We are committed to building a dynamic curriculum that connects German to your academic and career goals. Through innovative course design and the use of computer-based and multimedia materials, we deliver high-quality, engaged teaching and establish high expectations for student performance. Our courses are built around cultural study of Germany’s past and present. You’ll learn language through culture, right from the very beginning—developing your language skills in a context that really matters.
You might also want to take a look at a sample four year plan that shows one possible way to progress through the program.
Students are introduced to key components of modern-day Germany. Topics include daily life, travel, stereotypes of the Germans, student life, geography and cities, and famous sites and symbols. A culturally-centered, project-based approach helps students develop basic abilities in reading, writing, listening comprehension, and speaking. Projects may include audio dialogs using software in our language media center, digital stories created as web pages or slide shows, poster presentations, movie scripts with video creation software, and written work in various genres (letters, essays, encyclopedia entries, news columns). After German 122 (spring semester), students are eligible for summer study abroad in Heidelberg.
In addition to reaching intermediate abilities in reading, writing, listening, and speaking, students conduct guided research on more challenging, in-depth cultural topics. Topics include German cities, recent German history, German politics and current events, and German art, music, literature, and film. In addition to the type of projects employed in the 100-level courses, projects at the intermediate level may include cross-disciplinary work connected to students’ major or minor, additional genres of written work (news columns, opinion pieces, travel brochures), and oral presentations. After German 222 (spring semester), students are eligible for semester/year study abroad in Heidelberg or Reutlingen.
GST 218: Kafka and the Kafkaesque
Offered in English, this course fulfills General Studies requirements and counts towards the German Studies minor. We engage Kafka’s The Trial and related works by other artists in various genres. Students work on a semester-long project to locate the Kafkaesque in a single work of any genre: film, visual art, literature, graphic novel, drama, etc.
German 321: Developing Fluency
This course features a concentrated focus on reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills. Cultural study revolves around literature, film, news media, and other cultural products. The course includes an intensive grammar review based on each student’s individual needs.
German 372: German for the Professions
For students who have pursued the Business German track, this course offers intensive preparation for the internship and/or study abroad in Reutlingen. Part of the course will be dedicated to preparing for the Zertifikat Deutsch für den Beruf, administered at Wake Forest University during the semester.
German 391: Business German track / German for the Professions track
Offered in conjunction with regular German coursework, such as German 121, 122, 221, etc. This two-hour course features specialized modules focused on business-specific language and culture, along with twice-monthly labs to work on a semester project. Must be enrolled simultaneously in a standard four-hour German course.
GST 398: Warriors, Intellectuals, and Supermen: The Hero in the German Cultural Imagination
Whether facing a fire-breathing dragon with a broadsword or conquering the far-reaches of the known universe with a Geth pulse rifle, the hero is frequently depicted as a solitary figure who must overcome impossible odds and endure strenuous physical hardships in order to accomplish his mission. The actual construction of the heroic figure, however, is much more complex and is ultimately formed through an intricate interplay of social norms and cultural expectations, both explicitly stated and implicitly suggested. Relying on texts primarily from the larger German tradition, the seminar will examine the development of the heroic figure through time and across a broad range of texts, including heroic poetry, epic poetry, Arthurian romance, chapbook, epistolary novel, opera, memoir, film, fantasy, graphic novel, and video game.
Purpose of the seminar will be to interrogate the manner in which the heroic figure is constructed over time in Western culture, to evaluate how society and culture shape this construction, and to determine what it means to be a hero today. Seminar participants will play a contemporary video game (Mass Effect 3) in order to examine its protagonist within the interpretive framework developed through our class readings and discussions and to experience first-hand the manner in which a pure “reading” of its heroic narrative is troubled by player agency and ludic activity. The seminar capstone experience will be a student-led conference where course participants will present their research to a broader audience.
German 491: Independent Study
Offered based on student demand and instructor availability.
German 499: Independent Research
Offered after a formal application process in conjunction with a university-approved research program. Recent projects have included an Elon College Fellows thesis on Holocaust literature; a Communciations and German Studies project on the portrayal of Germans in social media; a co-authored article on the 1961 film Judgment at Nuremberg; and an exploration of novelist Günter Grass's 2006 memoir Beim Häuten der Zwiebel (Peeling the Onion).