Graduate Courses

Spring 2017

GER1540H Literature and Science
Time: Tue 3-5, Room: OH323
Instructor: Christine Lehleiter

In recent decades, much work has been undertaken in disciplines such as the history of science and literary studies with the goal to develop a clearer picture of the relationship between science and literature and of its historical development. We will study this work with a particular focus on literature and science around 1800. Among the authors that we will discuss are Moritz, Goethe, Humboldt, Novalis, and Dilthey.

JGF1773H S Autobiographical Documentary: History, Memory, and Performativity
Time: Mon 4-8 (incl. screening), Room: IN223
Instructor: Angelica Fenner

It was arguably the international avant-garde of the 1950s that first inspired wider exploration of the camera’s potential as a technology of the performative self. Since then, first-person filmmaking has gained ground, dovetailing with disparate social trends across the decades, including those of the New Wave, and more recently, resulting in feature-length autobiographical documentaries that circulate at festivals and garner commercial appeal. Using the German cultural context as case study within a comparative framework, this interdisciplinary seminar draws on diverse theories of subjectivity, including recent scholarship in performance studies (Goffman, Butler, Phelan), Lacanian psychoanalysis, documentary theory (Gaines, Nichols, Odin, Renov), phenomenology (Sobchak), post-structuralism (Barthes, Derrida, Foucault), and theories of cultural memory (Assmann, Halbwachs, Nora) and of transgenerational trauma (Caruth, Felman, Laub). We will explore how the subjective stance navigates a line between exhibitionistic display and introspective narcissism and, in the process, also blurs the lines between public event and private experience, between national historiography and subjective memory, between families of origin and the bounded self. Consideration will be given to both socio-historical context and continuing innovations in narrative form (confession, diary, testimonial), including the nesting of different technologies (photography, Super 8, home video, archival newsreel, cell phone). Our chronology will include avant-garde and feminist filmmaking of the 1970s, but focus primarily on productions of the past 15 years, including: investigative family films by (grand)children of both Holocaust survivors and Nazi perpetrators, experimental queer cinema, reconstructed family historiographies of immigration to Germany, and mainstream features.

JGC1855H S Critical Theory in Context: The French-German Connection
Time: Wed 3-5, Room: Seminar Room, 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 S Reading German for Graduate Students
Time: Tue 3-5, Room: CR403
Instructor: Viktoriya Melnykevych

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.