Courses - Fall 2019

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: Leigh York (lky4)
Full details for GERST 1109 : FWS: From Fairy Tales to the Uncanny: Exploring the Romantic Consciousness
GERST 1121 FWS: Writing Berlin

Germany's capital is a city that constantly reinvents itself. This course will offer a glimpse into Berlin's rich history in the 20th and 21st centuries—from the rise of the metropolis during the Weimar Republic to the rubble after WWII to today's multifaceted, multicultural, forward-looking capital. We will explore points of view, images, and perceptions of Berlin and its people in the literary productions of writers such as Siegfried Kracauer, Alfred Döblin, Kurt Tucholsky, Wolfdietrich Schnurre, Monika Maron, Wladimir Kaminer, Emine Sevgi Özdamar, and Kathrin Röggla. We will discuss changing identities (nation, class, gender, and ethnicity, for example), consult works of literary critics and scholars, practice attentive reading and writing, and learn to construct evidence-based arguments of our own.

Academic Career: UG Instructor: Ekaterina Pirozhenko (ep399)
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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: Douglas McBride (dbm93)
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GERST 1175 Small Forms, Big Ideas

Small forms can contain big ideas. This course will put contemporary microformats, such as tweets, snaps, lists, and text messages, in dialogue with a much broader spectrum of small, short, and simple forms, from anecdotes, jokes, and aphorisms to fables, short stories, and feuilletons. With a focus on German literature and philosophy, we will read exemplary cases of small literary forms (e.g., Brecht, Dörrie, Kafka, Lichtenberg, Walser), along with short philosophical reflections on the economy of language, the effects of miniaturization, and the desire for simplicity (e.g., Adorno, Benjamin, Nietzsche, Polgar, Schlegel). Writing activities will provide related training in small academic forms like notes, glosses, abstracts, protocols, excerpts, and commentaries, which will become the crucial building blocks of academic work on larger scales.

Academic Career: UG Instructor: Erik Born (ecb234)
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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, poems, 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)
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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)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Grit Matthias Phelps (gm326)
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GERST 2020 Literary Contexts and Texts: 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)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Douglas McBride (dbm93)
Full details for GERST 2020 : Literary Contexts and Texts: 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)
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)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Anette Schwarz (as163)
Full details for GERST 2700 : Introduction to German Culture and Thought
GERST 3070 Challenge of Literary Language

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.

Distribution: (LA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Douglas McBride (dbm93)
Full details for GERST 3070 : Challenge of Literary Language
GERST 3290 Mean Streets: German Crime and Detective Fiction

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.

Distribution: (CA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Peter Gilgen (pg33)
Full details for GERST 3290 : Mean Streets: German Crime and Detective Fiction
GERST 3590 Kant

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.

Distribution: (KCM-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Derk Pereboom (dp346)
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GERST 3620 Introduction to Critical Theory

Shortly after the last election, The New Yorker published an article entitled "The Frankfurt School Knew Trump was Coming." This course examines what the Frankfurt School knew by introducing students to Critical Theory, beginning with its roots in the 19th century (i.e., Kant, Hegel, and Marx) 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 politics, society, culture, 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 social, political, and aesthetic theory: from analyses of authoritarianism and democracy to commentaries on the entertainment industry, high art, commodity fetishism, and mass society. This introduction to Critical Theory explores both the prescience of these diverse thinkers for today's world ("what they knew") as well as what they perhaps could not anticipate in the 21st century (e.g., developments in technology, economy, political orders), and thus how to critically address these changes today.

Distribution: (LA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Paul Fleming (pf239)
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GERST 4100 The Seminar

Topic: Bertolt Brecht, Then and Now

Distribution: (LA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Elke Siegel (es744)
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GERST 4211 Beyond the Limits of the Human: Explorations in German Literature

This course focuses on literature as a model and harbinger of posthumanism. The German tradition in particular is rich in literary texts that offer posthuman constellations and experiences avant la lettre. Other texts, which often show a significant German literary or philosophical influence, will also be included. In addition to analyzing specific historical contexts and developments that encouraged literary sorties beyond the limits of the human, we will closely examine literature as a privileged medium of such transgression.

