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GERST 1109 : FWS: From Fairy Tales to the Uncanny: Exploring the Romantic Consciousness
Semester offered: Spring 2018 Instructor:
How did bawdy tales of peasants using magic to climb the social ladder get transformed into moral lessons for children?  The answer lies in Romanticism and its appropriation of the imagination as a force for social transformation.  As Romantics edited older tales for juvenile consumption they wrote new ones for adults. This new fiction created the matrix for modern pop genres like fantasy, science-fiction, murder mysteries, and gothic horror.  To understand this paradigm shift in modern culture, we will read, discuss, and write about a variety of texts the Romantics collected, composed, or inspired, including poetry and film, in addition to classic fairy tales and academic scholarship on the topic.
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GERST 1118 : FWS: Let's Play!
Semester offered: Spring 2018 Instructor:
Why do we play games and why do we have fun with them? What makes us winners and losers? This course will explore various approaches to games and humans at play. We will try to understand why people play and why they prefer some games to others. Interdisciplinary in nature, the class will offer readings from areas of sociology, psychology, history, mathematics, and cultural studies (just to name a few). By reading and analyzing and playing with Nabokov, Hesse, Zweig, Berne, Huizinga, and Schenkel we will make connections between games, national identity, gender, class, and intelligence, and will construct arguments about various scholarly and fictional written and cinematic texts.
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GERST 1170 : FWS: Marx, Nietzsche, Freud
Semester offered: Spring 2018 Instructor:
A basic understanding of Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud is a prerequisite for participating in critical debates in the humanities and social sciences. Our seminar will explore key terms in the revolutionary models of critical analysis these thinkers pioneered: historical materialism, post-metaphysical philosophy, and psychoanalysis.  This will mean articulating points of contrast as well as convergence.  Discussions and writing exercises will focus on texts that created the discursive framework for critiquing society and culture today.  Our method will proceed from the premise that critical reading, thinking, and writing are inseparable moments in the same operation of critique.  The question that guides that method will be: Do alternative ways of thinking exist in opposition to the ones we view as natural, inevitable, or universal?
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GERST 1210 : Exploring German Contexts I
Semester offered: Spring 2018 Instructor:
Students develop basic abilities in listening, reading, writing, and speaking German in meaningful contexts through interaction in small group activities. Course materials including videos, short articles, poems, and songs provide students with varied perspectives on German language, culture, and society.
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GERST 1220 : Exploring German Contexts II
Semester offered: Spring 2018 Instructor:
Students build on their basic knowledge of German by engaging in intense and more sustained interaction in the language. Students learn more advanced language structures allowing them to express more complex ideas in German. Discussions, videos, and group activities address topics of relevance to the contemporary German-speaking world.
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GERST 1230 : Expanding the German Dossier
Semester offered: Spring 2018 Instructor:
Students continue to develop their language skills by discussing a variety of cultural topics and themes in the German-speaking world. The focus of the course is on expanding vocabulary, reviewing major grammar topics, developing effective reading strategies, improving listening comprehension, and working on writing skills. Work in small groups increases each student's opportunity to speak in German and provides for greater feedback and individual help.
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GERST 2000 : Germany: Intercultural Context
Semester offered: Spring 2018 Instructor:
Students examine important aspects of present-day German culture while expanding and strengthening their reading, writing, and speaking skills in German. Materials for each topic are selected from a variety of sources (fiction, newspapers, magazines, and the Internet). Units address a variety of topics including studying at a German university, modern literature, Germany online, and Germany at the turn of the century. Oral and written work and individual and group presentations emphasize accurate and idiomatic expression in German. Successful completion of the course enables students to continue with more advanced courses in language, literature, and culture.
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GERST 2040 : Perspectives on German Culture
Semester offered: Spring 2018 Instructor:
This course aims at sharpening your awareness of personal and cultural subjectivity by examining texts in a variety of media against the backdrop of cultural, political, and historical contexts.  We will focus on improving your oral and written expression of idiomatic German by giving attention to more sophisticated aspects of using enriched vocabulary in a variety of conversational contexts and written genres. Materials will include readings in contemporary prose, newscasts, research at the Johnson Art Museum, and interviews with native speakers on a topic of contemporary cultural relevance.
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GERST 2060 : German in Business Culture
Semester offered: Spring 2018 Instructor:
Learn German and understand German business culture at the same time.  This is a German language course that examines the German economic structure and its major components: industry, trade unions, the banking system, and the government.  Participants will learn about the business culture in Germany and how to be effective in a work environment, Germany's role within the European Union, the importance of trade and globalization, and current economic issues in Germany.  The materials consist of authentic documents from the German business world, TV footage, and a Business German textbook.
