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GERMAN 2CC3 Germany Thru Ages

Academic Year: Winter 2016

Term: Winter

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. Iris Bruce


Office: Togo Salmon Hall 502

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 24697

Office Hours: Monday 17:30-18:30; Wednesday 17:30-18:30; or by appointment

Course Objectives:

Students will demonstrate a knowledge of historical and cultural personalities and events which have shaped German/Austrian culture and society from the 18th until the 21st century.

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

Borchert, Wolfgang. The Man Outside (Marion Boyars Publishers)

Celan, Paul. Poems of Paul Celan (Persea Books)

Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von. The Sorrows of Young Werther (Penguin Classics)

Kafka, Franz. The Metamorphosis (Modern Library)

Plenzdorf, Ulrich. The New Sorrows of Young W. (Pushkin Collection)

Roth, Joseph. Job (Archipelago)

Tucholsky, Kurt. Castle Gripsholm (Overlook Books)

FILMS will include: Metropolis, The Blue Angel (excerpts), Prisoner of Paradise, Triumph of the Will & Olympia (excerpts), Germany, Pale Mother

Method of Assessment:

            Oral Presentation   . . . . . . . . . . .  15%

            Term paper (8-10pp) . . . . . . . . . . . 25% (due March 23; 2000-2500 words)

            Final Exam. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30%

            2 Quizzes  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  . .  20% (Jan. 25 & Feb. 22; 10% each)

            Participation  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10%


I. Attendance at lectures and film screenings is mandatory.

II. Class participation includes: attendance, preparation of assigned materials, participation in class discussions. It is expected that students will have read the texts before they are discussed in class.                                  

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

I. Late work will be penalized: there will be a reduction of 3% per day on essays handed in late without permission.

II. Missed quizzes will receive a mark of “0” unless the instructor is notified before or immediately after and a doctor’s note is provided.

Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Dishonesty

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  2. Improper collaboration in group work.
  3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Email correspondence policy

It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student.  Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.

Modification of course outlines

The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. You can find information at If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean's office.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. Academic accommodations must be arranged for each term of study. Student Accessibility Services can be contacted by phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail For further information, consult McMaster University's Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religion and spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the Course Calendar or by their respective Faculty. In most cases, the student should contact his or her professor or academic advisor as soon as possible to arrange accommodations for classes, assignments, tests and examinations that might be affected by a religious holiday or spiritual observance.

Topics and Readings:

This course examines historical and cultural personalities and events which, in the 18th, 19th, and especially in the early 20th century, have shaped German/Austrian culture and society until after WWII. Texts are taken from various genres: novels, poetry, and the fine arts (film and music). Topics will include: the medieval and romantic heritage, Storm and Stress period, Bildung, Germany’s relation to other German speaking countries, feminism, nationalism and National Socialism, resistance or non-resistance to authority, post-holocaust East and West German literature. 

Other Course Information:




January  6: introduction

January 11: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, The Sorrows of Young Werther

January 13: Werther

January 18: Werther; Metropolis

January 20: Metropolis

January 25: Quiz 1: Franz Kafka, The Metamorphosis

January 27: The Metamorphosis



February  1: The Metamorphosis

February  3:  Blue Angel (excerpt) and Prisoner of Paradise

February  8:  Prisoner of Paradise; Tucholsky, Castle Gripsholm

February 10: Castle Gripsholm

February 15-20: NO CLASSES; Mid Term Break

February 22: Quiz 2: Roth, Job

February 24: Roth, Job

February 29: Leni Riefenstahl, Triumph of the Will



March  2:  Riefenstahl, Triumph & Olympia

March  7: Borchert, The Man Outside

March  9: The Man Outside

March 14: Paul Celan, Poems

March 16: film:  Helma Sanders-Brahms, Germany, Pale Mother

March 21: Celan, Poems

March 23: Paul Celan, Poems Term Paper DUE     

March 28: Paul Celan, Poems

March 30:  Plenzdorf, The New Sorrows of Young W.



April 4: New Sorrows  

April 6: New Sorrows; last class: REVIEW