German 160C1: The German Speaking World

Course materials:

SYLLABUS for Ger 160C1: The German Speaking World, Fall 2019

Please note, the short version has a slightly changed sequence of texts to be read, so consult only this link below:

Short Version of the Semester Plan

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


CLASS MEETING TIMES: MW 12:00-12:15 p.m.
CLASSROOM: Chavez 111

OFFICE HOURS: Tu and Thu 11a.m.-12 p.m., and any other time after appointment (but always feel free simply to stop by at my office, to email me, to call me by phone to make sure that I am in; when you call, please make sure to tell me your own phone number slowly).

COURSE GOAL: Development of an overview of the history of German-language culture, literature, and history from the Middle Ages to the Twenty-First Century, using each text as a kaleidoscope to study specific cultural and historical periods. You will achieve a high level in your ability to situate major texts and other cultural products into their historical-cultural context. You will also understand the major role the German culture has played in the Western world throughout the ages.

Although it is assumed that you will attend all class sessions, you are informed hereby that excessive absences will have consequences. For details see below in the grading section. If justified circumstances prevent you from attending, please inform me in writing either before or after the event, and provide satisfactory documentation (e.g., a doctor’s note). I will use Tophat to control attendance, participation, and homework. Previous students have very much liked that system; it is fair, transparent, and very effective.

Accessibility and Accommodations
At the University of Arizona,we strive to make learning experiences  as accessible as possible. If you anticipate or experience barriers based on disability or pregnancy, please contact the Disability Resource Center (520-621-3268, to establish reasonable accommodations.

Please treat each other with respect and tolerance. People do have different views and opinions, and 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 and the one online meeting on Fri will only be of profit for you if you respond to my questions and those of your classmates. During the Fri online class, you will all be invited to participate electronically via tophat.

The University of Arizona is committed to fostering a learning, working, and living environment free from all forms of discrimination, including harassment. The University’s Nondiscrimination and Anti-harassment Policy prohibits discrimination and harassment on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, and gender identity. The policy also prohibits retaliation for opposing discriminatory conduct, filing a discrimination-related complaint, or participating in the investigation of a discrimination-related complaint.
For definitions of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation, please see the University’s Nondiscrimination and Anti-harassment Policy here or visit the Office of Institutional Equity website.

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

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. See their webpage

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 published authors, by your classmates, by other students who might have taken this course in previous semesters, or by yourself in a previous or parallel class. 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 and others, 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 (and then only sparingly). 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 it from. Every year more than 800 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:

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 dept., to the head of your dept., and to the Dean of Students.

Help with writing: The Writing Skills Improvement Program offers a number of valuable workshops at 1201 E. Helen Street. Please consult with them if you have a need to improve your writing skills (no walk-ins). For perhaps more immediate help, see the Writing Center: (walk-ins allowed). Tel.: 621-5849

Writing Center: The Writing Center is a free resource for UA undergraduate and graduate students as well as faculty and staff. At the Writing Center, a trained peer consultant will work individually with you on anything you’re writing (in or out of class), at any point in the writing process from brainstorming to editing. Appointments are recommended, but not required. For more information or to make an appointment, visit their website at, stop by at 1201 E Helen St., main level, or call (520) 626-0530.

TEXTBOOKS: all online materials, literary texts, movies, and images

Movie: Mazeltov Cocktail:


We will be using the Tophat ( classroom response system in class.  You will be able to submit answers to in-class questions using Apple or Android smartphones and tablets, laptops, or through text message.

You can visit the Student Quick Start Guide which outlines how you will register for a Top Hat account, as well as providing a brief overview to get you up and running on the system. For all questions, use this link to contact Top Hat directly:

For help:

An email invitation will also be sent to your school email account (if you don’t receive this email, you can register by visiting our course website See also this link.

Top Hat will require a paid subscription, and the standard pricing for the most cost-efficient option is $38 for 12-months of unlimited access. A one semester fee is: $26. For a full breakdown of all subscription options available please visit

For problems, use this phone number: 888-663-5491

All other texts are available online, free of charge. Some represent older English trans., but at least they will be free for you.

