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Fall 2020 Class Schedule


Fall 2020 class Schedule

Course Title Instructor Time Topic
101-1-22 Beginning German Paluch MTWF 9:10AM-10:00AM
101-1-23 Beginning German Paluch MTWF 10:20AM-11:10AM
101-1-21 Beginning German Melovska

MTWF 11:30AM-12:20PM

101-1-25 Beginning German Meuser

MTWF 12:40PM-1:30PM

101-1-20 Beginning German   Meuser

MTWF 3:00PM- 3:50PM

102-1-20 Intermediate German Kerlova  MTWF 9:10AM-10:00AM
102-1-21 Intermediate German Kerlova  MTWF 10:20AM-11:10AM
102-1-22 Intermediate German Zeller MTWF 3:00PM- 3:50PM
102-1-23 Intermediate German Ryder MTWF 11:30AM-12:20PM
104-6-20 First Year Seminar Ryder MWF 9:10AM-10:00AM The Human and Machine in German Culture
104-6-21 First Year Seminar Helmer

TTH 9:40AM- 11:00AM

The Nazi Olympics
205-0 Focus Writing Zeller MWF 10:20AM-11:10AM Berlin Faces of the Metropolis
207-0 Current Events in German Media Paluch MWF 12:40PM-1:30PM
232-0 The Theme of Faust Through the Ages Fenves MWF 10:20AM-11:10AM
303-0 Speaking as Discovery Lys TTH 9:40AM- 11:00AM
321-3 Recoveries and Transitions: 1945 - Present Parkinson TTH 1:00PM- 2:20PM
345-0 Topics in German Literature and Culture Kreinbrock TTH 2:40PM- 4:00PM Friedrich Nietzsche: From Opera to Fascism
401-0 German Literature and Critical Thought, 1750-1832 Fenves M 2:00PM- 4:50PM German Literature: Heine and Stifter
402-0 History of Literature and Critical Thought, 1832-1900 Weber  TH 10:00AM- 12:50PM Recounting the Plague: In and Around Literature
441-20 Studies in Communication and Culture Parkinson  W 2:00PM- 4:50PM Trauma, Politics and the Uses of Memory


Fall 2020 course descriptions

GER 101-1,2,3 : Beginning German 

The Beginning German sequence offers students a systematic introduction to German language and culture emphasizing the four modalities: speaking, listening comprehension, reading and writing. The first quarter (101-1) offers a systematic review of basic German words, phrases with a cultural focus on Germany, an introduction of simple grammar items, and short interview practice at the end of the quarter. The second quarter (101-2) includes a variety of writing assignments, cultural presentations, reading poems by Goethe, the visit of a Mystery Guest, as well as intensive work with the strong and irregular verbs. In the third quarter (101-3), students will read and discuss short stories and plays by Grimm, Brecht and Kafka! The highlight will be an in-class skit performance which culminates in the almost famous *Evening O' Skits* featuring the best student selected skits from first and second-year German.
Prerequisite in German for 101-1: None or one year of high-school German.
Prerequisite in German for 101-2: 101-1 or placement exam results.
Prerequisite in German for 101-3: 101-2 or placement exam results.

GER 102- 1,2,3 : Intermediate German

The Intermediate German sequence offers students a systematic review of German language and culture to increase linguistic proficiency and cultural literacy. The pedagogy used fosters learning in the four modalities: speaking, listening comprehension, reading and writing. Each quarter has a specific focus: In the Fall Quarter (102-1) students concentrate on speaking and communication and on the history of the GDR and the 20th anniversary of Germanyʼs reunification, in the Winter Quarter (102-2) on writing and on contemporary German culture, and in the Spring Quarter (102-3) on reading, theatre, and performance and on 20th -century literature by German-speaking authors.
Prerequisite in German for 102-1: 101-3 or placement exam results
Prerequisite in German for 102-2: 102-1 or placement exam results.
Prerequisite in German for 102-3: 102-2 or placement exam results.

GER 104-6-20 : First Year Seminar - The Human and Machine in German Culture

From automata to cyborgs, this course explores ways in which mechanical devices have served as models to gain a deeper understanding of the human and nature in German literature, philosophy, film, and music. While the course is structured around the short prose and poetry of Eichendorff, Kafka, and Enzensburger, as well as Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, we will also read excerpts from significant texts by Descartes, Herder, Heidegger, Benjamin, and Friedrich Kittler. The course material will allow us to ask significant questions that are as historically determined as they are philosophically oriented: how does the eighteenth-century automaton become a central symbol for the debate over the mind/body relationship? What is the relationship between the human worker and the machine, and the machine and the diabolical? In what way does the introduction of the machine redefine both “labor” and “war” in the twentieth century? And perhaps above all, we will look at ways in which the writing process takes on mechanical attributes, from Nietzsche’s typewriter to Kafka’s torture machine.

GER 104-6-21 : First Year Seminar - The Nazi Olympics

This course explores the Nazi Olympics, held in Berlin 1936, in relation to religion, race, and politics. We show how the Nazi Olympics appropriated themes from the ancient Olympics in Greece in order to create a new religious, aesthetic, and political ethos. We also look at the legacy of politics in the Olympics of Mexico City in 1968, with a focus on Black activism in contemporary sports.

