GER 496C/596C

Spring 2017

GER 496C - Capstone Course, and Ger 596C graduate course: Culture

INSTRUCTOR: Prof. Albrecht Classen, Dept. of German Studies, 301 Learning Services Building, Office 318; tel. 621-1395;;

CLASS MEETINGS: Mo and We 2-3:15 p.m.

Class ROOM: Phys-Atmos Sci, Rm 312
OFFICE HOURS:Mo and We 11a.m.-12 p.m., and any other time after appointment (but always feel free simply to stop by at my office, LSB 318)

Course Topic: Deutsche Kultur- und Literaturgeschichte

Course Goal: Development of a overview of the history of German culture, literature, and history from the Middle Ages to the Twent-First Century, using each text as a kaleidoscope to study specific cultural and historical periods. You will also achieve a high level of linguistic fluency, and the ability to situate major texts into their historical-cultural context. As the title says, this is a capstone, and the goal is to provide you with a solid understanding of the entire history of German literature from the early Middle Ages to the present, by studying exemplary texts.

For graduate students, this course will serve as a foundation for their subsequent advanced courses, establishing a deeper understanding of the major historical-cultural periods and of major literary works.


A. 1 Oral presentation on a poet/writer: 20%: make an oral presentation on the cultural period of one of the texts that we will discuss in class. Either alone or in a group of 2 (perhaps 3 under special circumstances)

Do not simply rely on Utilize the relevant sources in the library!

Prepare a worksheet for the class. You can create a PPP, bring in music, images, maps, etc. as background information. Be ready to address class with questions, orally or in writing.The worksheet should consist of specific but more complex questions as a basis for further discussions

B: Write a brief critical summary of the texts we discuss in class, submit every 2nd week, a total of 7 for the entire semester. 30% (ca. 800-1000 words each). In German, of course. This should be like a running journal. I will not pay much attention to grammar or orthography, but to content.
C: 1 Mid-term 20%: essay questions
D: 1 Final 30%: 5 essay questions
E: Extra credit:  tba

Graduate Students: I expect you to do the same work as all other students, but your term paper (instead of B) must be on a higher level, ca. 2500 words, engage with at least 4 outside sources. Please focus on one of the major texts discussed in class, formulate a thesis about it, and develop your arguments, reflecting on the current research. In German, of course.


Although it is assumed that you will attend all class sessions, you are informed hereby that excessive absences will have consequences: More than three unexcused absences lead to a drop of one grade in this course, and more than five unexcused absences will lead to an automatic grade of E (failing). If justified circumstances prevent you from attending, please inform me in writing either before or after the event, and provide satisfactory documentation (e.g., doctor’s note).

Please treat each other with respect and tolerance. People do have different views and opinions, but all these can only contribute to the rich learning experience I hope you all will have in this class. You are strongly encouraged to participate in class as much as possible. The two class meetings per week will only be of profit for you if you respond to my questions and those of your classmates, and contribute on your own as often as possible.

For information on the University of Arizona Policy on Threatening Behavior by Students, click on this link.

- CELL PHONES: You are not allowed to have your cell phones on during class because a ringing will disturb everyone strongly. Either turn them off or mute them. All other electronic gadgets not pertinent to this class must also be off.

SPECIAL NEEDS: Students with disabilities who require reasonable accommodations to participate fully in course activities or meet course requirements must register with the Disability Resource Center. ( Students need to submit appropriate documentation to the instructor if they are requesting reasonable accommodations.

If you use secondary material for your papers, make sure that you indicate clearly where you took it from. Plagiarism and cheating violate the Code of Academic Integrity. For further information, see:

Do not ever copy from the work produced by your classmates or by other students who might have taken this course in previous semesters. If you receive help in writing your papers, make sure that the final outcome still represents your own work. You can discuss your papers with your fellow students, but at the end they need to consist of your own ideas and words! Be advised that the Web is a great search tool, but never, never copy from there without identifying very clearly what you used. At this point the scholarly value of web-based material still is not totally reliable, and the chances that you might stumble upon a most dubious webpage with untrustworthy information are very high. When you quote from a secondary source, clearly identify the quote and tell the reader in a footnote where you quoted from. Every year more than 100 students at the UA are caught having committed the crime of plagiarism, resulting in penalties that could be as severe as expulsion from the University! You are smart enough not to copy from other people.

If there is any doubt in your mind whether you might commit plagiarism, see:


Plagiarism and the Web

If you commit plagiarism, you could either receive a 0 on your specific assignment, or an F for the entire course. Depending on the gravity of the case, you might even be expelled from the University. Every plagiarism case must be reported to the Head of my depart., to the head of your dept., and to the Dean of Students.

READING MATERIAL: We are going to use, among other sources, a webpage developed at the University of Helsinki which provides excellent cultural historical information and good text selections. Access is free. Deutsche Kulturgeschichte (ID: kultur; Password: radi)

And: A. Classen, Das deutsche Mittelalter in seinen Dichtungen. 4th rev. and expanded ed. 2009 (available from the bookstore: produced by Fast Copy)

Now available as a PDF

The texts of Freidank and the Versmaeren

Die deutsche Literatur online: Bibliotheca Augustana

Deutsche Literaturepochen - Background information for each literary period


Jan. 11: Introduction. All our texts up to the poems by Klopstock are contained in our textbook as a PDF. The rest is all online. Cultural History: What does that mean?

