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German Class Offerings

The Department of German offers language instruction for beginners to advanced speakers. The department also specializes in classes on German literature and philosophy.

More detailed descriptions including instructors, formats and prerequisites are available in the academic timetable.

Introductory classes

  • GERM 1001X/Y.06: German: A Practical Course for Beginners. This class provides the linguistic and cultural background needed to interact successfully with German speakers. I is for students with no previous knowledge of German. The course replaces traditional grammar instruction with practical exercises reflecting the basics of communication in domestic and academic life as well as in business and tourism. This course combines a predominantly oral method based on conversation and discussion with written work.
  • GERM 1010X/Y.06: German for Beginners. This is a seminar class for beginners only, and no previous knowledge is required. It is equivalent is two years of German in high school with a final mark of 75 per cent or better. The course emphasizes the spoken language, and provides the student with a thorough knowledge of basic grammar. Conversational tutorials are a required part of the course.
  • GERM 1020X/Y.06: German Fiction in Novel and Film. This class satisfies the University's guidelines for the Writing Requirement. It examines the conceptual transition from the printed word to the screen; classic German novels and short stories are to be read and compared with their film versions. Works by Kleist, Fontane, Kafka, Thomas Mann, Heinrich Mann, Böll and Handke will be included on the reading list. All texts will be read in English translation. Some of the best known and most innovative cinematic works will be shown and discussed. Directors will include Fassbinder, Herzog, Schlöndorff, Wenders, von Trotta and Visconti. All German language films will either be "dubbed" into English or provided with English subtitles. View the GERM 1020 course syllabus.
  • GERM 1025.03: German Fiction in Novel and Film. This course is cross-listed with GERM 1020X and is restricted to Engineering students.
  • GERM 1060X/Y.06: German Reading Class for Beginners. Students acquire a knowledge of basic vocabulary and grammatical structures sufficient to understand newspapers and texts in the humanities and sciences. No previous knowledge of German is required.
  • GERM 1080X/Y.06: German Folk and Fairy Tales. Beginning with the great Germanic epic of the Nibelungen, and finishing with the famous collection of fairy tales by the Brothers Grimm, this class aims to familiarize students with the most significant Germanic myths and tales. Their origins ans aspects of their historical, political, social and literary importance will be discussed, though readings presenting a wide variety of critical approaches. The course encourages an interest in narrative style -- in the epic, the legend and the fairy tale as literary forms. This history and essential qualities of these forms will be investigated; students will develop a greater awareness of the role and influence which the imagery of these forms has had (and continues to have) in the visual arts and music, in advertising and film, in poetry and theatre. The readings in this course are in English.

Intermediate classes

Intermediate classes are based on GERM 1010X/Y.06, 1060X/Y.06, high school German Grade 10, 11, 12 or an equivalent basic knowledge. A combination of GERM 2000X/Y.06 and GERM 2020X/Y.06 serves as an accelerated Intermediate German class and is designed for students who want to make rapid progress in the language.

Unless noted otherwise, all upper year classes are taught in German with German texts. Please check all class descriptions in the Undergraduate Calendar for formats, instructors and prerequisites.

