Fall 2019 Featured Class
New this year! – GNS 200 Folklore of Central, Eastern and Northern Europe.
This brand new class is taught by Prof. Thomas DuBois, covering folklore from all three of our Programs: German, Scandinavian Studies, and Slavic Studies. Meets MW 11:00 – 11:50, with discussion sections.
Whether it be rousing bedtime tales of unlikely heroes and magic helpers, jaunty tunes played on the fiddle, age-old recipes for preserving foods or curing ailments, mysterious rituals for maintaining luck, celebrating a wedding, or saying goodbye to a loved one, pieces of folklore are ancient and enduring elements of daily life throughout the world. In the diverse cultures of Central, Eastern, and Northern Europe, folklore holds particular significance not only as enduring parts of culture, but also as emblems of national identity, political idealism, and historical change.
This introductory course surveys a range of past and present genres of folklore from the various cultures that make up the areas of expertise of the Department of German, Nordic, and Slavic. We will look at examples of primary materials as well as the theories that have developed to explain them, and we will look at the complex and sometimes surprising ways in which “Old World” traditions have become transplanted and adapted in North America. Students will learn techniques of fieldwork and analysis and examine a range of different traditions from throughout the wide array of cultures found in Central, Eastern, and Northern Europe, both among longstanding communities and among populations that have migrated to the region in more recent eras.
German, Scandinavian Studies, and Slavic Languages Courses
The Department of German, Nordic, and Slavic offers a range of courses. We teach more than a dozens languages, including Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, German, Icelandic, Kazakh, Norwegian, Old Norse, Polish, Russian, Sami, Serbo-Croatian, Swedish, Turkish, and Yiddish. Our courses explore cultures and literature from across the globe, from Iceland to Germany to Russia to Turkey. Study with GNS and see the world.
- Questions regarding Undergraduate Courses can be directed to Joanna Schuth.
- Questions regarding Graduate Courses can be directed to Mark Mears.
Summer 2019 GNS Courses
GNS offers a range of exciting courses this summer, offered both online and on campus. See descriptions below.
- GERMAN/JEWISH 267 – Yiddish Song & the Jewish Experience
- SCAND ST 101/404-001 – First Semester Norwegian (404 for graduate students only)
- SCAND ST 102/404-002 – Second Semester Norwegian (404 for graduate students only)
- SCAND ST/MEDIEVAL 430 – The Vikings
- SLAVIC 101 and SLAVIC 102 – First Year Russian
- SLAVIC 117 and SLAVIC 118 – Second Year Russian
- LIT-TRANS 329 The Vampire in Literature and Film
Please email our Undergraduate Advisor Joanna Schuth if you have any questions about enrolling.
Information about Enrolling in Intensive Russian Language – For the summer 2019, the Slavic program will offer two sets of intensive Russian language classes for first year Russian and second year Russian. The accelerated program condenses one year of Russian study into an eight-week summer session.
Students must enroll in the courses in pairs:
- First Year Russian: SLAVIC 101 and SLAVIC 102
- Second Year Russian: SLAVIC 117 and SLAVIC 118
UW-Madison students may enroll in these courses following normal procedures and do not need prior approval.
GERMAN 267 Yiddish Song and the Jewish Experience
Online June 17 – August 11, 2019 Matthew Greene (3 credits)
Explores Yiddish song as an expression of the modern Jewish experience from Eastern Europe to the US. Covers folk song, popular and art music. Music and readings together provide an analytical framework to examine cultural and historical issues.
SCAND ST 101/404-001 First Semester Norwegian
Online June 17 – July 14, 2019 Peggy Hager (4 credits)
(404 for graduate students only)
Norwegian 101 is a first semester language course that presumes no knowledge of the Norwegian language. It is open to freshman. The course develops basic skills in speaking, listening, reading and writing Norwegian. We offer a thematic, communicative approach to language teaching that strives to put language in the context of culture. Classroom time focuses on communication and listening, as well as introducing basic grammatical concepts. Homework centers on reinforcing vocabulary, reading, grammar exercises and writing. Thematic units covered in Norwegian 101 include social introductions, education, food, daily-life, leisure activities, weather and seasons.
