This course revolves around three major areas of investigation pertaining to German culture and society:
1) Does freedom of choice really exist?
Based on the movie Das Leben der Anderen we will discuss how personal relationships are influenced and possibly determined by societal and political pressures. Under what conditions are autonomy and integrity even possible?
2) What is Political Correctness really?
We will watch Die Neue, a recent German TV-show, to explore religious tensions when an orthodox Moslem student joins a typical German classroom. Which conflicts arise because of different religious and cultural beliefs? How are they playing out on the administrative, group and personal level?
3) What are some of the Dynamics of Interpersonal Conflicts?
Based on the movie Auf der anderen Seite by Fatih Akin we investigate the fabric of interpersonal interactions across two different cultures (German, Turkish), three families, and two generations. What do the interactions convey about culturally held beliefs regarding sexuality, obligations towards the family, and individual moral responsibility?
This course will be refining your command of spoken and written German. The focus will be on developing a more sophisticated range of vocabulary and expressions, and obtaining more ease in dealing with the finer points of German grammar. A significant part of class time is spent on developing speaking skills.