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Willamette University

900 State Street
Salem, Oregon 97301

503-370-6300 voice

German and Russian View this department's website

The Department of German and Russian offers courses in language and literature. By following a carefully designed program, German and Russian students learn to communicate; to think and write critically; and to appreciate the literary, social, and cultural traditions of the language under study. The department is committed to the concept of foreign study and strongly encourages students to participate in overseas programs in Munich, Berlin, or Simferopol. Major and minor programs are offered in German; a minor is offered in Russian and students are sometimes able to complete a Russian major by completing a semester of study abroad.

Requirements for the German Major (8 Credits)

German majors are required to complete 8 credits of course work beyond the intermediate-level language courses, including Composition and Discussion, at least 1 credit in Civilization, 3 credits in Literature and a Senior Year Experience.

Core courses

  • GERM 331 (W) German Composition and Discussion (1)
  • GERM 333 Contemporary German Culture (1)

Three credits in German literature, from the following (3)

Three additional credits in German, numbered 300 or above (3) including either

Requirements for the German Minor (5 Credits)

  • GERM 232 Intermediate German II (1)
  • GERM 331 (W) German Composition and Discussion (1)
  • GERM 333 Contemporary German Culture (1)
  • GERM 340 Introduction to German Literature (1)
  • One additional German credit at the 400 level (1)

Requirements for the Russian Minor (5 Credits)

  • RUSS 232 Intermediate Russian II (1)
  • RUSS 233 (W; TH) Russian Culture: Russian Ways and Views of Russia (1) or
  • RUSS 320 (W; IT; 4th Sem Lang Req) Introduction to Russian Literature in Translation (1)
  • RUSS 325 (IT) Topics in Russian Literature (1)
  • RUSS 331 Russian Composition and Discussion (1)
  • RUSS 333 Russian Civilization and Culture (1)
  • One additional RUSS credit numbered 300 or above or a credit from Willamette's semester abroad program in Simferopol or a RUSS credit numbered 300 or above transferred from an accredited program at another 4-year institution. (1)

Indicators of Achievement

In our department we have set three broad categories of Student Learning Outcomes (SLO) for what we expect students to know or be able to do after taking courses in our major and, to a lesser extent, minor programs.

Student Learning Outcomes for the German and Russian Major

  1. Language Proficiency
    • Students will be able to initiate, maintain, and close a general conversation either in German or in Russian. [speaking]
    • Students will be able to understand written examples of a variety of texts that treat familiar and unfamiliar topics and situations. [reading]
    • Students will be able to understand main ideas and details of discourse that they hear. [listening]
    • Students will be able to write informal and formal texts about familiar topics using simple discourse. [writing]
    • Students will be able to describe the grammar they are using, reading, or listening to. [analyzing]
  2. Knowledge of Cultural Contexts
    • Students will be able to appreciate the stylistic features that distinguish texts (from non-fiction and from the literary, visual, and performance arts).
    • Students will be able to comment on the place of texts and genres within the cultural tradition.
    • Students will be familiar with great works in the cultural tradition.
    • Students will be able to discuss historical developments and periods in these cultures.
    • Students will appreciate influences and contributions of German- or Russian-speaking peoples on American culture (through immigration, political outlooks and policies).
  3. Senior Project
    • Students will have such familiarity with research methods that they can produce scholarly writings that draw on texts or other resources in German/Russian and in English.
    • Students will demonstrate their ability to read those texts/resources critically.
    • Students will demonstrate their ability to synthesize shared and opposing views.
    • Students will demonstrate their ability to present their research findings effectively in a public setting.

Faculty


Course Listings

GERM 131 Elementary German I (1)

Listening/comprehension, speaking, and reading developed through intense oral practice and frequent language laboratory exercises.

  • Offering: Fall
  • Instructor: Fischer, Zheng

GERM 132 Elementary German II (1)

Listening/comprehension, speaking, and reading developed through intense oral practice and frequent language laboratory exercises.

  • Offering: Spring
  • Instructor: Fischer, Zheng

GERM 231 Intermediate German I (1)

Ability to read with direct association in German. Listening/comprehension and basic grammar patterns. The second semester includes discussion of cultural topics and practice in directed writing.

Prerequisite: GERM 132

  • Offering: Fall
  • Instructor: Fischer, Zheng

GERM 232 Intermediate German II (1)

Ability to read with direct association in German. Listening/comprehension and basic grammar patterns. The second semester includes discussion of cultural topics and practice in directed writing.

