German Studies

Karen Remmler, Chair

Dominique Rampton, Academic Department Coordinator


103 Ciruti Center
413-538-2294
https://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/german

Overview and Contact Information

The Department of German Studies offers a program that promotes an understanding of the connections between language and its larger cultural contexts worldwide. We prepare students for diverse career paths by integrating curricular and experiential learning. We aim to lead our students to what is called “translingual and transcultural competence,” a proficiency that is essential in all fields in today’s globalized world. On advanced projects, we cooperate with colleagues at Mount Holyoke or the Five Colleges who are experts in, for example, architectural studies, the arts, economics, European studies, film and media studies, history, literature, music, philosophy, and politics. Finally, our graduates gain a much deeper grasp of their own languages and cultures and a much more substantive level of self-awareness of their own traditions and values.

Language learning in our program, then, emphasizes at all levels the interrelationship between target language and culture and native language and culture; self and community; curriculum and career. We also consistently explore the global interconnections between German and European cultures. We provide opportunities for students to integrate their interest in other subjects with material in our upper-intermediate and advanced-level courses. Furthermore, we encourage our students to seek experiential learning by participating in our exchange with the University of Leipzig, as well as the Berlin School of Economics and Law, and to combine study with internship experience.

Following the credo of Mary Lyon, the department has a proud tradition of connecting its rigorous curricular program with career exploration opportunities for students. So we have built an alumnae network to provide current students with assistance when searching for internships or employment either in the U.S. or internationally. Many of these alumnae continued their studies in German and other fields at the most renowned graduate and professional schools in the United States and abroad. Finally, we strive to remain up to date, and provide students with optimal support during the application process, regarding stipend and internship opportunities in science, business, politics, journalism, film, and the arts—to name but a few—as well as study, research, and teaching fellowships abroad.

German studies majors graduating from Mount Holyoke College have used the analytical, cultural, and linguistic competence they acquired to pursue a wide range of careers in banking, business, education, government, international affairs, journalism, law, medicine, publishing, radio and television broadcasting, and the sciences.

All department members have Ph.D. training in interdisciplinary German studies and participate in a wide range of interdisciplinary programs. Our courses, therefore, contribute to such programs as critical social thought, film studies, gender studies, and Jewish studies. We strongly recommend that students take courses in other fields related to German and European cultures.

Our entire curriculum, then, supports the study of the German language within its European and global cultural and historical contexts and is adapted to the individual student’s background, style, and pace of learning. To facilitate such learning, the department has proved a pioneer in creatively employing the use of technology throughout its curriculum, from elementary courses to advanced seminars. Technology, moreover, serves several learning goals: students acquire marketable skills in learning how to create substantive multimedia projects; students with certain learning styles may improve their comprehension by specific types of media use; and accessibility is afforded other students who could otherwise not participate in classes. In addition, all our courses focus on developing critical reading, speaking, and writing skills.

Class time focuses on interpersonal communication among students and with the instructor, and among students and peer assistants from Germany. From the beginning, students learn strategies for understanding German speakers in a variety of contexts, on many levels, and in diverse situations. When selecting course content materials, we focus on our students’ goals in studying German. In weekly conversation sessions, peer assistants from Germany provide opportunities for informal conversations. Most courses are conducted in German, except first-year seminars, GRMST-205, and GRMST-231. However, students in these courses may receive credit toward the German studies major or minor by enrolling in a complementary two-credit speaking and writing course (GRMST-232).

The major in German studies, therefore, integrates learning inside and outside the classroom, the development of language skills with the study of the social, economic, and cultural developments in the German-speaking countries, in the past and present and within a larger transnational context.

Our graduating seniors have consistently been awarded such highly regarded national and international graduate fellowships as DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service), Fulbright, PAD (Pädagogischer Austauschdienst),   Congress/Bundestag Fellowship for Young Professionals, Bundestag Internship Program (Internationale Parlaments-Praktika Internship Programm), CDS Emigré Parliamentary/Cultural Vistas Internships, and internships with the European Union.

