Janet K Swaffar

Affiliated ProfessorsPh.D., German, University of Wisconsin (Madison)

Janet K Swaffar



German literature post 1945, German media, applications of literary theory to reading and writing in a foreign language, foreign language acquisition and advanced learners


See http://www.utexas.edu/courses/swaffar/   for other information.


GER 373 • German Literature In Film

38190 • Spring 2011
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM MEZ 2.102


An advanced undergraduate seminar in literature and cultural studies, this course will be taught completely in German. We will read literary texts and then look at films that sometimes attempt to reproduce, but inevitably modify these German language literary classics to some degree. Focus will be on analyzing how these canonical works reflect the period in which they were written and the degree to which those characteristics of language and story are accurately reflected in a different media from a different era or for a different point of view. In effect, the literature will be “read” twice from two perspectives.

Readings will be from literary works noted below and reflecting canonical authors of the 19th and 20th century. When comparing such texts to their film versions, students will be asked to identify similarities and differences in order to assess the extent to which the film functions as a documentary or faithful rendering of a literary work and, if adapted for a new audience, what remains of the original? Such assessments involve looking for elements such as structural changes that occur in narrative point of view, treatment of chronology, and modification of time sequences in a literary work. When literature is compared with a film version we will look particularly at what is included, altered, or deleted from the written text. Participants will write short German language analyses comparing the two and post their findings on their personal pages on the wiki, but submitted as a short essay to the instructor. Panels will present findings on topics related to the work assigned for that week on the class wiki. During the last five weeks participants will draft work in stages that build toward developing a longer paper and presentation on a German novel or story of their choice that has been adapted to film. All essay writing (short essays, longer paper) in German must reflect a minimal standard of correctness or be rewritten for credit (5 or more errors in word order, spelling, verb and prepositional use, and case endings for definite articles and nouns).

Assigned Materials
PDF Texts
    PDF excerpts on film adaptations of literature
Texts of the authors’ works noted in parentheses – starred forms available as PDF files on Blackboard or on Gutenberg.de

    Heinrich von Kleist. “Die Marquise von O”*
    Gottfried Keller, “Kleider machen Leute”*
    Gunter Grass, Katz und Maus
    Heinrich Böll, Die verlorene Ehre der Katherina Blum
    Thomas Brüssig, Sonnenallee

Notes & Quizzes          20%         
4 short essay assignments      20%        
Panel participation        20%        
Oral PowerPoint of paper        10%
Paper (+ 3 subset assignments as described on assignment sheet)    30%

GER 346L • German Lit, Enlightmnt-Present

38060 • Spring 2010
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM BUR 234

See attached syllabus

EUS 347 • Contemporary German Civilizatn

36490 • Fall 2009
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM BEN 1.106
(also listed as GER 343C)

FOR COMPLETE COURSE INFORMATION, download the complete MS-Word document attached to this page

German 343C:
Contemporary German Civilization
Unique: 36490 (EUS 347) and 38420 (GER 343C)
Semester: Fall 2009
Meeting Time: TTh 9:30 – 11:00
Room: JESTER 307A
Instructor: Prof. Janet Swaffar     Office: Burdine 318
Office Hours: TTh: 11 – 12:30
Office Phone: 232-6376 or 471-4123    
         (Germanic Studies main office)
Email. jswaffar@mail.utexas.edu

This course will follow the radical changes in German society during the twentieth century. We begin by discussing World War I and the subsequent establishment of the Weimar Republic, then we consider the period of National Socialism and the origins of World War II. After that we examine the post-war occupation of Germany and the development of two German states, the FRG and the GDR, with a discussion of some of their political and social differences.  Finally, we look at the process of German unification and the recent events in the Federal Republic.

Student work for this class is based participation in creating prereading matrices, quizzes, 2 short essays, 3 essay exams, and participation on our class wiki blog. Unless excused by the professor, students need to have taken Advanced German Grammar and Advanced Conversation and Composition prior to enrolling in this course. It is conducted in German.

