Featured Courses

FALL 2021

German 130AC (4) American Cultures. Gokturk

 “Cultures of Migration”

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.”


German 214 (4) Studies in the 20th Century. Largier

“Robert Musil and European Modernism”

This seminar provides an introduction to one of the key works of European modernism, Robert Musil’s unfinished novel The Man Without Qualities. Starting with two shorter narrative texts and the first chapters of the novel, we will focus on Musil’s modernist prose style. We will then move on to his understanding of the ‘essayistic novel’ and its engagement with science and psychology; psychiatry, the law, and morality; questions of perception and affect; the role of gender, sexuality, and violence; and the desire for “other states” of experience. This is a novel that is—from Emerson to Nietzsche, Mach, and Freud—in dialog with a wide range of scientific, psychological, and theoretical texts, and it will be our goal to bring many of these into view. Students who are interested in this seminar should read as much of the novel as possible before the start of the fall semester. With the exception of a few additional materials, all texts will be available in English and in German.


Yiddish 103 (3) Yiddish Literature. Burko, A.

“History of Yiddish Culture”.  This course will trace the development of Yiddish culture from the first settlement of Jews in German lands through centuries of life in Eastern Europe, down to the main cultural centers today in Israel and America. The course will examine how changes in Jewish life have found expression in the Yiddish language. It will provide an introduction to Yiddish literature in English translation, supplemented by excursions into Yiddish music, folklore, theater, and film.  

Note: Regarding “in-person” instruction please contact Professor Karen Feldman.