The department offers coursework conducted both in German and in English, taught both at the University’s Durham campus and in Berlin, with the aim of reaching students from all backgrounds, whether they are majoring or minoring in German, primarily desire to learn the German language, or want to delve into an aspect of German culture, history, or thought.
Departmental course offerings include language instruction at all levels from introductory to advanced. Students develop an ability to speak, understand, read, and write fluent and idiomatic German while simultaneously acquiring skills in critical thinking and rigorous analysis. At the same time, the department’s language program initiates students’ introduction to German culture at large through a variety of in-class and extra-curricular activities. For many students, the work begun in this way in Durham is continued, and considerably expanded, in one of the department’s several Study Abroad programs in Berlin.
Beyond the language program itself, the department offers a full range of courses covering the field of German Studies. In format, these courses run the gamut from small seminars to large lecture courses and are taught at levels ranging from first-year seminars to advanced work for upper-division majors and graduate students. Some of these are taught in German and are designed for majors and minors, as well as other students with an advanced proficiency in German. Recent courses include “German Sociolinguistics,” “The Image of America in German Culture,” “The German Uncanny,” and “Ethics and Literature.”
We also offer a variety of courses taught entirely in English that are attended by the Duke population at large in addition to majors, minor, and German language learners. These courses cover a range of topics related to German history, literature, film, culture, and philosophy. Popular and regularly taught courses in this category include “Fairy Tales—from Grimms to Disney,” “Marx, Nietzsche, Freud,” “Green Germany,” “Germany Confronts the Holocaust,” “What is Beauty?” and “The Viking Age.” Many of these courses fulfill a variety of Trinity general education requirements.