GER 205-0 : Focus Writing

This course is designed especially for students who wish to improve their writing skills in order to become independent, confident and proficient writers of German. The thematic basis for the course is the city of Berlin and the personalities, places, historical events, cultural trends, and visions that have shaped it during the 20th and are shaping it during the 21st Century. Course materials will include current texts from newspapers and magazines, fictional works by German-speaking authors, as well as feature films, episodes of a German telenovela, music, and videos. Students will learn to analyze and to produce portraits of people and places, narratives, and film reviews. Grammar topics relevant for each unit will be reviewed thoroughly and integrated in context.

Prerequisite in German: German 102-3. 


GER 207-0 : Current Events in German Media

Using the broad range of media now easily available on the internet, this course will provide an opportunity to learn about current issues in Europe as examined through German language media. Print articles, radio broadcasts, TV news shows, and other internet sources now allow immediate access to news sources and contemporary European culture. We will use these sources during class discussions and activities to investigate reporting on the Corona Pandemic, Immigration and Integration in Germany, Cultural production of Film, Television and Radio Broadcasts and Issues in Education and Economics in Germany and Europe. Class interests will determine the focus of our investigation of topics.

Prerequisite in German: German 102-3.


GER 232-0 : The Theme of Faust Through the Ages

“To sell one’s soul,” “to strike a bargain with the devil,” or even “to beat the devil at his own game”—these expressions and similar ones continue to enjoy undiminished popularity. For more than five-hundred years the legend of Faust has served as means to express the daring and danger of pursuing an aspiration even if it comes at the cost of one’s “soul.” The specter of a “Faustian bargain” often appears when narratives identify individuals whose inordinate achievements are both destructive and self-destructive. The theme of Faust provides a perspective in which one must thus reflect on the highest and lowest values.

Dr. Faustus has undergone many mutations since he first appeared in central Europe around the early sixteenth century. This class will be begin with a question at the foundation of the Faust legend: what is our “soul” worth? While examining this and kindred questions about the nature of the moral self, the class will continually reflect on what we are doing when we evaluate a work of art in relation to the moral culture of its “time” or “period.” In addition to listening to some musical compositions and reading some shorter texts, we will examine the earliest versions of Faust, which derives from the beginnings of the Protestant Reformation and then proceed to read Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s great drama of cosmic knowledge and sexual seduction, Faust I, followed by selections from its strange sequel Faust II, in which Faust invents paper money and then becomes a real-estate developer or social-engineer who wants to reorganize the very nature of our planet. We will ask what Goethe, near the end of his life, gave to “world literature” (a term of his own invention) when he presented his final version of Faust as a man committed to a total terrestrial transformation that inadvertently destroys innocent lives. As a conclusion to our analysis of Goethe’s Faust, we will read two very different kinds of poetic responses, Paul Celan’s “Death Fugue” and Carol Ann Duffy’s “Mrs. Faust.” And in the final two weeks of the class we will view three versions of the Faust legend for our times: Taylor Hackford’s The Devil’s Advocate from the 1990s, Sophie Barthes’ Cold Souls from the 2000s, and Danny Boyle’s Yesterday from 2019."

Prerequisites: None.
This course counts for Distribution Area V and Area VI.

GER 303-0 : Speaking as Discovery

This course is designed to help students improve their listening comprehension and speaking skills to become creative, independent, and sophisticated users of spoken German. The content focuses on exploring standpoints, developing arguments, and expressing points of view using a variety of media such as authentic material from the German press, German television, news broadcasts, documentaries and film excerpts for interpretive activities and discussions. The class discussion is tailored to students’ interests and needs.

Prerequisite in German: Two 200-level courses in German or permission of the DUS.

German 321-3 – Recoveries and Transitions: 1945 - Present

This course offers an examination of the relationship of literature and film  with the socio-political and cultural sphere in Germany after 1945, from the end of the War to the Wende and the unification of Germany. Topics in this rubric may include: From the End of the War to the End of the Wall, a course which will focus on literature, non-fiction essays, and films addressing the National Socialist past; inter-generational conflict in German society; the ‘terrorist’ movement of the 1970s; the politicized climate of the women’s movement; the response of the writer in East Germany; the role of historical memory in contemporary Germany; and the politics of national unification and citizenship, including immigrant literature in Germany. 

Please consult Caesar for current topic.

Prerequisite in German: Three 200-level courses in German (at least one in literature) or permission of the DUS.

This course counts for Distribution Area IV and Area VI.

