Courses by semester

Courses for Fall 2022

Complete Cornell University course descriptions are in the Courses of Study .

Course ID Title Offered
GERST1109 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.

Full details for GERST 1109 - FWS: From Fairy Tales to the Uncanny: Exploring the Romantic Consciousness

Fall, Spring.
GERST1121 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.

Full details for GERST 1121 - FWS: Writing Berlin

Fall, Spring.
GERST1123 FWS: Romanticism on Film: International Horror Cinema This course introduces students to the legacy of Romantic thought in the context of international horror cinema. Students will gain skills in formal film analysis and cultural criticism by watching movies such as Get Out, Midsommar, and A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night. Assignments will cover genres such as personal essay, textual and film analysis, and op-ed column writing.

Full details for GERST 1123 - FWS: Romanticism on Film: International Horror Cinema

Fall, Spring.
GERST1170 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?

Full details for GERST 1170 - FWS: Marx, Nietzsche, Freud

Fall, Spring.
GERST1210 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.

Full details for GERST 1210 - Exploring German Contexts I

Fall, Spring.
GERST1220 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.

Full details for GERST 1220 - Exploring German Contexts II

Fall, Spring.
GERST1230 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.

Full details for GERST 1230 - Expanding the German Dossier

Fall, Spring.
GERST1880 Intermediate Yiddish Students will continue to build their skills in listening, reading, writing and speaking in Yiddish. In addition to textbook material, the course will include Yiddish literature and other cultural products. Understanding of Ashkenazi Jewish culture will be deepened through discussion of the language and literature.

Full details for GERST 1880 - Intermediate Yiddish

GERST2000 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.

Full details for GERST 2000 - Germany: Intercultural Context

Fall, Spring.
GERST2040 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.

Full details for GERST 2040 - Perspectives on German Culture

Fall, Spring.
GERST2700 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.  

Full details for GERST 2700 - Introduction to German Culture and Thought

GERST3075 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.

Full details for GERST 3075 - Print Matters

GERST3290 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 anglophone 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.

Full details for GERST 3290 - Mean Streets: German Crime and Detective Fiction

GERST3580 Nineteenth Century Philosophy Survey of nineteenth century philosophy.

Full details for GERST 3580 - Nineteenth Century Philosophy

GERST4100 The Seminar Fall 2022 Topic: Humor in German Culture. What is German Humor? Can we ascribe specific qualities to German wit? This seminar will examine forms of humor in various genres such as literature, TV shows, cartoons, podcasts, theatrical performances, stand up comedies, and satires. Topics to be discussed: humor as political critique; humor as a transgressive or/and liberating medium; humor as an expression of religious, sexual and political freedom. Final seminar project: students will create cartoons, satires, and/or posters/podcasts, videos.

Full details for GERST 4100 - The Seminar

GERST4250 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.

Full details for GERST 4250 - Marx, Nietzsche, Freud

GERST4510 Independent Study Undergraduate student and faculty advisor to determine course of study and credit hours.

Full details for GERST 4510 - Independent Study

GERST4530 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.

Full details for GERST 4530 - Honors Research

Multi-semester course: (Fall, Spring).
GERST4540 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.

Full details for GERST 4540 - Honors Thesis

Fall, Spring.
GERST5070 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.

Full details for GERST 5070 - Teaching German as a Foreign Language: Principles and Practices

GERST6090 Poetologies and Dramaturgies After 1945 Novelists, poets, and dramatists have reflected on the act of writing and poetic practice for centuries. Since the 1950s, though, public reflections on literary work have become essential to the performance of authorship in new ways. Often at award ceremonies or on a constantly growing circuit of university lectures, German-speaking authors (have to) theorize practice. This seminar will explore contemporary literature through the lens of various emerging poetologies and dramaturgies, focusing on topics like: authorship after the 'death of the author,' art and society, subjectivity and realism, individual and collective, language and representation, fact and fictionality. Authors include Ingeborg Bachmann, Gottfried Benn, Paul Celan, Ann Cotton, Dietmar Dath, Hubert Fichte, Rainald Goetz, Ernst Jandl, Elfriede Jelinek, Alexander Kluge, Friederike Mayröcker, Thomas Meinecke, Ulrich Peltzer, Monika Rinck, Kathrin Röggla, Yoko Tawada, Feridun Zaimoglu.

Full details for GERST 6090 - Poetologies and Dramaturgies After 1945

GERST6131 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.

Full details for GERST 6131 - German Philosophical Texts

Fall, Spring.
GERST6310 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.

Full details for GERST 6310 - Reading Academic German I

GERST6630 Nietzsche and Heidegger 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.

Full details for GERST 6630 - Nietzsche and Heidegger

GERST6730 Prophetic Realisms: Literature and the Shape of Things to Come, 1830-1930-2030 "Prophetic Realisms" explores the notion that certain literary texts – those that are deeply embedded in the socio-economic totality of the world they build – not only provide insight into the present world, but also anticipate the shape of things to come: the tendencies and trajectories of coming historical formations. The latent is already manifest so that, strangely, one of the proving grounds of literature is history. This idea is very pronounced in Georg Lukacs' 1930s writing on Realism, but also shared by his antagonists in the 'Expressionist Debates,' such as Ernst Bloch: the one point they agree on is literature's ability to 'anticipate' historical developments. This idea is expressed, in a different way, by Erich Auerbach's 1937 essay "On the Serious Imitation of the Everyday" and 1938 essay "figura". In this course we will look at these 1930s writings, constellating them with the 1830s texts that harken back to as anticipating the direction of capitalism (Balzac, but also Stendahl), alongside the early 1900s novels anticipating the rise of fascism (Heinrich Mann, but also Fallada), and finally juxtaposing them with science fiction since the 1960s, including theoretical reflections on them with respect to 'prediction', such as Philip K Dick, Octavia Butler, and Margaret Atwood. We are interested in moments when historical time seems to become 'concentrated,' hence the axes of 1830/1930/2030.

Full details for GERST 6730 - Prophetic Realisms: Literature and the Shape of Things to Come, 1830-1930-2030

GERST7530 Independent Study Graduate student and faculty advisor to determine course of study and credit hours.

Full details for GERST 7530 - Independent Study

GERST7531 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).

Full details for GERST 7531 - Colloquium