Core Courses

German Linguistics (Paul Roberge)

This course is offered, at the discretion of the professor, in two versions, as “Structure of the German Language” and “History of the German Language.” Either one satisfies the core requirement. The Structure of the German Language is an introduction to the formal analysis of German grammar: phonology, morphology, word formation, syntax, semantics. It is designed to provide future teachers and scholars with a basic understanding of German as a linguistic system. The course also considers the German language in its historical, sociolinguistic, extraterritorial aspects. The History of the German Language introduces students to the historical development of the German language from the earliest times until the modern period. We shall look at some of the phonological and morphosyntactic changes that differentiate German from English, Dutch and other related languages, and give the modern language its hallmark linguistic features.  We shall further examine the historical and cultural context in which German developed, noting the impact of important events, from Christianization to the Reformation, from courtly poetry to the invention of printing, on language use. Students will read short texts in the main historical forms of the language — Old Saxon, Old High German, Middle Low German, Middle High German and Early New High German.

Middle High German (taught by rotating faculty)

This course teaches the basic elements of the Middle High German language and exposes students to a variety of textual genres from the high Middle Ages such as courtly romance, heroic epic, love lyric, and late medieval rhymed couplet texts. The focus of the course is on language and translation, but the close textual work also provides an introduction to the medieval German literature and culture.

Cultural Foundations in German Studies I (taught by rotating faculty)

This seminar offers an intensive survey of literary, cultural and intellectual developments in German-speaking lands from 1200 to 1800. We will begin our investigation with a sampling of the major epics and poetry of the High Middle Ages. From there we will move into humanism and consider the invention of print and the popular literary forms characteristic of Reformation culture in the German lands. Venturing on into the 17th century, we will consider the revival of German poetry and the popularity of the picaresque novel in the aftermath of the Thirty Years War. The final section of the course will be dedicated to the drama, poetry, aesthetic writings and narrative fiction of the so-called Age of Goethe. Over the course of the semester, we will cultivate an understanding of literary history as a cultural formation that changes over time by paying particular attention to: 1) the role that shifts in media (orality and literacy, visual studies, print) played in constructing different concepts of literature; 2) conflicting models of what is German that have historically shaped the study of the diverse set of texts we are considering; and 3) the categories of gender, religion and secularization as critical indicators of social and cultural paradigm shifts. This course is designed as a reading-intensive seminar. In addition to completing the readings and participating actively in seminar discussions, students will be expected to take a midterm and final exam and to give several oral presentations. No papers will be required. After successfully completing this course, students can expect to have acquired an overview of the canonical texts, authors, and epochs of German literature from the beginnings to ca. 1800; an active understanding of the cultural and aesthetic categories through which a literary heritage is created and maintained, and the ways in which literary history came into being and has changed over time; and a deep knowledge of the modern tools of scholarly inquiry (editions, translations, dictionaries, and so on) in both print and electronic versions that are fundamental to the field of German literary studies.

Cultural Foundations in German Studies II (taught by rotating faculty)

This seminar required of all students in the Carolina-Duke Graduate Program in German Studies offers an intensive survey of literary, cultural and intellectual developments in German-speaking lands from 1800 to the present. Success in Foundations II does not require a command of the material covered in Foundations I. Over the course of the semester, students will cultivate an understanding of literary history as a cultural formation that changes over time by paying particular attention to: 1) the string of literary movements that constitute the modern literary canon; 2) the respective stylistic particularities, genres, textual forms, generic properties and idiosyncratic features of cultural production as reflected in their historical moment/movement; 3) the historically-bound ideologies and norms – literary, philosophical, historical, political, socio-economic – that are actively produced or contested through the complexity of aesthetic forms; 4) the construction of concepts of literature that have been influenced by shifts in media (orality and literacy, print, visuality, technologies of storage, reproduction and dissemination); 5) conflicting historical models of what is German that have shaped the study of the diverse set of texts we are considering; and 6) attendant philosophical and theoretical concepts relevant for situating literary texts within larger discursive context within their respective time. This course is designed as a reading-intensive seminar. In addition to completing the readings and participating actively in seminar discussions, students will be expected to take a midterm and final exam and to give two oral presentations. No papers will be required. After successfully completing this course, students can expect to have acquired an overview of the canonical texts, authors, and epochs of modern German literature since 1800; an active understanding of the cultural and aesthetic categories through which a literary heritage is created and maintained; an appreciation for the ways in which literary history came into being and has changed over time; and, finally, a deep knowledge of the modern tools of scholarly inquiry (editions, translations, dictionaries) in both print and electronic versions that are fundamental to the field of German literary studies.

Foreign Language Pedagogy: Theories and Practice (Christina Wegel)

This course introduces new Teaching Assistants in the joint program to current methodologies and pedagogies relevant to teaching in a communicative classroom. We will consider theoretical developments as well as current issues in language pedagogy discussed in recent articles (Die Unterrichtspraxis, Foreign Language Annals et al.) and such readings as Making Communicative Language Teaching Happen (Lee and VanPatten), Teaching Language In Context (Omaggio-Hadley), and Approaches and Methods in Language Training (Richards and Rodgers). Furthermore, we will explore practical applications of the studied approaches and theorems, debate and engage with language, literature and culture classroom settings and methods and start building online teaching portfolios containing sample lesson plans, syllabi, and teaching philosophies.