Past Graduate Courses

Spring 2017

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.

Fall 2016

Fall 2016

GER1000H F 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.

GER1661H F Modernism in Context
Time: Mon 3-5, 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 will likely include Thomas Mann, Franz Kafka, Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Robert Musil, Bertolt Brecht, Arthur Schnitzler, and Hermann Hesse.

GER1785H F Remaking the Movies in German Cinemas
Time: Wed 1-5 (incl. screening), Room: OH323
Instructor: Stefan Soldovieri

Frequently rejected out of hand by critics, 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, such as M and Nosferatu, to Hollywood reprises of German films, such as City of Angels, to self-conscious meditations on the nature of the remake itself, as in Wim Wenders’ The State of Things.

GER1820H F The Teaching and Learning of German
Time: Thu 10-12, 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.

GER6000H F Reading German for Graduate Students
Time: Tue 3-5, Room: CR403
Instructor: Josh Dittrich

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.

Spring 2016

Spring 2016

GER1051Y Yiddish for German Speakers
Time: Tue 12-2, Thu 12-1, Room: JH235
Instructor: Anna Shternshis

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.

GER 1550H S Origins: Myths of Beginning in German Literature and Thought
Time: Tue 2-4, Room: OH323
Instructor: Christine Lehleiter

In this course, we will examine myths of origin in German literature and thought with a specific focus on the eighteenth and nineteenth century. The course is organized in three units: narratives about the origin of the individual (childhood and the novel of formation), narratives about the origin of man (monogenesis versus polygenesis, anthropology and race), and narratives about the origin of societies and groups (family, state, contract theory). We will read texts by Karl Philipp Moritz, Joachim Heinrich Campe, Johann Wolfgang Goethe, E.T.A. Hoffmann, Johann Friedrich Blumenbach, Immanuel Kant, Friedrich Schlegel and Sigmund Freud.

GER 1722H S Kafka
Time: Mon 3-5, Room: OH323
Instructor: John Zilcosky

This course examines the oeuvre of Franz Kafka, as it developed in a remarkably short period: from his 1912 “breakthrough” with “The Judgment,” to his middle years and The Trial, to the 1916-17 burst of writing around “A Country Doctor,” to The Castle and Kafka’s final stories before his death in 1924. Alongside these primary texts, we will consider some classic readings of Kafka by critics such as Walter Benjamin, Theodor Adorno, Elias Canetti, Maurice Blanchot, Jacques Derrida, and Gilles Deleuze / Félix Guattari.

GER 1775H S Cinemas of Migration: Mobility and the Moving Image
Time: Tue 4-6, Thu 12-2, Room: IN312 (Tuesdays), IN223 (Thursdays)
Instructor: Angelica Fenner

Drawing on recent exemplars of world cinema whose stories take place against the backdrop of contemporary Germany and neighbouring countries, this seminar examines mobility – and it’s antithesis, immobility — as an increasingly complex cipher. Domestic and transnational productions alike advance diegetic stories that focus on the transience, itinerancy, and flux that have come to characterize contemporary life for widespread numbers of people across the continent and beyond. Readings from social and cultural theory offer a lens through which to excavate uneven modernities, revealing archaic residues of earlier life worlds that haunt protagonists pressured into motion (or alternately, trapped in stasis) by neoliberalism’s tectonic shifts in economy, infrastructure, and social welfare. Recent writings on aesthetics, realism, genre, and affect will also inform our engagement with the ‘realist turn’ in film style that often mediates this contemporary preoccupation with territorial dislocation.

JGC 1855H S Critical Theory – The French-German Connection
Time: Wed 1-3, 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: CR405
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.

Fall 2015

Fall 2015

GER1000H F German Studies Seminar: Culture, Theory, Text
Time: Thu 10-12 (*2-4 PM on Oct.1st*), 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.
You may access the readings here.

GER1051Y Yiddish for German Speakers
Time: Tue 12-2, Thu 12-1, Room: JH235
Instructor: Anna Shternshis

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.

GER 1220H F Medieval Arthurian Romance
Time: Wed 2-4, Room: OH323
Instructor: Markus Stock

This course is an introduction to medieval German literature, using medieval German romances on King Arthur and the knights of the Round Table as examples. Representing a new wave of chivalric literature in early 13th-century Germany, these texts are key documents for the establishment of a new, refined aristocratic culture following French models. They tell stories of adventure and love, but also of coming-of-age, self-realization and the legitimization of aristocratic power. The course focuses on two of the most widely-read and influential German Arthurian romances, Hartmann von Aue’s Iwein and Wirnt von Grafenberg’s Wigalois – both integral texts of the medieval German literary canon. Ample room will be reserved for the comparison of the German versions to related accounts in other languages (incl. French and Yiddish). 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.

