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German Studies, Cornell University

Cornell University Department of German Studies Cornell Univeristy

Spring 2015

Graduate Courses - Spring 2015

GERST 6050 CLASSICISM: GOETHE & SCHILLER
4 credits.  Anchor course. All readings in German.  Discussion in English and German.
T 2:30-4:25, P. Fleming
This seminar examines Goethe's and Schiller's literature and thought through the question: What is Classicism? How does it differ in style, principle, content and form from both what came before (e.g. Sturm & Drang) and after (e.g. Romanticism). The course will thus cover the entire Goethe-Age, with its fulcrum being the unique friendship and literary-critical output of Goethe and Schiller during a little more than a decade (1794-1806). Poetry, drama, and prose (literary and critical) of both authors will be the focus of attention. The seminar will conclude with a look at the aftermath of Classicism: both Romanticism and Goethe's own late, post-Classical style.

GERST 6100 MARX AND MARXISMS (also COML 6631, GOVT 6706, SPAN 6100)
4 credits.
W 2:30-4:25, G. Waite
The terms "Marx" and "Marxisms" have meant different things to different people, beginning with Marx himself and continuing in his legacy today.  As obviously, this legacy remains global (Europe, North and Latin America, India and Pakistan, Vietnam, Africa, Near East and Far East)—all still including imagined allies, neutrals, and foes.  This seminar is an approach to this otherwise bewildering complexity: we focus on two things: (1) a possible Marxist (or Communist or Anarchist) theory of all language and any semiotics; alongside (2) its equally possible inter-action with manuals of guerrilla warfare.

GERST 6131 GERMAN PHILOSOPHICAL TEXTS (also PHIL 6030/4003)
1-4 credits (variable).  Prerequisite: Basic reading (not necessarily speaking) knowledge of German, and permission of instructor.  Open to upper-level undergraduates.
TBA, M. Kosch
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.

GERST 6231 PERSPECTIVES IN INTELLECTUAL HISTORY: MODERNITY, CATALYSM & THE JEWS (1880-1930) (also HIST 4321/6231, JWST 4230/6230, ROMS 4230/6230)
4 credits.  Limited to 15 students.
T 2:30-4:25, E. Traverso
Between the end of the nineteenth century and the Second World War, the Jewish intellectual appears as a new figure of European societies, quickly becoming a major actor in public spheres.  During those years, the Jewish intellectual becomes a privileged object of investigations, definitions and fantasies--including anti-Semitic stereotypes--for literature and popular culture, sociology and medicine or law, deeply shaping national mentalities and imagination.  A considerable iconography, from painting to political propaganda and illustrated magazines, sketches his real or invented profile.  As an incarnation of urbanity, mobility, extraterritoriality, textuality and rational thought, the Jewish intellectual turns out to be a mirror of modernity, eliciting a strong conservative rejection.  Lasting from the Dreyfus Affair to the Nazi burning of books in 1933, and focusing on three national contexts--France, Germany and Italy--the course tries to explore the history of this collective representation through its multiple expressions, both textual and visual.

GERST 6241 TOPICS IN GERMAN PHILOSOPHY (also PHIL 6420)
4 credits.  Topic for Spring 2015: Kant's Critique of Pure Reason
 M 2:30-5:00, A. Chignell

GERST 6320 READING ACADEMIC GERMAN II
3  credits. Limited to graduate students.  Prerequisite:  GERST 6310 or equivalent.
MWF 9:05-9:55, S. Klemm
Emphasis on development of the specialized vocabulary of student's field of study.

GERST 6400 THE MODERN GERMAN NOVEL
R 2:30-4:24, A. Schwarz
All texts will be read in translation.  (German speakers are encouraged to read the original texts.)The goal of this seminar is to analyze selected works of modernist fiction in order to assess the stylistic qualities that constitute their specifically modernist character.  Concentrating on novels ranging from the late 19th to the early 20th century, we will pay close attention to questions of narrative structure as well as temporal and spatial arrangements.  Also including comparatist interests, the seminar will discuss the modern German novel within the European context; discuss generic differences (modern versus "classic"); examine theories of the novel and their relationship to contemporary representational concerns.  Specific points of interest are: the status of self-reflection; philosophical interruptions; irony; montage; subjectivity and literary self-projection; literature and urbanity.  In order to evaluate the "very" modern, the class will also discuss two examples of contemporary fiction.  Authors include: Rilke, Kafka, Döblin, Broch, Th. Mann, R. Walser, Nossack, Handke, Johnson, Bernhard, Goetz, Musil, Beckett.

GERST 6413 WALTER BENJAMIN (also ANTHR 4413/7413, NES/JWST 4913/7913)
4 credits.
T 12:20-2:15, J. Boyarin
This extraordinary figure died in 1941, and his death is emblematic of the intellectual depredations 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.

GERST 7540 INDEPENDENT STUDY
1-4 credits.  Prerequisite: permission of instructor.  Hours to be arranged.  Staff.


GERST 7541 COLLOQUIUM

1-4 credits.     
F 3:00-5:00, P. Fleming