Reading assignments are due on the day indicated on the syllabus. All daily assignments and the blog link are available by clicking on the wiki’s Kurshauptseiten on the menu of http://www.laits.utexas.edu/wiki/deutsche_kultur/. Unless otherwise noted, the pages cited are from Geschichtsbuch 4: Die Menschen und ihre Geschichte in Darstellungen und Dokumenten. (Berlin: Cornelsen, 1996; ISBN 3-464-64204-6).; anything labeled G3 is available as a pdf from the course syllabus page.

Matrices written daily in class, and them submitted the following class hour in a typed and corrected version with a paragraph that explores the implications of the matrix for Germany at that time in history.

Two short essays as indicated on the syllabus, based on two films to be viewed before class and written to recommend to a parent, friend, or person of your choosing whether or not to attend the movie.

Quizzes for this class will be given at the beginning of the class hour. No make-ups unless with an excused absence.

Examinations will be given for the three historical epochs covered in the course (WWI and the Weimar Republic, Nazi Germany, Post-war Germanys and their unification). The first two will be taken in class, and the final exam is a portfolio assignment, due on or before the day noted on the exam schedule. All exams will consist of material covered in class matrices that have been critiqued and corrected by the instructor.

•    10% quizzes (however many there are)
•    10% essays (2 x 5%)
•    30% matrices + paragraph
•    10% blog entries: sets of question/comment, as indicated on syllabus
•    20% first two tests (10% each)
•    20% portfolio (corrected matrices/paragraphs = 5 %; essay tying them together = 15%)

GER 343C • Contemporary German Civilizatn

37905 • Spring 2007
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM JES A203A


This course follows the radical changes in German politics, society, culture, and literature during the twentieth century. Its goal is to improve your understanding of the interplay between the forces of modernization on the one hand and modernism in the arts on the other. In terms of politics and society we discuss the events leading up to World War I and its impact on Germany, including the Revolution of 1918 and political developments of the Weimar Republic. We consider the society and racial ideology of National Socialism and the origins and course of World War II followed by the post-war occupation of Germany, the development of two German states (the FRG and the GDR), and the process of German unification. Alongside this material we engage with the significant literary and cultural shifts that took place during this century including: fin-de-siècle literature, Expressionism, and Dadaism; cabaret and Neue Sachlichkeit of the 1920s; the emergence of German film; Nazi control of cultural production and works of political exile; and, finally, the impact of a divided nation on the cultural and literary output in the post-war era.

Materials for this class consist of readings and films. Assignments range from daily preparation and participation in class discussions (including organized debates) to quizzes, essay papers, and written exams. It presumes a sixth-semester language ability (i.e. completion of GER 328 and 331L) and is structured to build on the skills acquired in those classes in a systematic way to prepare students for more advanced work in German seminars. We will read texts that were written for native speakers of German and are not glossed or simplified. As a result we will need to work on comprehending complicated grammatical structures, such as indirect discourse (subjunctive I), passive voice, and extended modifiers. Students will be expected to acquire and use new vocabulary relevant to the course topics.


Course Objectives

By the end of this semester students should be able to:

  • define and explain key social and political issues and events of the 20th-century
  • analyze and compare literary works within their social, cultural, and historical context
  • orally present diverse perspectives regarding an historical problem or dilemma
  • compose interpretive essays in German with good organization, a high degree of grammatical accuracy, and a varied vocabulary.


Required texts:

Geschichtsbuch 4: Die Menschen und ihre Geschichte in Darstellungen und Dokumenten (Berlin: Cornelsen); ISBN 3-464-64204-6.

Bertolt Brecht, Mutter Courage und ihre Kinder (Berlin: Suhrkamp); ISBN 978-3-518-10049-3 

A course packet available at Jenn’s Copy Shop, 2518 Guadalupe St.



