lisa Parkes

An introduction to German language and culture designed for students with little or no knowledge of the language. Encompasses all four skills: speaking, listening, reading, and writing. Class sessions emphasize the development of oral proficiency. Instruction is supplemented by literary and non-literary texts, videos, and Internet activities. Students must complete both terms of this course (parts A and B) within the same academic year in order to receive credit.



GERMAN 10AB: Intensive Beginning German
Lisa Parkes

A complete first-year course in one term for students with little or no knowledge of German. Provides an introduction to language and culture of the German-speaking countries. Students develop basic communication competencies (spoken and written), and will be able to understand and use high-frequency vocabulary and basic grammatical structures. Instruction is supplemented by a variety of texts, including poetry, songs, and visual media. 


GERMAN 20B: Intermediate German
Lisa Parkes

This second-semester intermediate course is a continuation of 20a. Further review and practice of grammar and expansion of vocabulary. Focus on enhancing students' communicative competencies. Introduction to various cultural topics of the German-speaking countries through the use of literary and non-literary texts, current news, and contemporary film.


GERMAN 20AB: Intensive Intermediate German
Lisa Parkes

A complete second-year course in one term for students with basic knowledge of German. Focus on enhancing students' communicative competencies in all four skill areas. Introduction to various cultural topics of the German-speaking countries through the use of literary and non-literary texts, current news, and contemporary film.



GERMAN 65: German Drama and Theater
Lisa Parkes

Close reading, analysis, and full production of a play in German. The first part provides an introduction to a small selection of dramas, dramatic theory, the vocabulary of theater, as well as intensive pronunciation practice. The second part focuses on the rehearsal and production of a German play. Students participate on stage and collaborate on different aspects of the production, including costumes, set, sound, and program. Two performances take place at the end of term. Conducted in German.

GERMAN 171: Just Law? Truth, Trial & Error in German Literature
Nadine Schwakopf

This course examines the intersections of law and literature from both a historical and a theoretical point of view. We will engage with literary and philosophical texts written by German[1]speaking authors that have become central for the understanding of this interdisciplinary field of study. With the help of readings spanning the time between the 18th and the 21st centuries, we will reflect on the manifold representations of questions of law in literature. How do literary texts articulate the rule of law and/or its failure, how do they depict legal procedure and “due process?” How is the complex relationship between violence, law and justice negotiated in philosophical discourse? What are the limits of the law and its authority, and what is the role of morality both in law-making and the subsequent execution of the law, as it becomes manifest in trial procedures, judgments and measures of retribution? Authors studied in this course may include: Goethe, Kleist, Büchner, Fontane, Kraus, Arendt, Jelinek, Zeh. Readings and discussions will be in English.

GERMAN 178: Vienna in the 20th Century
*Taught in English
Alison Frank Johnson

This discussion-based course will explore the history of Vienna, one of Europe's largest and oldest cities, from the final decades of the Habsburg Empire to Austria's admission into the European Union. We will discuss urban design and renewal, political crisis, the influence of antisemitic politics on a young Adolf Hitler, the successes of the city's Socialist government during the First Republic, the flourishing of Jewish culture and thought, Austro-Fascism and civil war, the transition into and out of Nazi rule, city life during the First and Second World Wars, the postwar occupation, and the reckoning with the city's history in the Second Republic.

SCAND 55: One Hundred Years of Scandinavian Cinema
Agnes Broomé

This course explores Scandinavian cinema from the pioneers of the silent era to the globally successful hit films of the present day. Students will trace the development of Scandinavian cinema through the films of directors such as Viktor Sjöström, Carl Th. Dreyer, Lars von Trier, Ingmar Bergman and Lukas Moodysson and discover the profound influence the region’s films have had, and continue to have, on filmmaking in America and the world.

SCAND 102: Scandinavian Folklore: Trolls, Trolldom and the Uses of Tradition
Stephen Mitchell

Examines Nordic folklore and folklife, with an emphasis on narratives, supernatural beliefs, and material culture from the 17th to the early 20th centuries, interpreted against additional sources of information drawn from the archaeological and historical records. Key strategies used in the fields of folklore, literature, and cultural history to interpret such texts discussed in detail, and applied in analyzing our materials. Also carefully considered, the history and development of folklore studies in Scandinavia and the role of folklore (and folklore studies) as, and in, anti-colonial and nation-building movements.

SWEDISH 10B: Beginning Swedish Language and Literature
Agnes Broomé

Continuation of the basic course focusing on a basic mastery of listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills. During spring term, the emphasis is on more advanced conversation and an exploration of Sweden's culture and civilization through selected texts and video. By semester's end, students will be able to carry on conversations in everyday Swedish, read news articles, and write letters and produce substantial creative work.

SWEDISH 20A: Intermediate Swedish
Agnes Broomé

Continuation of Swedish 20a. Focuses on enhancing students' proficiency in all four skill areas with special emphasis on speaking/discussion and the control of different discourse registers. Extensive vocabulary-building exercises, a thorough grammar review, and an introduction to various Swedish cultural topics and current affairs through the use of literary and non-literary texts, multimedia resources, and the news.