Spring 2021

German Phonetics and Phonology (GER 513)

Prof. Katharina Schuhmann

This course is about the sounds and the sound system of the German language. Part of the course will focus on German (and English) phonetics. Phonetics is the study of speech sounds, and we will pay particular attention to German speech sounds that native speakers of English find difficult. We will use both articulatory and acoustic phonetics to describe German speech sounds and to compare them to corresponding English speech sounds.

Another part of the course will examine German phonology. Phonology is the study of speech sounds as a linguistic system. We will focus primarily on Standard German, but we will also address phonological aspects of dialectal variation, language change and language acquisition. The course will also explore different theoretical models (derivational approaches and Optimality Theory) as they are applied to German phonology.

No prior knowledge of phonology or linguistics is assumed.

Photography, Race, Genocide (GER / VSTUD 597)

Prof. Sabine Doran

This course explores the role of photography in the context of the racialized politics of genocides and their aftermaths. The course aims to critically examine photographic evidence of genocidal violence, revealing the long shadow of modern genocides from colonialism, to the Holocaust, the Armenian, Cambodian, Rwandan genocides, to the present. At the intersection of modern constructs of race as they culminate in genocidal violence, the course investigates the political and ethical potential of photography. Topics include: the spectrality of photography and its origins (W. Benjamin, Barthes, Flusser, Sontag, Batchen); the civil contract of photography (Azoulay); atomic light (Lippit); studies in black and white (Sheehan); constructs of race (Kant, Nietzsche, Fanon, Bernasconi, Moten); modern genocides (Kiernan); memory’s edge and after-images (Young, Didi-Huberman); photography in film and literature: Hiroshima mon amour (Resnais); Ararat (Egoyan), The Photographer (Jablonski), Austerlitz (Sebald); The Missing Picture (Penh); race after technology (R. Benjamin).

Seminar conducted in English – via zoom.