Preparation, participation, quizzes = 10%

Essays (10%, 10%, 10%) = 30%

Debates (5%, 5%, 5%, 5%) = 20%                                             

Tests (20%, 20%) = 40%

GER 346L • German Lit, Enlightmnt-Present

37910 • Spring 2007
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM EPS 4.104


A survey of German literature and culture from the mid-eighteenth century to the end of the nineteenth century. This course will cover the intellectual and literary movements of the Enlightenment, Classicism, Romanticism, the Pre-March era, Realism, and Naturalism. We will read and discuss texts from the main literary genres (prose, poetry, and drama) as well as some essays and look at artworks from each of the periods in question. We will also learn about some of the most important historical events of the time, including the French Revolution, Industrialization, the German Revolution of 1848, and the German Empire. Our discussions of the texts and artworks will follow the topics of Love and Nature and the ways each individual text and each time period have similar or different understandings of these concepts. Questions we will ask include: What do love and nature mean for each time period? Which person/group of persons is imagined as most ‘natural’ and most ‘lovable’? How do love and nature relate to political order or disorder? What happens when culture and love, or mankind and nature, clash? What can German literary history tell us about our contemporary understandings of love and nature?

In this course, you will learn to 1) read carefully and thoughtfully, 2) identify the significance of literary works and their relation to historical developments, 3) account for the variations in German writing over the century and a half, 4) compare notions of love and nature in different moments in time.



Lessing: Emilia Galotti

Hoffmann: Der Sandmann

Hauptmann: Bahnwärter Thiel

Additional readings available in course packet and/or on Canvas.


Preparation, Participation and Attendance      20%

3 Exams                                                           30%
3 Essays                                                           30%

1 Oral presentation                                          10%

Quizzes                                                           10%

Three semester hours of upper-division coursework in German with a grade of at least C.

GER 363K • Media In Modern Germany-W

34280 • Spring 2004
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM JES A203A

Please check back for updates.

GER 363K • Media In Modern Germany-W

34975 • Fall 2003
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM JES A203A

Please check back for updates.

GER 363K • Media In Modern Germany-W

33735 • Spring 2002
Meets MWF 10:00AM-11:00AM JES A207A

Please check back for updates.


Swaffar, J. Remapping the Foreign Language Curriculum. A Multiple Literacies Approach (with Katherine Arens), New York: Modern Language Association, 2005

Swaffar, J. (1991). Reading for Meaning:  An Integrated Approach to Language Learning  (with Katherine Arens and Heidi Byrnes).  Englewood Cliffs, NJ:  Prentice Hall,1991

Swaffar, J. (1974). Literarische Zeitschriften 1945-1970. Stuttgart: Sammlung Metzler [as Janet K. King]

Swaffar, J. (2006, September) Some Caveats about Communicative Competence. Modern Language Journal, 90(2), 246-249.

Swaffar, J. (2004) A Template for Advanced Learner Tasks: Staging Genre Reading and Cultural Literacy through the Precis. In H. Byrnes & H. Maxim (Eds.), Advanced Foreign Language Learning: A Challenge to College Programs (pp.19-45). Thompson and Heinle.

Swaffar, J., Chu, H.J. & Charney, D.H. (2002, September) Cultural Representations of Rhetorical Conventions: The Effects on Reading Recall. TESOL Quarterly, 36, 511-541.

Swaffar, J. Reading in the Foreign Language Classroom: Focus on Process. In Teaching German in America: Past Progress and Future Promise. George F. Peters, ed. American Association of Teachers of German: Cherry Hill, NJ, 2002. 409-430

Swaffar, J. (2001) German Studies as Studies of Cultural Discourse. In D.P. Benseler, C.W. Nickisch & C.L. Nollensdorfs (Eds.), Teaching German in Twentieth Century America (pp.230-246). Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press.

Swaffar, J. et al. MLA Ad Hoc Committee on Teaching. Final Report. Profession 2001. Modern Language Association of America, 2001. 225-238.

Swaffar, J. (2000) Doing Things with Language: Acquiring Discourse Literacy through Languages Across the Curriculum. In M. Kecht & K. von Hammerstein (Eds.), Languages Across the Curriculum. Interdisciplinary Structures and Internationalized Education (pp.119-149). Columbus, OH: University of Ohio Press.

Swaffar, J. & Ouderakova, L. (2000, September) Identity Signifiers in Contemporary Russian Films: A Lacanian Analysis. American Imago, 57(1), 95-119.

