Courses - Fall 2020

GERST 1109 FWS: From Fairy Tales to the Uncanny: Exploring the Romantic Consciousness

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.

Academic Career: UG Instructor: Ekaterina Pirozhenko (ep399)
Full details for GERST 1109 : FWS: From Fairy Tales to the Uncanny: Exploring the Romantic Consciousness
GERST 1121 FWS: Writing Berlin

Berlin is a city that reinvents itself by rewriting itself. In this writing seminar we'll study a variety of literary, visual, and sonic texts to create a virtual map of the city, from its emergence as modern metropolis in the 1920s, reduction to rubble in World War II, afterlife as refuge of the disaffected in the 1980s, and rebirth at the turn of the 21st century. As we make our way through the linguistic, visual and aural landscape of its ever-changing topography we'll create our own stories of a mythical Berlin in dialogue with texts written by the displaced persons who breached its real and imagined walls and navigated its illicit economies.

Academic Career: UG Instructor: Douglas McBride (dbm93)
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GERST 1170 FWS: Marx, Nietzsche, Freud

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?

Academic Career: UG Instructor: Geoffrey Waite (gcw1)
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GERST 1210 Exploring German Contexts I

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, and songs provide students with varied perspectives on German language, culture, and society.

Academic Career: UG Instructor: Gunhild Lischke (gl15)
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GERST 1220 Exploring German Contexts II

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.

Academic Career: UG Instructor: Grit Matthias Phelps (gm326)
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GERST 1230 Expanding the German Dossier

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.

Academic Career: UG Instructor: Grit Matthias Phelps (gm326)
Full details for GERST 1230 : Expanding the German Dossier
GERST 1776 Elementary Yiddish I

Provides an introduction to reading, writing, aural comprehension, speaking and grammar, as well as to some of the basic elements of Ashkenazi Jewish culture.

Academic Career: UG Instructor: David Forman (drf84)
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GERST 1880 Intermediate Yiddish
Academic Career: UG Instructor: David Forman (drf84)
Full details for GERST 1880 : Intermediate Yiddish
GERST 2000 Germany: Intercultural Context

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.

Distribution: (CA-AS, ALC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Grit Matthias Phelps (gm326)
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GERST 2020 Literary Texts and Contexts: The Myth of 1968

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.

Distribution: (LA-AS, ALC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Douglas McBride (dbm93)
Full details for GERST 2020 : Literary Texts and Contexts: The Myth of 1968
GERST 2040 Perspectives on German Culture

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.

Distribution: (CA-AS, ALC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Gunhild Lischke (gl15)
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GERST 2700 Introduction to German Culture and Thought

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.  

Distribution: (CA-AS, ALC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Anette Schwarz (as163)
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GERST 3075 Print Matters

"Print Culture from the Medieval to the Modern" employs texts and images in the Kroch Rare Books Library and Johnson Museum of Art as a prism to consider how advances in printing technology transformed life in Germany by making verbal and visual literacy possible for most members of society. Topics include Martin Luther and the Creation of a National Language, Albrecht Dürer and the Creation of Print Art, and Käthe Kollwitz and the Politics of Print Art. All discussion, reading, and writing in German.

Distribution: (LA-AS, ALC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Douglas McBride (dbm93)
Full details for GERST 3075 : Print Matters
GERST 3410 History Will Be Televised

When the American TV series "Holocaust" was broadcast in West Germany in 1979, more than 20 million people watched. Journalists and historians were baffled by the viewers' deeply emotional response, since no such reaction had followed previous attempts to confront Germans with the Shoah. Was a TV mini-series really the right way to address the Holocaust? Today, barely a day goes by without some fictional, docufictional, or documentary film/series covering the Holocaust, German unification, 1970s terrorism, etc. Are these examples of "histotainment" or "historical pornography"? Is history a commodity to identify with Holocaust-victims one day and with Germans who died during WWII the next? How do TV-narratives react to or influence collective memory? This course explores selected TV films/series and their ensuing debates, both contrasted with other approaches to 'televising history, e.g. Edgar Reitz' epic series "Heimat."  

Distribution: (CA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Elke Siegel (es744)
Full details for GERST 3410 : History Will Be Televised
GERST 3550 Political Theory and Cinema

An introduction (without prerequisites) to fundamental problems of current political theory, filmmaking, and film analysis, along with their interrelationship.  Particular emphasis on comparing and contrasting European and alternative cinema with Hollywood in terms of post-Marxist, psychoanalytic, postmodernist, and postcolonial types of interpretation.  Filmmakers/theorists might include: David Cronenberg, Michael Curtiz, Kathryn Bigelow, Gilles Deleuze, Rainer Fassbinder, John Ford, Jean-Luc Godard, Marleen Gorris, Werner Herzog, Alfred Hitchcock, Allen & Albert Hughes, Stanley Kubrick, Fredric Jameson, Chris Marker, Pier-Paolo Pasolini, Gillo Pontecorvo, Robert Ray, Martin Scorsese, Ridley Scott, Oliver Stone, George Romero, Steven Shaviro, Kidlat Tahimik, Maurizio Viano, Slavoj Zizek.  Although this is a lecture course, there will be ample time for class discussions.