  • GERM 2000X/Y.06: Intermediate German. The main aim of this course is to develop a certain degree of speaking fluency as well as to improve reading and writing skills. Small conversation classes once a week as an aid to speaking fluency are offered.
  • GERM 2010.03: Germanic Myths and Tales I. The class will begin with the great Germanic epic of the Nibelungen, rediscovered in the 18th century. In the 19th century, the composer Wagner adopted the stories for his Ring cycle, which will be discussed with musical examples.
  • GERM 2011.03: Germanic Myths and Tales II. We will read the famous collection of fairy tales compiled by the Grimm Brothers in the first quarter of the 19th century. The class asks why they were so popular at the time and looks at the reason for their seemingly endless appeal since.
  • GERM 2020X/Y.06: Exercises in Translation and Composition. English and German texts from various periods and of different types will be translated. These translations lead to the discussion of specific difficulties of grammar and construction.
  • GERM 2030.03: German Culture through Film. This course provides an introduction to German culture trhough the medium of film. Both the classical early period and contemporary German film will be discussed.
  • GERM 2040.03: Monsters and Madness: Early 20th Century German Film. This course provides an introduction to German film of the early 20th Century. We will focus on one of the most influential periods of cinema history, German Expressionism, and continue to early sound film, Nazi-Propaganda and Postwar film. No knowledge of German language is necessary. All films are subtitled.
  • GERM 2050.03: German Reading I.
  • GERM 2051.03: German Reading II.
  • GERM 2060.03: German for Business, Economics and Tourism I. This course introduces students to the specialized vocabulary used in business and economics. It also aims to familiarize the students with all aspects of the German economy and business world.
  • GERM 2061.03: German for Business, Economics and Tourism II. This course introduces students to the specialized vocabulary used in business and economics. It also aims to familiarize the students with all aspects of the German economy and business world.
  • GERM 2080.06: German Folk and Fairy Tales. This seminar is held with GERM 1080X/Y.06 and shares the same aims, but GERM 2080 students will read most texts in German, and complete some assignments in German.
  • GERM 2150X/Y.06: Goethe's Faust. A close reading of Goethe's Faust, comparing the German original with an English translation, will give rise to questions about translation techniques, the theory of drama and the reshaping of a legend. While Goethe's masterpiece stands at the centre, other German versions of the Faust legend will also be discussed in detail. Assignments will involve research into later echoes of the Faust legend as well. The language of instruction is English but the texts are in German.
  • GERM 2200X/Y.06: Introduction to German Literature. A study of texts representing major periods of German Literature from the 18th to the 20th Century. Special emphasis is on the interaction between literature, society and other forms of art. The course also serves as an introduction to literary criticism. The language of instruction is German and English, as needed; the texts are in German.
  • GERM 2400X/Y.06: German Art and Literature. An introduction to modern German art and literature. Special emphasis is on the interaction between art and literature, particularly the themes and styles shared by visual and literary expression during the various epochs of modernity. The language of instruction is German and English, as needed. The texts are in German.
  • GERM 2450X/Y.06: Kant and the History of German Idealism. A study of Kant's relation to modern Rationalism and Empiricism, and an inquiry into the principles of Idealism. This course is taught in English and uses English translations.
  • GERM 2550.03: In Pursuit of Freedom from Luther to Nietzsche I. This is a study of major thinkers, with emphasis on Luther, Leibniz, Herder, Hamann, Kant and Schiller. This class is taught in English using English translations.
  • GERM 2551.03: In Pursuit of Freedom from Luther to Nietzsche II. This is a study of major thinkers, with emphasis on Hegel, Schopenhauer and Nietzsche. This class is taught in English using English translations.
  • GERM 2600.03: 'Freiheit'. Freedom in German Literature and Thought I. In contrast to other European literatures of the 18th century with their utilitarian and moralistic aims, the German Sturm and Drang movement puts the individual into the centre. A secular society demands a new conception of man ("Mensch") liberated from God and the gods. As a consequence, the traditional view of man inherited from Aristotelian poetics is replaced by characters who shape their own destiny. A new myth of a defiant Prometheus is created by Goethe. German idealism formulates a new theory of freedom which was summed up by Kant in the categorical imperative.
  • GERM 2601.03: 'Freiheit'. Freedom in German Literature and Thought II. 19th and 20th century. Goethe's Divan opens our discussion, Goethe follows the Persian poet Hafiz to the Orient. There he finds freedom of the imagination which enables him to ignore the reality of the Napoleonic wars. Goethe's avoidance of reality became the role model for the Symbolist movement. The German Romantics placed a writer's imaginative capacity ("Fantasie") and subjectivity ("Witz" and "Ironie") higher than any concerns about objective reality. New forces, like chance ("Zufall"), counter man's perceived freedom, as is shown in the works of Henrich von Kleist. The dependence on circumstances, social structures and natural laws becomes the great topic of Realism and Naturalism. The human being without hope, faith or the chance of salvation is manifested in Büchner's works. Finally, the existential crisis of modern man finds its most representative expression in the works of Franz Kafka.
  • GERM 2650X/Y.06: Modern German Philosophy. This course provides a survey of the German philosophical tradition from the Enlightenment to the present. Students will gain a broad overview of German intellectual history through focused readings of key theoretical texts. This course is taught in English using English translations.
  • GERM 3000X/Y.06: Advanced German. Translations, readings, essays and discussions will promote fluency in the language on the advanced level.
