Graduate Seminars for Fall 2024

Content for Fall 2024

For all meeting days and times please see the Online Schedule of Classes.

German 204 (2) Compact Seminar.  Horn 

“Aesthetic Forms in the Anthropocene”.  The concept of the Anthropocene marks a novel understanding of the Earth as unified, self-regulating system that has increasingly been changed by human interventions. This calls into question the role and position of humans within this system, as humanity finds itself in the triple roles of bringing potentially catastrophic change to the planet, being a victim to this change, but also conscious observers of this process. This seminar will discuss how, in the light of the Anthropocene diagnosis, we must rethink the relation between nature and culture, and what this means for art, literature and aesthetic theory. We will examine several aeshetic forms (e.g. the epic, the sublime, the tragic, the comic, the elegiac) that are currently being used and discussed in the context of an aesthetics of the Anthropocene.

Note: This 2 unit class will meet for only 5 Fridays from 09/13-10/11/2024.

Note: This class will be taught in “German”.

German 205 (4) Medieval Studies Literature. Largier

“Mysticism and Modernity”.  So-called ‘mystical’ forms of thought and experience have played a major role in the history of modern philosophy and literature from Hegel, Kierkegaard, and Schopenhauer to Lukàcs, Heidegger, Bataille, Benjamin, Derrida, and Fred Moten; and from Novalis to Musil, Kafka, Celan, Bachmann, Klossowski, and Cage (to name just a few). In this seminar we will read and discuss key texts written by some significant medieval figures in this tradition. We will focus on forms and styles of writing; problems of negative and affirmative theology; and configurations of speculative, affective, and sensual moments. During a second phase of the seminar we will turn our attention to baroque mysticism (Angelus Silesius and Jacob Böhme). Based on the class discussion and on individual student interests, we will then explore the ways how these texts have been read by 19th and 20th century authors and how they allow us to think about the formation and transformation of modern concepts of the sacred, subjectivity, affect, critique, and agency. Depending on student interests, we will decide on a final version of the syllabus at the first meeting of class. All texts will be available in original languages and in English translation.

Note: This class will be taught in “English”.

German 207 (4) Methods.  Tang

This graduate seminar introduces students to German studies as a discipline. The topics include: the basic tools of the discipline, foundations of literary theory, methods of textual analysis, research paradigms in our time. Required of first-year graduate students in German, open to all other graduate students.

This class will be taught in “English”.

German 256 (4) Problems of Literary Theory.  Feldman

This course will focus on the themes of epistemology, aesthetics, dialectics, and philosophy of history, centering on readings of Kant and Hegel. We will begin with excerpts of Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason and then turn to his aesthetic theories in Critique of Judgment. Our study of Hegel begins with his criticisms of Kant’s moral philosophy, which we will look at briefly, and with a comparison of their reflections on universal history. We will then move on to Hegel’s formulations of how philosophy works and we will spend several weeks studying selected sections of the Phenomenology of Spirit and Elements of the Philosophy of Right.

Most weekly assignments will include short commentaries, aphorisms and criticisms from other prominent authors in the history of critical theory, most notably Marx, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Adorno, and Arendt. The goal is for students to understand not only some of the basic concepts and gestures in Kant and Hegel, but also to place those within the context of 19th- and 20th-century Critical Theory.

Note: This class will be taught in “English”.

German 265 (4) “Technics”.  Baer

Contemporary developments such as algorithmic media and generative AI are lending renewed urgency to the “question concerning technology (Technik).” In this seminar, we will reexamine the ideas of thinkers who have shaped, challenged, and extended our understandings of technics, including Walter Benjamin, Martin Heidegger, Ursula Le Guin, Bernhard Siegert, Gilbert Simondon, Bernard Stiegler, and Sylvia Wynter. Moreover, we will consider cutting-edge theoretical, historiographical, and methodological reflections on media technologies in the digital age, engaging with the latest work in fields such as film and media studies, digital humanities, science and technology studies, and the philosophy of technology.

Note: This class will be taught in “English”.


German 375A (4) Seminar in Foreign Language Pedagogy: Teaching College German I. Euba

Focusing on the theory and practice of foreign language pedagogy, this course is designed to provide graduate students in German with knowledge and tools for their careers as teachers in the language classroom and beyond. While emphasizing critical reflection on pedagogical practices–-one’s own and that of others–-students will also be introduced to the field of Second Language Acquisition research and its relationship to pedagogy. This, along with the development of practices that promote continuing professional growth, should provide a basis for the ability to stay theoretically informed and to participate in the professional discourse of a rapidly developing field. Included in this course is a significant practical component addressing the day-to-day challenges of planning for and teaching the simultaneously offered elementary German language courses.