German 345-0 – Topics in German Literature and Culture - Friedrich Nietzsche: From Opera to Fascism

What is the Will to Power? Who is the Übermensch? Why is God dead and who killed him? This class will try to answer these Nietzschean questions by investigating the lasting influence Friedrich Nietzsche had on German culture, starting with the publication of his scandalous Wagnerian treatise on the birth of tragedy (1872), through his death as a madman in Weimar (1900), and his reception by the disciples of Richard Wagner to the end of the so-called Third Reich (1945). After familiarizing ourselves with Nietzsche s most important writings, we will trace his impact in the various areas of music (Richard Wagner, Richard Strauss), literature (Thomas Mann, Gottfried Benn), film (Leni Riefenstahl), art (Edvard Munch), science (eugenics), philosophy, and politics. How was it possible that the radical thinker of man s solitary existence in modernity could become a symbolic figure of Nazi ideology? What was it in Nietzsche’s thinking that made it possible to be appropriated by the ideology of Nationalsocialism?

Prerequisite in German: Three 200-level courses in German (at least one in literature) or permission of the DUS.

This course counts for Distribution Area IV and Area VI.


GERMAN 401 – German Literature and Critical Thought, 1750-1832 (1) - German Literature: Heine and Stifter

The aim of this seminar is examine the institution of nineteenth-century German-language literature through the polar perspectives of Heinrich Heine and Adalbert Stifter. The premise of the discussion is that, for all their differences (from religion and nationality to modes of composition and relation to German classicism), major elements of Heine and Stifter’s literary corpus express complementary responses to the same poetological, political, and theological situation, which—using a title borrowed from a satirical text of Heine’s—can be summarized as “the gods in exile.” In the first two weeks of the seminar the two writers are juxtaposed with each other, first through an analysis of certain canonical expressions of their own world-view (Heine’s preface to Die romantische Schule, Stifter’s preface to Bunte Steine), second through an analysis of two influential framings of their work, specifically Adorno’s “Die Wunde Heine” and Heidegger’s reflections on Stifter’s “Eisgeschichte.” The next four weeks of the seminar concentrate on four stories Stifter wrote in his early and middle periods (two from Studien, two from Bunte Steine). The final four weeks of the seminar examine a representative sampling of Heine’s writings, beginning with some of his “romantic” poetry, continuing through his major political poetry (especially Deutschland: ein Wintermärchen), and concluding with some of his Jewish writings (especially Hebräische Melodien). Discussion will be conducted in English; for students who are unable to read the German texts, translations will be available.

GER 402-0 : History of Literature and Critical Thought, 1832-1900 - Recounting the Plague in and Around Literature

This seminar will in many ways be an experiment: it will combine both my annual Paris Program in Critical Theory seminar with seminars for incoming graduate students in CLS and German. This is made possible by the fact that the seminar will be held virtually, via Zoom, and thus can accommodate students living in disparate locations – as long as the time difference is not too great. In case of a student living in a time-zone that would make it impractical to participate directly in the seminar, the course can be recorded and thus viewed “asynchronously” – although this will preclude direct discussion, which I hope will be an integral part of the experience.

The seminar itself proposes to read a certain number of texts, from the Bible and Thucydides, to more recent writings by Artaud and Camus, articulating different attitudes toward and experiences of “plagues”. Although the idea of this course arose before Covid-19 emerged in Wuhan in early January of 2020, the impact of the current pandemic obviously will impact the discussion of previous ones. The focus, not meant to be exclusive but to provide a certain continuity, will be on the manner in which such experiences are articulated in narrative form, whether as founding myths, historical accounts, theatrical, poetical and critical discourses. Although the emphasis will be on more or less direct depictions of plagues, the process of re-counting will emerge as perhaps the decisive medium in which this experience is articulated and transmitted. It is a medium that in which the usual opposition of “fiction” and “reality” is no longer decisive. Instead I propose the notion of a “frictional” text, in order to do justice to the reality of “fictions” and the fictionality of what is usually presented as “real”.

GER 441-20 : Studies in Communication and Culture - Trauma, Politics and the Uses of Memory

Trauma Studies has become an integral interpretative paradigm for critical theorists, politicians, activists and the popular media alike, where it functions as a diagnostic tool that articulates specific relationships between violence, vulnerability, and late capitalist modernity. Initially embedded in a psychoanalytic framework, the paradigm of trauma attempted to capture the violence wrought by modernity, primarily in the context of twentieth century Western Europe. Seismic upheavals caused by forms of totalitarian government and Western colonial rule, and subsequent attempts of decolonization, ask us to rethink trauma as a decidedly international phenomena and a transmutable category that exceeds national boundaries, even as it is at times mobilized by the nation state as cause for new acts of violence. Critical approaches to trauma will be considered through a transnational approach to memory and politics, as we seek to understand the universalist appeal of this model of subjectivity in cultural contexts that overlap, contrast, and challenge one another, even when ostensibly speaking the same critical language. We will examine a range of archives and media: film, testimonio, biography, novels, poetry, memorials, and photography. Class readings may include works by Hannah Arendt, Cathy Caruth, Carmen Castillo, Frantz Fanon, Didier Fassin, Jean Franco, Sigmund Freud, Paul Gilroy, Eduard Glissant, Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Saidiya Hartman, Andreas Huyssen, Toni Morris, Zanele Muholi, Sarah Nuttall, Ciraj Rassool, Nelly Richard, Alexander Weheliye, Peter Weiss, and Alejandra Zamba.


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