Swaffar, J. & Arens, K. (2000, September) Reading Goals and the Standards for Foreign Language Learning. Foreign Language Annals, 33(1), 104-122.

Swaffar., J. Heroes and Reunification: The Resistance of Cultural Memory from Two GermaniesHeroes and Heroism in German Culture. Stephen Brockmann and James Steakley, eds. Amsterdan: Rodopi, 2001. 131-156.

Swaffar, J. (1999, September) The Case for Foreing Languages as a Discipline. ADFL Bulletin, 30(3), 6-12.  Reprinted in: Profession 1999.  NY: MLA, 1999. 155-167

Swaffar, J. (1998) Reclaiming Rhetoric, Introduction. In J. Swaffar, S. Romano, K. Arens & P. Markley (Eds.), Language Learning on Line (pp.1-15). Austin, TX: Labyrinth Publication.

Swaffar, J. (1998) Assessing Development in Writing: A Proposal for Conceptual Coding. In J. Swaffar, S. Romano, K. Arens & P. Markley (Eds.), Language Learning on Line (pp.155-178). Austin, TX: Labyrinth Publication.

Swaffar, J. (1998) Towards the Future, Conclusion. In J. Swaffar, S. Romano, K. Arens & P. Markley (Eds.), Language Learning on Line (pp.179-189). Austin, TX: Labyrinth Publication.

Swaffar, J. (1998, September) Major Changes: The Standards Project and the New Foreign Language Curriculum. ADFL Bulletin, 30(1), 34-37.

Swaffar, J. & Cha, K.-. (1998, September) The Case for a Procedural Model. System, 26, 205-222.

 Swaffar, J. Going the Distance/Reading (co-authored with Katherine Arens). WEB project completed in summer 1998 and posted for Satellite dissemination by the American Association for the Teachers of German, the Goethe House, and the European Discovery Program

Swaffar, J. (1998). Language Learning Online:  Research and Pedagogy in ESL and L2.  Edited volume with Susan Romano, Katherine Arens, and Phillip Markley.  Labyrinth Publication: Austin, TX,1998.

Swaffar, J. & Vlatten, A. (1997, September) A Sequential Model for Video Viewing in the Foreign Language Curriculum. Modern Language Journal, 81(1), 175-188.

Swaffar, J. (1996, September) Institutional Mission and Academic Disciplines: Rethinking Accountability. Journal of General Education, 45, 18-38.

Swaffar, J. (1996).Instructor’s Resource Manual for Treffpunkt Deutsch, 2nd Edition (with Andrea Vlatten).  Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Swaffar, J., et al (1996).  Making Faculty Work Visible:  Reinterpreting Professional Service, Teaching, and Research in the Fields of Language and Literature.  MLA Commision on Professional Service (with Robert Denham, Claire Kramsch, Louise Wetherbee Phelps, John Rassias, and James F. Slevin).  Profession:  161-219

Swaffar, J. & Wilkinson, E. (1995, September) Aesthetics and Gender: Anna Seghers as a Case Study. Monatshefte, 87, 457-472.

Swaffar, J. (1994) Elfried Jelinek: Trans - lation (-portation). In Elfriede Jelinek: Framed by Language (pp.4-7). Riverside, CA: Ariadne Press. [Translation]

Swaffar, J. & Bacon, S. (1993) Reading and Listening Comprehension: Perspectives on Research and Implications for the Classroom. In A.O. Hadley (Ed.), Research in Language Learning. Principles, Processes, and Prospects (pp.124-155). Lincolnwood, IL: National Textbook Co..

Swaffar, J. (1993) Using Foreign Language to Learn: Rethinking the College Foreign Language Curriculum. In J.K. Phillips (Ed.), Reflecting on Proficiency from the Classroom Perspective (pp.55-86). Lincolnwood, IL: National Textbook Co..

Swaffar, J. (1992) Written Texts & Cultural Readings. In C. Kramsch & S. McConnell-Ginet (Eds.), Text and Context. Cross-Disciplinary Perspectives on Language Study (pp.238-250). Lexington, MA: DC Heath.

