Previous Graduate Courses

Spring 2023

GER 508
MED 508

Middle High German Literature: An Introduction


Introduction to Middle High German language and literature 1100-1400. Selections from Arthurian romance (Parzival, Tristan), epic (Nibelungenlied), lyric poetry (Minnesang), and mysticism (Meister Eckhart, Mechthild von Magdeburg). Class sessions focus on close-reading and translating original texts. Also planned are visits to Rare Book Room and a local museum.

GER 520
COM 518, HUM 520

Topics in Literary and Cultural Theory: Literature and Rhetoric


This seminar explores the literary text as not just a text, but an aesthetic medium. Critical readings and practical analyses aim to develop a theoretical foundation for an “art of the text.” Each text begins at its own beginning, on paper or on a desktop, and ends with the images, emotions, and voices it evokes, as a literary text. This journey leads to the stylistic topoi or “common places” that, since antiquity, have been used to map the domains of literary texts and to trace their ways of worldmaking. This seminar provides an overview of classical rhetoric, literary aesthetics, and modern and postmodern literary theory.

GER 530
COM532, ENV530

Topics in Aesthetics and Poetics: Aesthetics & Ecology


How can aesthetic theory and art practices confront the dilemmas raised by anthropogenic climate change? Rather than rethinking aesthetics from the perspective of ecology, this seminar recovers aesthetic thought as an untapped resource for conceptualizing complex entanglements between human and more-than-human worlds. We will explore an undercurrent of ecological thinking in German aesthetics from its Leibnizian roots to Kant and Adorno before attending to the return of interconnectivity as a central problem in contemporary aesthetics of relation, resonance, or the environment.

GER 532
ENG589, COM523

Topics in Literary Theory and History: Theories of the Modern European Novel


The modern European novel has been haunted by the accusation of illegitimacy. From its eighteenth-century inception onward, the uncomfortable place of the novel among the poetic genres inherited from antiquity has solicited an unparalleled intensity of critical reflection. This course examines several ‘classical’ and contemporary meditations on the novel, alongside close consideration of three representative early examples. We will probe the uses and disadvantages of generic distinctions at the intersection of literary history and literary theory.