  • GERM 3001.03: Advanced Spoken German I.This course aims to develop the oral proficiency and fluency of advanced students. We will improve pronunciation, practice discussion skills and idiomatic experession, build vocabulary, memorize set phrases and practicee listening comprehension.
  • GERM 3002.03: Advanced Spoken German II.This course builds on GERM 3001. In this half of the course, we will continue to work on improving pronunciation and intonation, to expand vocabulary and practice sentence and conversational structures. We will especially focus on increasing fluency and confidence in conversational interaction.
  • GERM 3010.03: Advanced Translation I: German - English. German texts of various kinds are used to deal with techniques and problems of translating from German into English. This course includes discussion of translation theories, elements of style and questions of ambiguity and textual redundancy.
  • GERM 3011.03: Advanced Translation II: English - German. English texts of various kinds are used to deal with the techniques and problems of translating from English into German. This course includes discussion of translation theories, elements of style and questions of ambiguity and textual redundancy.
  • GERM 3050.06: German Reading.
  • GERM 3051.03: German Reading III.
  • GERM 3052.03: German Reading IV.
  • GERM 3055X/Y.06: Goethe's Faust. A close reading of Goethe's Faust, comparing the German original and an English translation, will give rise to questions about translation techniques, the theory of drama and the reshaping of a legend. While Goethe's masterpiece stands at the centre, other German versions of the Faust legend will also be discussed in detail. Assignments will involve research into later echoes of the Faust legend as well. The language of instruction is English, but the texts are in German.
  • GERM 3100X/Y.06: German Literature and Thought from Reformation to Enlightenment. A study of German literature between the 16th and 18th centuries as a direct reflection of the important religious, social and philosophical developments after the Reformation and during Absolutism.
  • GERM 3120.03: Origins of Comparative Religion from Hegel to Nietzsche. Comparative Religion was an invention of lecturers at the University of Berlin from 1810. Religious doctrines and cults were assessed according to the Christology of German Idealism. The beginning is Hegel's 1821 Lectures on Religion; the criticisms of Schopenhauer, D.F. Strauss, Feuerbach and Kierkegaard will lead us to Nietzsche's "Anti-Christ". This class is taught in English using English translations. (Cross-listed with RELS 3120.03)
  • GERM 3150X/Y.06: Goethe and the Enlightenment. A study of German literature and thought of the time which preceded and witnessed the great revolutions of the 18th century.
  • GERM 3200X/Y.06: Goethe and Romanticism. A study of Goethe, Novalis and F. Schlegel.
  • GERM 3240X/Y.06: Literature of the 19th Century. A discussion of essential literary texts which throw a critical light on the growing forces of materialism and positivism.
  • GERM 3250X/Y.06: Modern German Literature. A study of selected prose texts of Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Franz Kafka, Arthur Schnitzler and Thomas Mann. The language of instruction is English and German, as needed; the texts are in German.
  • GERM 3300X/Y.06: History of German Poetry. The poems we shall read represent the "stations" of the modern mind. We shall begin with the 17th Century; we shall end with the 20th Century.
  • GERM 3400X/Y.06: Germany and Europe: The Cultural Union. Modern German literature begins with the reception of Shakespeare and Milton in the mid 18th Century. The Sturm and Drang movement used the works of Shakespeare as its inspiration to create a radical anti-Aristotelian concept of drama and of man. Writers of this period created an “open form” of drama which foreshadowed the plays of Büchner and Brecht.
  • GERM 3450.03: Confronting Fascism. This course focuses on German writers, artists, filmmakers, and intellectuals whose work impacted and was impacted by the rise of fascism in the 20th Century. (Cross-listed with POLI 3449.03 and HIST 3059.03)
  • GERM 3550.03: Germany and the Environment. Study of the ever-changing ideas of nature and the environment in German culture from the 18th Century to today.
  • GERM 3650X/Y.06: History and Theory of the German Novel. Representative works from the Baroque Age to the 20th Century are studied and the principles of the genre discussed. The language of instruction is English and German, as needed; the texts are in German.
  • GERM 3750X/Y.06: Modern German Drama. An historical study of modern German Drama from the 1770's to the twentieth century. Works by J.M.R. Lenz, J.W. v. Goethe, H.v. Kleist, G. Büchner, G. Hauptmann, E. Toller, B. Brecht and B. Strauß will be discussed. The notion of freedom (Freiheit) and its apparent impossibility in the nineteenth and twentieth century is central. The texts are read in English translation with the German originals as back-up. (Cross-listed with THEA 3751X/Y.06)
  • GERM 3850.03: The End Of The World. Apocalypse in German Thought. The war, death and destruction that define European history in the 20th century can only begin to explain the obsession with the apocalypse in contemporary German thought. In this seminar we will study the secular appropriatation of apocalyptic imagery from the Judeo-Christian tradition. (Cross-listed with RELS 3202.03)
  • GERM 4100X/Y.06: Aesthetics and Poetics. An historical study of the development of aesthetic theory. Aristotle's "Poetik", Lenz's "Anmerkungen uebers Theater", Hegel's "Ästhetik", Heidegger's "Ursprung des Kunstwerkes" and Gadamer's "Aktualität des Schönen" will be studied.
  • GERM 4200X/Y.06: Seminar on Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit. The Phenomenology of Spirit, published in 1807, was Hegel's first major work. He intended to write an introduction to philosophy by demonstrating the necessity of the advance from the most immediate form of knowledge to absolute knowledge. To achieve this, he had to write the Phenomenology as an introduction to his own philosophy.
  • GERM 4250X/Y.06: Studies in German Idealism. The specific content of the seminar varies from year to year, but is always related to some aspect of Idealism.
  • GERM 4500.03: Special Topics Class I. An intensive research seminar.
  • GERM 4501.03: Special Topics Class II. An intensive research seminar.
  • GERM 4600.06: Special Topics Class. An intensive research seminar.

Graduate level classes

For more information on Graduate Studies in the Department of German, please refer to the Graduate Studies section of this website, under Programmes.