Fall 2021

Teaching of College German / Teaching French (GER 511 / FRE 581)

Prof. Julia Goetze

This seminar focuses on developing foundational knowledge of theoretical and practical approaches to foreign language instruction in the American educational context, especially at the college level. Students will develop an awareness of (1) current theories of first and second language acquisition; (2) cognitive, behavioral, linguistic, affective, and contextual factors influencing the principles and processes of second and foreign language learning and teaching; (3) a range of pedagogical approaches to developing adult learners’ linguistic and intercultural skills; and (4) the roles they could and should take on in order to enhance students’ learning.  Within that scope, the seminar will put a strong emphasis on the development of knowledge and skills regarding the integration of communicative and critical social justice approaches to language teaching at all proficiency levels, in a post-pandemic multimodal teaching world.

            The overarching goal of the course is the development of a reflective teaching practice. To that end, students will:

  • read, report, reflect on, and discuss articles that pertain to language acquisition, both language and learning theories, as well as teaching practice
  • participate in focused classroom observations, which are coordinated with assigned readings and discussions
  • become knowledgeable about rationales behind pedagogical choices, their goals, and consequences
  • prepare and develop instructional and assessment materials that are tied to class discussions, readings, observations, and personal teaching assignments

German(ic) (morpho)syntax (GER 514)

Prof. Michael Putnam

This course explores the structural properties of German and its closest relatives, with a primary focus on contrastive differences between German and English. We will survey a wide range of empirical phenomena, including (but not limited to) the structure of nouns and verbs, core elements of sentence structure, and the formation of complex questions. One of the primary objectives of this course seeks to aid students in gaining experience interpreting empirical data through the lens of a theoretical framework. We will discuss how formal approaches to grammar enhance our understanding of (micro)variation across and within languages such as German and some of its closest relatives (and beyond!) and how these theoretical tools can assist us in refining experimental and pedagogical studies. This course assumes no prior background in formal linguistics.  

The Frankfurt School & the Politics of Visual Aesthetics (GER 530)

Prof. Daniel Purdy

The course will examine critical theories by members of the Frankfurt School regarding visual strategies for representing and challenging urban consumer culture. The course will center on German Marxist theories about how the rise of urban mass culture at the beginning of the twentieth century produced Modernist forms of visual representation. The course will examine how the spread of fashion-driven behavior had dramatic implications for aesthetic theory, film, architecture, and literature. The course will provide a survey of the most important works in the German critical tradition and the major thinkers associated with the Frankfurt School. These include Georg Simmel, Georg Lukacs, Siegfried Kracauer, Walter Benjamin, Theodor Adorno, and Jürgen Habermas, among others. Students will learn how these modern theories relate to the German Idealist tradition, particularly Kant, Hegel, and Nietzsche, as well as the history of German Marxism.

Topics include the psychology of the metropolitan individual, the commodification of culture, money, and interpersonal relationships, the architecture of shopping, visual advertising through posters and photography, and cinema as a means of understanding social relations, as well as the role of visual media in public debate. The course will consider how modernist architecture, particularly from the Bauhaus school, redefined urban spaces and introduced new functionalist designs. The course will examine how Frankfurt School thinkers responded to the provocative design proposals presented by modernist architects. Students will examine specific modernist designs for consumer products to examine the relationship between the appearance of a commodity and its use, in order to understand how appearance and function are interdependent within modernism. In broad terms, class discussions will focus on such questions as: How does the relationship between the visual image and society change under industrial capitalism? What political functions do visual images have in consumer culture? What visual mechanisms does the “culture industry” deploy to organize public consciousness? What critical responses are available to visual artists within a mass-market economy? The course will provide students an historical understanding of early twentieth-century German consumer culture and its visual representation, while also offering them critical intellectual tools to understand the social and economic implications of visual images within consumer culture. The course will be taught in English with readings in both languages.

Jewish Vienna (GER 597)

Prof. Bettina Brandt

This course focuses on Austrian-Jewish relations of the last 150 years and examines the interactions between the city of Vienna and its Jewish inhabitants. It looks at Jewish experiences in Vienna in four time periods: from Jewish Emancipation to WWI; from “Red Vienna,” to the “Anschluss;” from 1938 to 1945 (Nazi Vienna); and from 1945 to today. At the same time, students will receive an overview of the most important Austrian cultural, artistic and literary developments from the last decades of the Austrian-Hungarian Monarchy up to the end of the twentieth century.

Keywords:  #anti-Semitism; #Jewish experiences; # Jewish spaces; #nationalism, #Herzl, # Lueger, #Visual Studies #Viennese Architecture and Design around 1900# Klimt, Schiele, Kokoschka # Schönberg # Mahler #Red Vienna #Sigmund and Anna Freud #Hugo Bettauer #Schnitzler#Zweig #Elias and Veza Canetti # Anschluss # Adolf Eichmann # Ruth Klüger# Murmelstein #Forced Exile #Family Separation #Kindertransporte, # Old Age Transporte #Theresienstadt, #Hilde Spiel #Third Man #Victim Theory #Kurt Waldheim #Memory Culture# Thomas Bernhard# Woman in Gold #Hare with the Amber Eyes# contemporary Austrian-Jewish writers