Stellen Sie sich kurz vor und nennen Sie einen Text, den Sie bisher waehrend Ihres Studiums am liebsten gelesen haben. Schreiben Sie dies erst kurz auf, und dann hoeren wir, was jeder zu sagen hat.

Zum Einstieg: wir lesen Johann Peter Hebels Kalendergeschichten. Wir bilden Gruppen zu 2-3, fassen die Geschichte zusammen und wechseln zu anderen Gruppen und erzaehlen die Geschichte nach. Wir koennen auch seine Anekdoten und Schwaenke waehlen.

Jan. 16: Feiertag (Martin Luther King Day)

Jan. 18: Besuch in der Bibliothek; wir treffen uns in der Empfangshalle des Hauptgebäudes

Jan. 23: Leben im Kloster (Youtube); Hildebrandslied

Jan. 25: Early Middle Ages: Das AHD Hildebrandslied: Praesentation: 

Fragen zu: Hildebrandslied:


Jan. 30, Feb. 1: Zaubersprueche (Praesentation: Lana): Journal 1

Feb. 6 und 8: Minnesang. Mittelhochdeutsche Textauswahl

Feb. 8: Manessische Liederhandschrift

Feb. 13: Walther von der Vogelweide:

Mittelhochdeutsche Klassik - ein kurzer Ueberblick

Feb. 15: Late Middle Ages: Der Stricker; Journal 2

Feb. 20 und 22: Late Middle Ages: Oswald von Wolkenstein; Präsentation: Spätmittelalter; 4th presentation

Kl. 18- youtube

Feb. 22: Alex und Cameron

Kl 85


Feb. 27: Martin Luther - Einstieg


Maerz 1: Reformation: Martin Luther 5. Präsentation: on Reformation:

95 Thesen im Original  95 Thesen in moderner Übersetzung

Martin Luther I                           Luther II        Luther III (Nation)

Luthers Leben, Wittenberg, Eisleben, Eisenach

Babylonische Gefangenschaft - Text

Luther - Reichstag - Text

Maerz 6: Journal 3: Lesen Sie die Thesen Luthers, waehlen Sie drei oder vier aus und schreiben Sie eine Zusammenfassung und druecken Sie Ihre Meinung darueber aus.

6. Maerz: Cassy. Dann Diskussion von der lutherischen Gnadenlehre, sola fide: Rechtfertigungslehre 1999

Luthers Thesen 20-30

Maerz 8 : Till Eulenspiegel: Historien 1-10: Marissa und Andrea

Maerz 11-19: Fruehjahrsferien

Maerz 20: Till Eulenspiegel: Historien 1-20


Maerz 22: Hans Sachs. Nuernberg;  Der schoene Brunnen "Schlaraffenland", Fastnachtspiele, Gedichte etc. Wir lesen nur: Schlaraffenland und "Eulenspiegel mit dem blauen Hosentuch" (etwas lang, und in der Sprache von Sachs, nicht uebersetzt; also etwas Geduld bitte, wir schaffen das bestimmt).

Maerz: Vorbereitung auf das Mid-Term

Maerz 27:  Mid-Term

Maerz 29: Einführung in den Barock; youtube video; wir lesen: Andreas Gryphius 

April 3: Was war der 30-jährige Krieg? Entwickeln Sie schnell mit Ihrem Partner eine Powerpoint Praesentation. Dann: Gryphius

April 5: Journal 4 ist fällig. Wir lesen: Andreas Gryphius (pdf)

April  10: wir lesen: Angelus Silesius (pdf); Opitz

April 12: LessingÖ Langer Text: Drama, 4 Aufzüge: Lesen Sie den ersten Aufzug: Lessing, Nathan der Weise


April 17: Lesen Sie die den zweiten Aufzug: Lessing, Nathan der Weise Kevin und Thomas

(Not this semester: Classical Period: Goethe: Der Zauberlehrling: youtube Version auf Deutsch

Erlkönig; Schubert's version. Classic Period: Goethe: Der König in Thule; Heidenröslein. Goethe: Schuberts Version

Panopto Video

Ramstein: Rosenrot (video). Textversion

Take a look at the Fraktur print).

April 19: Journal 5. Lessing, 3. Aufzug: 5., 6. und 7. Auftritt. 

April 24: 4. und 5. Aufzug. Abschlussdiskussion: Lessing und Toleranz Justin und Isabelle, und Kevin und Thomas.

Wir konzentrieren uns auf die Ringparabel. Dann Sprung zu Schiller, unten

(Panopto videos, myself speaking: Heinrich HeineDeutschland ein Wintermaerchen
Vortrag über Romantik; und Vortrag von  Heine: Die Grenadiere. Belsazar

Fragen zu Heine

Apr. 26: Wir lesen fuer heute: Schiller: Der Handschuh; Die Bürgschaft; 9th presentation

Mai 1 Journal 6. Conrad Ferdinand Meyer: Die Füsse im Feuer: Lili und Claire

Mai 3: Take-home final exam: questions have been posted on D2L. Bitte bringen Sie die Antworten mit zur Klasse (ausgedruckt). 


Danke fuer Ihre gute Mitarbeit und Ihr fleissiges Studieren. Ich hoffe, es hat Ihnen Spass gemacht.


(Nicht dieses Semester: First half of the Twentieth-Century: Bertolt Brecht: Die Liebenden (1927). Präsentation:  Bertolt Brecht: Text: An die Nachgeborenen.

Fragen zu Brechts "An die Nachgeborenen"


(nicht dieses Semester: Kurt Kusenberg, "Nihilit" und "Wer ist Man?")