Skip directly to main navigation | secondary navigation | main content

German Studies, Cornell University

Cornell University Department of German Studies Cornell Univeristy

Fall 2015

Course Offerings Fall 2015


First-Year Writing Seminars

3 credits.  No knowledge of German is expected.

GERST 1109 FROM FAIRY TALES TO THE UNCANNY: EXPLORING THE ROMANTIC CONSCIOUSNESS     
        Seminar 101, MWF 9:05-9:55, S. Noellgen
        Seminar 102, TR 8:40-9:55, E. Pirozhenko
        Seminar 103, TR 10:10-11:25, R. Grabowski
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.

GERST 1112 MUSIC AND LETTERS
        TR 2:55-4:10, K. Molde
Homer's epics make no mention of music, because to the earliest European poets it was an integral and therefore not distinct part of their performance. Although since then considered separate arts, music and letters have enjoyed an exceptionally close relationship in German culture. Modern literature attempts to make sense of music and uses music to approach the senseless. This course addresses 1) music as poetic device and 2) music as theme in German literature since 1800. Exploring these issues, we will work on developing arguments in critical writing. Readings may include Hölderlin, Hoffmann, Kleist, Nietzsche, Rilke, Mann, Bernhard, and Jelinek. We will also familiarize ourselves with the tradition of the art song (Lied) and watch at least one opera by Mozart and/or Wagner.

GERST 1170 MARX, NIETZSCHE, FREUD    
        Seminar 101, MWF 1:25-2:15, P. Dobryden
        Seminar 102, TR 11:40-12:55, J. Gindner
        Seminar 104, MWF 10:10-11:00, J. Davenport
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?


 

Courses Taught in German

GERST 1210 EXPLORING GERMAN CONTEXTS I 
4 credits.  Intended for students with no prior experience in German or with LPG score below 37 or SAT II score below 370.  Must enroll in one Lecture and one Discussion.  
        Lectures: T 11:15-12:05 or 12:20-1:10, G. Lischke
        Discussion 201, MWRF 10:10-11:00, M. Müller
        Discussion 202, MWRF 11:15-12:05, G. Lischke
        Discussion 203, MWRF 12:20-1:10, A. Sommer       
        Discussion 204, MWRF 1:15-2:15, A. Horakova
Students develop basic abilities in listening, reading, writing and speaking German in meaningful contexts through interaction in small group activities. Course material including videos, short articles, poems, and songs provides students with varied perspectives on German language, culture and society.        

GERST 1220 EXPLORING GERMAN CONTEXTS II
4 credits.  Prerequisite: GERST 1210, or LPG score of 37-44, or SAT II score of 370-450.  Must enroll in one Lecture and one Discussion
        Lecture: R 1:25-2:15, G. Matthias, Coordinator
        Discussion 201, MTWF 1:25-2:15, G. Matthias
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.

GERST 1230 EXPANDING THE GERMAN DOSSIER
4 credits.  Limited to students who have previously studied German and have an LPG score of 45-55 or an SAT II score of 460-580.  Successful completion of GERST 121, 1220 and 1239 satisfies Option 2.    
        Seminar 101, MTWF 11:15-12:05, E. Winarto
        Seminar 102, MTWF 12:20-1:10, G. Matthias
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.

GERST 2000 GERMANY: INTERCULTURAL CONTEXT (CA-AS) 
3 credits.  Prerequisite: GERST 1230, or LPG score of 56-64, or SAT II score of 590-680 or placement by examination.  Satisfies Option 1.  A content-based language course on the intermediate level.       
        Seminar 101, MWF 10:10-11:00, G. Matthias
        Seminar 102, MWF 11:15-12:05, A. Brown
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.

GERST 2040 PERSPECTIVES ON GERMAN CULTURE (CA-AS)
3 credits.  Prerequisite: GERST 2000, or placement by examination (placement score and CASE).  Satisfies Option 1 and is the prerequisite for Study Abroad in a German-speaking country.
         Seminar 101, MWF 12:20-1:10, M. Calla
         Seminar 102, MWF 1:25-2:15, S. Noellgen
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. 