GRADING: (1000 points total):
1. Attendance: 10%
2. 3 written essays: 20%, 20%, 20%

3. Participation in class, through Tophat: 15%

4. Final exam: via tophat: 15%

Each paper will be graded as follows:

Must be typed, with at least 1″ margin on all sides, at least 12 points letter size. Bring the print-out to class when paper is due. Submit also in electronic form to the dropboxes in D2L, though only the paper copy will count. Again, keep in mind that each paper will be automatically examined as to the degree of similarities with other papers (turnitin software!). When there is suspicion of plagiarism, I will call you in for a conference, and the consequences for plagiarism might be very harsh. Do not write your paper together with a classmate, though you can, of course, discuss the topics with him/her. If you copy from another paper/chapter/article in print or online, without acknowledging the author and without indicating the extent to which you have copied by means of quotation marks and references, you commit plagiarism.

Always submit a hard copy and upload a version to the dropbox (now: Assignment) on D2L! You must do both well before the due date! In an emergency, contact me.

In each paper, you are asked to respond to the texts we have read in class, identify an issue that appears to be most relevant to you, and develop a thesis (20 points). In the body of the paper, your argument, with back-up citations from your text (50 points), and a conclusion (20 points), with 10 points for stylistics, mechanics, etc.  For instance, 1st paper is due on Sept. 30. You can write about The Plowman, or about Nathan. I want to leave you much freedom in your writing, but will be very happy to give you immediate feedback as to the feasibility of your thesis. For example, as to the Plowman, you might state, as your thesis: Johannes von Tepl uses the debate with death as a foundation for a critical examination of the meaning of life. Or: Nathan: Lessing developed this play in order to outline the principles of global tolerance.

Rubrics: Thesis: 20 pts., Argument: 50 pts., Conclusion: 20 pts., mechanics: 10 pts.

Length: ca. 1200 words.

We’ll give you the opportunity to rewrite the paper and get a new grade.


Aug. 26 and 28: Introduction to the German-Speaking World. Read this link.

Aug. 26: Middle Ages to the 20th century

Aug. 28: 20th century to today

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

Sept. 9, and 11, and 16: Heinrich Kaufringer, Love, Life, and Lust: Sept. 9: 4 and 6; Sept.11: 8 and 1, Sept. 16: 13, 14, 21

Sept.  18, 23, 25, 30: 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. 30: 1st paper is due in class

Oct. 2 and 7: Justice, Freedom, Individuality. Romanticism: Prepare yourself: watch this Video at home. For more visuals, see: Video.  Heinrich von Kleist, Michael Kohlhaas

Oct. 9 and 14: Money; Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, The Communist Manifesto (1848): Manifesto

Oct. 9: papers will be returned, if possible, and you can re-write them, if you want, for a re-grade, due on Oct. 16 in class.

Oct. 16 and 21: Turn of the Century: Rainer Maria Rilke . Read “The Panther” or this version first; then 5-15 pp. Here are more of his famous poem. Poems by Nietzsche

Oct. 23 and 28: Bertolt Brecht: Socialism, Freedom, Critical approaches. Poems I, II, III

Oct.  30: After the Holocaust: Paul Celan: Death Fuge

Nov. 4 and 6: Austrian Literature: poems by Ingeborg Bachmann

Nov. 4: 2nd paper is due in class.

Nov. 13 (ch. 1-3), 18 (ch. 4-6), 20 (ch. 7-9), and 25 (ch. 10-11): Bernhard Schlink: The Reader

Dec. 2 and 4: The modern woman: Movie: Run Lola Run

Dec. 4: 3rd paper is due in class. Conrad Ferdinand Meyer, “Feet in the Fire”

Dec. 9: 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.

Student Learning Outcomes: By the end of the semester, students will be able to engage critically with the history of German literature from the Middle Ages to the present, will know a solid selection of critical texts from that time period, and will have acquired the skill to write about the crucial issues in solidly researched papers.

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.