SCAND ST 102/404-002 Second Semester Norwegian
Online July 15 – August 11, 2019 Peggy Hager (4 credits)
(404 for graduate students only)
This course continues to build basic skills in speaking, listening, reading and writing Norwegian. We offer a thematic, communicative approach to language teaching that strives to put language in the context of culture. Class time focuses on communication and listening, as well as introducing basic grammatical concepts. Homework centers on reinforcing vocabulary, reading, grammar exercises and writing. Thematic units covered in Norwegian 102 include clothing, family and relationships, appearance and personality, celebrations, hometowns and housing, work and economy.
SCAND ST 430 The Vikings
Online June 17 – July 14, 2019 Instructor: TBD (4 credits)
This course approaches the Vikings along historical lines, and its backbone is texts from medieval sources. The legendary history of early Scandinavia, the consolidation of the Scandinavian kingdoms, developments both at home and abroad during the great period of Viking expansion, finally the conversion of Scandinavia to Christianity (which wrote finis to the Viking adventure) –these are the historical subjects discussed. Within this historical framework, a good deal of attention is devoted to the pre-Christian religion of early medieval Scandinavia, to its system of writing (the celebrated runes) and its literature (including the mythological and heroic poetry of the Edda, the court poems of the skalds, and the Icelandic sagas), to Viking art and archaeology. As we learn about the medieval Scandinavians we gain a greater understanding of ourselves and the human condition.
SLAVIC 101 and 102 Intensive First Year Russian
June 17 – August 11, 2019 499 Van Hise Hall Cecil Wilson/Brian Kilgour
- Slavic 101: MTWRF 8:50-10:45 am (4 credits)
- Slavic 102: MTWRF 12:05-2:10 pm (4 credits)
Welcome to First Year Russian! In this course you will learn how to: read, write and pronounce the letters and sounds of the Russian alphabet; become acquainted with speakers of Russian in informal and formal settings; request and receive information; make simple statements, ask and answer yes/no questions; say goodbye; say where someone lives; exchange telephone numbers; ask to whom something belongs; link topics of conversation; express dismay and delight; express judgment and emotion, including strong feelings and opinions; express indirect questions; talk about sports, professions and music; express possession, location, and permission; give commands; talk about academic matters (university life and studies); express that you can or want to do something; talk about likes and dislikes, liking and loving someone or something; talk about past and future events; use some time expressions; recount what someone else has said; make inquiries and requests; express location; express going places; say when something happened; say that someone is glad or ready; express arrival or departure; describe prices and quantities; express possession; explain where someone is from; express needs and obligations; discuss theater, film, the weather, travel; make comparisons; express frequency; discuss learning and teaching; discuss what you want to be or become; single out a person or thing from a group; express absence; express need, permission, possibility, prohibition, shame, boredom and other states; describe people and things; talk about eating (always important!); make indirect requests; tell time; emphasize things; describe temporary states; ask for suggestions and advice; describe your interests; talk about summer plans; talk about dining out; AND MORE
SLAVIC 117 and 118 Intensive Second Year Russian
June 17 – August 11, 2019 391 Van Hise Hall Darya Ivashniova/Megan Kennedy
- Slavic 117: MTWRF 8:50-10:45 am (4 credits)
- Slavic 118: MTWRF 12:05-2:10 pm (4 credits)
Welcome to Intensive Second Year Russian! After completing this course, you will be able to: talk about yourself, your interests, and people you know; discuss university life, dining, theater, music and ballet; express opinions and preferences, convey surprise, regret, doubt and consolation; format letters and emails, find useful information on the Internet, use proper phone etiquette; make plans for travel and tourism; ask for, give and receive directions; recall important Russian cultural figures and read excerpts from famous works of literature; write and edit short written compositions on a variety of topics; deliver 3-5 minute presentations on topics of interest; and much more!
LIT-TRANS 329 The Vampire in Literature and Film
Online July 15 – August 11, 2019 Dijana Mitrovic (3 credits)
This course examines the fantastic, marvelous and uncanny literary works from a comparative perspective, especially by connecting them to Slavic mythological and religious beliefs. Students will read texts from Russian (Puškin, Gogol, Bulgakov, Zamyatin), Polish (Potocki, Schultz, Lem), Czech (Čapek) and South Slavic literatures (Pavić, Kiš, Živković). Theoretical readings will include works by the naturalized Bulgarian theoretician of the fantastic, Tzvetan Todorov, as well as his critics. We will discuss the development of the fantastic genre through the epochs of Romanticism, Modernism and Postmodernism, placing emphasis on the close reading of literary texts and their relationship to the broader cultural heritage of diverse Slavic cultures.
