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Spring 2015 Courses

GER 510 Literary Theory: An Introduction
Sabine Doran
Tuesdays and Thursdays 1:00-2:15
210 Ferguson Building

This seminar will introduce students to contemporary literary and cultural theory in an effort to provide them with the methodological tools they need to undertake cutting-edge literary and cultural analysis themselves. German Studies in the U.S. has at least two defining characteristics. First, though, at least for those of us in German Departments, its emphasis is mainly on culture, it is genuinely interdisciplinary, attempting to explore how cultural products and practices (defined as extending far beyond the traditional canon of German literature) are constituted by and help to constitute history and politics. And, secondly, it advances its interdisciplinary analyses by drawing increasingly on new methodologies elaborated by Anglo-American and foreign cultural theorists.

GER 540 Seminar in German Culture and Civilization
Dennis Schmidt
Wednesdays 2:30-5:30
206 Hammond Building

Philosophy and the Arts in Germany
This course will look at the relationship between artists and philosophers who made an effort to engage in a dialogue of some.  To this end the semester will be divided into four sections during which we will read (or look at or listen to) works by artists and by the philosophers who shaped them or whose work they influenced.  The sections are as follows: 

  1. Wagner, Schopenhauer, and Nietzsche (3 weeks)
  2. Klee, Heidegger, Benjamin, Adorno (3 weeks)
  3. Hölderlin, Heidegger, Benjamin, Adorno (3 weeks)
  4. Celan, Heidegger, Gadamer, Derrida (3 weeks)

Two weeks will also be reserved at the end of the semester for discussions of artists/philosophers chosen by members of the seminar.  While the field here is rather open, some figures who might be especially interesting to consider would be Anselm Kiefer, Sigmund Freud, Ernst Jünger, Max Kommerell, Gustav Mahler, or Rainer Maria Rilke and Rodin – among so many others.

Our intention will be to consider the wider cultural, political, and theoretical issues that emerge in the exchanges that go on among these figures.  Our efforts will be directed by the project of bringing different genre and forms of thinking into conversation with one another. 

The course will be run as a lecture/seminar combination.  Students will be required to do one presentation (about 15 minutes).  There are three options for the written requirement: you may write either 6 interpretive summaries (4-5 page each), or two shorter papers (10-15 pages each), or one term paper (20-25 pages).  Active participation in discussions is expected. 

GER 592 Seminar in German Literature 
Thomas Beebee
Tuesdays 6:00 - 9:00 p.m.
301 Willard Building

German Literature as World Literature
From the Germania of Tacitus to the Chinese studies of Leibniz, from the eastward gaze towards India of Friedrich Schlegel and Hermann Hesse to the emergence of Turkish-German literature and the presence of Russian-German
writers such as Wladimir Kaminer on the current scene, German literature has been imbricated in other cultural traditions. It has ventriloquized other cultures, taken them as mimetic objects, translated and transadapted their texts. Other cultures of the world have, of course, done the same with German literature. German literature has been
written in non-German-speaking countries, and by people for whom German is a second language. German authors have been of vital importance to people who encounter them for the first time in English, Japanese, Spanish, Urdu, and other translations. This course, (cross-listed with Comparative Literature) will convey an image of, and further the conversation about, German literature as world literature. We will examine theoretical pros and cons in the writings of
Goethe, Nietzsche, and Spengler, and a variety of primary texts from Goethe to Christa Wolf to Jonathan Franzen. Participants will help shape the reading list (as should happen in a seminar), as will also a series of
invited lecturers from other universities.

GER 593: Seminar in German Philology and German Linguistics - Research in German linguistics and applied linguistics
Carrie Jackson
Tuesdays and Thursdays 4:15-5:30
210 Ferguson Building

Research in German linguistics and applied linguistics
The primary goal of this course is to give students hands-on experience
with designing and carrying out linguistics and applied linguistics
research. Over the course of the semester students will work through all
stages of a research project, including finding an appropriate topic for
study and developing research questions, conducting a thorough search for
previous research on the topic, and designing, carrying out and reporting
on a pilot research project. Course readings will be chosen in conjunction
with students' interests, but will cover a range of research methodologies
in linguistics, including classroom-based SLA research, laboratory-based
L1 and L2 linguistics research, questionnaire-based studies, and
linguistics field research. Students at all stages of the PhD program are
welcome to sign up for this course. Previous work in linguistics not
required.