GER 1771H F Locations of East German Cinema
Time: Tue 2-6 (incl. screening), Room: OH323
Instructor: Stefan Soldovieri

The course offers an overview of the history of East German cinema at key junctures and explores the complexities involved in conceptualizing film culture in the context of state socialism in the German Democratic Republic (GDR). The film screenings will provide the basis for considering issues of entertainment and politics, censorship, GDR cinema’s links to transnational cultural flows – and dialogue with the West German film industry in particular – as well as GDR film’s afterlife in a unified Germany post 1989. Readings in film history and cultural, film, and social theory. The screened films span all genres – from science fiction to historical epics and musicals.

GER1820H F The Teaching of German
Time: Mon 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.

GER6000H F Reading German for Graduate Students
Time: Tue 3-5, Room: TF101
Instructor: Josh Dittrich

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.

Spring 2015

Spring 2015

GER1000H S German Studies Seminar: Culture, Theory, Text
Time: Thu 2-4, Room: OH323
Instructors: Team taught, Coordinator: Stefan Soldovieri

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.

GER1200H S Middle High German
Time: Mon 5-8, Room: VC304
Instructor: Markus Stock

This course offers an introduction to the German language, literature, and culture of the Middle Ages. We will read and translate Middle High German texts, study facsimiles of medieval manuscripts, and inquire into epochal cultural concepts like courtly love and chivalry as well as courtly and clerical designs of identity. Authors discussed will include Hartmann von Aue and Walther von der Vogelweide among others. The course fulfills the departmental requirement in Middle High German.

GER1485H S Goethe’s Novels
Time: Tue 3-5, Room: AH103
Instructor: John Noyes

From the moment he published his first novel, Die Leiden des jungen Werther, at the age of 24 to the appearance of Wilhelm Meister’s Wanderjahre three years before his death, Goethe’s novels set the tone for prose writing in German. His novels are daring, bold, experimental, never satisfied with repeating formula or meeting reader-expectations. In this course we will read all of Goethe’s novels.

GER1771H S Topics in German Cinema Studies: The Counter-Cinema of the Berlin School
Time: Mon 6-8 (screening)/Tue 6-8 (class), Room: IN223
Instructor: Angelica Fenner Angelica Fenner

The ‘Berlin School’ is a shorthand moniker that emerged among critics and curators around the millennial turn as a means to reference an otherwise heterogenous group of German directors whose work was gaining visibility and sustained attention. Their emergence parallels the installation of the so-called Berlin Republic, when the German government transferred its official seat of power from Bonn to its pre-World War II location. The politics and aesthetics of these filmmakers can be situated in the same lineage with the Nouvelle Vague and the New German Cinema. Their films emphatically resist the temptation to deliver escapist narratives to a public struggling with the erosion of the social welfare state under the pressures of globalization; instead, they continue to pursue an uncompromising realism focusing in exacting and uncanny detail upon the forms of subjectivity, both ordinary and extraordinary, produced among different social groups and classes. We will review the films of contemporary directors such as Christian Petzold, Thomas Arslan, Angela Schanelec, Ulrich Köhler, Benjamin Heisenberg, and others, with consideration for theories of affect, duration, and the everyday, together with contemporary social and aesthetic theory.

GER1820H S The Teaching of German
Time: Mon 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.

GER6000H S Reading German for Graduate Students
Time: Tue 6-8, Room: CR405
Instructor: Josh Dittrich

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.

Fall 2014

Fall 2014

GER1735H F Transnational Literatures
Time: Wed 2-4, Room: NF235
Instructor: Angelica Fenner

Our understanding of the defining parameters of German cultural production has dramatically transformed in the course of the latter 20th-century and beyond. Both literary and filmic output are now defined by an unprecedented heterogeneity in form, thematics, and language. This is attributable not only to the dramatic changes in national self-understanding to which Germany has been subject since 1945 through the respective founding of the Federal and Democratic Republics, the ensuing construction of the Wall, and its demise 50 years later amidst unification. The recruitment of foreign labour to both Germanies beginning in the 1950s also infused new cultural perspectives; today, authors of extraordinarily diverse background – both recent arrivals to Germany and those of the second and third generation – continue to vitalize the parameters of what constitutes German cultural production. This seminar takes stock of a cross-section of literary, and to a limited extent, also filmic texts that provoke us to rethink the linguistic and cultural bounds of German culture. The thematics of crossing boundaries, or indeed, of their dissolution will surface across a swath of texts now identified as transnational in scope and thrust.

GER1785H F Double Visions: Remaking the Movies in German Cinemas
Time: Thu 12-4 (incl. screening), Room: IN313
Instructor: Stefan Soldovieri

Frequently rejected out of hand by critics, 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, such as M and Nosferatu, to Hollywood reprises of German films, such as City of Angels, to self-conscious meditations on the nature of the remake itself, as in Wim Wenders’ The State of Things.

GER6000H F Reading German for Graduate Students
Time: Tue 6-8, Room: CR405
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.