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GERST 3080 : German Life Style Going Digital
Semester offered: Spring 2018 Instructor:
In this course, we will encounter German culture of today in and through Web 2.0. No technical knowledge is required since, in the process, a solid base of knowledge concerning the use of media will be constructed. This knowledge will then be applied practically through discussing aspects of German culture visible in the WWW. The highlight of the course will be an intercultural encounter with a German Class from the University of Osnabrück using Web 2.0 applications. In the produced content, students will become part of the Web 2.0 in German through an intercultural discussion of German life visible in the World Wide Web (WWW).
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GERST 3215 : Performance Theater and Politics
Semester offered: Spring 2018 Instructor:
With Schiller's famous treatise on the stage as moral institution, the theater starts to fullfil a moral, pedagogical, public task. The landscape of German theater is unique because of a political commitment to (and subsidies for) this, the maybe most social art form. The course will explore the particular history of German theater and the texts that form its aesthetic and theoretical basis (Schiller, Brecht). How does the form of the drama change with historical and political changes (from identification or catharsis to alienation and participation)? How does theater change when not "text" but "performance" becomes a focus, pushing against the 4th wall, and spilling onto the streets? Authors/performers include: Friedrich Schiller, Bertolt Brecht, Heiner Müller, Elfriede Jelinek, Kathrin Röggla, Christoph Schlingensief, René Pollesch, She She Pop, LIGNA, Geheimagentur, Rimini Protokoll.  
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GERST 3580 : Nineteenth Century Philosophy
Crosslisted as: PHIL 3250 Semester offered: Spring 2018 Instructor:
Survey of nineteenth century philosophy.
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GERST 3620 : Introduction to Critical Theory
Crosslisted as: COML 3541, ENGL 3920, GOVT 3636 Semester offered: Spring 2018 Instructor:
Shortly after the last election, The New Yorker published an article entitled "The Frankfurt School Knew Trump was Coming." This course examines what the Frankfurt School knew by introducing students to Critical Theory, beginning with its roots in the 19th century (i.e., Kant, Hegel, Marx, and Nietzsche) and then focusing on its most prominent manifestation in the 20th century, the Frankfurt School (e.g., Kracauer, Adorno, Benjamin, Horkheimer, Marcuse), particularly in its engagement with politics, society, culture, and literature (e.g. Brecht, Kafka, and Beckett).  Established in 1920s at the Institute for Social Research, the assorted circle of scholars comprising the Frankfurt School played a pivotal role in the intellectual developments of post-war American and European social, political, and aesthetic theory: from analyses of authoritarianism and democracy to commentaries on the entertainment industry, high art, commodity fetishism, and mass society. This introduction to Critical Theory explores both the prescience of these diverse thinkers for today's world ("what they knew") as well as what they perhaps could not anticipate in the 21st century (e.g., developments in technology, economy, political orders), and thus how to critically address these changes today.
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GERST 4375 : The Holocaust and History Writing
Crosslisted as: FREN 4375, FREN 6375, GERST 6375, HIST 4237, HIST 6237, ROMS 4370, ROMS 6370 Semester offered: Spring 2018 Instructor:
In the last decades, "Holocaust Studies" witnessed an extraordinary expansion, covering different fields of scholarship, from history to literature, from philosophy to aesthetics.  This seminar will retrace the major steps of Holocaust history writing.  It will analyze the classical debates between "intentionalism" and "functionalism," the discrepancies between the analytical approaches focused on the perpetrators and those focused on the victims, the inscription of the Holocaust into the broader context of war violence, and its comparison with the genocidal violence of colonialism.  Finally, it will investigate some methodological problems concerning the place of testimony in history writing and the permanent connections, both fruitful and problematic, between history and memory.  This means taking into account the entanglement of the most productive areas of Holocaust scholarship (Germany, France and the United States) as well as the relationship between the historiography of the Holocaust and other disciplines (memory studies, postcolonial studies, etc.).
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GERST 4413 : Walter Benjamin
Crosslisted as: ANTHR 4413, ANTHR 7413, COML 4429, GERST 6413, JWST 4913, JWST 7913, NES 4913, NES 7913 Semester offered: Spring 2018 Instructor:
This extraordinary figure died in 1941, and his death  is emblematic of the intellectual depradations of Nazism. Yet since World War II, his influence, his reputation, and his fascination for scholars in a wide range of cultural and political disciplines has steadily grown. He is seen as a bridging figure between German and Jewish studies, between materialist critique of culture and the submerged yet powerful voice of theology, between literary history and philosophy. We will review Benjamin's life and some of the key disputes over his heritage; read some of the best-known of his essays; and devote significant time to his enigmatic and enormously rich masterwork, the Arcades Project, concluding with consideration of the relevance of Benjamin's insights for cultural and political dilemmas today.
