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German Studies, Cornell University

Cornell University Department of German Studies Cornell Univeristy

Undergraduate Courses

Course Offerings Fall 2017

 

GERST 1109 FROM FAIRY TALES TO THE UNCANNY: EXPLORING THE ROMANTIC CONSCIOUSNESS 
          Seminar 101: TR 11:40-12:55, L. Adelson 
          Seminar 102: TR 8:40-9:55, B. Tam
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 1118 LET’S PLAY! 
         
MW 8:40-9:55, E. Pirozhenko
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.

GERST 1170 MARX, NIETZSCHE, FREUD
          Seminar 101: TR 10:10-11:25, D. McBride 
          Seminar 102: TR 8:40-9:55, S. Oosterom 
          Seminar 103: MW 2:55-4:10, D. Dunham 
          Seminar 104: MW 8:40-9:55, J. Davenport 
          Seminar 105: TR 1:25-2:40, J. Un
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?

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, Coordinator 
          Discussion 201: MWRF 10:10-11:00, TBA 
          Discussion 202: MWRF 11:15-12:05, G. Lischke 
          Discussion 203: MWRF 12:20-1:10, TBA 
          Discussion 204: MWRF 1:25-2:15, TBA
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: T 10:10-11:00, G. Matthias 
          Discussion 201: MWRF 10:10-11:00, 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 1210, 1220 and 1230 satisfies Option 2.  
          Seminar 101: MWRF 11:15-12:05, TBA 
          Seminar 102: MWRF 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, TBA 
          Seminar 102: MWF 11:15-12:05, G. Matthias
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 2020 LITERARY CONTEXTS AND TEXTS: THE MYTH OF 1968 (LA-AS)
3 credits.  Prerequisite: GERST 2000, or equivalent or placement by examination.  Taught in German. Can be used in partial fulfillment of the humanities distribution requirement.  Satisfies Option 1. Students must take one of the following courses as a prerequisite for Study Abroad in a German-speaking country: GERST 2020, GERST 2040, or GERST 2060. 
          MWF 12:20-1:10, D. McBride
1968 marked a turning point in German history. Protesting students upended the social, cultural, and political order with a utopian vision of revolution that ended in a decade-long wave of domestic terrorist violence. This intermediate language course examines four primary texts in four different media (historical fiction, avant-garde film, popular music, multimedia art) that treat the myth of 1968. As we study these texts in historical context, we will expand our oral and written command of idiomatic German through systematic grammar review and enriched vocabulary practice.

GERST 2040 PERSPECTIVES ON GERMAN CULTURE (CA-AS)
3 credits.  Prerequisite: GERST 2000, or placement by examination (placement score and CASE).  Satisfies Option 1. Students must take one of the following courses as a prerequisite for Study Abroad in a German-speaking country: GERST 2020, GERST 2040, or GERST 2060.  
          MWF 1:25-2:15, Staff
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 2700 INTRODUCTION TO GERMAN CULTURE AND THOUGHT (CA-AS) (HB)
4 credits.  Enrollment limited to 18 1st-semester-freshmen. Readings and discussions in English. Students must apply in writing to chair/instructor; Department of German Studies; 183 Goldwin Smith Hall. Upon availability, students of other levels will be welcome to apply.   
          TR 10:10-11:25, A. Schwarz
Big names, Big ideas, and Big events are associated with German culture and thought: Luther, Faust, Marx, Nietzsche, Freud, Mozart, Beethoven, Kant, Hegel, Goethe, Einstein, Kafka and Thomas Mann; Enlightenment; World Wars and Reunification; European Union, and Migration and Refugees:  In this course, we shall cover the broad spectrum of both the long tradition of German culture and thought, and examine the wide range of political, literary, sociological, and artistic topics, themes, and questions that are of urgent contemporary concern for Germany, Europe, and beyond. Guest lecturers will introduce you to the wide and exciting field of German Studies. Topics include: the age of enlightenment; literatures of migration and minorities; avant-garde art; philosophy, aesthetics, and critical theory; Weimar and War; Holocaust and its Aftermath; film and media; genres of literature: novel, novella, short story, lyric poetry, anecdote, autobiography; literature and politics; literature and the environment; digital humanities and literatures/fictions of cyber space. In addition, this course will introduce you to the techniques of critical analysis and writing. Authors include among many others: Goethe, Kant, Hegel, Nietzsche, Adorno, Freud, Kafka, Kluge, Marx, Thomas Mann, Rilke, Goetz.  

