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3133 Contemporary German Culture

Course Details

Course Number
Section Number
Spring 2015
Prothro-Yeager Hall
Classroom Number
Days & Times

Mondays & Wednesdays 2:00-3:20 p.m.

Dr. Yvonne Franke (view Profile)

Course Attachments


Course Objectives

Course description:

Germany is Europe's largest and most densely populated country. It has become the motor of European Union. It has gone from being one of the closest allies of the United States to one of its chief critics. Its new capital Berlin has become the cultural capital of the 21st century. It is a place of daring experiments and fascinating contradictions that present many challenges. This course will offer students an introduction to and overview of this dynamic country on the move. Since its founding in 1871, it has gone through fundamental transformations – ideologically, economically, geographically, and culturally. This course focuses on Germany’s cultural development since the so-called “zero hour” after World War II primarily through an audiovisual lens. Through introductory lectures and class discussions, we will explore a variety of issues: e.g. the Nazi legacy, student movement, Socialism, reunification, immigration and the European Union.

There are no prerequisites required for course. Language of instruction and all class materials are in English.



Course Goals:

By the end of the course, students will…


…be well-acquainted with German culture, its political structure, and recent history through a combination of lectures, readings in English language, and class discussions.

...will be knowledgeable about some major historical and cultural events in Germany of the 20th and 21st century in their relation to today (e.g. the German Autumn, the German-German divide, reunification, and multicultural debates).

…will understand a selection of German literary and filmic key texts within their historical and socio-political contexts (e.g. considering the Nazi legacy in the young Bonn Republic, the German Democratic Republic, the post-1990 Berlin Republic, and Germany’s role in the European Union).

…have developed a deeper understanding of both the German culture and their own.

Course Expectations

Course Requirements and Grading:

25% Participation

10% Written homework assignments (short reading responses)

30% Midterm Exam

35% Final Exam


  • Participation: Students are expected to attend class meetings regularly and participate actively in class discussion, demonstrating that they have carefully prepared the assignments and are able to answer questions. This means that students should take notes while reading a text or pre-viewing a film in order to make qualitatively good contributions to the in-class discussions. Students will be graded on the quantity and quality of their contributions to discussions.
    • Students will receive 3 participation grades throughout the semester, totaling 25% of the overall course grade.
  • Written assignments: In preparation for class discussions, students will be asked to prepare a short response paper/journal entries regarding an assigned reading/film. Response papers are a way to gather thoughts and formulate questions about a written or audiovisual text. Students can treat these response papers as a personal journal entry, including reactions and considerations inspired by the readings. No research or bibliography of secondary sources is necessary.
    • Journal entries will be graded based on a + / √  / - / 0-scale. (+/plus = good; √  / check = satisfactory;  -/ minus = marginal/missing parts/lack of critical engagement; 0 / zero = not handed in). Response papers should be written in comprehensible English prose and be a critical response to a text or texts beyond mere summation. Quoting verbatim and at length from other texts, even if the source is being acknowledged, is not acceptable. The response paper shall aid you in organizing your thoughts before discussing the text in class. Students are responsible for printing their own response papers and turning them in on the assigned date.
    • If not otherwise stated, the format for reading responses is:
      1. Include name, title of course, academic term, and professor’s name
      2. Typed, double-spaced, 12 point, Times New Roman or Arial
      3. 1 inch margins
      4. Response papers should be ½-1 page in length, 200-300 words.
  • Midterm and Final exams: These in-class exams will consist of short-answer and essay questions. They are based on all the material covered, including readings, which might not have been discussed at length in class. The Final will be cumulative. No make-up examination will be given without prior consent of the instructor. Only documented medical and family emergencies count as valid excuses for missing a test. Date and location TBA.


Homework Bonus

If you submit all homework on time, and all your papers show an engagement with the assigned text, you will receive an extra 5% points towards your final exam. Any missing responses or late submissions result in the loss of this bonus.


