Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis

Department of Foreign Languages and Cultures



G401/V605 Topics in German Studies: The German Heritage of America - Deutsche Kultur in Amerika

Fall 2003



G401/V605 is a 3 credit advanced undergraduate/graduate course.  Its purposes are: 1. to provide an overview of the cultural heritage of German-Americans; 2. to assist students in researching German Heritage with a view toward developing research skills with original materials. The course will basically be in a seminar format with students actively participating in discussions and presentations. Several class sessions will be internet based.  Extensive instructional and research material is available on-line as well as in the IUPUI University Archives.  The course syllabus, assignments and announcements will be on the internet on the ONCOURSE site.  Use of threaded discussions on the site will enhance classroom experience. 


Several experts in various fields relating to the ethnic experience will also give presentations. Sessions will be held at various locations throughout the city and state so that advantage can be made of the many resources available.  Students will need to be aware that several of the sessions may not be held at normally scheduled class times. Students should plan on doing extensive guided research which will be time consuming but rewarding.  There will be one overnight study trip.

(NOTE: Dates may vary, content subject to change)


August 26

Introduction to course, schedule, syllabus (G. Hoyt)

German-American Experience: An Overview

            1. Americanization and the German-Americans

            2. The background of German immigration

            3. 300 Years of Germans in America


September 2

Research Tools (Library-Archives and Special Collections)

1.      Archives (Greg Mobley)

1.1 Research use (G.Hoyt, D.Hoyt)

            2. Libraries

            2.1. State Historical Society Library (P. Brockman).                            

2.1.1. County Histories.

            2.2. Indiana State Library   

            2.2.1. Genealogical Records

            3. Bibliographies


September 9

German Immigration to America 

            1. Geographic and Historic Background (M. Wokeck)

            2. Patterns and Settlements


September 16

German Communities in America (Indiana as example)

            1. Community and Society       

            2. Religious Communities vs. Secular Communities

            2.1. New Harmony (E. & R. Reichmann)

            2.2. Indianapolis (G. Hoyt)


September 23

German-American Culture in America

1.      Concept of Culture and Ethnic Marker (R. Reichmann)

            2.   Attitudes and Values (R. Reichmann)    

            3.   German Customs and Traditions (E. & R. Reichmann)        


September 30

German-American Culture in America, Cont.

4.       Education (G. Hoyt)

4.1   The Parochial and the Public Systems

            5.    Religion (G. Hoyt, Claudia Großmann)

            5.1. Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Freethinkers


Excursion: October 4-5. The excursion will cover one week-end.  There will be an overnight stay and related expenses.

Tour of Ferdinand-Convent of Immaculate Conception (Sisters of St. Benedict) and St. Meinrad Seminary. Tour of farm and fold life given in Jasper Deitsch.

Research Tools, Cont.

            4. Church Records and Cemeteries

            4.1 St. Meinrad and the Benedictine Convent (G.Hoyt)



October 14

German-American Culture in America, Cont.

6.   Dialects of American German (E. Reichmann)

            7.    Music (E. Reichmann)


October 21

German-American Culture in America, Cont.

            7.  Media: Newspapers and Publishing (E. Reichmann)

            8.  Cultural Institutions (Hoyt)

            8.1. Das Deutsche Haus

            8.2. The Church as Cultural Institution



October 28

German-American Culture in America, Cont.

            9.   Art (Dr. Annemarie Springer)

            9. Public Life and Industry (E. Reichmann)    



November 4 Athenaeum--German-American Center

German-American Culture in America, Cont.

Open—Research projects


November 11

German-American Culture, Cont.

            10.   Architecture

            10.1. Tour of Indianapolis  (W. Selm)

            10.2. Slide Show of other structures (W. Selm)


November 18

German-American Culture in America, Cont.

            13. Literature and Folktales (E. Reichmann, G. Hoyt)


November 25

Open--Research  projects


December 2 Athenaeum German-American Center

The German-American at the Close of the Twentieth Century (G. Hoyt, E. & R. Reichmann)

            1. The New Ethnicity (R. Reichmann)

            2. Relations with German-speaking Countries         

            2.1. Recent immigration

            2.2. Economic ties

            3. Final Discussion


December 9  Schlußprüfung



            Participants are expected to do assigned readings and contribute to discussions.  Seminar reports will be assigned on a daily basis.  In addition, a final project in the form of a research project that treats an aspect of German culture in America is required.  The product should reflect knowledge of research methods appropriate to the topic chosen; primary and secondary material should be thoroughly researched and properly documented in the project.  The project may be a continuation in depth of one of the seminar reports.  The paper is due December 2.




            Seminar reports 30%

            Final examination 30%

            Final paper 40%


General Information: As a rule, there are no make‑up exams.  The grade of "Incomplete" will only be given under special circumstances. Rules regarding student conduct and plagerism conform to those of the University. (See: School of Liberal Arts Bulletin for details.)  In the event that classes have to be missed, inform your instructor beforehand.  Note: This syllabus is subject to change.


Instructor:         Dr. Giles R. Hoyt

                        CA 501 D,

                        Phone: 274‑2330

                        Electronic Mail: