Professor Xinda Lian, Chair
Professor Gary Baker, Associate Professor Gabriele Dillmann; Visiting Assistant Professor Eva Revesz; Academic Administrative Assistant Liz Barringer-Smith
Educated people spend their lives trying to grow in political, social and intellectual freedom. One kind of intellectual freedom requires us to break away from the notion that our native language is the most natural and apt means of expressing the full range of human experience. An education can start with the discovery that all words are purely conventional devices. They are nonetheless tools that stir emotions, articulate ideas, and establish relationships with others. Learning a foreign language contributes to our education by providing an intimate exercise in cultural and linguistic concepts that open up new vistas on what it can mean to be human. Furthermore, foreign-language courses allow entry into the subjectivity of the target language on its own cultural and linguistic grounds, thus making possible a different and more profound redefinition of our own culture.
Our basic courses offer the opportunity to start acquiring the skills and knowledge necessary for the eventual mastery of a foreign language. When students take full advantage of that opportunity, they can use the target language in subsequent courses dealing with the foreign culture. The Department emphasizes the use of a foreign language in most of its courses because it believes that students can best appreciate a foreign culture from within its own mode of expression.
With a view toward career opportunities, the Department encourages integrating foreign language study with a variety of other academic areas, such as history, philosophy, international studies, environmental studies, biology, economics, political science, and English. Courses in cultural studies and literature, aside from their intrinsic worth, also present multiple perspectives on other cultures and various areas of intellectual experience.
A student wishing to spend a summer, a semester, or a year abroad with programs approved by Denison should consult members of the Department and the Office of Off-Campus Studies (see Off-Campus Programs). On-campus opportunities to improve their command of the language are provided by the Language and Culture Program, language tables, foreign films, club meetings, and similar activities sponsored by the Department. There are as well subsidized field trips to museums and pertinent activities in cities across the country, and in some cases foreign countries.
Students majoring in German must take a minimum of nine courses beyond German 211. Major electives would include a combination of 300- or 400-level classes. Four of the nine courses are obligatory:
213-Intermediate Conversation and Composition (or equivalent)
214-Communication and Writing Skills
304 or 305-German Culture and Civilization
311-Introduction to German Literature(recommended) or another German Literature course
Two of the five remaining required courses must be in literature, taken from Denison's course offerings or equivalent courses offered by an approved program abroad. The other three courses can be advanced language or a second civilization course. Seniors complete one major project in the context of a 300-level course taken in the senior year.
A student minoring in German must take at least five advanced language courses above the 211 level, one literature course, and one course in area studies. Recommended courses:
German 213-Intermediate Conversation
German 214-Communication and Writing Skills
German 304 or 305-German Culture and Civilization
German 311-Introduction to German Literature or one other German Literature course
General Departmental Regulations. Students planning to major in the Department are advised to begin course work in the first year. Those wishing to fulfill the basic requirement in language by continuing the one begun in secondary school will find it advantageous to begin their course work in the first year. The Department of Modern Languages strongly recommends that students complete their language requirement by the end of their sophomore year.
The Language Lab. An important asset of the department is the Language Lab with its 27 Macs, zone-free DVD player, multi-standard VCR and document camera. The Lab provides support for learning activities outside and inside the classroom, ranging from grammar drills to research and collaborative writing projects, as well as discussions on authentic materials published on the Internet. The area is designed not only for individualized instruction but also for group work and small seminars that use a variety of digital materials for class discussion.
Cultural Enrichment. Each semester the Department offers students exceptional opportunities for cultural enrichment in foreign languages. These opportunities include, for example, off-campus trips to target-culture plays, movies and performances, as well as campus visits by native scholars and performers. In that way, experiences in target cultures become more readily available to our students. These opportunities are made possible through a most generous endowment bestowed on the Department of Modern Languages by the Patty Foresman Fund.
The Foresman Lounge. Located in the central hub of the department, it provides the Denison community with a space for a wide range of activities such as receptions, classes, and informal gatherings. This area has a small kitchenette with a table and chairs for sharing lunch or a coffee with our faculty. It is also equipped with a wide range of technological devices with which to enrich our students’ learning experiences. This room has a 52-inch flat screen TV that is connected to a satellite dish, which provides us with SCOLA television services from around the world. The TV is also connected to a multi-standard VCR, a zone-free DVD player and a document camera. The lounge has a ceiling-mounted data projector, which connects to a networked Mac computer, the DVD player, VCR and document camera.
