David Brenner


Dr. David Brenner teaches German and International Studies at Texas A&M University. Although his research concentrates on literature and cinema, pedagogy and second language/culture acquisition and pedagogy have been the true focus of his academic career.

David's book, German-Jewish Popular Culture before the Holocaust: Kafka's Kitsch (Routledge) was reissued in paperback in 2014. An elected member of PEN America, he has also translated books and essays from German into English, including Niklas Luhmann's A Systems Theory of Religion (Stanford University Press, 2013). A current project, Schindler's Shoah: Teaching about Genocide in the Age of Globalization, explores pedagogies and portrayals of genocide in cross-cultural perspective. Along those lines, he also teaches every year a course on "The Holocaust and Ethics."



Course List: 

Courses offered in the past four years.
indicates offered in the current term
indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]

GRMN 3401 - Stylistics      

Stylistics, Expository Writing, and Communication

This course meets for two hours daily and forms the core of the 400 level program. It aims at strengthening the student's ability to write and speak German at an advanced level through development of speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills with an emphasis on advanced elements of communication and style. Attention will be paid to fine points of grammar, use of idioms, appropriate register. Students also will develop their knowledge of and skills engaging with the following genres: narration and narrative structure; posing questions and interview techniques; reports and briefs; formal written correspondence; public speaking/academic presentation; written and oral argumentation and debate; academic prose style. Classroom activities are supplemented by a range of digital materials and tools. Scheduled colloquia and lectures, films, and other cultural events of the German School will be incorporated into the course.

Required texts: All course materials will be provided by the instructor, but it is recommended that each student invest in a good quality reference grammar, such as the Duden Grammatik or similar comprehensive treatment of German grammar and stylistics.

Summer 2017 Language Schools, LS 7 Week Session

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GRMN 3410 - 20C & 21C German Literature      

20th Century Literature of the German Speaking Countries

The focus of this course is the literature and film related to the topics of flight and migration into, out of and within Germany, with the overarching theme of "displacement." Based on literary texts of various lengths and genres, as well as feature films, the course explores the ways the flight, migration, and social and cultural displacement have manifested themselves in literature and film from the 1930s to the present, with particular emphasis on works appearing since 1945. The course involves extensive classroom discussion, scholarly writing assignments of increasing difficulty, and student presentations on course topics and readings.

Required texts: Texts will be available for purchase from the College Bookstore after all placement testing has been completed.

Summer 2017 Language Schools, LS 7 Week Session

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GRMN 3418 - Understanding Germany      

Understanding Germany through Displacement, Flight, Migration, and Asylum

This course introduces and analyzes experiences of migrants, asylum seekers, and refugees in German-speaking Europe. Beginning in the pre-World War II era, the course offers historical and current perspectives on expulsion, persecution, integration, assimilation, acculturation, and multiculturalism represented in major media outlets, audio-visual materials, feature films, and academic scholarship. By taking a chronological position the course traces displacement, flight, migration, and asylum beginning with the persecutions of Jews, the expulsion of ethnic Germans, and the effects of migrant labor movements. In particular, the course offers students starting points for inquiry by focusing on geo-political shifts, such as the fall of the Berlin Wall, the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the results of the Balkan Wars, and how these turns continue to shape perceptions of identity in Germany, Austria, and within the European Union. Thus, the course includes a critical treatment of current cultural and political debates in the media surrounding Syrian and African refugees in Germany. This course aims at developing advanced literacy by deepening strategies for summarizing, analyzing, interpreting, and presenting substantial arguments in professional and academic settings. In addition, the course incorporates the development of media literacy by critically engaging with authentic materials and thereby developing concise formulation of informed opinions.

Required Texts: The instructor will provide all required texts.

Summer 2017 Language Schools, LS 7 Week Session

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The German School

Sunderland Language Center
Middlebury College
F: 802.443.2075

Mailing address
German School
14 Old Chapel Road
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT  05753

Tina Ellison, Coordinator