GERST 3011 GREEN THOUGHT IN GERMAN CULTURE (CA-AS)
4 credits.  Satisfies Option 1.  Prerequisite:  GERST 2020, 2040 or 2060 or equivalent or placement exam.  This course may be counted towards the requirement for 3000-level language work in the major.  Taught in German.
         MWF 11:15-12:05, S. Noellgen
The German-speaking culture has long reflected a "green" tradition in the arts, in literature, and in scientific discoveries that have made Germany, Austria, and Switzerland leaders in the development of alternative environmental technologies. In this course we will discuss concepts of nature and the environment in a variety of genres: fairy tales, prose, poetry, landscape painting, contemporary graphic novels, and film. We will start with fairy tales and texts from the Romantic Period, and then continue with exploring the changing perspective on nature triggered by the onset of industrialization during the 19th Century, including the "back to nature" movements that responded to industrialization, such as the Wandervogel movement, the Utopian community at Monte Verità, and the popularization of naturopathy. Next we will discuss nature symbolism in Nazi ideology, and then move on to the significant environmental changes during the second half of the 20th Century, more recently termed "The Great Transformation." Here, topics will include the steep rise in environmental consciousness during the 70s and 80s, the success and tremendous political effect of Germany's Green Party, the nuclear catastrophes of Tschernobyl and Fukushima, and contemporary issues of food production and waste management. Assignments will include a diary, short response papers, a final paper, and an oral project presentation.

GERST 3015 CINEMA OF THE WEIMAR REPUBLIC (LA-AS)
4 credits.  Satisfies Option 1.  Prerequisite:  GERST 2020, 2040 or 2060 or equivalent or placement exam.  This course may be counted towards the requirement for 3000-level language work in the major.  Taught in German.         
         MWF 10:10-11:00, P. Dobryden
         Film Screening, M 7:00pm
This course will familiarize students with the formally adventurous and globally influential cinema of the Weimar Republic. We will examine key films from a range of genres (including horror, comedy, science fiction, crime, and melodrama) by directors such as Fritz Lang, F. W. Murnau, Ernst Lubitsch, and G. W. Pabst. Situating the films within the cultural upheavals of the period from 1918 to 1933, we will discuss the aftereffects of WWI; representations of class and gender; discourses on nature and technology; relationships between aesthetics, spectatorship, and politics; and processes of industrialization, urbanization, and globalization. Students without experience in film studies are welcome—the course will also double as an introduction to discussing and analyzing film in German.

GERST 4100 SENIOR SEMINAR: INGEBORG BACHMANN: PHILOSOPHY, POETRY, PROSE (LA-AS)
4 credits.  Taught in German. Satisfies Option 1.  Prerequisite: Any German course at the 3000-level or equivalent or permission of instructor.
         TR 10:10-11:25am, P. Gilgen
The course is intended as a research seminar examining the entirety of Ingeborg Bachmann's writings (we will read all the prose, some of her philosophical work, most of her short fiction and at least one of the novels/novel fragments contained in the Todesarten project). Bachmann was one of the foremost figures in post-WW II German letters; she made her name as a lyric poet, but later all but abandoned the genre to begin a monumental prose project that was never finished in its intended form but has been much discussed especially among feminist scholars and theorists. We will also spend some time exploring the philosophical beginnings of Bachmann's career (her dissertation on Heidegger and her writings on Wittgenstein).


 

Courses Taught in English

GERST 3561 PSYCHOANALYSIS, THE UNCONSCIOUS, AND MENTAL LIFE  (also COML 3781, FGSS 3651, FREN 3560, STS 3651)  (KCM-AS)
4 credits.
        MWF 10:10-11:00, T. McNulty
Psychoanalysis considers the human being not as an object of treatment, but as a subject who is called upon to elaborate an unconscious knowledge about what is disrupting her life, through analysis of dreams, symptoms, bungled actions, slips of the tongue, and repetitive behaviors. Freud finds that these apparently irrational acts and behaviors are ordered by the logic of the fantasy, which provides a mental representation of a traumatic childhood experience and the effects it unleashes in the mind and body—effects he called drives. As "unbound" energies, the drives give rise to symptoms, repetitive acts, and fantasmatic stagings that menace our health and sometimes threaten social coexistence, but that also give rise to the desires, creative acts, and social projects we identify as the essence of human life. Readings will include fundamental texts on the unconscious, repression, fantasy, and the death drive, as well as case studies and speculative essays on mythology, art, religion, and group psychology. Students will be asked to keep a dream journal and to work on their unconscious formations, and will have the chance to produce creative projects as well as analytic essays.

GERST 3620 INTRODUCTION TO CRITICAL THEORY
(also COML 3541, ENGL 3920, GOVT 3636) (LA-AS)
4 credits.        
        TR 11:40-12:55, P. Fleming
This course introduces 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 society 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 political and aesthetic theory. Often known simply as "Critical Theory," their key works cover a vast array of intellectual, political, economic, and artistic concerns, from the dialectic of enlightenment to commentaries on popular culture, high art, commodity fetishism, and mass society. This introduction to the programmatic statements and eclectic reflections of various scholars will highlight the diverse historical influences, collaborative efforts, and internecine debates that shaped the intellectual tradition across continents and generations.

GERST 4150 MARX, FREUD, NIETZSCHE (also COML 4250, GOVT 4735) (CA-AS)
4 credits.  This is a lecture course but there will be plenty of time for discussion. 
        MW 2:55-4:10pm, G. Waite
        Film Screening, M 6:30pm
This is an introduction to the three 'master thinkers' who have helped determine the discourses of modernity and post-modernity. We consider basic aspects of their work: (a) specific critical and historical analyses; (b) theoretical and methodological writings; (c) programs and manifestos; and (d) styles of argumentation, documentation, and persuasion. This also entails an introduction, for non-specialists, to essential problems of political economy, continental philosophy, psychology, and literary and cultural criticism. Second, we compare the underlying assumptions and the interpretive yields of the various disciplines and practices founded by Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud: historical materialism and communism, existentialism and power-knowledge analysis, and psychoanalysis, respectively. We also consider how these three writers have been fused into a single constellation, 'Marx-Nietzsche-Freud,' and how they have been interpreted by others, including L. Althusser, A. Badiou, A. Camus, H. Cixous, G. Deleuze, J. Derrida, M. Foucault, H.-G. Gadamer, M. Heidegger, L. Irigaray, K. Karatani, J. Lacan, P. Ricoeur, L. Strauss, S. Zizek.

GERST 4510 INDEPENDENT STUDY (CU-UGR)
1-4 credits each term.  Permission of instructor required.
        Hours to be arranged.  Staff.
Undergraduate student and faculty advisor to determine course of study and credit hours.

GERST 4530 HONORS RESEARCH (CU-UGR)
4 credits.  Permission of instructor required.
        Hours to be arranged.  Staff.
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.

GERST 4540 HONORS THESIS (CU-UGR)
4 credits.  Prerequisite: GERST 4530.  Permission of instructor required.
        Hours to be arranged.  Staff.
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.



Courses Taught in Dutch

DUTCH 2030 INTERMEDIATE DUTCH I
4 credits.  Satisfies Option 1.  Prerequisite: DUTCH 1220 or equivalent.Department consent required for enrollment.This course is part of the Shared Course Initiative and will be taught from Columbia University using videoconferencing technology.
          MW 4:10-6:00pm, W. de Groot

In this course, the increased use of authentic texts will help you to expand your knowledge of Dutch culture and increase proficiency in the language. Discussions, compositions, reading articles, watching Dutch television and contact with native speakers will result in improved control of Dutch grammatical structures and vocabulary.After completing this course, you will have a solid basis to understand both spoken and written Dutch and will be well on your way to become fluent in the language.

DUTCH 3020 ADVANCED DUTCH I

4 credits. Satisfies Option 1. Permission of department required.  This course is part of the Shared Course Initiative and will be taught from Columbia University using videoconferencing technology.
          T 1:10-3:40, W. de Groot
This advanced course is centered around different aspects of Amsterdam. Each class focuses on a specific topic, such as Amsterdam as a cultural center and the country's capital, modes of transportation, architecture, immigration issues and history of Amsterdam. Students will read texts at home and discuss them in class; regularly read Amsterdam's newspaper Het Parool; watch short TV clips. At the end of each class, we will watch an episode of a popular Dutch TV show which has Amsterdam as its center; students will write a blog about each episode and design a wiki about Amsterdam. Attention will be paid to advanced grammar issues and vocabulary.