Contemporary central and eastern Europe consists of heterogeneous societies with contested cultural traditions. Offerings in the Department of German and Russian Studies investigate important interconnections among history, society, culture, and language in the region. The curricula in German and Russian explore societies challenged and invigorated by change and stress the importance of attaining fluency not only in the language but also in the nuances of cultural understanding.
The department offers a major and a minor in German and a minor in Russian. The department also contributes to the interdisciplinary program in European studies.
Language host of Bates International Poetry Festival http://axis.bates.edu/poetryfest/
Spotlight on Our Courses:
GER s26. The Split Screen: Reconstructing National Identities in West and East German Cinema
The course will introduce you to the turbulent history of Germany and its people in the 20th and 21st centuries through the medium of film. The selection of films focuses on the Nazi past and the consequences of the lost war, stories of divided Germany created on both sides of the border, and productions that portray the reunification of Germany in the 1990s and the processes of European integration in the 2000s.
EUS 240. Daily Life under Hitler and Stalin
In this course, you will examine everyday life in two of the twentieth century’s most brutal political systems: Hitler’s Nazi Germany and Stalin’s USSR. We will pay particular attention to how these two totalitarian regimes dominated the public sphere from the late 1920s to the end of World War II. To what extent were the citizens of the Third Reich and the USSR manipulated subjects, willing participants, or sympathetic fellow travelers?
GER 350. Margins and Migrations
What is German literature? The course examines this question through the lens of writers who are difficult to incorporate into a national narrative. The first part of the course focuses on literatures produced on the margins of the German and Austrian empires in the 19th and 20th centuries, while the second part studies the effects of postwar labor migrations and globalization on contemporary German, Austrian, and Swiss literatures.
EU/GR 254. Berlin and Vienna, 1900–1914
From the beginning of the twentieth century to the outbreak of World War I, the capital cities of Berlin and Vienna were home to major political and cultural developments, including diverse modernist movements in art, architecture, literature, and music. The ascending German Empire and the multiethnic Habsburg Empire teetering on the verge of collapse provide the context within which this course examines important texts of the time, as well as narratives created during and after WW1 that take a look back at the last decades of both empires.
EU/RU 213. Russian Identities and National Values in Russian Literature.
Today’s tensions between the United States and Russia have often been described as a clash of civilizations. This course places the contemporary debates into a wider historical context. Students analyze Russian literary texts from nineteenth and twentieth centuries, with some study of much earlier works. You will examine works by Pushkin, Gogol, Dostoevsky, and Bulgakov, among others, to critically consider Russian national values, the construction of a Russian national identity, and Russia’s relationship to the “West.” You will also study Russian and Soviet films and their representations of these questions.
GER 202. Intermediate German Language and Culture II
The course is the fourth part in the sequence of German language courses. It is designed to further expand your German skills through sustained interactive practice in reading, writing, listening, and speaking, as well as your cultural knowledge about the German-speaking countries through wide-ranging, authentic material. Our discussions focus on three main topics in the course, youth, food, and art and controversy.