Curriculum & Courses
About our Curriculum
The German Department’s mission is to engage a wider audience of students within the Barnard Community. Its curricular program and cultural events serve a large and diverse academic community on the Barnard and Columbia campuses. The Department is committed to creating venues for students, faculty and the public interested in the many facets of cultural life in the German-speaking countries or communities.
As an active contributor to campus life, the Department has constantly initiated new venues—from readings, lectures and film screenings to excursions—to supplement and enrich its annual course offerings. In disciplines such as Art History, Philosophy or History, a familiarity with the German language is an asset; in interdisciplinary areas such as Comparative Literature or European Studies, German often serves as the main or second language of study.
It is the goal of our department:
- to teach the German language in a professionally reflected manner through a clear sequence of courses
- to help attain and expand knowledge of Austrian, German and Swiss literatures through reading exemplary texts in theme- or period-oriented courses
- to make familiar with characteristic features of Germanophone cultures by raising awareness of their geographical diversity and their historical richness in introductory survey courses
- to give students the rhetorical and intellectual tools for moving confidently between two languages’ cultural traditions by offering exercises, sketches and other forms of active participation from elementary to advanced levels of expression
- to create a learning environment that instills appreciation for critical thought and is conducive to acquiring a clearly defined set of skills, from language proficiency to interpretive adroitness and intercultural literacy
Courses in German are designed to develop proficiency in language skills and to present the traditions as well as the current developments in the literature and culture of the German-speaking countries: Austria, Germany, and Switzerland.