Spring Courses

COURSE DESCRIPTIONS- SPRING 2017

Language Courses:

German 1 (5) Elementary German I. Euba in charge.
Fall/Spring. Five units; classes meet two or five times a week. All four foreign language skills (reading, writing, speaking, and listening) are addressed to help students acquire communicative competence in the German language while being sensitized to the links between language and culture. German 1 is for students with no prior knowledge of German.

German 2 (5) Elementary German II. Euba in charge.
Fall/Spring. Five units; classes meet five times a week. In German 2, students will continue to develop communicative competence in the German language and expand their sensitivity toward the relationship between language and culture. While all language skills will be addressed, additional emphasis will be on the various styles of written and spoken German. Prerequisite: German 1 or equivalent.

German 3 (5) Intermediate German I. Topics in German Language and Cultural History. Euba in charge.
Fall/Spring. Five units; classes meet five times a week. While continuing to expand students’ communicative competence in German, this content-driven course will provide insights into postwar German history and cultural trends. The primary focus will be on the development of literacy skills (critical reading and writing), vocabulary expansion, and a thorough review of structural concepts. Students will be guided toward expressing themselves on more abstract topics, such as language and power in society, multiculturalism, rebellion and protest, and social justice, and toward drawing connections between texts and contexts by using a variety of text genres (journalistic, historical, short story, poetry, drama, advertising, film).

German 4 (5) Intermediate German II. Topics in German Language and Culture. Euba in charge.
Fall/Spring. Five units; classes meet five times a week. In this fourth-semester German language course, students work on strengthening their interpretative abilities as well as their written and oral forms of expression. While continuing the development of communicative competence and literacy skills, students will discuss a variety of texts and films and try to find innovative ways in which to engage with familiar presuppositions about who we are, about what determines our values and actions, and about the function and power of language.

German R5B- Reading and Composition Courses (4 units):
Readings and discussions in English. Fulfills the second half of the university’s Reading & Composition Requirement (equivalent to English 1B, Comp. Lit. 1B, etc.).

German R5B Section 1: Tovey
"Life as a Work of Art"
Description: This course will examine the aesthetics of everyday and explore the extent to which life can be conceived of as a work of art. In this course we will look at the difference between art and aesthetics, question what is art, discover art and aesthetics in unexpected places, and investigate the function of art and aesthetics. Starting with Enlightenment philosophy and moving into the early 20th century this course will combine philosophy with literary and filmic examples of this theme as its mode of analysis. While looking at this theme historically we will also keep an eye on our contemporary situation and where art appears, or where we produce art in the everyday.

German R5B Section 2: Fragomeni
In this course, we will be reading about Vampires, Zombies, and Man-made monsters. We will learn about Romanticism and The Enlightenment and apply a historical analysis to Gothic Horror, German Expressionism, the Modern Novel, and Postmodernism. We will supplement our readings by watching full-length films, clips from films, television shows, and basically anything related to monsters in pop culture. There will be a full review of the writing techniques learned in R5A and a continued emphasis on analytical skills. Class discussions will encourage original “outside of the box” interpretations.

German R5B Section 3: Cho- Pollizi
"Intro to Modern German Literature."  This reading intensive course builds upon the analytical skills established by students through the successful completion of R5A. Although the focus will be on creating independent researchers proficient in college-level reading and writing, students in this course will be challenged to think critically about a number of thematic issues including but not limited to defining "modernity," "literature," and "nationhood" through engagement with a number of pivotal short texts drawn from the canon of German-language literature (in English translation). For required readings, please consult the syllabus page of this section's bCourses website.

German R5B Section 4: Shell
The primary purpose of this course, which fulfills the second component of the Reading and Composition Requirement, is to help students develop college-level skills in critical reading and academic writing. We will conduct close reading and analysis of texts, and the writing of clear and persuasive arguments. Subsequently, we will write a series of essays in which will be dedicated to general topics in grammar, rhetoric, and style.

The theme of the course aims to understand Germanic religion and mythology. We will use many major texts such as the Poetic Edda, the Prose Edda, the Hêliand, and Völsunga Saga/Das Niebelungenlied. In addition to this selection, we will also include fragments, e.g., laws against heathenry, place names, folklore surrounding the Germanic idea of a “soul”, that help to provide clues to the ancient Germanic religion(s) and myth(s). We will further explore these issues by researching the Christianization of the Germanic tribes and the degree of language contact within the migration period.

German R5B Section 5: Preseau
“Language, Thought, and Culture": This course will explore the ways language does (or doesn't) affect the way we think and live through classic and contemporary texts in philosophy, anthropology, linguistics, and literature. In parallel, a critical and scientific approach to language and writing will help students develop general skills in close textual reading and analysis and in college-level academic writing."