GERST 3070 CHALLENGE OF LITERARY LANGUAGE (LA-AS)
4 credits.  Prerequisite:  GERST 2040, 2060 or equivalent.   This course may be counted towards the requirement for 3000-3209-level language in the major.  Taught in German.  Satisfies Option 1. 
          MWF 10:10-11:00, D. McBride
Why do literary texts insist on bending (and even breaking) the rules that govern everyday language? Could we improve our mastery of colloquial German by accepting literature’s challenge and investigating how it manipulates language in unconventional ways?  We’ll take an inductive approach to answering these questions by engaging in close and sustained textual analysis of poetry, prose, and plays that fascinate as well as frustrate.  The course is designed to help you transition to advanced study in German, so we will also learn the terminology of poetics, rhetoric, and genre as we practice creating the oral and written texts (Referate und Seminararbeiten) that form the core of any seminar in Germanistik.

GERST 3290 MEAN STREETS: GERMAN CRIME AND DETECTIVE FICTION (CA-AS)
4 credits. Taught in German.  Any course at the 3000-3209-level in German or permission of instructor.  Satisfies Option 1. 
          TR 11:40-12:55, P. Gilgen
This class surveys the history and contemporary developments of crime and detective fiction in German. In addition, we may read a number of theoretical reflections on the figure of the detective, the history of police detection, and the literary crime and detective genre(s). The historical development of, and theoretical reflections on, the crime genre in the Anglo-Saxon world will serve as points of comparison. We may also discuss relevant movies and radio plays, investigate their relation to "literature," and analyze the specificity of each medium as well as its representational affinity with crime and detection. The readings will for the most part be in German and may include such authors as Gilbert Adair, Richard Alewyn, Friedrich Ani, Jakob Arjouni, Bertolt Brecht, Ernst Bloch, Jorge Luis Borges, Kurt Bracharz, Raymond Chandler, Wilkie Collins, Arthur Conan Doyle, Friedrich Dürrenmatt, Friedrich Glauser, Wolf Haas, Peter Handke, Helmut Heißenbüttel, Paulus Hochgatterer, Philip Kerr, Georg Klein, Alfred Komarek, Siegfried Kracauer, Ross MacDonald, August Gottlieb Meißner, Astrid Paprotta, Edgar Allan Poe, Thomas De Quincey, Ulrich Ritzel, Ferdinand von Schirach, Friedrich Schiller, Hansjörg Schneider, Martin Suter, Jan Costin Wagner.

GERST 3515 CINEMA OF THE WEIMAR REPUBLIC (LA-AS) (also PMA 3514, VISST 3515)
4 credits.  Taught in English. 
          TR 1:25-2:40, E. Born 
          Film Screening TBA
This course introduces the cinema of the Weimar Republic (1918-33), a golden age of German cinema comparable to the classical Hollywood era. During this period, the German film industry developed a variety of influential aesthetics, from the Expressionism of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari to the New Objectivity of Berlin – Symphony of a Metropolis. Situating the classic films, directors, and stars of the Weimar era within the cultural upheavals of the period, we will discuss the aftereffects of WWI; representations of class and gender; discourses of 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.

GERST 3590 KANT (also PHIL 3230) (HB) (KCM-AS)
4 credits.  Taught in English. 
          MWF 11:15-12:05, D. Pereboom
An intensive study of the metaphysical and epistemological doctrines of the Critique of Pure Reason. Some editions of the course may also consider Kant’s ethical views as laid out in the Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals and related works.