Fall 2019 GNS Courses
For the most up-to-date listings of courses offered by German, Nordic, and Slavic please see the Course Guide under the subject headings GERMAN, SCAND ST, SLAVIC, and LITTRANS (Literature in Translation), and for Turkish and Kazakh courses see LCA LANG listings. In the fall, GNS will offer introductory (first semester) courses in the following languages: Czech, Danish, Finnish, German, Modern Icelandic, Norwegian, Russian, Swedish, and Turkish. We will offer intermediate and advanced courses in these and other languages, including Polish and Serbo-Croatian.
German, Nordic, and Slavic Course Descriptions for Fall 2019:
GNS course descriptions
German and Dutch course descriptions
Scandinavian Studies course descriptions
Slavic course descriptions
Kazakh and Turkish course descriptions (GNS Listings)
For more information on courses please contact our Undergraduate Advisor Joanna Schuth.
For course descriptions from previous semesters click on the “Course History” tab.
Fall 2019 Folklore Courses
Folklore 100: Introduction to Folklore
Mo/We 9:55-10:45 (with Discussion Section) Humanities 1651 Dr. Anna Rue (3 credits)
Folklore 100 introduces the stimulating discipline of Folklore Studies, to examine why we do, make, believe, and say the things we do. Studying folklore offers the opportunity to hone several skills: information-gathering (through observation and interviewing in the real world and through library research), critical reading (of print texts and folkloric “texts” such as objects, landscapes, and events), and critical thinking (discerning cultural patterns, asking questions about representation, and considering how to convey cultural information to different audiences). Fulfills Comm B requirement, counts toward Ethnic Studies requirement.
Folklore 103/Music 103: Introduction to Music Cultures of the World
Mo/We 1:20-2:10 (with Discussion section) Humanities 2650 Professor Nadia Chana (3 credits)
An introductory ethnomusicology course providing a variety of ways to approach musics typically not covered in music history courses. Active engagement with these musics within their larger world contexts.
Folklore 200/GNS 200: Folklore of Central, Eastern and Northern Europe
Mo/We 11:00-11:50 (with Discussion Section) Van Hise Hall 594 Professor Thomas DuBois (3 credits)
This brand new class is taught by Prof. Thomas DuBois, covering folklore from all three of our Programs: German, Scandinavian Studies, and Slavic Studies. Whether it be rousing bedtime tales of unlikely heroes and magic helpers, jaunty tunes played on the fiddle, age-old recipes for preserving foods or curing ailments, mysterious rituals for maintaining luck, celebrating a wedding, or saying goodbye to a loved one, pieces of folklore are ancient and enduring elements of daily life throughout the world. In the diverse cultures of Central, Eastern, and Northern Europe, folklore holds particular significance not only as enduring parts of culture, but also as emblems of national identity, political idealism, and historical change. This introductory course surveys a range of past and present genres of folklore from the various cultures that make up the areas of expertise of the Department of German, Nordic, and Slavic. We will look at examples of primary materials as well as the theories that have developed to explain them, and we will look at the complex and sometimes surprising ways in which “Old World” traditions have become transplanted and adapted in North America. Students will learn techniques of fieldwork and analysis and examine a range of different traditions from throughout the wide array of cultures found in Central, Eastern, and Northern Europe, both among longstanding communities and among populations that have migrated to the region in more recent eras.
Folklore 210/African 210: The African Storyteller
Online Professor Matthew Brown (3 credits)
This online course provides students with a new and critical perspective on a popular UW-Madison course. Originally developed by Harold E. Scheub, “The African Storyteller” introduces students to both the oral and written traditions of African literature. The first half of the semester focuses on oral stories, and theories for interpreting them, while the second half focuses on famous 20th-century novels, by writers including Chinua Achebe, Ferdinand Oyono, Alex La Guma, and Nawal El Saadawi. All coursework is online. There are no meetings or official office hours. Students read stories and introductory hypertext, watch lectures featuring Harold Schueb, complete quizzes, participate in discussion forums, and compose weekly practice essays. Coursework is synchronous, meaning that, while there is a great deal of flexibility, students must meet weekly deadlines. Major assessments include a midterm essay and a final research essay.
