German 159: German Cultural Studies: Germany Before and After Unification

Instructor: Yasemin Yildiz

Contemporary Germany is still deeply shaped by the aftermath of the postwar division into East and West and the particular manner in which the process of unification unfolded. To understand current debates, conflicts, and transformations, it is thus useful to revisit these moments.


Using a wide range of materials—from documentaries, news footage, and cartoons, to first-person testimony, interviews, and literary works—we will investigate the periods before and after the fall of the Berlin Wall from diverse perspectives. Three basic questions will serve as entryways into larger issues:1. What was everyday life in East Germany like? 2. What actually happened right before and after the Berlin Wall fell? 3. How has unification impacted different groups? Besides learning about and engaging with the topic at hand, the primary goal of the class is to develop your German reading, listening, speaking, and writing skills. To this end, the course is conducted entirely in German. Throughout the course, I will provide a variety of materials and exercises to aid your comprehension, and will incorporate targeted grammar review and vocabulary building as well as opportunities for creative language learning. Taught in German.

Prerequisite: German 152 or 153 or permission of the instructor.

Please contact me at if you have any questions.

MW 2-3:15  Haines A74