Graduate Courses

Fall 2018

GER1210H F Medieval German Romance
Time: Mon 2-4, Room: OH323
Instructor: Markus Stock

This course is an introduction to medieval German literature, using the greatest love romance of medieval Germany as an example: Tristan and Isolde by Gottfried von Strassburg. Part of a new wave of chivalric literature in early 13th-century Germany, this text is a key document for the establishment of a new, refined aristocratic culture following French models. It tells a story of adventure and adulterous love, but also of coming-of-age, self-realization, and the legitimacy of art in an aristocratic world. The course focuses on one of the integral texts of the medieval German literary canon. Ample room is reserved for the comparison of the German versions to related accounts in other languages (incl. French and Old Norse). Through short introductory modules on Middle High German, the course also enables students without previous exposure to medieval German to read and interpret the texts in their original language. The course fulfills the departmental requirement in Middle High German.

JGC1740 F Humans and Things (in English)
Time: Mon 4-6, Room: OH323
Instructor: John Noyes

The proposed course investigates how the limits of the human are explored in relation to objects. This will be a trans-disciplinary inquiry focussed on representations of the limits of the human. Texts will include literary and theoretical attempts to navigate the limits of the human in relation to the object world. Thoughts about the object arise across several disciplines with distinct yet intertwined intellectual lineages in the eighteen and nineteenth centuries. These include, for example, anthropology, Marxist theory, psychoanalysis, and others. Alongside the investigations of objects within these disciplines and discourses, there has been a rich history of attempts to develop trans-disciplinary models of the human in relation to the object world. The proposed course will examine this history. In particular, we are interested in what we call emotional prosthetics: object structures onto which human affect can be projected in performance. Our prime example is the use of puppets in performance, but we are also interested in other attempts to conceptualize the human/non-human boundary. In the proposed course, we will analyze select written and performed texts in which emotional prosthetics play a role. This will allow us to investigate the limits of the human as a key conceptual problem in modernity, from the meditations on mechanical man in Enlightenment Europe to the contemporary employment of artificial beings to mimic humans.

GER1050H F Methods in Yiddish
Time: Tue 11-1, Room: JH235
Instructor: Anna Shternshis

This is the core course for the Field of Yiddish Studies, focusing on methods of analysis of major literary, historical, religious and sociological texts created in Yiddish language from 1500 until 2000. Conducted fully in Yiddish, the course trains the students both in advanced understanding of the Yiddish civilization as well as how Yiddish societies incorporated cultures of neighbouring communities. The texts analyzed will include Tsena Urena (1616) (Woman’s Companion to the Bible), stories by Nakhman from Bratslav (1700s), works by Alexander Abramovich, Sholem Rabinowitch, Itskhok Perets, Dovid Bergelson, Yankev Gladshtein and others.

GER1771H F Remaking the Movies
Time: Tue 2-6, Room: OH323
Instructor: Stefan Soldovieri

Frequently rejected out of hand by scholars, the remake has been a quintessentially ‘bad object’ of film criticism. Yet the remake is as old as the cinematic medium itself. In many ways film is ‘repetition’ – the recycling of other films and literature. Films are forms of repetition in series, different cuts or versions (as the result of censorship, synchronization, restoration, etc). In fact the very first film by the Lumière brothers, La sortie de l’usine Lumière à Lyon’ (1895), exists simultaneously in three variations. And films are structured by repetitions in the form of intertextual associations, processes of cultural flow and exchange, visual and aural quotes, homages, etc. The course will explore the remake phenomenon in its historical, industrial, transnational and theoretical dimensions with a focus on films that intersect with German contexts – from remakes of Weimar classics, to Hollywood reprises of German films, to self-conscious meditations on the nature of the remake itself. *class includes screening time*

JGC1855H F Critical Theory – The French-German Connection
Time: Wed 2-4, Room: Seminar Room 319, 3rd floor, Centre for Comparative Literature
Instructor: Willi Goetschel

This course examines central theoretical issues in contemporary thought with particular attention to the role that the “Frankfurt School” and its affiliates such as Benjamin, Kracauer, Horkheimer, Adorno, Marcuse, Habermas and others play in the context of modern German social and cultural thought. In France, thinkers like Levinas, Foucault, and Derrida respond to this tradition and enrich it. The course explores in which way the continuing dialogue between these thinkers informs current critical approaches to rethinking issues and concerns such as theorizing modernity, culture, secularization, multiculturalism, and the vital role of cultural difference.

GER6000H F Reading German for Graduate Students
Time: Wed 2-4, Room: TF203
Instructor: Erol Boran

In this course German reading knowledge is taught following the grammar-translation method designed for graduate students from the Humanities. It is an intensive course that covers German grammar with focus on acquiring essential structures of the German language to develop translation skills. The course is conducted in English, and consequently participants do not learn how to speak or write in German, but rather the course focuses exclusively on reading and translating German. Prior knowledge of German not mandatory. By the end of the course, students should be able to handle a broad variety of texts in single modern Standard German. This course is not intended for MA or PhD students in German.

GER1661H F Modernism in Context (in English)
Time: Wed 4-6, Room: OH323
Instructor: John Zilcosky

This course will examine the major writers of German and Austro-Hungarian modernism in the context of their age. We will pay particular attention to literary modernism’s relation—sometimes contentious, sometimes symbiotic—to philosophy and psychoanalysis (Marx, Nietzsche, Freud). Authors discussed could include Gerhart Hauptmann, Thomas Mann, Franz Kafka, Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Robert Musil, Bertolt Brecht, Arthur Schnitzler, Hermann Hesse, etc.

