Previous Undergraduate Courses

Spring 2020

FRS160

How To Not Be a Leader

(LA)
No

Since the 70s, U.S. education has had “leadership” as its vector - still kindergarteners are supposed to find “The Leader in Me.” We are presently at a critical juncture, as many are frustrated about the lack of leadership; in the fight against climate change and mass shootings, high school students have emerged as figures of leadership of a different sort. How might political action look that does not take the centralized form of leadership? In pursuit of this question, the arts, together with those traditionally excluded from leadership, have the potential to be experts in resisting, questioning, and ironizing the lure of the leader.

GER 102

Beginner’s German II

No

Continues the goals of GER 101, focusing on increased communicative proficiency (oral and written), effective reading strategies, and listening skills. Emphasis on vocabulary acquisition and functional language tasks: learning to request, persuade, ask for help, express opinions, agree and disagree, negotiate conversations, and gain perspective on German culture through readings, discussion, and film. Participants are eligible to apply for Princeton-in-Munich, GER 105-G, June, 2020.

GER 107

Advanced German

No

Continues improvement of proficiency in speaking, listening, reading, and writing using texts, online media, and other sources as a basis for class discussion. Grammar review is included. Conducted in German.

GER 208

Studies in German Language and Style: Contemporary Society, Politics, and Culture

(HA)
No

This course traces German cultural and political history from 1945 to the present by examining the period’s most heated debates: first, the controversy around the aftermath of Nazi rule, which escalated in the 60s and 70s in violent clashes between students and government; second, the ideological rivalry between two German states up to reunification; third, persistent struggles with multiculturalism; and fourth, Germany’s role and reputation in Europe. The course facilitates advanced competence in written and oral German, but will also develop analytical competencies in historical and historiographical argumentation across a range of sources.

GER 210

Introduction to German Philosophy

(EC)
No

An introduction to the German philosophical tradition from the Enlightenment to the present through the study of its major figures (Kant, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Adorno, Arendt). This course offers a survey of German intellectual history based upon direct engagement with original texts. Domains to be explored include metaphysics, aesthetics, the theory of knowledge, political philosophy and the philosophy of language.

GER 211

Introduction to Media Theory

(EC)
No

Through careful readings of a wide range of media theoretical texts from the late 19th to early 21st century, this class will trace the development of critical reflection on technologies and media ranging from the printing press to photography, from gramophones to radio technologies, from pre-cinematic optical devices to film and television, and from telephony and typewriters to cyberspace. Topics include the relationship between representation and technology, the historicity of perception, the interplay of aesthetics, technology and politics, and the transformation of notions of imagination, literacy, communication, reality and truth.

GER 303

Topics in Prose Fiction: Infamous Lovers: Knowledge and Desire in German Culture

(LA)
No

Through close readings of enduring and contemporary works of German literature and culture this seminar will explore transgressive, requited, passionate, sexual love across the centuries, its historical and social locatedness, and the concepts of art and knowledge each work develops that orient the loving subject in the world. How do concepts of knowledge and desire change across time? What is to be gained by focusing on German texts? What philosophical and conceptual frameworks and terms can sharpen our analysis? All readings and discussion in German.

GER 306
ART 372 / VIS 306

German Intellectual History: Philosophy of Contemporary Art

(EC)
No

What is contemporary art? What defines its contemporaneity? And in which sense can it be called art when it defies categories of modernist art theory? How to define the plural of art when the old art genres have dissolved into countless hybrid forms? And what follows from the artistic destabilization of the border between art and non-art? What are the aesthetic and political implications of an art that addresses its audience and its institutional frameworks as well as questions of globalization, digitalization, historiography, and nature? The seminar will discuss these problems by looking at philosophy, art criticism, and artist writings.

GER 307

Topics in German Culture and Society: The Subject of German Language: Nationhood, Exile, Migration

(LA)
No

This seminar surveys the myths of German language and identity from Martin Luther to Yoko Tawada. At stake is a notion of language that, on the one hand, unifies the German people, makes them national subjects — but, on the other hand, one that is regarded as having acquired a quasi-identity of its own that might persecute one or itself be persecuted, provide a home or be a powerful source of estrangement.

GER 324
COM 373

Topics in Germanic Literatures: Happy Endings and the Politics of Affirmation. From Homer to Hollywood

(LA)
No

Happy endings are better than their literary reputation might suggest. This course will challenge the widespread misconception that happy endings are simply trite, conventional, and reactionary. By looking at diverse examples from entertainment to high art, from Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” to Milton’s “Paradise Lost”, from Goethe and Schiller to Jordan Peele, we will examine the political dimension of the happy ending as an intriguing cultural phenomenon. Affirmative art can make valuable contributions to social cohesion and democracy. And, happy endings are joyful.

GER 373
ART 377

Modernist Photography and Literature

(LA)
No

This seminar explores intersections of the fields of “photography” and “literature” in the 20th century. We will first examine the interpretive demands of the photograph, reading a number of classic theoretical texts (Benjamin, Kracauer, Barthes). Subsequent topics will include: photography and modernism in New York and Mexico City (Stieglitz, Scheeler, Williams, Stein, O’Keefe; Bravo, Modotti, Weston, Lawrence); photography and avantgarde (Dada and Surrealism: Hausmann, Höch, Heartfield, Man Ray, Breton); the New Photography in Weimar Germany (Sander, Renger-Patzsch, Moholy-Nagy); and the modernist photobook (Foto-Auge, Evans, Frank).

GER 1025

Intensive Intermediate German

No

Intensive training in German, building on GER 101 and covering the acquisitional goals of two subsequent semesters: communicative proficiency in a wide range of syntax, mastery of discourse skills, and reading strategies sufficient to interpret and discuss contemporary German short stories, drama, and film. Intensive classroom participation required. Successful completion provides eligibility for GER 107 or, in exceptional cases, for 200 level courses. Participants are eligible to apply for Princeton-in-Munich (107-G), June, 2020.