Fall 2020

Morphology: structure, acquisition, & attrition (GER/LING 597)

Prof. Michael Putnam

Although the term and concept word is omnipresent is foreign language instruction and linguistic research, its attributes and functions are poorly understood. In this course we attempt to define the concept of wordhood through the formal study of its content, i.e., morphology. Developing a derivational approach, we will gain a better understanding of the structural properties of words and their relationship with other aspects of grammar (i.e., phonology, semantics, & syntax). Our discussion of the structural properties of words will aid us in enhancing our understanding of the acquisition (in both L1 and L2 contexts) and attrition of morphology.

History and Theory of German Film and Photography (German 534 / VSTUD)

Prof. Sam Frederick

This course will examine the history, theory, and practice of German photographic and moving picture technology from its origins to the digital age. The course will be structured around important innovations in visual technology, including (but not limited to): 1) the pre-history and invention of photography, 2) pre-cinematic moving pictures (Anschütz), 3) the invention of cinema (Skladanowsky Bros.), 4) sound and color innovations, 5) video, digital, and installation work. The aim of the course is to provide an historical overview of visual culture in which the radical shifts inaugurated by new technologies are examined in terms of their aesthetic, philosophical, and political impact. In the German context these shifts have been examined by important theoreticians of visual culture (most notably Arnheim, Balácz, Benjamin, Kracauer, and Flusser) whose work has changed the way we think about our relation to images.

Sessions will focus on topics such as: ontology of the celluloid image; the “New Vision” of Weimar photography; post-war Austrian avant-garde cinema; the rubble film and the limits of space; Nazi aesthetics in the feature film; the problem of “capturing” time in pre-cinematic experiments and early cinema; the “Other” of Wilhelmine cinema; Weimar-era animation; the politics of New German Cinema; feminist cinema in the GDR; new digital media and the future of the cinematic.

Viewings to include films by Mack, Rye, Wegener, Murnau, Lang, Ruttmann, Sagan, Reiniger, Fischinger, Pabst, Fanck, Riefenstahl, Sierck (aka Sirk), Harlan, Staudte, Beyer, E. Schmidt, Wicki, Kubelka, Tscherkassky, Kluge, Fassbinder, Wenders, Reitz, among others.

Readings will be available in German and in English. Class discussion will be in English.

Gothic Romanticism (GER / VSTUD 597)

Prof. Daniel Purdy

This course will investigate how German and English Romanticisms construct space in order to 1) organize interior feelings, along the axes of knowledge, sexuality, and power; 2) establish a domestic terrain and boundaries for the nation state; 3) define differences between home and foreign spaces.  Gothic architecture, ruins, paintings and landscape gardens will precede texts that lead us through ancient Italian labyrinths, psychic caverns, neo-gothic monasteries, cartographic landscapes, broad boulevards, dark alleys, and bureaucratic compartments.  We will also ponder the difference between the beautiful and the sublime. Romanticism stressed the unique qualities of place.  The poetic descriptions of natural sites such as the Rhine, the Danube or the Alps will receive our particular attention.  Primary theoretical authors include: Kant, Schlegel, Benjamin, Goethe, Hegel. Discussions and most readings will be English.

The Teaching of College German (GER 511)

Prof. Heather McCoy

Introduces students to the theory and methods of teaching German at the college level. It deals not only with techniques, materials, and bibliography of the field but also evaluates the contributions of linguistics and psychology to college-level language pedagogy. German 511 familiarizes students with current theories of foreign language education as they relate to post-secondary language acquisition. This course further includes the practical aspects of college-level teaching with special reference to problems related specifically to the teaching and learning of German. Evaluation procedures include examinations, research papers, and the preparation of sample teaching materials. German 511 is a required course for all German graduate students both at the M.A. and Ph.D. level.