Courses Taught in German:

German 100 (3) Introduction to Reading Culture. C. Payne
This course is intended to acquaint students with selected works from German cultural history and to familiarize them with various methods of interpretation and analysis. Required for all German majors. Fulfills the Letters & Science requirement in Arts and Literature or International Studies. Taught in German. Students with native fluency in German are not eligible to enroll. Prerequisite: German 4.

German 101 (3) Advanced German Conversation, Composition, and Style. Stirner
Focusing on five central themes, this advanced-level language course will help students improve and expand on spoken and written language functions utilizing a variety of works from different genres in journalism, broadcasting, literature, fine arts, and cinema. The final goal is to enable students to participate in the academic discourse (written and spoken) to a linguistic and stylistic level appropriate for advanced students of German in upper division courses. Fulfills the Letters & Science breadth requirement in Arts and Literature or International Studies. Taught in German. Students with native fluency in German are not eligible to enroll. Prerequisite: German 4.

German 102A (3) Advanced Language Practice: German Performance. N. Euba
The analysis, discussion, adaptation and public performance of primarily poetic texts will advance students' language and interpersonal competencies while providing unique access to a significant dimension of German popular culture as well as innovative approaches to reading and interpreting poetry. Students enrolled need to be available for some evening rehearsals and performances between April 24-28, 2017.

German 108 (3) Literary Translation. C. Tang
This course provides an introduction to translation theory and its practical application in a variety of German-language literary texts, including poetry, drama, fiction and creative non-fiction.  Performing individual and collaborative translations from German to English, students will not only discover and develop their individual voices, but also refine their writing skills. Among other elements, the course will examine cultural equivalence, tone, humor, rhetorical devices, and idiomatic language.

German 152 (3) Modern Literature. C. Payne
We will analyze several fascinating texts of 20th-century German literature. Our focus will be on the development of narrative fiction, though we will also draw comparisons to other literary genres to help us define the specificity of narrative. We will discuss how literature is able to explore questions of identity, perception, mobility, and the production of historical reference. Students wishing to earn credits towards the German major will be able to conduct assignments in German.

German 155 (3) Kafka and Modernism. C. Tang
Kafka, an iconic writer of German and European modernism, redefines what literary writing means. In this course, we will read his most important texts, including the novel “The Trial,” as well as short stories, parables, and autobiographical writings. Discussion in English, readings in English or German.

German 174 (3) Modern German Morphology and Syntax. T. Shannon
The aim of this course is to provide the American student with a thorough introduction to the structure of the modern German language. Specifically we will examine the fundamental concepts and principles of German word structure (inflectional forms, word formation), syntax (sentence structure, word order), and lexicon (vocabulary). All the while we will consider German from the contrastive perspective of the speaker of English. This study should not only help students to better understand the structural characteristics of German, but also prepare them to utilize standard reference works on the language written in German. There are no prerequisites for this class and no prior experience with linguistics is presupposed. However, an advanced knowledge of German (at least German 4 level, or permission of the instructor) is expected. Lectures and discussion are usually conducted in German, but English may be used, if the class prefers. Grades will be based on homework assignments, a midterm, and a final, plus regular class participation. Our main reference work will be: Martin Durrell (2002), Hammer’s German grammar and usage. Class materials including PowerPoint presentations will be posted on bCoursese.

Courses Taught in English:

German 24 (1)- Freshman Seminar. C. Tang
"Nietzsche's Zarathustra".  Freshman seminar is designed as a reading and discussion group on Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra, an iconic text in Western philosophy. In addition to talking about Nietzsche’s ideas – superman, eternal recurrence, etc. – we will try to develop our capacities for close reading and focused thinking in a time of infinite distraction and entertainment, and explore the meaning of solitude amid relentless updates.  

German 152 (3) Modern Literature. C. Payne
We will analyze several fascinating texts of 20th-century German literature. Our focus will be on the development of narrative fiction, though we will also draw comparisons to other literary genres to help us define the specificity of narrative. We will discuss how literature is able to explore questions of identity, perception, mobility, and the production of historical reference. Readings and discussions will be in English.

German 157A (3) Luther, Kant, Hegel. K. Feldman
Freedom is a central concept in the development of modern European philosophy. Its roots, however, in religious thought are sometimes underestimated. This course offers an introduction to the concept of freedom by way of close readings of short texts by Luther, Kant and Hegel. We will focus on the relationship between religion and history in each thinker, paying special attention to how religion fits into the theorization of freedom. How does each thinker’s view of religion relate to his view of human history? What role does an individual, and individual freedom, play in history? What propels events to unfold the way they do? Within these parameters, the course will follow points of theoretical continuity and discontinuity between these authors–e.g. how does Kant’s theorization of obligation relate to Luther and the ‘inner man’? How does Hegel conceive of morality in contrast to Kant? We will pay special attention to how Luther, Kant and Hegel frame their thought in explicit contrast to Judaism. We will also look at the significance of these authors in the work of other major authors, including Karl Marx and Friedrich Nietzsche. All readings and discussions are in English, no German is required.