Prerequisite: GERM 231

  • Offering: Spring
  • Instructor: Fischer, Zheng

GERM 241 (IT; 4th Sem Lang) Topics in German Culture (in translation) (1)

This course enables students to acquire knowledge of selected artists and thinkers, genres and periods in the German cultural tradition. Potential topics include film, plays, fairy tales, novels and poetry as well as selected readings in Philosophy and the Arts.

Mode of Inquiry: Interpreting Texts

General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Fourth Semester Language Requirement

  • Offering: Annually
  • Instructor: Fischer/Zheng

GERM 331 (W) German Composition and Discussion (1)

Reading and discussion in German on a variety of topics and texts relevant to the areas of letters, fine arts, and humanities. Cultural and literary vocabulary, syntax, introductory phonetics, and laboratory exercises stressing comprehension and pronunciation. (Recommended for students interested in study overseas.) Conducted in German.

Prerequisite: GERM 232 or completion of language proficiency or consent of instructor.

General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Writing centered

  • Offering: Annually
  • Instructor: Fischer/Zheng

GERM 332 Advanced German Composition (1)

Readings and discussion, enlargement of vocabulary to meet the idiom of the highly educated German; discussions and compositions on abstract and more sophisticated topics. Conducted in German.

Prerequisite: GERM 331 or consent of instructor

  • Offering: Alternate years
  • Instructor: Fischer/Zheng

GERM 333 Contemporary German Culture (1)

In examining contemporary German culture since 1945, this course will concentrate on trends, movements, forces, and attitudes that shape life within the three German-speaking countries. Conducted in German.

Prerequisite: GERM 331 or consent of instructor

  • Offering: Alternate years
  • Instructor: Zheng

GERM 340 (IT) Introduction to German Literature (1)

Reading and discussion in German on a variety of topics and texts from the main writers, epochs, and genres of German literature. Practice in the vocabulary and methods of literary analysis. Conducted in German.

General Education Requirement:  Interpreting Texts

Prerequisite: GERM 331 or consent of instructor

  • Offering: Alternate years
  • Instructor: Staff

GERM 430 History of German Thought (1)

Selections of German writings that express those thoughts and ideas that have contributed substantially to the heritage of human culture. Representatives from the following areas: arts, biography, history, mysticism, philosophy, politics, psychology, and science. Conducted in German.

Prerequisite: GERM 340 or consent of instructor

  • Offering: Alternate years
  • Instructor: Fischer

GERM 431 From the Enlightenment to Romanticism (1)

German literature and related forms of artistic and intellectual expression from the Enlightenment to Goethe's death. Considered against the background of general European cultural history, selected readings from Lessing, Goethe, Schiller, Kleist, Novalis, Heine, Buchner, and their contemporaries. Conducted in German.

Prerequisite: GERM 340 or consent of instructor

  • Offering: Alternate years
  • Instructor: Fischer, Staff

GERM 432 Realism and Naturalism (1)

German literature and related forms of artistic and intellectual expression from Goethe's death to the end of the 19th century, considered against the background of general European cultural history. Selected readings from Grillparzer, Buchner, Droste-Hulshoff, Stifter, Keller, Storm, Hauptmann, and their contemporaries. Conducted in German.

Prerequisite: GERM 340 or consent of instructor

  • Offering: Alternate years
  • Instructor: Staff

GERM 433 Modern Literature (1)

Representative novels and short stories of such writers as Thomas Mann, Hesse, Rilke, and Brecht. Conducted in German.

Prerequisite: GERM 340 or consent of instructor

  • Offering: Alternate years
  • Instructor: Zheng

GERM 490-491 Reading and Conference (.5 or 1)

Designed to enable a student to acquire the necessary knowledge and experience of literary periods which are not covered by courses offered at Willamette University.

Prerequisite: GERM 331, Junior or Senior standing and G.P.A. of 3.0 or better

  • Offering: On demand
  • Instructor: Fischer/Zheng

GERM 496 (W) Senior Seminar (1)

The seminar will focus on the life and works of one major author (e.g., Goethe, Rilke, Nietzsche, Mann, etc.). Students are expected to write a research paper and present it to the class at the end of the semester.

General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Writing centered

Prerequisite: Senior standing in German

  • Offering: Spring
  • Instructor: Fischer, Zheng

GERM 497 Literary Research (.5)

Students will meet with a professor in the German program for seven seminar meetings and discuss a theme or an author within the area of German literature. The emphasis will be on the relationship between literature and society. Students are expected to write a 15-page research paper which will be presented to a larger audience at the end of the semester.