Distribution: (CA-AS, ALC-AS, ETM-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Geoffrey Waite (gcw1)
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GERST 4100 The Seminar

Topic: German Film from Weimar to Present: As the quintessential medium of modernity, film has played a central role in shaping national identities and creating imagined communities. At the same time, it remains closely connected to notions of universal communication, multicultural representation, and movements in global cinema. Moving between the national and the transnational, this course will examine the development of German cinema from the Weimar Republic to the present. With an emphasis on historical, economic, and social contexts, we will discuss classic feature films including Caligari, Der blaue Engel, Angst essen Seele auf, Die bleierne Zeit, Lola rennt, Good Bye, Lenin!, and Gegen die Wand. Student research will delve further into German cinema's longstanding preoccupation with history and tradition, its provisional answers to questions of race, class, and gender, and its ongoing negotiation of local, regional, national, and global cultures.

Distribution: (LA-AS, ALC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Erik Born (ecb234)
Full details for GERST 4100 : The Seminar
GERST 4428 Reading Derrida and Others

We will read together a wide range of modern European texts-mostly but not exclusively by at least nominally Jewish authors, many of them working in the German intellectual tradition--accompanied by a range of works by Jacques Derrida that engage those thinkers and their texts. Authors will likely include Theodor w. Adorno, Saint Augustine, Walter Benjamin, Paul Celan, Helene Cixous, Hermann Cohen, Sigmund Freud, Edmond Jabes, Emannuel Levinas, Claude Levi-Strauss, Karl Marx, and Gershom Scholem. We will thus be better able to participate in the current re-evaluation of Derrida's legacy, including his Jewishness, and we will read him, among other things, as a proponent of dialogue, sometimes loving and sometimes fiercely agonistic.

Distribution: (CA-AS, ALC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Jonathan Boyarin (jab857)
Full details for GERST 4428 : Reading Derrida and Others
GERST 4510 Independent Study

Undergraduate student and faculty advisor to determine course of study and credit hours.

Academic Career: UG Full details for GERST 4510 : Independent Study
GERST 4530 Honors Research

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.

Academic Career: UG Instructor: Elke Siegel (es744)
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GERST 4540 Honors Thesis

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.

Academic Career: UG Full details for GERST 4540 : Honors Thesis
GERST 5070 Teaching German as a Foreign Language: Principles and Practices

Designed to familiarize students with current thought and theories in the field of applied linguistics and language pedagogy.  Introduces different models of foreign language approaches and discusses various practices for the foreign language classroom.  Special consideration is given to topics such as language acquisition progression, planning syllabi, creating tasks and projects, designing classroom tests, and evaluating students' performance.  Participants conduct an action research project.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Gunhild Lischke (gl15)
Full details for GERST 5070 : Teaching German as a Foreign Language: Principles and Practices
GERST 6310 Reading Academic German I

This course emphasizes the acquisition of reading skills in German, using a variety of prepared and authentic texts.  The follow-up course, GERST 6320 , Reading Academic German II, is offered in the spring.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Daniel Friedman (dbf68)
Full details for GERST 6310 : Reading Academic German I
GERST 6535 Literature and Psychoanalysis: Kindred Spirits

This course will examine the similarities and differences between literary and psychoanalytic approaches to works of fiction or criticism. Do these fields borrow techniques and methodologies from each other? Are they in competition? Do they suggest different practices of reading and writing? Do they both pursue therapeutic goals? Where and how do literature and psychoanalysis position the subject, the self, the individual? Does literature analyze? Authors will include: E.T.A. Hoffmann, Moritz, Goethe, Buechner, Kleist, Poe, Kafka, Goethe, Jung, Lipps, Freud, Lacan, Butler, Benjamin, Derrida, Felman, et al.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Anette Schwarz (as163)
Full details for GERST 6535 : Literature and Psychoanalysis: Kindred Spirits
GERST 6653 The World as Image: Projection Technology, Media, Representation

The seminar investigates the historical force exerted by projection technologies on the definition of the world as an image. It explores a spectrum of projection theories, histories of projective mechanisms, and artistic deployments of projected images. Readings will traverse a broad theoretical and disciplinary terrain from histories of cartography, cinema, and climate modelling to linear perspective and psychoanalysis. For longer description and instructor bio visit the Society for the Humanities website.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Jeffrey Kirkwood (jwk266)
Full details for GERST 6653 : The World as Image: Projection Technology, Media, Representation
GERST 7428 Reading Derrida and Others

We will read together a wide range of modern European texts-mostly but not exclusively by at least nominally Jewish authors, many of them working in the German intellectual tradition--accompanied by a range of works by Jacques Derrida that engage those thinkers and their texts. Authors will likely include Theodor w. Adorno, Saint Augustine, Walter Benjamin, Paul Celan, Helene Cixous, Hermann Cohen, Sigmund Freud, Edmond Jabes, Emannuel Levinas, Claude Levi-Strauss, Karl Marx, and Gershom Scholem. We will thus be better able to participate in the current re-evaluation of Derrida's legacy, including his Jewishness, and we will read him, among other things, as a proponent of dialogue, sometimes loving and sometimes fiercely agonistic.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Jonathan Boyarin (jab857)
Full details for GERST 7428 : Reading Derrida and Others
GERST 7530 Independent Study

Graduate student and faculty advisor to determine course of study and credit hours.

Academic Career: GR Full details for GERST 7530 : Independent Study