GER1820H F The Teaching and Learning of German
Time: Thu 2-4, Room: OH323
Instructor: Hang-Sun Kim

This course is designed to introduce students with little or no prior second language teaching experience to the theories and practices of second/foreign language learning and teaching. Students will gain a critical understanding of the major teaching methods and techniques used in universities today with a focus on German as a foreign language. The course is meant to equip students with the means to remain informed about the central debates taking place in the field of SLA/FL language theory and practice. Assignments will include lesson-planning, class observation reports, and the design of reading, writing, speaking, and listening exercises. Students will apply the techniques learned through micro-teaching and peer-teaching exercises.
The overall objective of this course is to provide students with pedagogical tools and meta-linguistic awareness that will allow them to become successful language instructors.

GER1051Y  Yiddish for German Speakers
Time: Fri 12-2, Room: OH323
Instructor: Alexandra Hoffman

The course is designed as an intensive Yiddish language training. The goal is to teach German speakers to read, write and speak in Yiddish. The curriculum relies on the German language skills of the students, and focuses on differences between Yiddish and German grammar and vocabulary. Upon the completion of the course, students should be able to read Yiddish literary texts with a minimal use of dictionary.
Note: Graduate students can take the course in preparation for their Yiddish competency test.

Spring 2019

GER 1880H S Gottfried Keller: Poetic Realism in a Minor Key
Time: Mon 3-5, Room: OH323
Instructor: Willi Goetschel

This course addresses a glaring absence in the Department’s course offering of a dedicated 19th century literature course and one of the central aspects of German 19th century literary programs, poetic realism. The course examines the particular styles and forms of poetic realism in Gottfried Keller’s writing. Keller is one of the most subtle authors of poetic realism. Questions to be examined will be Keller’s literary politics to voice difference, dissent, and critique. Targets of Keller’s critical engagement are the emerging Zurich bourgeoisie, colonial fantasies and the problematic way the traces of colonialism shape Swiss society, but also literary canons and canonicity amid the marginalization of German language texts by Swiss writers in the face of German nationalism.

GER1050H S Methods and Texts in Yiddish Studies
Time: Tue 11-1, Room: JH235
Instructor: Anna Shternshis
This is the core course for the Field of Yiddish Studies, focusing on methods of analysis of major literary, historical, religious and sociological texts created in Yiddish language from 1500 until 2000. Conducted fully in Yiddish, the course trains the students both in advanced understanding of the Yiddish civilization as well as how Yiddish societies incorporated cultures of neighbouring communities. The texts analyzed will include Tsena Urena (1616) (Woman’s Companion to the Bible), stories by Nakhman from Bratslav (1700s), works by Alexander Abramovich, Sholem Rabinowitch, Itskhok Perets, Dovid Bergelson, Yankev Gladshtein and others.

GER6000H S Reading German for Graduate Students
Time: Wed 2-4, Room: TF2
Instructor: tba

In this course German reading knowledge is taught following the grammar-translation method designed for graduate students from the Humanities. It is an intensive course that covers German grammar with focus on acquiring essential structures of the German language to develop translation skills. The course is conducted in English, and consequently participants do not learn how to speak or write in German, but rather the course focuses exclusively on reading and translating German. Prior knowledge of German not mandatory. By the end of the course, students should be able to handle a broad variety of texts in single modern Standard German. This course is not intended for MA or PhD students in German.

GER 1780H S Topics in German Visual Culture: Affect and Material Culture in German and European Cinemas
Time: Wed 4-8, Room: IN223, in English
Instructor: Angelica Fenner
This seminar engages the ‘affective turn’ in film/media and cultural studies–a movement devoting renewed attention to the role of material conditions, including the visceral, lived experience of the body and the intensities that traverse it, as well as the continuum of the object-world we inhabit. While affect –as distinguished from emotion or feeling—has been theorized as a pre-personal and pre-linguistic phenomenon, this has not inhibited scholars and students alike from striving to put into words what exactly transpires before and between cognition and speech. Indeed, since affects are said to circulate publicly, or even transmit contagiously, they may also serve as a portal to further understanding how cultural production refracts and enacts historical and emergent social and political configurations at the scale of both the individual and of collective bodies such as that of the nation. This course uses contemporary German and European cinema as a point of departure for such an investigation. Our weekly readings, our class discussions, and our writing will facilitate a collective striving to think, write and implement the concept of affect, using the curated screenings as a vehicle for both discerning its palpable implications in textual narrative and, at times, perhaps also analyzing own responses to the same. *class includes screening time*

GER1000H S German Studies Seminar: Culture, Theory, Text
Time: Thu 2-4, Room: OH323
Instructors: Team taught, Coordinator: Angelica Fenner
This team-taught course covers some of the seminal debates in theory relevant to advanced students of German. Students are introduced to key theory texts. They are confronted with processes of problem-formation in theoretical writing; they have the opportunity to weigh different kinds of theory debates against one another; they familiarize themselves with the components and structure of theoretical argument. Please consult syllabus here. (Link tba)

GER1051Y  Yiddish for German Speakers
Time: Mon, Wed, Fri 2-3, Room: OH323
Instructor: Alexandra Hoffman

The course is designed as an intensive Yiddish language training. The goal is to teach German speakers to read, write and speak in Yiddish. The curriculum relies on the German language skills of the students, and focuses on differences between Yiddish and German grammar and vocabulary. Upon the completion of the course, students should be able to read Yiddish literary texts with a minimal use of dictionary.
Note: Graduate students can take the course in preparation for their Yiddish competency test.