Distribution: (LA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Peter Gilgen (pg33)
Full details for GERST 4211 : Beyond the Limits of the Human: Explorations in German Literature
GERST 4250 Marx, Nietzsche, Freud

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.

Distribution: (CA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Geoffrey Waite (gcw1)
Full details for GERST 4250 : Marx, Nietzsche, Freud
GERST 4471 Premodern/Postmodern

The premodern world played a crucial role in the formation of postmodern theory. 'Biblical exegesis', 'negative theology', 'inner experience', and other premodern concepts and practices were taken up by modern and postmodern authors including Ingeborg Bachmann, Georges Bataille, Italo Calvino, Michel de Certeau, Jacques Derrida, Martin Heidegger, Jean-François Lyotard, and Robert Musil. Each week we will read one modern or postmodern author in dialogue with one premodern author, such as Origen, Pseudo-Dionysius, Meister Eckhart, Angelus Silesius, Hildegard of Bingen, and Mechthild of Magdeburg, among many others. The aim of our comparisons will be to interrogate the legacy of what Bruce Holsinger calls the "premodern condition."

Distribution: (CA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Erik Born (ecb234)
Full details for GERST 4471 : Premodern/Postmodern
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.

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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 methodology and presents and discusses various practices for the foreign language classroom.  Special consideration is given to topics such as language acquisition phases, planning syllabi, creating tasks, designing classroom tests, and evaluating students' performance.  Participants conduct an action research project.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Gunhild Lischke (gl15)
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GERST 6131 German Philosophical Texts

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.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: M. Kosch (mak229)
Full details for GERST 6131 : German Philosophical Texts
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: Sophia Leonard (sl2898)
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GERST 6370 Nineteenth Century Fiction: The Realist Project

Examination of programmatic concepts of Poetic Realism in literature and theory. Special focus on the relationship between aesthetic theory and literary production (Hegel, Vischer, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche). Course will discuss the tension between the "prosaic" and "poetic" by investigating the status of topics such as "love," "adventure," and domesticity; suburban and garden spaces; the aesthetization of "work" and the "reality" of industrialization. Further attention will be paid to artistic developments that anticipate literary periods such as Naturalism, Expressionism and the Avant-garde. Questions of nationalism, science, and generic issues will be discussed in comparison to European developments of Realism. Seminar will also focus on contemporary re-elaborations of the Realist project: in relation to psychoanalysis, narrative theory, and current theories of memory, community, and spatial structures (architectonic or mnemonic). Authors include: Hegel, Vischer, Tieck, Keller, Droste-Hülshoff, Freytag, Fontane, Schmidt, Meyer, Raabe, Nietzsche, Freud, Stifter, Storm.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Anette Schwarz (as163)
Full details for GERST 6370 : Nineteenth Century Fiction: The Realist Project
GERST 6470 Post-War German Literature from 1945 to 1989

This seminar/anchor course will focus on German literature during the period of the cold war between 1949 and 1989, with some attention paid to both the immediate aftermath of World War II and the period following the fall of the Berlin Wall. The course will trace major themes, styles, and strategies of representation in German-speaking literature, East and West, in light of contemporaneous events of broad cultural and political significance.  Individual texts will be examined within their specific aesthetic, historical, and geopolitical contexts, and key critical debates will also be considered concerning such topics as narrative, dramatic, and fictional representations of the immediate past; writing, media, and social change; attempts by minority and majority voices to challenge the canon;  the reconstruction of a national cultural identity; gender, postmodernity, and postcolonialism.  Readings will be selected from authors such as W. Borchert, H. Böll, G. Grass, U. Johnson, I. Bachmann, W. Koeppen, A. Andersch, P. Celan, P. Handke, F. Dürrenmatt, W. Hildesheimer, H. Keilson, A. Schmidt, C. Wolf, P. Weiss, H. Müller, V. Braun, C. Hein, I. Morgner, J. Becker, H. Enzensberger, A. Kluge, P. Schneider, B. Strauss, A. Duden, M. Maron, E. Özdamar, Z. Senocak, and U. Widmer.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Leslie Adelson (laa10)
Full details for GERST 6470 : Post-War German Literature from 1945 to 1989
GERST 6471 Premodern/Postmodern