Study and Internships Abroad in German-Speaking Countries

The junior year in Germany is open to both majors and non-majors. To be appropriately prepared for study in Germany, students who wish to participate should have studied German continuously, at least one course each semester, during their first and second years. Majors spending the junior year in a German-speaking country with a program approved by the department and the  McCulloch Center for Global Initiatives normally satisfy some of the minimum requirements of their major while abroad. By completing appropriate course work, including written work, students majoring in German may transfer the equivalent of one course per semester at the 300 level and additional credits at the 200 level. Minors spending the junior year in a German-speaking country with a program approved by the department and the McCulloch Center for Global Initiatives may bring back the equivalent of one course at the 300 level and one course at the 200 level. Upon their return, students are required to participate in at least one course per semester in the department so that faculty can evaluate them based on work done in the senior year when writing recommendations for graduate school or employment opportunities.

The department has an exchange program with the University of Leipzig. In addition, the department participates in the College’s exchange with the Berlin School of Economics and Law. The chair and other faculty will assist each student with selecting an individually appropriate opportunities. See the department’s study abroad webpage for more details. Our students frequently spend time abroad, either in their junior year or in the summer. They also take advantage of diverse internship opportunities at German investment banks or brokerage firms, science laboratories, hospitals, newspapers, intercultural agencies, schools, radio and television stations, museums, libraries, archives, and other places of professional interest to them.

Faculty

This area of study is administered by the Department of German Studies:

Karen Remmler, Professor of German Studies

Mark Lauer, Senior Lecturer in German Studies, On Leave 2016-2017

Donna Van Handle, Senior Lecturer in German Studies

Nora Gortcheva, Visiting Lecturer in German Studies

Anca Holden, Visiting Lecturer in German Studies

Madalina Meirosu, Visiting Instructor in German; UMass Teaching Associate

Requirements for the Major

A minimum of 32 credits:

20 credits beyond GRMST-103 drawn from these or other upper-level courses:20
Intermediate German
Europe on the Edge: Introduction to European Studies
Lesen, Schreiben, Sprechen
German Culture Today
Topics in German Studies 1
Topics in German and European Studies in a Global Context 1
A Global Enterprise: Germany Works
Three additional courses (12 credits), taught in German, at the 300 level including: 2,312
Senior Capstone Seminar (completed during the fall semester of senior year)
Total Credits32
1

GRMST-223 courses are taught in German; GRMST-231 courses are taught in English. GRMST-223 and GRMST-231 may be taken more than once as long as the topic is different.

2

 GRMST-223 may be taken for 300-level credit, with approval of the instructor. 

Additional Specifications

  • A maximum of 8 credits toward the major may include courses taught in English, such as GRMST-231 or, with permission of the department, other cross-listed topics courses at the 200 or 300 level.

  • As culture is constructed and expressed through language, students are expected to conduct their work in the department and as much work as possible outside the department, in the German language. The major in German studies is intended to provide a focused concentration in the language and culture of the German-speaking countries within transnational European contexts. Students achieve an advanced level of translingual and transcultural competence.

  • Students’ trajectory towards completing the requirements for the German major is based on their level of language proficiency when they enter Mount Holyoke. Individual course selection is to be coordinated with the chair or departmental advisor. 

  • In conjunction with their advisors, students plan an individualized program of study suited to their interests and backgrounds. To ensure breadth of background and context, we strongly encourage students to include at least one pre-twentieth century course and to complement their German Studies major with a second major, minor, Nexus, or Five College certificate. Students may focus on a specific topic, period, or century. Courses focusing on German and/or European culture and taught in other departments or programs may be selected from such fields as anthropology, art, critical social thought, economics, environmental studies, film studies, gender studies, history, history of science, international relations, Jewish studies, music, politics, philosophy, psychology, religious studies, sociology, and theatre arts.

The minor in German studies is intended to provide a focused introduction to the language and culture of German-speaking countries within a larger transnational context. Students achieve a basic level of translingual and transcultural competence.

Requirements for the Minor

A minimum of 16 credits:

GRMST-205Europe on the Edge: Introduction to European Studies 4
At least one 4-credit course at the 300 level in the Department of German Studies4
Two additional 4-credit courses in German Studies beyond GRMST-103:8
The first must be taught in German beyond the 100 level.
The second may include any of the following: 1
GRMST-201, 221, 223 (4 credits, taught in German) 2
GRMST-215 (2 credits, taught in German)
GRMST-230, 231 (4 credits, taught in English)
Or an additional course at the 300-level
Total Credits16
1

 Other courses may count toward the minor if approved by the department chair

2

 GRMST-223 may be taken more than once as long as the topics are different

Teacher Licensure

Students interested in pursuing licensure in the field of German studies can combine their course work with a minor in education. In some instances, coursework in the major coincides with coursework required for licensure; in other cases, it does not. For more information, please consult your advisor, the chair of the German studies department, information in the catalog on the minor in education and teacher licensure, or the program's website.