German 182 (4) Film Noir. A. Kaes
This course deals with American crime films of the 1940s made by German filmmakers in Hollywood who were refugees from Nazi persecution. Their “dark” films about urban corruption and moral ambiguity introduced a creative counter-tradition to the American entertainment industry. Stylistically indebted to German Expressionist cinema of the 1920s, film noir also conveyed the mood of dislocation, disillusionment, and alienation prevalent among German exiles.  The course will focus on the modernist forms and philosophical undercurrents of these films and place them within larger political and cultural discourses of life in 1940s America. We’ll examine how the genre of film noir addresses social issues of the time: crime, law, justice, and the power of the state; the psychological effects of the war; class, gender, and the crisis of the ‘American Dream’. Films include noir classics like Fritz Lang’s Scarlet Street, Billy Wilder’s Double Indemnity and Sunset Boulevard, Robert Siodmak’s The Killers, and Edgar G. Ulmer’s Detour, among others.

Graduate Courses:

German 204 (2) Compact Seminar. H. Seeba
"Heinrich Heine- Studies in Irony".  Heinrich Heine was the most controversial German author in the 19th century, full of contradictions. He was a Romantic, but he chastised Romanticism; he was a German sentimentalist, but he could be a cynic; he was patriotic, but he lived in Paris; he was a revolutionary, but he warned of Marxist iconoclasts. Whatever he wrote, he ridiculed and subverted German ideology, and in doing so, he indulged, more than anybody else, in the playful use of irony to attack sacrosanct beliefs, be they religious, social, or political. Introducing a very personal style of writing, the first-person narrator most often is identical with the biographical author, his attacks are meant to be personal and are often offensive. Despite an abundance of allusions to persons and events no longer known to the average reader, Heine’s texts make for amusing reading, yet the pleasure may be deceptive, because behind the playing on words, the ironical twists and the satirical polemics lurks a concept of social criticism urging revolutionary change. As a leftist Jewish intellectual in French exile Heine combined too many suspicious traits not to be hated by many readers. As a Jew, as an exile and as a Francophile he became a challenge to conventional thinking and, until the student revolution of the 1970s, would never be accepted into the German sanctuary of national culture. Thus, Heine criticism became the most obvious and most ominous paradigm of anti-Semitic stereotypes.  Against the backdrop of this problematic reception, the compact seminar (from January 27 to February 24) will deal with a selection of Heine’s best known poems (Die Loreley, Belsatzar, Ein Jüngling liebt ein Mädchen, Nachtgedanken, Die schlesischen Weber et al.), with excerpts from his essays (Briefe aus Berlin, Ideen. Das Buch Le Grand, Verschiedenartige Geschichtsauffassung, Die Romantische Schule, Zur Geschichte der Religion und Philosophie in Deutschland et al.) and the full texts of Deutschand. Ein Wintermärchen and Atta Troll. Ein Sommernachtstraum, and it will place Heine in the context of 19th century social and intellectual history in Germany.  (This class will only meet for 5 Fridays starting on Friday, January 27 and ending Friday, February 24).

German 205 (4) Studies in Medieval Literature. N. Largier
So-called ‘mystical’ forms of thought and experience have played a major role in the history of medieval theology and spirituality. They also were of importance to modern authors from Hegel to Georg Lukàcs, Martin Heidegger, Georges Bataille, and Jacques Derrida; and from Novalis to Robert Musil, Paul Celan, Ingeborg Bachmann, Pierre Klossowski, to John Cage (to name just a few). In this seminar we will read and discuss medieval key texts written by Ps. Dionysius Areopagita, Eckhart of Hochheim (Meister Eckhart), Henry Suso, Mechthild of Magdeburg, Hadewijch of Antwerp, and Angela Foligno, some of the most significant medieval figures in this tradition. Depending on student interest we can add other authors to this list, e.g., Bernhard of Clairvaux, William of Saint Thierry, Hugh and Richard of Saint Victor. During a second phase of the seminar we will turn our attention to baroque mysticism, especially Angelus Silesius and Jacob Böhme. Based on the class discussion and on individual student interests, we will then look into the ways how these texts have been read by 19th and 20th century authors and explore the impact they had on the formation of modern concepts of (and discussions about) subjectivity, affect, and agency. Depending on student interests, we will decide on a final version of the syllabus at the first meeting of class.  

