Courses for Spring 2019

GER 511 German Literature in the 17th Century: Luther’s Legacies: Nation, Subjectivity, Sexuality
This seminar provides an intensive if unorthodox encounter with a figure often identified with the origins not only of modern German language and nation but of modern subjectivity itself — namely, Martin Luther. Shuttling back and forth between readings of Luther’s own texts and those of his most significant critics and inheritors — among whom number Kant, Hegel, Nietzsche, Rosenzweig, and Freud — we’ll attempt to come to terms with Luther’s long shadow over German letters. Topics will thus include: language, nation, and translation; freedom, conscience, and subjectivity; reformation and revolution; sexuality, obscenity, and hate-speech.
B. Nagel, 1:30 pm – 4:20 pm, Monday

GER 516 Topics in 20th-Century Literature: Kafka and the Powers of Modernity
Franz Kafka was once called an expert on questions of power. That peculiarity is the focus of this seminar. Guided by exemplary topics — the machine and the apparatus, guilt and the law, animal figures, family dramas, the worlds of objects – we will primarily discuss Kafka’s stories and novels as attempts at a literary analysis of power. At issue, therefore, is the relationship between narrative strategies and the political dimension of this literature. At the same time, the seminar will offer a discussion of modern narrative theories and the ethics of literature.
J. Vogl, 7:00 pm – 9:50 pm, Wednesday

GER 520 Topics in Literary and Cultural Theory: Revisiting Canonicity and the German Canon
This team-taught course has two objectives: 1) to consider the concepts of canonicity and inclusivity as they have been defined within German Studies and Germanistik, both historically and in our present moment; and 2) to provide an opportunity for further revision of the department erudition list. To that end, we will alternate our time between examining critical literature on these concepts and considering works of literature that might be worthy of inclusion in the canon constructed by our list. Primary texts to be considered by such authors as: May Ayim, Herta Müller, Yoko Tawada, Emine Segvi Özdamar, Margareta von Trotte, Terezia Mora.
S. Poor and N. Wegmann, 1:30 pm – 4:20 pm, Thursday

GER 521 Topics in German Intellectual History: Walter Benjamin’s Theory of Modernity
Walter Benjamin, over the course of his career, developed a comprehensive
theory of urban capitalist modernity. This course will trace the development of
this theory from the mid-1920’s through 1940, concentrating on the finished texts that emanated from the great complex of the Arcades Project. Particular emphasis will be placed on Benjamin’s arguments regarding the role of modern technological media in the constitution of modern experience.
M. Jennings, 1:30 pm – 4:20 pm, Wednesday

GER 525/MOD 525 Studies in German Film: Early German Cinema
This seminar in media archaeology, theory and criticism will subject a largely unknown cache of pre-Weimar German films to a variety of critical interrogations, exploring the intermedial polemics with theater, variété and literature (cinema-reform movement, Autorenfilm); the rise of film theory, sociology and criticism as legitimation discourses; the development of new cinematic narrative forms and genres such as serial detective fiction; the construction of the film diva (Henny Porten, Asta Nielsen), the class and gender dynamics of a public sphere in flux, and issues of technology, politics and the historicity of the sensorium.
T. Levin, Seminar 1:30 pm – 4:20 pm, Tuesday; Film 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm, Monday


For the most up-to-date listings, as well as an archive of courses offered during the last three years, please consult the University’s online Course Offerings page. After selecting the appropriate semester from the dropdown menu at the top, please select GER and then click on the search button in the lower right hand corner.