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GERST 4520 : Independent Study
Semester offered: Spring 2018 Instructor:
Undergraduate student and faculty advisor to determine course of study and credit hours.
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GERST 4530 : Honors Research
Semester offered: Spring 2018 Instructor:
The Reading Course is administered by the director of the honors thesis.  It carries 4 hours credit, and may be counted towards the work required for the German Major.  The reading concentrates on a pre-determined topic or area. Students meet with their honors advisor about every two weeks throughout the term.  Substantial reading assignments are given, and occasional short essays are written.
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GERST 4540 : Honors Thesis
Semester offered: Spring 2018 Instructor:
The thesis is to be written on a subject related to the work done in GERST 4530.  A suggested length for the thesis is 50-60 pages.
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GERST 6131 : German Philosophical Texts
Crosslisted as: PHIL 4003, PHIL 6030 Semester offered: Spring 2018 Instructor:
Reading, translation, and English-language discussion of important texts in the German philosophical tradition. Readings for a given term are chosen in consultation with students.
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GERST 6320 : Reading Academic German II
Semester offered: Spring 2018 Instructor:
Emphasis on development of the specialized vocabulary of student's field of study.
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GERST 6375 : The Holocaust and History Writing
Crosslisted as: FREN 4375, FREN 6375, GERST 4375, HIST 4237, HIST 6237, ROMS 4370, ROMS 6370 Semester offered: Spring 2018 Instructor:
In the last decades, "Holocaust Studies" witnessed an extraordinary expansion, covering different fields of scholarship, from history to literature, from philosophy to aesthetics.  This seminar will retrace the major steps of Holocaust history writing.  It will analyze the classical debates between "intentionalism" and "functionalism," the discrepancies between the analytical approaches focused on the perpetrators and those focused on the victims, the inscription of the Holocaust into the broader context of war violence, and its comparison with the genocidal violence of colonialism.  Finally, it will investigate some methodological problems concerning the place of testimony in history writing and the permanent connections, both fruitful and problematic, between history and memory.  This means taking into account the entanglement of the most productive areas of Holocaust scholarship (Germany, France and the United States) as well as the relationship between the historiography of the Holocaust and other disciplines (memory studies, postcolonial studies, etc.).
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GERST 6413 : Walter Benjamin
Crosslisted as: ANTHR 4413, ANTHR 7413, COML 4429, GERST 4413, JWST 4913, JWST 7913, NES 4913, NES 7913 Semester offered: Spring 2018 Instructor:
This extraordinary figure died in 1941, and his death is emblematic of the intellectual depradations of Nazism. Yet since World War II, his influence, his reputation, and his fascination for scholars in a wide range of cultural and political disciplines has steadily grown. He is seen as a bridging figure between German and Jewish studies, between materialist critique of culture and the submerged yet powerful voice of theology, between literary history and philosophy. We will review Benjamin's life and some of the key disputes over his heritage; read some of the best-known of his essays; and devote significant time to his enigmatic and enormously rich masterwork, the Arcades Project, concluding with consideration of the relevance of Benjamin's insights for cultural and political dilemmas today.
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GERST 6610 : Fictions of Law: Literature, Philosophy, and Culture in the Long 18th Century
Semester offered: Spring 2018 Instructor:
This course examines the profound cultural and social changes that took place during the Enlightenment and their aftermath as reflected in German literature and philosophy. The main focus will be on the decay of old European norms and the establishment of new normative frameworks in the wake of the intensified functional differentiation of society that marks the 18th century. During this period, rule following and deviance are foregrounded in literature, ethics, and legal theory. Questions concerning the legitimacy of political change and revolution lead to a new understanding of the law; the state and society; the conscience of the individual; and the role of education and the arts.
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GERST 6760 : Alexander Kluge, Narrative Writing and Social Time
Semester offered: Spring 2018 Instructor: Description
GERST 7000 : PIRIP Independent Study
Semester offered: Spring 2018 Instructor: Description
GERST 7540 : Independent Study
Semester offered: Spring 2018 Instructor:
Graduate student and faculty advisor to determine course of study and credit hours.
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GERST 7541 : Colloquium
Semester offered: Spring 2018 Instructor:
The course consists of a bi-weekly workshop series focusing on a range of interdisciplinary topics and sponsored by the Institute for German Cultural Studies (IGCS). Speakers include prominent scholars in the field of German Studies (understood in a wide, interdisciplinary sense) and advanced graduate students, who discuss their work-in-progress based on pre-circulated papers. Besides attending the workshops, course participants meet with the instructor for two additional sessions devoted to pursuing the ties between the topics and disciplinary fields showcased by the speakers and the students' own work. The course is thus intended both as a survey of disciplinary approaches in German and Humanities Studies and as a framework that allows graduate students to hone professional skills (presenter and panel respondent, newsletter contributor, etc).
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