Folklore/Linguistics/Anthro/International Studies 211: Global Language Issues
Mo/We 2:30-3:45 Van Hise Hall 215 Professor Rand Valentine (3 credits)
Global Language Issues is a topically-oriented course that examines the phenomenon of human language in the world, addressing linguistic, cultural, social, political and aesthetic aspects of the place of language in human lives and societies. We begin with an overview of the roles of language for individuals, communities, and nations, then move on to the basic components of linguistics (phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, and semantics). We then examine the science of historical linguistics and the construct of the language family by looking at the prominent Indo-European language family, and in much less detail, other language families in the world. We then begin a journey through many languages. Languages from all over the world will be treated, including Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, Hindi, Urdu, Bengali, Maninka, Swahili, Cape York Creole, Guugu Yimidhirr, and Ojibwe. We will look at various writing systems, particularly those used with Chinese and Japanese; we will look at the relationship of language to nation, primarily through the incredibly complex linguistic situations holding in China, India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. We will look at the role of verbal art in the traditions of the Maninka language of West Africa and traditional Chinese poetry. We will examine the concept of lingua franca through the lens of Swahili, a language spoken widely over eastern Africa, as well as the role of Arabic throughout the world. We will study pidgins and creoles by examining Cape York Creole of Australia. Lastly, we will learn about cultural, linguistic and political issues related to indigenous minority languages, looking at the Australian aboriginal language, Guugu Yimidhirr, and the American Indian language, Ojibwe.
Folklore 230/French 248: Introduction to American Folklore
Tu/Th 11:00-12:15 Van Hise Hall 483 Professor Jennifer Gipson (3 credits)
How do the traditions of French-speaking immigrants live on in Wisconsin in more than city names like “Luxembourg” or “Prairie du Chien”? How do certain depictions of Afro-Creole folk roots help to sell Zydeco music worldwide? Two-hundred years after the Louisiana Purchase, what cultural ties did residents of post-Katrina New Orleans cite in begging France’s then-president: “Buy us back, Chirac?” For Native Americans, had this land ever been French? This class will trace these and other questions of cultural and linguistic identity as we work to understand how notions of “race” and “ethnicity” have been shaped by French influence in the U.S. Among other literary texts, we will read a short story written in French in 1837, now hailed as the first published work of African-American prose fiction. We will also study films; folk narrative; music; maps; political and religious writings; and customary practices. Counts toward Ethnic Studies requirement.
Folklore/Medieval/LitTrans/RelSt 342; Scand St 429: Mythology of Scandinavia
Tu/Th 1:00-2:15 Ingraham 224 Dr. Scott Mellor (3 credits)
Scandinavian Mythology will introduce you to the belief systems of early and medieval Scandinavia in a European Context and take a look at the literary works written by Christian Scandinavians about their former Religion. We will look at the Kalevala, the mythological and heroic poetry of the Edda and the Icelandic legendary sagas, as well as a few early Christian texts. Requirements Fulfilled: Literature; Humanities; Advanced; L&S.
Folklore 530 (Topics in Folklore: Folklore, Design, and Plants)
We 2:30-3:45 Sterling 1333 Professor Janet Gilmore (1 credit)
*Meets With Landscape Architecture 375 (Topics in Landscape Architecture) & Landscape Architecture 866 (Seminar in Natural Plant Community Restoration & Management)
Readings-discussion with presentations, site visits, & class visitors to introduce approaches & disciplinary perspectives across the arts, humanities, social & biological sciences that relate to human roles in perceiving, living among, and managing plant communities for livelihood, artistic practice, architectural design, conservation, &/or restoration—all relating to issues of resilience, sustainability, health, & social justice.
Independent/Directed Study Options for Undergraduate & Graduate Students:
Folklore 399: Directed Study in Folklore (Undergraduate)
Folklore 699: Independent Study in Folklore (Graduate)
Students seeking to enroll in Directed Study courses for German, Scandinavian Studies, Slavic, or GNS must complete a Directed Study Form. Students should complete the form in conversation with the instructor with whom they plan to take the course. In most cases, students will not be authorized to enroll in a Directed Study courses until they have completed and submitted the form to our graduate or undergraduate advisors.