  • Offering: Spring
  • Instructor: Fischer, Zheng

RUSS 131 Elementary Russian I (1)

The course introduces the basic features of Russian grammar and provides an essential Russian vocabulary for practical conversation, reading, writing, and aural comprehension. Classroom work is supplemented with laboratory and multimedia practice.

  • Offering: Annually
  • Instructor: Conliffe

RUSS 132 Elementary Russian II (1)

The course introduces the basic features of Russian grammar and provides an essential Russian vocabulary for practical conversation, reading, writing, and aural comprehension. Classroom work is supplemented with laboratory and multimedia practice.

  • Offering: Annually
  • Instructor: Conliffe

RUSS 150 (IT) Tolstoy's War and Peace (1)

This course is devoted to a close reading of Tolstoy's War and Peace -- for many, one of the world's greatest novels. Topics include Tolstoy's use of language and literary innovation; Tolstoy's representations of consciousness and knowledge, human intentions and responsibility; Tolstoy's views on history and historiography; his depictions of life and his comments on the meaning of life; and, the role and meaning of war. Taught in English.

Mode of Inquiry: Interpreting texts

  • Offering: Alternate years in fall
  • Instructor: Conliffe

RUSS 181 Bilingual Mentorship (.25)

Supervised mentorship with the Bilingual Program of the Salem-Keizer Public Schools. Students are matched with heritage speakers of Russian. Students are admitted to the course after receiving consent from instructor and the school district. May be repeated for credit to a maximum of 1.0 credit.

  • Offering: Fall, Spring
  • Instructor: Conliffe

RUSS 231 Intermediate Russian I (1)

The course continues the study of basic Russian language skills, introducing various language styles and adding to the students' vocabulary base. In second semester, students complete reading and composition assignments, and discuss and write reports on simple videos. Classroom work is supplemented with laboratory and multimedia practice.

Prerequisite: RUSS 131 and RUSS 132 or consent of instructor

  • Offering: Annually
  • Instructor: Conliffe

RUSS 232 Intermediate Russian II (1)

The course continues the study of basic Russian language skills, introducing various language styles and adding to the students' vocabulary base. In second semester, students complete reading and composition assignments, and discuss and write reports on simple videos. Classroom work is supplemented with laboratory and multimedia practice.

Prerequisite: RUSS 131 and RUSS 132 or consent of instructor

  • Offering: Annually
  • Instructor: Conliffe

RUSS 233 (W; TH; 4th Sem Lang Req) Russian Culture: Russian Ways and Views of Russia (1)

This writing-centered course acquaints students with major artistic achievements in Russian society from the 10th century to the present day -- in architecture, painting, literature, and music -- and explores particularly Russian manners and customs that define the everyday lives of its people. It examines the possible ways in which these achievements, manners, and customs might be said to define that society in a certain period. The materials are presented historically through films, music, pictures, paintings, readings, and food.

Mode of Inquiry: Thinking Historically

General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Writing centered; Fourth Semester Language Requirement

  • Offering: Alternate years in springs
  • Instructor: Conliffe

RUSS 235 (IT; 4th Sem Lang Req) Russian and Soviet Cinema (1)

A survey of masterpieces of Russian Film from the 1920s to the present including works by Eisenstein, Vertov, and Tarkovsky. The course will examine the ways in which directors, like authors of novels and other literary genres, create a fictional world; the historical and social context in which these films were made will also be discussed. Taught in English

Mode of Inquiry: Interpreting Texts

General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Fourth Semester Language Requirement

  • Offering: Alternate falls
  • Instructor: Bishop

RUSS 242 (W) Great Short Stories from Russia (1)

This course will examine masterpieces of Russian short fiction from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In addition to analyzing the individual stores closely, students will consider the tradition of the short story within Russian literary history and will explore the dialogue taking place among the texts. Stories will include the ridiculous tales of Gogol, the classic short prose of Chekhov, and the magical realism of Nabokov. Taught in English.

Mode of Inquiry: Interpreting Texts

General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Writing-Centered

  • Offering: Alternate falls
  • Instructor: Bishop

RUSS 320 (W; IT; 4th Sem Lang Req) The Nineteenth-Century Russian Novel (1)

The course considers the development of some of the greatest longer works of nineteenth-century Russian literature, including novels by Gogol, Dostoevsky, and Tolstoy. It examines the development of these works in terms of literary contexts, social changes, and ideas, giving special attention to such topics as love, justice, fate, free will, and Russian national identity. Taught in English.

