Courses in English for Spring 2023

German R5B- Reading and Composition Courses (4 units): Feldman in charge
(Taught in English)

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: Staff


German R5B Section 2: Staff


German C25 (4) Marx, Nietzsche, Freud. Feldman
(Taught in English)

Marx, Nietzsche and Freud revolutionized how western readers view truth, history and power. This course will investigate what made their thought so revolutionary, focusing on the following themes: truth, power, religion and critique of Enlightenment.

German 39S (4) Freshman Seminar. Shannon
(Taught in English)

“Language Origins and Development”

It is often said that language is what makes humans human. In fact, it is practically impossible to imagine our society without language. Throughout history, the origins and development of language have engaged the minds and imaginations of myth-makers and scholars alike. And yet many of the basic questions surrounding our ability to communicate in such rich ways remain largely unanswered, or are at least controversial. In this seminar we will consider the long history of thought on this topic in the Western tradition, starting from the Bible and the Greeks, through modern thinkers such as Rousseau, Darwin, and Saussure, down to present-day scholars like Noam Chomsky and Steven Pinker.

Some of the issues that will interest us include the following. What is language? How and when did language emerge? In what steps or stages? Was there one (if so, which one?) or more than one original language? How can the great diversity of the ca. 7000 current-day languages be accounted for? What is the relation between language and thought? Is language a species-specific possession of humans and how does it compare to communication among other species? Is there a specific “faculty” or “organ” of language in the mind?

NB: Although this course is offered in the German Department, it not a course in or about German. All readings will be in English, as will classroom discussion.

German 109 (2) Compact Seminar. Ther
(Taught in English)

The seminar will introduce you to the rich musical history of the Habsburg Empire, which was essential for developing what we currently understand as “classical music”. However, the classical composers could not presage that they would be canonized one day in this peculiar way. At their time, they wrote music that was perceived as new, exciting, and sometimes even scandalous. Most of the music was highly popular, which puts into question the common distinction between high-brow and low-brow music. The contemporary music closely intersected with political ruptures and social changes which we will explore through musical sources. 

Note: This seminar only meets for 5 Fridays starting 01/20-02/17/2023.

German 130AC (4) Cultures of Migration.  Gokturk
(Taught in English)

Who is a migrant? Who claims belonging in a country as a native? Can migrants achieve the status of “native” through settlement and assimilation? And if so, why is settlement a condition for full membership and participation in society? Which environmental transformations are associated with migration? Is there any hope for solidarity? Does art hold any promise for imagining a more equitable future?

This course will stimulate students to question assumptions about collective identities based on remembrance and forgetting. We will think comparatively across space and time, considering the role that migration, border control, and structures of racial hierarchy have played in the cultural formation of societies. Focusing on both movement and entrapment, students will examine political rhetoric and policies regulating human mobility through the lens of creative interventions from literature, cinema, video, and music. Case studies from the US and Germany will convey a nuanced understanding of assigned and assumed identities that transcend census categories of diversity. This comparative perspective on race, ethnicity, and citizenship will enable students to recognize patterns and repetitions in common arguments brought forward against the presence of “foreigners.” Taught in English.

German 160B (4) Fascism and Propaganda. Lenhard
(Taught in English)

This course will focus on the theory and practice of propaganda during the 12 years of the Third Reich. It takes a close look at the ideology the Nazis tried to transmit, the techniques, organization, and effectiveness of their propaganda. Challenging the idea of the total power of propaganda, it looks for the limits of persuasion and possible other reasons for which Germans might have decided to follow Hitler. Sources will include the press, radio, film, photography, political posters, and a few literary works of the time. Finally, it will also be discussed to what extent techniques of propaganda continued to be used globally after 1945. In particular, the fascism studies of the Frankfurt School, which dealt with anti-Semitic demagogy in 1940s U.S. society, will be examined more closely.

Important note about extremely disturbing course content: The course will include images, text, and film footage that are profoundly racist, misogynistic, anti-Semitic, anti-gay, and violence-glorifying. These images may be experienced by students as horrifying, frightening, thoroughly offensive, intimidating, and hurtful. It will nonetheless be our task in this course to understand and analyze the origins, strategies, and effects of these materials. Please consider whether you will be comfortable taking this course insofar as it requires viewing, reading, discussing, and writing about such shocking and execrable materials. This course is taught in English.