Honors Colloquium 195J. Fall 2021

Honors Colloquium Fall 2021 

HNRS 195J--002, Special Topics in Humanities

Covid-19 UoA guidelines

TOPIC: The Experience of Love and God in a Medieval Context: The Stories by Heinrich Kaufringer


INSTRUCTOR: Prof. Albrecht Classen, Dept. of German Studies, LSB 318, tel.: 621-1395; email: aclassen@email.arizona.edu; aclassen.faculty.arizona.edu


Office: 318 Learning Service Building

1512 E 1st St., between Vine and Cherry



CLASSROOM: online, via zoom, set up in D2L


CLASS MEETING TIME: Fri 9:00-9:50 a.m.


OFFICE HOURS: Mo and We 12:15 - 1:15 p.m., and most other times during the week; just come by, or give me a call to make an appointment.



We will study the short verse narratives by the German author Heinrich Kaufringer. He was one of the most important late medieval German poets (fl. ca. 1400). In his many short verse narratives, he presented a wide variety of issues relevant in human life: happiness, death, love, marriage, religion, justice, virtues and vices, the danger of excessive drinking, corruption, law and lawyers, etc. We will go through one story per class session and will use them as historical mirrors for our own lives. Please contact your Honors Academic Advisor to be enrolled in the class.




Engaging with an important collection of verse narratives from ca. 1400, which is actually parallel to Chaucer's Canterbury Tales and Boccaccio's Decameron. We will examine how Kaufringer dealt with a wide range of issues in human life and learn thereby critical issues of human life throughout time.

Student Learning OUTCOME:

1. Solid understanding of the works by Heinrich Kaufringer, 2. the ability to discuss his central theses critically in class, and 3. a high level of academic writing about these narratives. 4. The final outcome will be a deep concept of profound issues in human life, here seen through a literary-historical lens.


Although it is assumed that you will attend all class meetings, you are informed hereby that excessive absences will have consequences for your grade.


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 one meeting per week will only be of profit for you if you respond to my questions and those of your classmates, come forward with your own questions, opinions, etc.



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. 


"We seek to create the comprehensively engaged university with the expectation that everyone will make a contribution to inclusive excellence. Diversity and inclusiveness are core values for the University of Arizona and offer a competitive advantage in attracting faculty, staff, students and their partners. Moreover, diversity allows the institution to prepare students to be leaders in global contexts." It is my personal goal to provide an all-inclusive classroom where everyone is treated equally and has the same opportunity. (http://diversity.arizona.edu/vision-our-campus). Fairness,justice, and transparency are the foundations of the best education.

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. (http://drc.arizona.edu/). Students need to submit appropriate documentation to the instructor if they are requesting reasonable accommodations.


If you use secondary material for your journal, 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.

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 http://thinktank.arizona.edu/programs/thinktank/services/writing, stop by at Nugent Building, main level, or call (520) 626-0530.

How to declare German Studies as your major or minor:  https://german.arizona.edu/declare

Requirements for the major or minor


3 journals: 30% each

attendance and participation: 10%


I’ll collect your journals 3 times per semester. Your attendance in the colloquia is assumed; if you have to miss a meeting, please let me know in writing. Excessive, unexcused absences will result in a drop of your overall grade. More than 2 of such absences will lead to an automatic F in this course.

In specific, keep a journal and write ca. 500-600 words or more per week, dealing each time with the respective chapter/story that we are discussing every Friday. 

A: good journal, full critical discussion, plus questions and creative responses to the text

B: not always full amount of words, few questions, little critical thinking

C: mostly paraphrasing, too short entries, no comments of your own

D: spotty entries, misunderstandings, faulty grammar, spelling

F: few entries, short texts, no personal responses, or worse, no understanding of the text or the task



Aug. 27: Introduction, the Middle Ages and Renaissance, Heinrich Kaufringer, ca. 1400, Tales

Middle Ages through the English lens

Sept. 3: The Hermit and the Angel

Sept. 10: We continue with The Hermit, and then move on to: The Monk as Love Messenger B

Sept. 17: The Search for the Happily Married Couple

Sept. 24: The Search for the Happily Married Couple, and perhaps also The Canon and the Cobbler; 1st journal is due at 3 p.m.

Oct. 1: The Cowardly Husband; time permitting: The Canon and the Cobbler

Oct. 8: The Peasant who was falsely accused - I will be out of town this day. Please examine this story and write a brief analysis. I would like to read your comments, sent to me via email. Thanks.

Oct. 15: The Revenge of the Husband

Oct. 22: The Innocent Murderess

Oct. 29: We continue with The Innocent Murderess, and maybe also address: The Devil and the Wandering Scholar

Nov. 5:  Finishing with The Devil and the Wandering Scholar; The Half Blanket; 2nd journal is due at 3 p.m.

Nov. 12: Merchants in Disagreement (this is a brilliant story!)

Nov. 19: The Seven Deadly Sins

Nov. 26: The Evil and Worldly-Wise Counselors

Dec. 3: The Paid Lawyer; last day of class. 3rd journal is due at 3 p.m.

Student Learning Outcomes; By the end of the semester, students will be able to engage critically with this literary master poet, Kaufringer, and to write about the central points in a critical fashion. 

Trigger Warning: These are literary narratives, and some of them contain at times troublesome issues pertaining to violence, sexuality, and crimes. If you have any problems, please let me know so that I can help you.

Possible changes: The information contained in this course syllabus, other than the grade and absence policies, may be subject to change with reasonable advance notice, as deemed appropriate by the instructor.