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German Studies At DePauw

DePauw offers a major and minor in German as well as German Studies.  We offer both the opportunity to study Germany’s rich and problematical past (the great cultural achievements in literature, philosophy, music, and the arts in the last three centuries as well as an examination of the consequences of the many historical crises in German-speaking lands) as well as to obtain a thorough ability to navigate Germany’s present (through coursework on German language and contemporary culture).  The graduating German major should be well equipped to pursue future study in German or another field, or to begin a career with connections to Germany and German culture.

Find out "Why I Study German"


Our language program runs for five semesters (GRMN 111, 112, 211, 212, 304) and aims to raise students’ proficiency levels to the point where they can study abroad at a German university.  Our program of study of literature and culture for the German major begins with a survey course (GRMN 307) which introduces the most important trends in German history, literature, and culture from 1750 until the present, and continues with courses covering a variety of interdisciplinary topics (see below for descriptions of this year’s classes and a diagram illustrating our range of courses).  In these courses, we also further German skills and work on developing our writing abilities.  Our capstone German senior seminar includes the completion of a long piece of original work in German.  The German Studies major/minor has been designed to provide increased value to all students interested in the relevance of Germany to their other studies, and to permit the freedom for in-depth and focused engagement in a student’s primary chosen field.


Courses offered in Fall 2021

Classes in English:

  • GRMN 117:  Societies Past and Future:  Marxism, Fascism, and In-Between in German Culture.  In this course we will look back (via history, literature, film, and philosophy) at German-cultural ways of thinking communal living. We will examine societies which had multiple different forms of government and social organization in a single century (Empire, Republic, Fascism, Communism, Social Market Democracy, European Union) and ask questions such as: What are the attractions of totalitarianism? How are national and post-national identities formed? How do imaginative visions of the future comment upon and shape the way modern societies are organized and transform themselves?

  • HIST 245:  The Holocaust

  • [FYS on Dark:  Evil in/of German Culture]

Cognate classes:

  • HIST 100A:  People on the Move: Migration in European History

  • MUS 266:  History of Western Music II

  • PHIL 419:  Kant and German Idealism

  • UNIV 291F:  Prindle Class on Hannah Arendt:  Eichmann in Jerusalem

Classes in German:

  • GRMN 111:  An introductory class for those with no previous language study experience.

  • GRMN 211/212:  Intermediate German, with topic sustainability -- the importance of nature in German cultural traditions (main themes:  mountains, forests, rivers), will involve reading longer stories, discussing German science, society, and politics (it is possible that Germany’s next leader from the September elections will be from the Green Party), also German-inflected time in the campus farm.  Requires one year of German language study or equivalent.

  • GRMN 314/412:  Afro-German Literature:  In this course, we will focus on (self-) representations of Black Germans, some born in Germany, others migrated to Germany as adults. We will read historical and contemporary texts (fictional, autobiographical, brief historical account), complemented by films and video clips, that thematize the experiences of Black Germans. How do they experience life in a predominantly white society and culture? How do they create a supportive community for themselves?  Prerequisite:  German 212.

  • GRMN 306:  German Studies Through the Curriculum [independent study; speak to HPM]


Course Topics from Recent Semesters (E = English / G = German)

  • Soccer +/- Culture (G)

  • Babylon Berlin:  The Culture of the Weimar Republic (E/G)

  • The Future of the Work-World:  German and Business (G)

  • Deutschlandreise:  German Cultural Diversity (G)

  • Terror in the German Context (G)

  • Interpreting Science and Technology in the Modern World:  German Cultural Perspectives (E)

Map of the German Curriculum

Adam Weaver

Adam Weaver

Winter Term in Germany