Licensure also requires a formal application as well as passing scores on the Massachusetts Test of Educator Licensure (MTEL) in both the literacy component and the subject matter component. Copies of the test objectives for the MTEL are available in the Department of Psychology and Education.

Additional information about the Licensure Program, including application materials, can be found on the Teacher Licensure Program website.

Course Advice

GRMST-231 and GRMST-331 satisfy the Humanities distribution requirement. It may also be possible to count these courses toward the German major or minor with permission of the department.

Courses that satisfy the College language requirement only are designated as such. Other courses can satisfy either the language requirement or fulfill a Humanities distribution requirement.

Advice for New Students

First-Year Seminars offered by German Studies faculty and GRMST-231 are writing-intensive courses taught in English. Both courses are open to first-year students.

Placement in German Courses

The Department of German Studies will review the course selection of all entering students, taking into consideration school and AP records together with the results of the placement exam and answers to the questionnaire at http://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/german/placement.html.

All students with prior knowledge of German who plan to elect German in either semester must complete this questionnaire carefully. Final course placement will be based on the following considerations: the student’s specific training in German, the results of the student’s online placement exam, and scheduling possibilities. Students should take the online placement exam prior to registration, if possible.

Students in Groups II–IV, as described below, are required to complete the online questionnaire. Students may choose their courses according to the following guidelines, but all students are encouraged to consult with the chair of the department during the summer or upon arrival on campus. Email: kremmler@mtholyoke.edu

  • Group I: Students with no previous training in German, or with the equivalent of one year of study at the secondary school level, should elect GRMST-101 in the fall, or GRMST-103 in the spring. GRMST-101 and GRMST-102 constitute a yearlong Elementary German course; GRMST-103 is an intensive course that covers two semesters (one year) in one semester.
  • Group II: Students who have studied German for more than one year but for fewer than four years, or who feel they need a comprehensive review of grammar, should elect  GRMST-201. Students entering in the spring who have studied German for one or two years may choose GRMST-102 in consultation with the chair.
  • Group III: Students with three or four years of study in German should ordinarily elect GRMST-221. Students with four or more years of German or extensive experience living in a German-speaking country or speaking German should ordinarily elect GRMST-223 based on the results of the placement exam.
  • Group IV: Other students with previous training in German should consult with the department chair (kremmler@mtholyoke.edu) during the summer or in September for individual placement or enroll in GRMST-223.

All students contemplating spending all or part of their junior year in Germany should elect German in the first semester of their first year, since two continuous years of German in college are normally required for junior year programs in Germany.

Course Offerings

German Studies Courses

GRMST-101 Elementary German

Fall. Credits: 4

This course introduces speaking, reading, and writing German. Cultural and literary readings together with frequent use of video and other online resources dealing with everyday situations and experiences in the German-speaking countries sensitize students to the cultural context in which the language is used. Weekly conversation sessions with a German language assistant supplement class work.

Applies to requirement(s): Humanities; Language
A. Holden, M. Meirosu, D. Van Handle
Coreq: GRMST-101L.
Notes: requires conversation session (50 minutes)

GRMST-102 Elementary German

Spring. Credits: 4

Continuation of the elementary German course; practice in speaking, reading, and writing German. Cultural and literary readings together with frequent use of online resources dealing with everyday situations and experiences in the German-speaking countries sensitize students to the cultural context in which the language is used. Weekly conversation sessions with a German language assistant supplement class work.

Applies to requirement(s): Humanities; Language
Other Attribute(s): Speaking-Intensive
M. Meirosu, D. Van Handle
Prereq: GRMST-101, or see department for placement.
Advisory: See department for placement if you have not taken German 101 at Mount Holyoke College
Notes: Requires conversation session (50 minutes). Labs will begin the week after classes start.