The Language and Culture Program. This exciting residential option gives students the opportunity to hone their language skills and to participate in special cultural events. Students who choose this residential option will live in a small community of their peers who share their enthusiasm for foreign languages and cultures. Special extracurricular activities and programming in the Language House support language acquisition and permit a closer relationship with professors and language assistants from the Department of Modern Languages.
Beginning German I (GERM-111). A comprehensive introductory course in German develops the four basic skills: aural comprehension, speaking, reading and writing. Does not count as credit toward a major. 4
Beginning German II (GERM-112). A comprehensive introductory course in German develops the four basic skills: aural comprehension, speaking, reading and writing. Does not count as credit toward a major. Prerequisite: GERM 111 or placement. 4
Intermediate German (GERM-211). The course is designed to improve comprehension of spoken and written German and to advance conversational skills. Grammar will also be reviewed. This course satisfies Denison Oral Communication requirement. Prerequisite: 112 or placement. 4
Intermediate Conversation and Composition (GERM-213). Intensive practice in conversational skills on the intermediate level. Work in the Multimedia Center and composition will constitute a part of the course. This course satisfies Denison Oral Communication requirement. Prerequisite: 211 or placement. 4
Review: Communication and Writing Skills (GERM-214). Intensive review of grammar and writing skills which aims to increase oral and written accuracy. Conducted in German. Prerequisite: 211 or consent. 4
Special Topics Seminar (GERM-302). A seminar with an emphasis on culture and literature focusing on a specific theme or topic. Topics such as Berlin, national identity, love in literature of the 90s, creative poetry writing, suicide in German literature, victims and perpetrators in German literature, and grammar review/advanced writing proficiency. Prerequisite: Two semesters of intermediate level German or consent. 4
German Culture and Civilization: 19th Century to 1933 (GERM-304). German culture in its historic context of the 19th century to 1933. Study of the development of German culture and civilization as represented in literature, art, architecture, philosophy, music and film. Conducted in German. Prerequisite: Two semesters of intermediate level German or consent. 4
German Culture and Civilization: 1933 to Present (GERM-305). German history and culture from 1933 to present. Study of the development of German culture and civilization as represented in literature, art, architecture, philosophy, music and film. Special emphasis on Germany and Austria as multicultural societies. Conducted in German. Prerequisite: Two semesters of intermediate level German or consent. 4
Introduction to German Literature and Non-Literary Texts (GERM-311). The goal of the course is to train the students in the techniques of reading, analyzing and responding to literary and non-literary texts such as, short prose fiction, plays, films, poetry, essays, articles, biographies, etc. Short compositions in German throughout the semester constitute an essential element of the course. Conducted in German. Prerequisite: Two semesters of intermediate level German or consent. 4
German Literature and Film (GERM-312). A close study of works by Mann, Kafka, Hesse, Boll, Grass and others. Films by directors such as Lang, Fassbinder, Herzog, von Trotta, Tykwer, Schlondorff, Wenders, Akin, Link, and others are also a focus of this course. An introduction to film theory complements this course. Prerequisite: Two semesters of intermediate level German or consent. 4
German for Commerce (GERM-315). Advanced language course with emphasis on commercial practices, business culture and economic situation of German-speaking countries. Focus on interpersonal communication, employment opportunities using the German language, and training in the correspondence and vocabulary of commerce. Prerequisite: Two semesters of intermediate level German or consent. 4
The Romantic Period in German (GERM-321). A study of the works of Novalis, Tieck, Brentano, Gunderrode, Eichendorff, Hoffmann, and Heine. Prerequisite: Two semesters of intermediate level German or consent. 4
German Drama: "Enduring Themes in German Theater" (GERM-322). An introduction to German, Swiss, and Austrian of the 19th and 20th century covering literary periods and drama theory with authors including, but not limited to: Lessing, Schiller, Goethe, Lenz, Kleist, Buchner, Hebbel, Grillparzer, Hauptmann, Wedekind, Frisch, Brecht, Durrenmatt. Prerequisite: Two semesters of intermediate level German or consent. 4