Previous Graduate Courses

Fall 2021

GER 506

Second Language Acquisition and Pedagogy


Readings and discussion in classroom application of SLA theory.  Focus on quantitative as well as interpretive analysis. Primary audience is the current teaching staff of GER 101. In English.

GER 517

Modernism and Modernity: Art/Work. On the relation between modern aesthetics and labor


New forms of so-called postfordist labor in the information society and service economy bear a remarkable resemblance to the ways the artist and artistic processes have been understood in aesthetic discourse since the 18th century. This course explores the relation between art and labor from two angles. 1) A historic overview of the development from ancient concepts of leisure to a modern understanding of work as anthropologically crucial and the role played by art and aesthetics. 2) Contemporary theories of new capitalism, forms of subjectivity and discourses of creativity in connection to literary texts.

GER 520

Topics in Literary and Cultural Theory: From Minimalism to Maximalism: Scale in Literature, the Arts, & Media


What happens when the sizes and proportions of aesthetic artefacts are changed? Are such quantitative shifts merely superficial in character or do they cause substantial and qualitative alterations of the phenomena concerned. The seminar discusses concrete case studies drawn from a broad spectrum of disciplines in the humanities and provides an opportunity to examine how individual artifacts and their social circulation respond to scaling. Moreover, an attempt is made to compare process of scaling in the major arts and media and thus to establish scaling as a new perspective in the analysis of culture more generally.

GER 521

Topics in German Intellectual History: Hans Blumenberg and 20th Century Thought


Hans Blumenberg has long been recognized as a cultural theorist of major significance, and yet confusion still persists as to the developmental arc of his career and a number of its governing themes. Focusing on his literary theoretical texts, along with cultural and media theoretical as well as properly philosophical ones, this seminar explores Blumenberg’s dialogue with, among others, Arendt, Cassirer, Goethe, Husserl, and Valéry. We will also discuss Blumenberg’s reflections on such related issues as rhetoric, small forms, the novel, secularization, and modernity.

10:00am - 12:50pm
GER 523

Topics in German Media Theory & History: Media Theory since 2000


This seminar offers a critical survey of recent trends in media theory with an eye to their relevance to questions of aesthetic form and of representation in general. We focus specifically on six approaches around which work in media theory has coalesced in the last two decades: cultural techniques, disability studies, media archaeology, elemental media, network theory, and assemblage theory.

GER 526

Topics in German Literature: The Plagues of Literature


The link between plague and social catastrophe has shadowed the history of Western literature since the Iliad — as a theme, a liminal experience and a challenge to representation. These conjunctures call up a spectrum of related problematics and inquiries: the role of medical knowledge, the relationship between infection and immunity, our reservoir of metaphors and images of the epidemic, the aesthetics of terror, states of emergency and enclaves of protection. The seminar focuses on literary sources from antiquity to the recent present.