GRMST-103 Intensive Elementary German

Spring. Credits: 8

Two semesters in one. Practice in speaking, reading, and writing German. Cultural and literary readings together with frequent use of online resources dealing with everyday situations and experiences in the German-speaking countries sensitize students to the cultural context in which the language is used. Weekly conversation sessions with German language assistant supplement class work.

Applies to requirement(s): Humanities; Language
Other Attribute(s): Speaking-Intensive
A. Holden
Coreq: GRMST-103L.
Notes: 4 meetings (75 minutes) plus required conversation session (50 minutes)

GRMST-115 German for Internships and Research

Fall. Credits: 2

For students who wish to acquire a working knowledge of German to prepare for an internship or research in a German-speaking country. Some knowledge of German affords students access to better placements in internships, especially DAAD RISE summer internships (http://www.daad.de/rise/en/rise-germany/) sponsored and supported by the German government. Focus on vocabulary and structures used when interacting with German speakers in specific cultural contexts or discipline-specific situations. Help with applications and resumes, along with presentations and staff from the CDC, McCulloch Center, and Alumnae Association.

Applies to requirement(s): Meets No Distribution Requirement
Other Attribute(s): Speaking-Intensive
D. Van Handle

GRMST-201 Intermediate German

Fall. Credits: 4

This course emphasizes further development of contextual reading, writing, and speaking skills in German. Focus on strategies that help students learn vocabulary and use grammatical structures in appropriate ways. Discussion of a variety of texts and genres, as well as exploration of topics such as immigration and social justice. Frequent writing assignments and speaking opportunities.

Applies to requirement(s): Humanities; Language
Other Attribute(s): Speaking-Intensive, Writing-Intensive
A. Holden
Prereq: GRMST-101, GRMST-102, or GRMST-103. Coreq: GRMST-201L.

GRMST-205 Europe on the Edge: Introduction to European Studies

Fall. Credits: 4

Europe embodies crossroads of multiple cultures, memories, migrations, and political demarcations. Taking a critical view of conventional paradigms of European nation states and "master" narratives, we study shifting European cultures and identities through multiple perspectives across time and space. What remains of the ancient and modern regimes? How have global movements, historical upheavals, and shifting boundaries within and adjacent to European borders from early empires to contemporary global networks affected the transformation of lives? Where is Europe heading today? Faculty from across the disciplines will join us to discuss Europe as a subject of global imagination and networks.

Applies to requirement(s): Humanities
Other Attribute(s): Speaking-Intensive, Writing-Intensive
K. Remmler
Notes: This course is designed for students eager to expand their knowledge of globalization, cultural politics, identity formation, and critical social thought. Students are encouraged to combine this course with the study of one or more European languages and cultures, International Relations, film and media studies, translation studies, or other courses dedicated to transnational perspectives.

GRMST-215 Lesen, Schreiben, Sprechen

Spring. Credits: 2

Intensive practice in reading, writing, and speaking German. Students will write short essays on topics of their choosing, in addition to application letters and a sample resumé for an internship or job in Germany. We will focus also on developing reading strategies and on improving students' ability to converse colloquially, idiomatically, and formally in German. Readings on popular culture, music, as well as current political, social, cultural, historical, and economic issues in the German-speaking world, reflecting student interest and academic focus. Students engage in a variety of speaking activities such as presentations, role-playing and simulations, pair work, and group discussions.

Applies to requirement(s): Meets No Distribution Requirement
Other Attribute(s): Speaking-Intensive, Writing-Intensive
D. Van Handle
Prereq: GRMST-201.
Notes: Students in German Studies 221 or 223 are strongly encouraged to enroll in German Studies 215 or 216 for additional language practice and review.

GRMST-221 German Culture Today

GRMST-221SH German Culture Today: 'Stories and Histories'

Spring. Credits: 4

This course examines historical, cultural, and political developments that continue to frame debates about the twentieth century, World War II, the former GDR, and German unification. Thematic focus helps students develop accuracy, fluency, and complexity of expression. Reading, writing, and speaking are consistently integrated. Special emphasis is placed on text organization toward expanding students' language abilities, with a gradual movement from personal forms of expression to written and public discourse.