The premodern world played a crucial role in the formation of postmodern theory. 'Biblical exegesis', 'negative theology', 'inner experience', and other premodern concepts and practices were taken up by modern and postmodern authors including Ingeborg Bachmann, Georges Bataille, Italo Calvino, Michel de Certeau, Jacques Derrida, Martin Heidegger, Jean-François Lyotard, and Robert Musil. Each week we will read one modern or postmodern author in dialogue with one premodern author, such as Origen, Pseudo-Dionysius, Meister Eckhart, Angelus Silesius, Hildegard of Bingen, and Mechthild of Magdeburg, among many others. The aim of our comparisons will be to interrogate the legacy of what Bruce Holsinger calls the "premodern condition."

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Erik Born (ecb234)
Full details for GERST 6471 : Premodern/Postmodern
GERST 6481 Literature, Media, Form

This seminar investigates the productive relationship that ties literary criticism to media studies in the North-American and European humanities—for the latter we will especially focus on the German-language context. We will trace the exchange that in recent decades has drawn on literature as a heuristic point of reference for appraising the rhetorical performativity and ideological effects of communication in both analog and digital media. In so doing we will develop a cross-disciplinary framework for examining the evolving relation between literary practices, technological developments, and conceptions of media within significant historical junctures and by drawing on influential methodological paradigms. Topics include reading and writing as cultural techniques and as spatialized processing of text/image dynamics; literary practice, materiality, and embodiment; Critical Theory and the digital humanities.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Patrizia McBride (pcm29)
Full details for GERST 6481 : Literature, Media, Form
GERST 6600 Visual Ideology

Some of the most powerful approaches to visual practices have come from outside or from the peripheries of the institution of art history and criticism. This seminar will analyze the interactions between academically sanctioned disciplines (such as iconography and connoisseurship) and innovations coming from philosophy, psychoanalysis, historiography, sociology, literary theory, mass media criticism, feminism, and Marxism. We will try especially to develop: (1) a general theory of "visual ideology" (the gender, social, racial, and class determinations on the production, consumption, and appropriation of visual artifacts under modern and postmodern conditions); and (2) contemporary theoretical practices that articulate these determinations. Examples will be drawn from the history of oil painting, architecture, city planning, photography, film, and other mass media.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Geoffrey Waite (gcw1)
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GERST 6709 Thinking Sameness

Recent theory has tended to focused on difference. What if we looked at its complementary or supplementary others instead? This course will analyze a range of theoretical concepts that hinge on sameness in a range of different discourses and disciplines (literature, theory, economy, art, biology, computing etc.), such as mimesis, mimicry, equivalence, passing, fake, shanzhai, clone, twin, similarity, commensurability, simulacrum, copy, analog/y and more. Readings include texts by Foucault, Benjamin, Derrida, Deleuze, Didi-Huberman, Caillois, Baudrillard, Han, Irigaray, Butler and others.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Andrea Bachner (asb76)
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GERST 7000 PIRIP Independent Study
Academic Career: GR Instructor: Paul Fleming (pf239)
Full details for GERST 7000 : PIRIP Independent Study
GERST 7530 Independent Study

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

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GERST 7531 Colloquium

The course consists of a bi-weekly workshop series focusing on a range of interdisciplinary topics and sponsored by the Institute for German Cultural Studies (IGCS). Speakers include prominent scholars in the field of German Studies (understood in a wide, interdisciplinary sense) and advanced graduate students, who discuss their work-in-progress based on pre-circulated papers. Besides attending the workshops, course participants meet with the instructor for two additional sessions devoted to pursuing the ties between the topics and disciplinary fields showcased by the speakers and the students' own work. The course is thus intended both as a survey of disciplinary approaches in German and Humanities Studies and as a framework that allows graduate students to hone professional skills (presenter and panel respondent, newsletter contributor, etc).

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Patrizia McBride (pcm29)
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