Courses in Cognate Departments (Fall 2022)

DRA3903 Brecht’s Laughter
Antje Budde
Time: Wednesday, 2-5pm, Room: Walden Room UP103

An often underappreciated aspect of Bertolt Brecht’s performance dialectics, ethics of praxis and theatre of solidarity is his sense of humor, his politics of laughter, and the importance of the feeling of awe and wonder in critical discourses on imperialist war, capitalist production, patriarchal gender politics, modern sciences, dictatorship and resistance. In his late teens and early twenties he roamed the beer pubs in Munich, guitar or clarinet in hand, and laid major foundations for the later development of his theory and praxis of epic theatre. One of its main features is the Verfremdungsefekt of V-effect, that, we could argue, leads straight back to clown’s performance (mostly not involving a red nose). Influenced by the famous local Munich comedic duo Karl Valentin and Liesl Karstadt, the Berlin DADA avantgarde, and later Charlie Chaplin he wrote plays and film scripts of biting social satire, drastic irony and unsettling clown performance while reflecting on the human condition in violent and unsafe times.

Dramaturgical characteristics are split and contradictory characters, defiant and idosyncretic bodies, hilarious plots, a very particular musicality and dramaturgical function of sound (Brecht founded his first band at the age of 14) and the collaborative pleasures of learning (his highly innovative learning plays). 

ERE1175 One Hundred of Years of Cultures of Refugees in Europe, 1920-2020
Instructor: Anna Shternshis
Time: Wednesday 12:00-2:00pm 

*This course is offered through the Centre for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies. Space is limited.
Emphases: Global Policy in Europe and Eurasia

The twentieth century has sometimes been referred to as a “century of Refugees”. Today, there are over seventy million refugees in the world. As a result of World War I, the Russian Revolution, the Spanish Civil War, World War II, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc, the Syrian civil war, the Russian War on Ukraine and many other turbulences of the past hundred years, refugees become an important part of European culture. This course will examine works of literature, music, theatrical plays and journalistic writing produced by European refugees. The goal of the course is to discuss how refugees made sense of their experience during the past hundred years.

PHL2089F Hegel and Heidegger
Instructors: Tarek Dika & Nick Stang
Time: Tue 6-9 PM

Breadth Requirement: GEO/HIS 19th or 20th century, depending on final paper topic.

Although Hegel and Heidegger are two of the most important figures in contemporary so-called Continental philosophy, they represent, in many ways, diametrically opposed philosophical standpoints. While Hegel thought that all human activities were manifestations of thinking, and that being is fully transparent to thinking (logic, the science of thinking, “coincides” with metaphysics, the science of being), Heidegger held that thinking (or, at least, thinking understood as judging) was a derivative activity and did not constitute our most fundamental access to being. As a result, they have quite different understandings of logic, the relation of thinking to being, and the being of human beings (what Heidegger calls Dasein). In this course we will examine their fundamental starting points and methods to determine the scope of the divergence, and the possible points of convergence, between their respective ontologies. We will focus on selections from Hegel’s Science of Logic and Heidegger’s Being and Time, with some consideration of other texts (e.g. Hegel’s Encyclopedia, Heidegger’s Identity and Difference). Previous familiarity with one or both thinkers will be helpful, but not presupposed.

RLG2072H / RLG422H – Kant’s Theory of Religion
Instructor: J. DiCenso
Time: Wed. 4-6 pm, Room: JHB318

An advanced study of Immanuel Kant’s interpretation of religion, as developed in major writings such as Critique of Practical Reason and Religion within the Boundaries of Mere Reason. Emphasizes rational ethical criteria as the basis for analyzing the doctrines, symbols, and institutions of historical religions.

We will explore context, theory and praxis of plays such as “The mysteries of a Barber Shop” (silent film) (Die Mysterien eines Frisiersalons), “The Catch”, “The Beggar or the Dead Dog”, “Refugee conversations”, “Lux in tenebris”, “Man is Man”, “A Respectable Wedding”, “The Baden-Baden Lesson on Consent”, or “The Oceanflight (Lindbergh’s Flight), “Schweyk in the Second World War” etc.

Students will have an opportunity to reverse-engineer short scenes in their own experiments; write and perform those as short videos (presented on YouTube, for example).