Skip directly to main navigation | secondary navigation | main content

German Studies, Cornell University

Cornell University Department of German Studies Cornell Univeristy

Spring 2017

Graduate Courses - Spring 2017

GERST 6131 GERMAN PHILOSOPHICAL TEXTS (also PHIL 6030)
1-4 credits.  Prerequisite: Basic reading (not necessarily speaking) knowledge of German, and the permission of the instructor.  Open to upper-level undergraduates.
          TBA, A. Chignell
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 6210 WRITING THE SELF (also COML 6032)
4 credits.         
          T 2:30-4:25, E. Siegel
The "autobiographical" spans millennia and encompasses a vast array of seemingly dissimilar authors and modes of writing: Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations, Augustine’s and Rousseau’s Confessions, Montaigne’s Essays, Pepys’ diaries, Goethe’s Poetry and Truth, Freud’s letters to Fliess accompanying his self-analysis, the corpus of diaries from Amiel to Kafka and Woolf to Warhol or Susan Sontag and Roland Barthes. In this course, we will investigate the emergence of writing a self out of practices such as ascetic (in the Foucauldian sense) self-exploration and confession and the risks of introspection under conditions of secularization. We will explore theories of the autobiographical but also ask what kind of artistic practices and theoretical fields have emerged from genres like autobiography or diary (projects like cartographies in Perec or Ernaux; notions like aesthetics or ethics of everyday life). What stabilizing or destabilizing functions does writing the self serve? Is the ‚I’ merely framed by narrative conventions, space and time (Blanchot), or can it find ways to mediate self and world, individual and society in writing?

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

GERST 6586 SCHMITT, STRAUSS, ARENDT (also GOVT 6586)
4 credits. Instructor permission required.
          T 4:00-6:00, J. A. Frank
This is an advanced graduate seminar exploring the work of three important twentieth century political theorists: Carl Schmitt, Leo Strauss, and Hannah Arendt.  We will engage their work chronologically and contextually, examining how each responded, first, to the central political problems of their time, including the crisis of liberalism and parliamentary democracy, the rise of totalitarianism, statelessness, and moral and legal relativism; second, their responses to such central theoretical problems as the meaning of the political, political theology, and the distinctiveness of political theory as a form of political inquiry; and, third, their critical encounters, implicit and explicit, with each other’s work.  

GERST 6630 NIETZSCHE AND HEIDEGGER (also COML 6630)
4 credits.  The readings are provided in German (and French or Italian in some cases) and in English translations, when these exist.  Discussion and papers in English.  Students from all disciplines are welcome.
          W 2:30-4:25, G. Waite
This graduate seminar provides a basic introduction to the thinking of Nietzsche and Heidegger, and to the latter’s interpretation and appropriation of the former. A major concern is the articulation of philosophy and politics, particularly in the case of Heidegger.  We are also interested in the types of argumentation and styles of writing of both thinkers, including in light of the hypothesis that they were working in the ancient tradition of prudent exotericism, viz. that they never wrote exactly what they thought and that they intended their influence to come slightly beneath the level of conscious apprehension.  We also consider their impact on the long list of intellectuals across the ‘Left-Center-Right’ spectrum, including (depending on seminar-participant interest): Adorno, Agamben, Bataille, Badiou, Bourdieu, Butler, Derrida, Deleuze, Foucault, Gadamer, Irigaray, Klossowski, Löwith, Marcuse, Rorty, Leo Strauss, Vattimo, Zupancic. 

GERST 6866 GLOBAL AVANT-GARDES (also COML 6866, ROMS 6866)
4 credits.
          T 2:30 – 4:25, J. Monroe
Focusing on a range of theories and practices from the historical avant-gardes (futurism, surrealism, constructivism) and their political cognates (fascism, capitalism, communism) to the 21st century’s pervasively intermedial environments and digital economies, this seminar will explore the development of avant-garde formations in Europe and the Americas, the transnational flows, "creative disruptions," and increasingly "planetary" circulation of such formations, and the ways avant-gardes both are shaped by and respond to technological, economic, and political forces. Situating the aesthetic and political question of avant-gardes in relation to genre and media theory, philosophy of language, postcoloniality, and critical theory, we will place in conversation such figures as Agamben, Benjamin, Bolaño, Breton, Bürger, Butler, Cha, Derrida, Glissant, Goldsmith, Jameson, Kittler, Moretti, Nancy, NourbeSe Philip, Rancìere, Rankine, Spivak, and Zizek.


GERST 6910 VISION IN THEORY
(also ARTH 6910, COML 6142)
          4 credits. R 2:30-4:25, P. McBride
This course takes as its point of departure the foundational questions that have informed interdisciplinary inquiry into vision and visuality in recent decades: What is an image? How do images produce meaning? How has vision been defined historically and methodologically? How has visual culture been construed theoretically? Our goal will be to sketch the genealogical trajectories that comprise visual studies as a field of investigation by focusing on concerns that have shaped larger theoretical debates on the politics and ethics of representation, including mimesis, realism, perspective, the interplay of word and image, attention, spectacle, and surveillance. Readings will be drawn from influential works in visual theory, cultural semiotics and anthropology, media studies, and the science of vision. They may include texts by Alpers, Bal, Barthes, Crary, Elkins, Foucault, Haraway, Jay, Livingstone, Merleau-Ponty, Mitchell, Stafford, Panofski, Ranciere, and Virilio, among others.

GERST 7540: INDEPENDENT STUDY
1-4 credits each term.  Permission of instructor required.  Enrollment limited to graduate students.  
          Hours to be arranged.  Staff.
Graduate student and faculty advisor to determine course of study and credit hours.

GERST 7541: COLLOQUIUM
1-4 credits. 
          F 3:00-5:00, P. Fleming
Bi-weekly workshop series on a range of interdisciplinary topics sponsored by the Institute for German Cultural Studies that include invited speakers to present and discuss their work-in-progress from outside and from within the University.