Swaffar, J. (1991) Normative Learning and Language Use: The Separate Implications for Instructional Practices and Materials. In J.E. Alatis (Ed.), Georgetown University Round Table on Languages and Linguistics 1991 (pp.386-396). Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press.

Swaffar, J. (1991) Language Learning is More than Learning Language: New Roles for Reading and Writing in Beginning Language Study. In B. Freed (Ed.), Foreign Language Acquisition Research and the Classroom. Boston: D.C. Heath and Company.

Swaffar, J., Bailey, K.M., Hadley, A.O. & Magnan, S.S. (1991, September) Research in the 1990s: Focus on Theory Building, Instructional Innovation, and Collaboration. Foreign Language Annals, 24, 89-100.

Swaffar, J. (1990) Articulating Learning in High School and College Programs: Holistic Theory in the Foreign Language Curriculum. In S. Magnan (Ed.), Problems Confronting Foreign Language Programs in the 1990s (pp.27-54). Boston: Heinli & Heinli.

Swaffar, J. (1990). Blickwechsel: A Reader, with J. Vansant, K. Arens, M.-L. Gaettans, and S. Shattuck. Boston, MA: Houghton-Mifflin [Textbook, 2nd-year German]

Swaffar, J., Kern, R. & Young, D. (1989) Reading as a Classroom Activity: Theory and Techniques. In D.A. Koike & A.R. Simoes (Eds.), Negotiating for Meaning: Papers on Foreign Language and Testing (pp.61-91). Austin: University of Texas.

Swaffar, J. (1989, September) Competing Paradigms in Adult Language Acquisition. Modern Language Journal, 73, 301-314.

Swaffar, J. (1989, September) Rethinking Roles: Western and Eastern Languages in the Foreign Language Academy. Journal of Chinese Language Teachers Association, 24(2), 121-132.

Swaffar, J. (1989, September) Gabriele Eckart: Der Seidelstein/Seidelstein. Dimension, 17, 344-353. [Translation]

Swaffar, J. (1989, September) Ein Gesprach mit Gabriele Eckart/A Conversation with Gabriele Eckhart. Dimension, 17, 312-343. [Interview and translation]

Swaffar, J. (1989, April) Curricular Issues and Language Research: The Shifting Interaction. ADFL Bulletin, 20(3), 54-60.

Swaffar, J. & Waltermann, D. (1988, September) Pattern Questions for Student Conceptual Processing. Die Unterrichtspraxis, 21(1), 60-67.  Invited paper for the Twentieth Anniversary Issue "Readers, Texts, and Second Languages:  The Interactive Processes."  Modern Language Journal 72 (1988): 123-49

Swaffar, J. & Arens, K. (1987, September) Logik und Leseprozeß in der Fremdsprache. Deutsch als Fremdsprache, 24(2), 103-109.

Swaffar, J. & Arens, K. (1987, September) Tracking Objectives: Conceptual Competencies and the Undergraduate Curriculum. ADFL Bulletin, 18(3), 16-20.

Swaffar, J. (1986) The Structure of Verbal Meaning. In D. Dwyer (Ed.), The Design and Evaluation of African Language Materials (pp.26-66). East Lansing, MI: African Studies Center.

Swaffar, J. & Arens, K. (1985) Die Grammatik des Textes. In M. Heid (Ed.), Literarische Texte im kommunikativen Fremdsprachenunterricht (pp.290-351). Munchen: Goethe Institut.

Swaffar, J. (1985, September) Language Collaboratives and Academic Options. ADFL Bulletin, 16(1), 35-36.

Swaffar, J. (1985, September) Reading Authentic Texts in a Foreign Language: A Cognitive Model. Modern Language Journal, 69, 16-34.

Swaffar, J., Arens, K. & Morgan, M. (1982, September) Teacher Classroom Practices: Redefining Method as Task Hierarchy. Modern Language Journal, 66, 24-33.

Swaffar, J. & Stephens, D. (1981) The Comprehension-Based Class in Theory and in Practice. In H. Winitz (Ed.), The Comprehension Approach: An Evolving Methodology in Foreign Language Instruction (pp.254-274). Rowley, Mass.: Newbury House.