Applies to requirement(s): Humanities; Language
Other Attribute(s): Speaking-Intensive, Writing-Intensive
N. Gortcheva
Prereq: Previous study of German, normally equivalent to 3 semesters of college German, or 3 or more years of high school German
Notes: Taught in German.

GRMST-223 Topics in German Studies

GRMST-223BT Topics in German Studies: 'From Flaneur to Hipster: Berlin in Text and Film'

Spring. Credits: 4

Since its rapid rise as a European and world metropolis in the late nineteenth century, Berlin has drawn both continuous fascination and criticism. The city has served as a playground for conflicting forces and become a symbol of Germany's and Europe's complicated path in the twentieth and twenty-first century. This class provides snapshots of Berlin's fascinating landscape from the 1900s to the present through a wide range of emblematic figures (the flaneur, the prostitute, the urban youth, the rebel, the hipster, etc.) at various sites of urban exploration.

Applies to requirement(s): Humanities; Language
Other Attribute(s): Speaking-Intensive, Writing-Intensive
N. Gortcheva
Prereq: Previous study of German, normally equivalent to 3 semesters of college German, or 3 or more years of high school German.
Notes: Taught in German

GRMST-223GM Topics in German Studies: 'In Flux: Germany, Migration, and the Other'

Fall. Credits: 4

Spanning the period from the 1950s to today, we investigate the shifting notions of national and cultural identity in East, West, and reunified Germany. We study both the history of migration as well as debates on German citizenship, nationhood and belonging to the society. The seminar combines philosophical texts, newspaper articles, literary materials, and films with public discussions and personal reflections on the topics of the seminar. Students are introduced to literary and film analysis, and encouraged to draw on current events which manifest anew Germany's complex role in a globalized world.

Applies to requirement(s): Humanities; Language
Other Attribute(s): Speaking-Intensive, Writing-Intensive
N. Gortcheva
Prereq: Previous study of German, normally equivalent to 3 semesters of College German, or 3 or more years of high school German.
Notes: Taught in German

GRMST-232 German Studies Tutorial

Focus on developing discussion and reading skills in German, and revising and editing papers, or media projects, composed in German for German studies courses taught in English.

GRMST-251 A Global Enterprise: Germany Works

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

Students will explore how the humanities and social sciences contribute to our understanding of the changing role of work from a historical perspective. We will investigate how the concept of 'work' affects social organization and individual identity formation. By concentrating on the nineteenth and twenty-first centuries within the German speaking countries and beyond, the seminar will shed light on the two eras when technological changes and their concomitant transformations in social and individual organization brought disruptive change to our notions of 'work.' We will focus our attention on 'work' by literary scholars, artists, and philosophers who often work in cross-disciplinary research networks.

Applies to requirement(s): Humanities
Other Attribute(s): Speaking-Intensive
M. Lauer
Notes: Taught in English.

GRMST-295 Independent Study

Fall and Spring. Credits: 1 - 4

The department
Instructor permission required.

GRMST-315 Topics in German and European Culture in a Global Context

GRMST-323 Topics in German Studies: German Culture from 1800 to 2000

This course examines the cultural, political and social developments from 1800 to the present by investigating a significant topic. The selection of materials is exemplary rather than comprehensive and is based on thematic, historical, generic and other units.

GRMST-325 Senior Capstone Seminar

This seminar is designed to explore the nature of our field of inquiry in theory and practice. Students pursue independent research connecting German studies and another major academic field of interest, respond critically to each others' work, and lead discussions. All students read texts exploring such questions as: What does German Studies mean? What is interdisciplinary work? What role does literature play in culture studies? What is the relationship between language and the construction of culture? Why learn German vis a vis "global English"? What meanings have been attributed to the terms "culture" and "civilization"?

GRMST-325RH Senior Capstone Seminar: 'Remembering the Holocaust in the Digital Age'

Spring. Credits: 4

The access to digital equipment has created a boom in transgenerational remembering of the Holocaust and its aftermath. Descendants of survivors, perpetrators, and bystanders in Germany and Austria continue to create documentaries about their family histories. We explore the motivation behind the making of these documentaries and other digital renditions of Holocaust narrative. How effective are they in contrast to more static forms of remembering, such as memorials, museums, and documentation centers? Students create a media project to complement their research papers.

