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GERMAN 2CC3 Germany Thru Ages

Academic Year: Fall 2016

Term: Fall

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. Iris Bruce


Office: Togo Salmon Hall 502

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 24697

Office Hours: Monday 16:30-17:30; Thursday 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:


Tales of the German Imagination from the Grimm Brothers to Ingeborg Bachmann, trans. Peter Wortman (Penguin Classics)                                                      

Brecht, Bertolt. Mother Courage & Her Children (Bloomsbury Methuen Drama)

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

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

Wedekind, Frank. Spring’s Awakening (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)

Wolf, Christa. They Divided the Sky (Univ of Ottawa Press)

Tucholsky, Kurt. Rheinsberg: A Storybook for Lovers ((Berlinica Publishing LLC)


FILMS may include excerpts from: Metropolis, The Blue Angel, National socialist propaganda, such as Leni Riefenstahl’s Triumph of the Will & Olympia; and films about WWII and the holocaust, Germany, Pale Mother, Europa, Europa, or Schindler’s List.

Method of Assessment:

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

            Term paper (8-10pp) . . . . . . . .. . . 25% (due Nov. 17; 2000-2500 words)

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

            2 Quizzes  (out of 3) . . . . .  . .  . .  20% (Sept. 15; Oct. 4 & Oct. 27; 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:

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

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:





September  6: introduction: Tales: Grimm, “The Singing Bone,” “Hansel & Gretel,” “The Children of Hameln”

September  8: Tales: E.T.A. Hoffmann, “The Sandman”

September 13: Tales:  Chamisso, “Peter Schlemiehl”

September 15: Quiz 1: Wolfgang von Goethe, The Sorrows of Young Werther

September 20: Werther

September 22: Wedekind, Spring’s Awakening

September 27: Spring’s Awakening; Tales: Mynona “The Magic Egg

September 29: Tales: Kaiser, “The Island of Eternal Life”



October  4:  Quiz 2: on Kafka, “In The Penal Colony”

October  6: Tales: Kafka, “In The Penal Colony”

October 11 & 13: NO CLASSES; Mid Term Recess (Oct. 10-16)

October 18: film excerpt: Fritz Lang, Metropolis

October 20: film excerpt: von Sternberg, The Blue Angel

October 25: Tucholsky, Rheinsberg

October 27: Quiz 3: Brecht, Mother Courage & Her Children



November  1: Brecht, Bertolt. Mother Courage & Her Children         

November  3. Leni Riefenstahl, Triumph of the Will & Olympia

November  8: film: Europa, Europa

November 10: Europa, Europa 

November 15: discussion; Tales: Borchert, “The Dandelion”

November 17:  ESSAY IS DUE; Tales: Celan, “Shadowlight”; “Todesfuge”; Bachmann, “The Secrets of the Princess of Kagran”

November 22: Wolf, They Divided the Sky

November 24: They Divided the Sky

November 29: Plenzdorf, The New Sorrows of Young W.



December  1:   The New Sorrows of Young W.

December  6: last class: REVIEW


Other Course Information:


This course examines historical and cultural personalities and events which, in the 18th, 19th, and especially in the 20th century, have shaped German/Austrian culture and society. 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, feminism, nationalism, National Socialism and the Holocaust, resistance or non-resistance to authority, post-holocaust East and West German literature.