Swaffar, J. (1981, September) Foreign Languages in the University: The Case for a Content Orientation for the Discipline. Monatshefte, 73(3), 271-288.

Swaffar, J. (1981) snd Weber, G.  Lars Gistafsspj,  The Death of a Beekeeper. New York: New Directions. [Trandlation'

Swaffar, J. (1980, December) and Weber, G.   Selections from Lars Gustafsson, Death of a Bookkeeper. Scandinavian Review, 68(4), 31-37.

Swaffar, J. (1980) Comprehension-Based Textbooks. In H. von Faber, H. Eichheim & A. Maley (Eds.), Protokoll Pariser Werkstattgespräch, 1978 (pp.127-146). Paris: Goethe Institute and British Council.

Swaffar, J. (1980, September) Günther Kunert Columbia Dictionary of Modern European Literature. 2nd ed.  New York: Columbia UP, 451-452.

Swaffar, J. & Cates, G.T. (1979, September) Reading a Second Language: Comprehension nd Higher Order Learning Skills. Recherches et Echanges, 4(2), 55-83.

Swaffar, J. (1979, September) The Ethics of Exploitation: Brecht's Der gute Mensch von Sezuan. University of Dayton Review, 13(3), 65-70.

Reading a Second Language: Comprehension and Higher Order Learning Skills. (monograph with G. Truett Cates). Language in Education 20.  Arlington, Va.: ERIC/CLL Series on Languages and Linguistics, 1979

Swaffar, J. & Woodruff, M. (1978, September) Language for Comprehension: Focus on Reading: A Report on the University of Texas German Program. Modern Language Journal, 62, 27-32.

Swaffar, J. & Holley, F. (1975) Imitation and Correction in Foreign Language Learning. Modern Language Journal 55 (1971): 494-498; Reprinted in The Education Digest 37 (1972), 48-51; Reprinted  in J.H. Schumann & N. Stetson (Eds.), New Frontiers in Second Language Learning (pp.81-89). Rowley, Mass.: Newbury House.

Swaffar, J., Holley, F. & Weber, B.N. (1975) A New Reading. In G.A. Jarvis & ACTFL (Eds.), Perspective: A New Freedom (pp.169-217). The ACTFL Annual Review of Foreign Language Education, 7. Skokie, IL: National Textbook Co..

Swaffar, J. (1975, September) Jost Hermand: Die Notwendigkeit utopischen Denkens. Soundings, 58, 97-111. [Translation]

Swaffar, J. (1974, September) Lenz Viewed Sane. Germanic Review, 146-153.

Swaffar, J. (1973, September) Wulf Kirsten: Abendgang und andere Gedichte. Dimension, 136-141. [Translation]

Swaffar, J. (1973, September) Rainer Kirsch: Schwimmen bei Pizunda. Dimension, 128-131. [Translation]

Swaffar, J. (1973, September) Elke ErbL Grimms Marchen und andere Prosa. Dimension, 94-97. [Translation]

Swaffar, J. (1972, September) Conscience and Conviction in Die Judenbuche. Monatshefte, 64, 349-355.

Swaffar, J. (1972, September) The 'Generation Theory' in German Literary Criticism. German Life and Letters, 25, 334-343.

Swaffar, J. & Holley, F. (1972, September) Vocabulary Glosses and Learning. Language Learning, 21, 213-219.

Swaffar, J. (1972, September) Letter from Germany. Dimension, 2, 198-205. [Translation]

Wilhelm Raabe's "Else von der Tanne": An Introduction and Translation (as Janet K. King with James O'Flaherty). University of Alabama Press, 1972; introduction by J.K.King [Swaffar]

swaffar, J. (1971) Letter from Germany. Dimension 4 : 8-15

Swaffar, J. (1969, September) A Reading Program for Realists. German Quarterly, 42, 65-80.

Swaffar, J. (1968, September) The Use of Audiolingual Techniques in the Third- and Fourth-Year College Classroom. Foreign Language Annals, 2, 185-194.

Swaffar, J. (1967) Raabe's 'Else von der Tanne'."  German Quarterly 40: 653-663