Applies to requirement(s): Humanities; Language
Other Attribute(s): Speaking-Intensive, Writing-Intensive
K. Remmler
Restrictions: This course is limited to seniors.
Notes: Taught in German.

GRMST-332 Topics in German and European Studies in a Global Context

Focus on developing argumentation and reading skills in German, and researching, revising and editing seminar papers written in German for German studies seminars taught in English.

GRMST-395 Independent Study

Fall and Spring. Credits: 1 - 8

The department
Instructor permission required.

Topics in German and European Studies in a Global Context 

GRMST-231 Topics in German and European Studies in a Global Context

An introduction to critical reading, writing, and arguing skills, emphasizing the practice of oral and written strategies for discussing and analyzing printed and film texts and the reader's responses to them.

GRMST-231EM Topics in German and European Studies in a Global Context: 'Embodiment in Theory: Precarious Lives from Marx to Butler'

Spring. Credits: 4

We examine the writing of major nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first century theorists, such as Marx, Nietzche, Freud, Dubois, Arendt, Fanon, Foucault, Butler, and others through the lens of embodiment. Rather than read theory as an abstract entity, we explore how theory itself is an embodiment of actual lives in which human beings experience life as precarious. What are the social conditions that create vulnerable bodies? How do thinkers who lived or are living precarious lives represent these bodies? Through a series of case studies based on contemporary examples of precarity, we examine the legacy and materiality of critical social thought.

Crosslisted as: CST-249EM, GNDST-204EM
Applies to requirement(s): Humanities
Other Attribute(s): Writing-Intensive
K. Remmler
Notes: Taught in English

GRMST-231WN Topics in German and European Studies in a Global Context: 'From Weimar to Nazi Germany: Film and Society'

Spring. Credits: 4

Discussing both canonical and lesser-known films from the Weimar and Nazi period, we explore various artistic tendencies, movements and genres in order to define cinema's complex role in representing social and historical experience. We pay special attention to the modes of constructing cinematic spaces, and the social utopias and catastrophes which cinema came to represent.

Applies to requirement(s): Humanities
Other Attribute(s): Writing-Intensive
N. Gortcheva
Notes: This course includes a mandatory weekly film screening. Taught in English.

GRMST-231WT Topics in German and European Studies in a Global Context: 'Philosophical Foundations of Western Thought: The Modern Period'

Spring. Credits: 4

This course examines the development of Western philosophy from the 17th through the 19th centuries by examining selected writings of Descartes, Elizabeth of Bohemia, Hobbes, Margaret Cavendish, Spinoza, Hume, Kant, Mary Wollstonecraft, Hegel, Marx, and Nietzsche. Topics include the emerging modern scientific background against which modern Western philosophy developed; the nature, extent, and limits of human knowledge (epistemology); the existence and nature of God, fundamental reality, and the mind (metaphysics and philosophy of mind); and debates concerning who gets the right and opportunity to exercise reason and freedom in the context of our sociocultural environment (practical philosophy).

Crosslisted as: PHIL-202
Applies to requirement(s): Humanities
J. Koo

GRMST-331 Topics in German and European Studies in a Global Context

This seminar is designed to explore theoretically and practically the nature of our field of inquiry. We explore such questions as: What does German studies mean? What is interdisciplinary work? What role does literature play in culture studies? What is the relationship between language and the construction of culture? What meanings have been attributed to the terms of 'culture' and 'civilization?' Texts from a variety of disciplines. Students write term papers on topics related to their major field(s) of interest.

GRMST-331EF Topics in German and European Studies in a Global Context: 'European Film in Global Context'

Fall. Credits: 4

This class addresses films which deal with European identity and experience in a global perspective. The concepts of "inside" and "outside" guide the discussion in a broad national, racial, ethnic, gender and generational context. The class tackles various genres and exhibition platforms, deepens the students' command of film analysis, and revisits key aspects of film style and form.

Crosslisted as: FLMST-370EF
Applies to requirement(s): Humanities
Other Attribute(s): Speaking-Intensive, Writing-Intensive
N. Gortcheva
Coreq: GRMST-331EFL.
Notes: Evening screenings are mandatory. The course is taught in English and all the films have English subtitles. Students may receive German credit if they register for German Studies 331EF and complete their assignments in German.