Medical Emergencies

If you need to miss a class because of a medical or family emergency, you need to send me an e-mail before your absence. If your absence means that you will miss a test, you will have to bring a doctoral note that excuses you for this particular day and time, in order to make up the test.

Grading Standards

Course Requirements and Grading:

25% Participation

10% Written homework assignments (short reading responses)

30% Midterm Exam

35% Final Exam

Submission Format Policy Note: You may not submit a paper for a grade in this class that already has been (or will be) submitted for a grade in another course, unless you obtain the explicit written permission of me and the other instructor involved in advance.
Plagiarism Policy

Plagiarism is the use of someone else's thoughts, words, ideas, or lines of argument in your own work without appropriate documentation (a parenthetical citation at the end and a listing in "Works Cited")-whether you use that material in a quote, paraphrase, or summary. It is a theft of intellectual property and will not be tolerated, whether intentional or not.

Student Honor Creed

As an MSU Student, I pledge not to lie, cheat, steal, or help anyone else do so."

As students at MSU, we recognize that any great society must be composed of empowered, responsible citizens. We also recognize universities play an important role in helping mold these responsible citizens. We believe students themselves play an important part in developing responsible citizenship by maintaining a community where integrity and honorable character are the norm, not the exception.

Thus, We, the Students of Midwestern State University, resolve to uphold the honor of the University by affirming our commitment to complete academic honesty. We resolve not only to be honest but also to hold our peers accountable for complete honesty in all university matters.

We consider it dishonest to ask for, give, or receive help in examinations or quizzes, to use any unauthorized material in examinations, or to present, as one's own, work or ideas which are not entirely one's own. We recognize that any instructor has the right to expect that all student work is honest, original work. We accept and acknowledge that responsibility for lying, cheating, stealing, plagiarism, and other forms of academic dishonesty fundamentally rests within each individual student.

We expect of ourselves academic integrity, personal professionalism, and ethical character. We appreciate steps taken by University officials to protect the honor of the University against any who would disgrace the MSU student body by violating the spirit of this creed.

Written and adopted by the 2002-2003 MSU Student Senate.

Students with Disabilities

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with disabilities. Among other things, this legislation requires that all students with disabilities be guaranteed a learning environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities. If you believe you have a disability requiring an accommodation, please contact the Disability Support Services in Room 168 of the Clark Student Center, (940) 397-4140.

Safe Zones Statement

The professor considers this classroom to be a place where you will be treated with respect as a human being - regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, political beliefs, age, or ability. Additionally, diversity of thought is appreciated and encouraged, provided you can agree to disagree. It is the professor's expectation that ALL students consider the classroom a safe environment.

Contacting your Instructor

All instructors in the Department have voicemail in their offices and MWSU e-mail addresses. Make sure you add your instructor's phone number and e-mail address to both email and cell phone lists of contacts.

Attendance Requirements

Participation: Students are expected to attend class meetings regularly and participate actively in class discussion, demonstrating that they have carefully prepared the assignments and are able to answer questions.

Writing Proficiency Requirement

All students seeking a Bachelor's degree from Midwestern State University must satisfy a writing proficiency requirement once they've 1) passed the 6 hours of Communication Core and and 2) earned 60 hours. You may meet this requirement by passing either the Writing Proficiency Exam or English 2113. Please keep in mind that, once you've earned over 90 hours, you lose the opportunity to take the $25 exam and have no option but to enroll in the three-credit hour course. If you have any questions about the exam, visit the Writing Proficiency Office website at, or call 397-4131.

Campus Carry

Senate Bill 11 passed by the 84th Texas Legislature allows licensed handgun holders to carry concealed handguns on campus, effective August 1, 2016. Areas excluded from concealed carry are appropriately marked, in accordance with state law. For more information regarding campus carry, please refer to the University’s webpage at

If you have questions or concerns, please contact MSU Chief of Police Patrick Coggins at