GERST 4100 THE SEMINAR: TEXTS AND MOVEMENTS (CA-AS)
4 credits.  Taught in German.  Satisfies Option 1.  Prerequisite:  Any German course at the 3200-3499-level or equivalent. The Seminar is a requirement of the German Studies major, but is open to all students who have met the prerequisites. The course has a research component and is taught each fall by a faculty member in the Department of German Studies on a topic of their expertise. 
          TR 10:10-11:25, E. Siegel
This seminar explores 1) how texts try to move; how they attempt to create or shape (artistic, political) movements, 2) how texts attempt to capture political movements. We will study flyers and leaflets (the first mass medium in the 15th century), manifestos, and theses from Luther via Marx and Engels and the First Women’s Movement, to the New Social Movements of the 1960s and 1970s, and the end of the GDR. What rhetorical means are employed to provoke, and inflame? Is there an art of the manifesto? What programs and positions are proposed (and were these realized in the course of history)? How do these ‘small forms’ displace the difference between "text" and "context" which implies a clear dividing line between writing and history?

GERST 4210 EXISTENTIALISM OR MARXISM (also COML 4251, GOVT 4015, ROMS 4210) (CA-AS)
4 credits.  
          TR 2:55-4:10, G. Waite
The most intense public encounter between Existentialism and Marxism occurred in immediate post-WWII Europe, its structure remaining alive internationally. Existentialist questions have been traced from pre-Socratic thinkers through Dante, Shakespeare, and Cervantes onward; just as roots of modern materialism extend to Epicurus and Lucretius, or Leopardi. This course will focus on differing theories and concomitant practices concerned with "alienation," "anxiety," "crisis," "death of God," "nihilism," "rebellion or revolution." Crucial are possible relations between fiction and non-fiction; also among philosophy, theology, psychoanalysis, and political theory. Other authors may include: Althusser, de Beauvoir, Beckett, Büchner, Camus, Che, Dostoevsky, Fanon, Genet, Gide, Gramsci, O. Gross, Hamsun, Heidegger, Husserl, Jaspers, C.L.R. James, Kafka, Kierkegaard, Lagerkvist, Lacan, Lenin, Marx, Merleau-Ponty, Mishima, G. Novack, Nietzsche, Ortega, Pirandello, W. Reich, Sartre, Shestov, Tillich, Unamuno. There is also cinema.

GERST 4220 TECHNOLOGIES OF VERSE (LA-AS) (also COML 4413, ROMS 4225, VISST 4221)
4 credits.  Taught in English. 
          MW 2:55-4:10, T. Solanki
Poems disrupt the flow of reading. In so doing, rather than rendering them transparent, they call attention to their media – often the page or voice. This course will examine the experimental writing techniques of a set of German, French, and English poets from the 18th -20st centuries as they explored the potentialities of the media technologies that were innovative in their time, including books, radios, magazines, pre-cinematic devices. What kinds of reading techniques did these new poetic forms initiate? What were the political implications of the readability or audibility of the formats, materials, and technologies mediating verse vis a vis the publics they include and exclude? Poets include Friedrich Schlegel, Novalis, Stéphane Mallarmé, Charles Baudelaire, Ingeborg Bachmann, and the Dada and Oulipo movements.

GERST 4355/6355 SIEGFRIED KRACAUER: IMAGES AND HISTORY (also ROMS 4350/6350)
4 credits. 
          M 2:30-4:25, E. Traverso
As an outstanding figure of critical theory in the twentieth century, Siegfried Kracauer left an astonishingly rich work spanning from literature to the sociology of mass culture, from film criticism to the philosophy of history.  The common thread that runs through his prismatic works is the conception of image as a key for penetrating an interpreting life, society and history.  This seminar will reconstitute and analyze his intellectual trajectory from the Weimar Republic to his exile in New York, reading several fundamental texts, from his early essays on photography and dance to his more known theoretical works (From Caligari to Hitler, Theory of Film, and History: The Last things Before the Last.)  It also will inscribe Kracauer into a historical context and an intellectual constellation shaped by his correspondence and friendship with other illustrious Jewish-German exiles, from Theodor W. Adorno to Walter Benjamin, from Ernst Bloch to Erwin Panofsky.

GERST 4510 INDEPENDENT STUDY (CU-UGR)
1-4 credits each term.  Permission of instructor required.  To apply for independent study, please complete the on-line form at https://data.arts.cornell.edu/as-stus/indep_study_intro.cfm.   
          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 department 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 department 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 Offered in Dutch

DUTCH 2030 INTERMEDIATE 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.  Taught in Dutch.  
          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
3 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. Taught in Dutch. 
          MW 11:40-12:55, 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.