Mode of Inquiry: Interpreting Texts

General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Writing centered; Fourth Semester Language Requirement

  • Offering: Alternate years in fall
  • Instructor: Conliffe

RUSS 325 (IT) Topics in Russian Literature (1)

This course enables a student to acquire knowledge of selected authors, genres, and literary periods in Russian literature. Potential texts include Chekhov's plays, Dostoevsky's political novels, Russian fairy tales, Nabokov's prose, and the stories of contemporary women writers in Russia. Taught in English.

Mode of Inquiry: Interpreting Texts

  • Offering: Alternate years in spring
  • Instructor: Conliffe

RUSS 330 Advanced Russian Grammar:  Stylistics and Translation (.5)

This course will introduce students to grammar and devices commonly used in a variety of genres of fictional and non-fictional texts. We will give special attention to how language and communication styles define texts and aspects of cultural interaction. We also will consider challenges that come with translating such texts and examine aspects of translation theory in attempts to understand how meaning might be affected by translation.

Prerequisite: RUSS 232

  • Offering: Fall
  • Instructor: Bishop, Conliffe

RUSS 331 Russian Composition and Discussion (1)

In this course the three creative elements of language learning, speech and writing are given foremost attention. Oral and written composition based upon reading of texts emphasizing Russian culture, as well as literary texts enabling the student to become acquainted with the literary vocabulary needed in more advanced letters courses. Exercises in syntax and introductory phonetics. Laboratory exercises stressing comprehension and pronunciation. Conducted in Russian.

Prerequisite: RUSS 232 or consent of instructor

  • Offering: Spring
  • Instructor: The Ukraine visiting professor

RUSS 333 Russian Civilization and Culture (1)

Studies in geography, history, economics and the chronological development of culture and ideas. Class discussions. Oral and written reports in Russian.

Prerequisite: RUSS 331 or consent of instructor

  • Offering: Spring
  • Instructor: Conliffe

RUSS 345 (IT) Twentieth-Century Russian Literature: Delightful Demons and Terrific Tyrants (1)

This course will examine central Russian texts of the twentieth-century, a period which encompasses pre-revolutionary decadence, the heady experimentation of the 1920s, Stalin's repressions, and the freedoms of the thaw period (1950s and 60s) and perestroika (1980s and 90s). Texts will be approached both as independent artworks and as representative artifacts of twentieth-century Russian culture. The course does not require a background in Russian history or culture, only a curiosity and desire to explore new literary worlds. Taught in English.

Mode of Inquiry: Interpreting Texts

  • Offering: Alternate springs
  • Instructor: Bishop

RUSS 370 Introduction to Russian Literature (.5)

The course examines selected works (in Russian) of Russian prose and poetry of the 19th and 20th centuries. In addition to examining the works in their literary context (style, genre, linguistic peculiarities, rhetorical devices, irony, satire, etc.) the historical and societal viewpoint will also be discussed, so that the student will have a better understanding of the Russian people in each particular period of history. Course to be taught in Russian.

Prerequisite: RUSS 331

  • Offering: Fall
  • Instructor: Conliffe

RUSS 381 Bilingual Mentorship (.25)

Supervised mentorship with the Bilingual Program of the Salem-Keizer Public Schools. Students are matched with heritage speakers of Russian. Students are admitted to the course after receiving consent from instructor and the school district. May be repeated for credit to a maximum of 1.0 credit.

  • Offering: Fall, Spring
  • Instructor: Conliffe

RUSS 490 (W) Reading and Conference (.5 or 1)

To enable students who have a sound grasp of Russian grammar and some experience in literary analysis to develop better reading skills and to expand their knowledge of Russian culture. The course is designed to assist and direct students' work on a larger research paper in Russian studies. It is an intensive reading and writing course, but also a course in which students share their work with their peers and instructor.

General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Writing centered

  • Offering: On demand
  • Instructor: Conliffe

RUSS 499 (W) Senior Thesis (1)

The Senior Thesis course requires students to write a major research paper. This work is completed under close supervision of a faculty member and in consultation with student peers. The student's work undergoes regular criticism and rewriting in order to enhance the student's appreciation for the research process modes of inquiry, and methodologies, as well as to make sure that work on the project continues to be productive and clear.

General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Writing centered

Prerequisite:  RUSS 331

  • Offering: Every Semester
  • Instructor: Bishop, Conliffe