German 256 (4) Problems in Literary Theory. K. Feldman
This graduate seminar will investigate German philosophy of history. We will focus on Historicism, its precursors, and its legacy for hermeneutics and literary theory. Readings include excerpts from Kant, Hegel, Nietzsche, Ranke, Koselleck and others. Important secondaries include Paul Ricoeur, Hayden White, Timothy Bahti, Frederick Beiser and others.

German 265 (4) The Time of the Image. A. Kaes
This research seminar will focus on the photographic image and its relationship to time, movement, and memory. We aim to explore the manifold transitions between photography and cinema, from chronophotography in the 1880s and the Bauhaus experiments in the 1920s through the blurring of boundaries between still and moving images in intermedia art practices today.  We will revisit the discussions about the relationship between photography, memory, and mortality and interrogate temporality as it animates the indexical constructions of the urban environment, nature, and the domestic sphere. Special emphasis will be given to the status and function of images of war and atrocities.  We will read texts by Giorgio Agamben, Roland Barthes, Victor Burgin, Susan Sontag, Judith Butler, et al., and discuss works by Eadweard Muybridge, Étienne-Jules Marey, Robert Capa, Chris Marker, Hollis Frampton, as well as German artists Lázlo Moholy-Nagy, August Sander, Bernd and Hilla Becher, Gerhard Richter, Thomas Struth, Andreas Gurski, Thomas Demand, Harun Farocki, and Hito Steyerl, among others.

German 290 sec.001 (4) Seminar in German Linguistics. I. Rauch
The Semiotic Tripod: Peirce, Saussure, Uexküll.  Beyond its use as a buzz word, the established field of semiotics via Peirce’s phenomenology, Saussure’s semiology, and Uexküll’s perceptual cycle, and via other semiotists, comes into consideration. Since semiotic method applies universally, that is, to all experience, the focus of its application will be to signifying modalities of particular interest to class participants. No prerequisites.

German 290 sec.002 (4) Seminar in German Linguistics. T. Shannon
Developmental Trends in Present-day German.  This seminar will examine developmental trends in the present-day German language. We will deal with on-going changes from all aspects of the language, ranging from its sound and word structure to syntax and vocabulary. Among the topics we could discuss would be: pronunciation variation in the standard language; shifts in the verbal (strong verbs, subjunctive) and nominal (reduction of weak nouns, genitive) systems; change in word order (Ausklammerung, verb-second with subordinate clauses); grammaticalization phenomena (bekommen passive, rise of new auxiliaries, prepositions); lexical trends (Gruppensprachen, anglicisms, sexist language). We will be concerned both with describing and understanding these developments in their histor-ical setting. Grades will be based on active participation in the seminar and a term paper. Tenta-tive readings include: Helmut Glück & Wolfgang Werner Sauer, Gegenwartsdeutsch; Peter Braun, Tendenzen in der deutschen Gegenwartssprache. In addition, we will make available var-ious articles and excerpts treating the issues we will be considering.

Dutch Courses:

Dutch 2 (5) Elementary Dutch. I. Van der Hoeven
Dutch language course for beginners expanding on Dutch 1. The focus of the course is on acquiring basic communicative competence in the language. That is, developing the ability to appropriately use the language (spoken as well as written) in authentic situations.

Dutch 100 (3) Dutch for Reading and Translation Knowledge. I. Van Der Hoeven
This is a two-track course, designed for 1) research scholars/graduate students who need to learn how to translate Dutch texts in their area of expertise, and 2) Dutch Studies majors and minors who are interested in the professional field of translation (Dutch to English). While some knowledge of Dutch and/or German is required, a Dutch 1 class prior to this class is a prerequisite.

Dutch 125 (4) Conversation and Composition. I. Van der Hoeven
This course is designed to improve both the oral and written style of the student in Dutch, employing a variety of sources ranging from the newspaper to the essay to the creative forms (poetry, short story). The art of correspondence, both formal and informal, will be taught as well as the widely-varying spoken styles.

Dutch 166 (4) Anne Frank.  J. Dewulf
This course deals with the occupation of the Netherlands by Nazi Germany in World War II and the Holocaust, with a special focus on the Anne Frank's diary. We will discuss literature, film and historiography. All materials will be in English, no knowledge of Dutch is required. Special guest is the Director of the Anne Frank Museum in Amsterdam.

Yiddish Courses:

Yiddish 102 (5) Intermediate Yiddish. Y. Chaver
Further intensive study of Yiddish for advanced students, building on the foundation established in Yiddish 101; or equivalent knowledge.  Advanced grammar and introduction to reading original texts as well as aspects of Yiddish culture.