Ger 160C: Short Version of Semester Plan


There will always be an online component for Friday, timed, through Top Hat, for instance. You will be free to read, listen to, or respond to the assignment at your leasure, though there will be a due date (mostly Fri at 10 p.m.).

Please have read the assignment before you come to class. That’s your homework.

Aug. 26 and 28: Introduction to the German-Speaking World. Read this link. We’ll go over the highlights only.

Aug. 26: Middle Ages to the 20th century; same link

Aug. 28: 20th century to today; same link

Topic: Life, Death, Marriage, Meaning:
Sept. 04 and 09: A late medieval German voice Johannes von Tepl, The Plowman (ca. 1400):

Sept. 11 (Act 1), 16 (Act 2), 18 (Act 3), and 23 (Act 4 and 5): An Enlightenment perspective: Lessing, Nathan the Wise. We’ll read one act per class time, and combine 4 and 5 on the last day.

Sept. 25, 27, 30 Justice, Freedom, Individuality. Romanticism: Prepare yourself: watch this Video at home. For more visuals, see: Video.  We read: Heinrich von Kleist, Michael Kohlhaas

Fiat iustitia, et pereat mundus

Oct. 2: 1st paper is due in class: You can choose either Tepl, Lessing, or Kleist to write about. Identify a topic of relevance, formulate a thesis (such as: Tepl and the Rise of Early Humanism in the Face of Death), develop this then in the argument, and conclude, reconnecting with the thesis.

Oct. 2 and 7: Money; we read: Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, The Communist Manifesto (1848): Manifesto

Oct. 9: Turn of the Century: Rainer Maria Rilke . Read “The Panther” or this version first; then 5-15 pp.: “The Poet” (click on the first link and from there move forward), “The Sisters,” “Love-Song,” “The Song of the Beggar,” “The Song of the Widow,” and “The Sonnets To Orpheus: Book 2: I”; we also “Autumn Day,” at:

Oct.11: I’ll assign two poems for you to read and analyze at home. Please write ca. 200 words, upload to tophat then.

Oct. 14: Here are more of his famous poem: “Archaic Torso of Apollo,” “Buddha in Glory,” “Beloved. Then we’ll turn to: Poems by NietzscheThis is the autumn …” (1877), “Desperate” (1882), “This is no book,” “Whoever has much to proclaim one day …” (1883), and “The Wanderer” (1884)

Oct. 16: latest date for the rewrite of paper 1. We work with Nietzsche first, and might hold Brecht until Fri and Mo.

Oct. 18: Brecht and his Epic Theater: Watch this video and answer the questions on tophat.

Oct. 21: Bertolt Brecht: Socialism, Freedom, Critical approaches. Poems IIIIII. We begin with: Questions from a Worker (in II), then: Song of the Storm Trooper, then: Burning of Books, then: Of Poor B.B. (all in I)

Oct. 18: you are all invited to the dept. Fall fest, in Himmel Park, SW corner, 4-6 p.m. Free food and refreshments.

Oct. 23: Brecht: Poems IV. We start with: The Solution, then: On the Critical Attitude, And: To Those Born After Us.

Oct. 25: Brecht, IV: To Posterity, And: The Legend of How the Tao Te Ching Came into Being on Laotse’s Journey into Exile

Oct. 28: After the Holocaust: Paul Celan: Death Fuge

Oct.  30: We continue with Celan. Then: Bernhard Schlink: The Reader (ch. 1-3) 

Nov. 4: 2nd paper is due in class. On any topic since the first paper, except our novel. We continue reading: ch. 4-6

Nov. 6: The Reader, ch. 7-9

Nov. 8: Watch the film version of our novel (see the link on D2L) and answer the questions on tophat

Nov. 13:  The Reader (ch. 10-15). 

Nov. 15 and 18: The Reader: watch the 2nd half as movie, linked on D2L.

Nov. 18: Final discussion of The Reader

Nov. 20 and 22: Watch the movie Soul Kitchen, by Faith Akin: it is available for this class on this link:

Nov. 25: Review and discussion of “Soul Kitchen.” Kaufringer: The Search for the Happily Married Couple 

Nov. 27: No meeting today b/c of Thanksgiving. Questions will be posted on Tophat, open from 12-10 p.m. only: Kaufringer: The Hermit and the Angel

Dec. 2: Kaufringer: The Innocent Murderess

Dec. 4: Kaufringer: The Innocent Murderess, The Half Blanket, The Seven Deadly Sins, The Cowardly Husband

Dec. 4: 3rd paper is due in class. Choose any text since the 2nd paper, develop a thesis, and then follow through.  You could also do a comparison of two texts. Consult with me if you have a question.

Dec. 9: Conrad Ferdinand Meyer, “Feet in the Fire” 

(not this semester: Zafer Senocak (the Turkish-German experience. For background information: The Experience of Immigration to Germany)

Dec. 11: Final Exam (cumulative)

Students are responsible for picking up their graded papers either in class or from the dept. within max. 10 school days after they have been returned officially in class. Similarly, students are responsible for checking on their grades posted on D2L. After 10 school days no further review is possible.
Possible Changes:
The information contained in the course syllabus, other than the grade and absence policies, may be subject to change with reasonable advance notice, as deemed appropriate by the instructor.

Final Grade Review: If there might be a problem with your grade, you can ask me for a review until Dec. 16, 12 p.m. Beyond that, there will not be any opportunity to revisit your grade.