Graduate Courses

Fall 2021

GER1050H F Methods in Yiddish
Time: Tue 10-12, Room: tba
Instructor: Miriam Schulz
This is the core course for the field of Yiddish Studies, focusing on methods of analysis (from literary and gender studies to postcolonial and critical race theory etc.) of major religious, literary, and scholarly texts created in the Yiddish language from 1500 onwards. Conducted both in Yiddish (reading) and English (discussion), students are trained both in advanced understanding of Yiddish cultures as well as in how they hybridized with co-territorial communities through the ages. The texts analyzed include the Tsene-Rene, Haskole literature, works by the klasiker (classic Yiddish writer) Y.L. Perets, Dovid Bergelson, Shire Gorshman, Anna Margolin, and others. 

GER1200H F Introduction to Medieval Studies
Time: Fri 10-12, Room: UC67
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.

GER1820H F The Teaching and Learning of German
Time: Tue 1-3, Room: tba
Instructor: Stefana Gargova
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.

JGC1740H F Humans and Things
Time: Tue & Thu 10-12/9-11, Room: UCA101
Instructors: John Noyes, Lawrence Switzky, Jane Taylor

Whether it’s the Alexa home virtual assistant, the graphic interface on a computer game, the partially automated (not to mention the self-driving) vehicle, the robotic arm in an assembly line, or the bot assistant on an online store, we have built a world of animated things. What does it mean to be human in a world of animated things? Art, religion, and philosophy have been exploring the interface between human life and animated things for thousands of years. Can we use artistic explorations to better understand human life in a world of technologically animated things?

In this course we will examine some aspects of this exploration, focusing on puppetry as a strategy and a solution to the problems of personhood. Puppets have always served as animated things that probe the limits of the human. And as soon as we talk about limits of the human, we are talking about how we imagine dehumanized bodies. ‘The human’ has held onto its particular status in the modern era, associated with privileges and rights. But as we are increasingly aware, the limits and mode of existence of this self-described human also defined those deemed ‘not fully human’, including women, slaves and animals. Mimetic traditions across human histories and geographies have in various ways posed questions about the limits of the human. Enquiries across philosophy, theology, anthropology, and aesthetics have raised challenges through which to confront assumptions about the limits of the human; and puppetry arts have been integral both to reinforcing and to challenging the assumptions about relations of power, and conceptions of thought and agency. The questions raised are integrally about labour (and who does it); and in such terms the robot – a kind of contemporary stand-in for the puppet – has increasingly been integral to such debates.

This is an experimental course that brings graduate students at the University of Toronto into dialogue with their peers at the University of the Western Cape, South Africa. It is taught by colleagues at the two universities who share an interest in practical and theoretical problems associated with puppetry and the limits of the human. Our aim is to establish a dialogue to investigate a single practical and theoretical problem from the point of view of students and researchers living and working in two very different societies.

Keywords
–Animation: physiological, filmic, theological, technological –Thinking machines and the cultural history/deep time of AI –Dehumanization in the contexts of South African apartheid and North American indigeneity –Subjectivity/subject positions and performance: When can one speak as and for another?
–Anthropomorphism and the non-human other–how and when is anthropomorphism licensed–artistically, ecologically, ethically?

GER6000H F Reading German for Graduate Students
Time: Fri 2-4, Room: AH302
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.

Spring 2022 

GER1000H S German Studies Seminar: Culture, Theory, Text
Time: Thu 2-4, Room: tba
Instructors: Team taught, Coordinator: John Noyes
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).

GER1540H S Revolution, War, and Terror: The Representation of Suffering and the Psychology of Aesthetics
Time: Tue 1-3, Room: tba
Instructor: Christine Lehleiter

How do we feel the suffering of others? Can we identify with this suffering? How has suffering been represented in literature (and other media)? Is it morally permissible to represent suffering, and find pleasure in its depiction? Does the representation of suffering have a cathartic effect on the audience? How have authors engaged with the psychology and aesthetics of suffering? In this course, we will examine these and related questions by discussing literary texts from the 17th to the 19th century. We will also draw on theoretical texts ranging from eighteenth-century empirical psychology to today’s studies in the cognitive sciences. While the focus of the course is on materials from around 1800, the concepts with which we will engage originate in both eighteenth-century and contemporary discourses. Students are encouraged to develop their own interests within the course’s conceptual framework, and final projects that investigate materials from outside the course’s specific time frame are possible. A visit to the excellent collection of relevant materials owned by U of T’s Thomas Fisher Rare Book library is planned as part of the course program.

GER1661H S Modernism in Context
Time: Mon 12-2, Room: tba
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.

JGC1855H S Critical Theory – The French-German Connection
Time: Wed 2-4, Room: VC215
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 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: Fri 2-4, Room: AH302
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.