Apr 14, 2024  
College Catalog 2024-2025 
College Catalog 2024-2025

German Studies

Full Time Faculty: Rachael Huener, A. Kiarina Kordela (Chair), David Martyn, Ross Shields

Part Time Faculty: Brigitta Abel

German Studies

The German program aims at enabling students to develop full proficiency in speaking, understanding, reading and writing the German language. It also offers an interdisciplinary approach to German literary, intellectual, and cultural history as well as to the intellectual, cultural, economic and political life of the contemporary German-speaking countries. German is the language of many of the greatest and most influential minds of world history-of Luther, Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Mozart, Kant, Hegel, Arendt, Goethe, Freud, Marx and Einstein-and also of the Austrian Adolf Hitler, who sponsored the most tragic episode in two thousand years of German history. German-speaking writers have won eleven Nobel Prizes for literature alone, the latest being Elfriede Jelinek in 2004 and Herta Muller in 2009. To a significant extent, the thoughts and compositions of uncounted giants of the mind and spirit are formulated and recorded in historical, literary, philosophical, musical and scientific works in a way that cannot be adequately understood by anyone who does not know the German language and culture well.

With over a hundred million native speakers, German is the European language to know, since it is the native language of all Germans, Austrians and of 70 percent of the Swiss, and is the second language of many Eastern Europeans. Germany alone has not only the largest population in Europe, it is Europe’s strongest economic, political, and military power and the core of the European Union. “German” companies such as Bertelsmann, Siemens, Bayer, and Daimler-Chrysler are among the largest and strongest international conglomerates today. The German-speaking countries have adopted a pro-active, cosmopolitan approach to the world’s problems. They will be primary players in the new century and millennium. While English is sure to dominate world commerce, knowledge of German will provide a competitive advantage to those who strive to gain commercial preeminence.

German Studies builds a foundation for graduate work in many academic fields that call for a thorough knowledge of German language, culture, and history. It also helps prepare students for employment in teaching, foreign service, the media, business, law, tourism, translation, publishing, and arts administration. The German department also provides offerings in English directed at the broad Macalester community as well as departmental majors. Since 1971, more than 60 Macalester graduates in the field of German have won Fulbright, DAAD or ITT Fellowships for study in Germany, Austria, and Scandinavia, a record paralleled by few American colleges of comparable size.

The German House

Students may apply to live in the Macalester German House, where daily conversation with other students of German improves oral proficiency in German. An appointed student programming manager and the house residents organize events that hone their understanding of German-speaking cultures and societies. The German House also functions as a center for several of the German Studies extracurricular and social activities.

The German Study Abroad Program

Since 1969, Macalester College has maintained a successful study abroad program in Germany and Austria. This program is open to non majors as well as majors. Students with the requisite language skills (completion of Intermediate German II or the equivalent) may be admitted. The program includes:

  1. a two-month term (January and February) of intensive language instruction at the Humboldt Institut in Berlin, Germany (5 credits), with lots of cultural programming; and
  2. in Vienna, Austria, courses at the Austro-American Institute (4 credits each, March through June): “Theater Alive” and ”Austria’s Landscape-from Urban Vienna to Alpine Peaks.” Additionally, students will select courses at the University of Vienna (March through June; up to 7 credits). All courses are taught in German. The program includes two study trips and several small excursions (cost included in program). An on-site Macalester faculty member is director.
  3. Up to 20 credits for the entire program-with no extra fees!

Further information on the Macalester German Study Abroad Program is provided by the department and the Center for Study Away.

Language Labs

In addition to the regular course hours, students of German participate in laboratory conversation sessions run by professional instructors. The labs are offered for the courses GERM 101 , GERM 102 , GERM 110 , GERM 203 GERM 204 GERM 308 , and GERM 309 .   

General Distribution Requirement

All courses in the German Studies department count toward the general distribution requirement in humanities, except for elementary and intermediate language courses.

General Education Requirements

Courses that meet the general education requirements in writing, quantitative thinking, internationalism and U.S identities and differences will be posted on the Registrar’s web page in advance of registration for each semester.

Additional information regarding the general distribution requirement and the general education requirements can be found in the graduation requirements  section of this catalog.

Policy on German Language Grades

In order to be accepted into the next higher German language course in the sequence, a student must have received a grade of C- or higher in the previous course. For additional information regarding the language requirement, see the college requirements.

Honors Program

The German Studies department participates in the honors program. Eligibility requirements, application procedures and specific project expectations for the department are available from either the department office or the Academic Programs and Advising Office.

Topics Courses

GERM 194 , GERM 294 , GERM 394 , GERM 494  

Recent courses: Existentialism; Modernism/Postmodernism; Exile Literature; Literary Case Studies from Goethe to Kafka, Movies of the Third Reich, Film Theory: From Goebbels to Hollywood, and Critical Theory. Many of these courses fulfill the critical theory requirement. May be taught in English or in German. Offered every year. To be announced at registration. (4 credits)

Independent Study

The department offers independent study options in the form of tutorials, independent projects, internships, preceptorships and Honors independent projects. For more information contact the department and review the Curriculum  section of the catalog.