Graduate Seminars for Fall 2023

Content for Fall 2023

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

German 202C (4) Literature and its Lectures. Balint

This course reimagines the survey of postwar and post-1989 literature written in German by zeroing in on the Poetikvorlesung. Held by some of the most widely acclaimed authors in German letters, these lectures on poetics are a genre, a performance, and an event at once. Their number has not only steadily grown in the last decades, as many universities established their own annual lecture series, but the Poetikvorlesung has also become an increasingly prestigious institution shaping the literary field. For authors, they present a source of income and status; as cultural events, they occasion the public assembly of literature’s readership; and for universities, they represent an occasion to demonstrate the fulfilment of the university’s Bildungsauftrag vis-à-vis the larger public. Heeding to these aspects, this course examines the Poetikvorlesung as an event for literature to both present and theorize itself. How do these lectures communicate and perform what literature does? How do authors conceive of their role(s) vis-à-vis the public, the social realm, and politics? What kind of position-takings are (imagined to be) possible? Does the question of political engagement emerge and, if so, how? Focusing on these questions, among others, the objectives of this course are both theoretical and historical. We will read and watch exemplary lectures from the postwar period to the contemporary in order to theorize the Poetikvorlesung as a genre (and event). At the same time, we will ask what historical narratives of the postwar and post-1989 periods might be written based on these lectures. Authors include Ingeborg Bachmann, Hans Magnus Enzensberger, Uwe Johnson, Christa Wolf, Yoko Tawada, Kathrin Röggla, Thomas Meinecke, Emine S. Özdamar, and Monika Rinck.

German 204 (2) Compact Seminar. Zumbusch

“Narrative der Sorge”

This seminar, open to graduate and undergraduate students, will address the topic of care, i.e., Sorge. Drawing on a range of German literary texts across several centuries, we will investigate the narration and narratibility of caring practices and the difficult mix of emotions attached to it. We will study excerpts of Goethe, Keller, Stifter, and Kafka, and also examine feminist theories of care developed in the fields of philosophy and sociology. Literary texts and discussion will be mainly in German.

Note: This 2 unit class will meet for only 5 Fridays starting on 08/25/23-09/22/23.

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.

German 268 (4) Literature, Cultural History.  Tang
“What is German? Visions of Community in Literature and Thought”

In the present age of European integration, geopolitical reconfiguration, and global migration, the question of “what is German” raises itself with renewed urgency. It is a question steeped in history. Against the background of the torturous constitutional history of Germany from the irregular body of the old Reich to the liberal order of the Federal Republic, this seminar investigates the ideas, visions, images, and models of community articulated in German literature and thought. Topics will include linguistic and cultural identity, the nation, Europe/the West, empire, cosmopolitanism, and the very concept of community. Readings include some key literary texts, philosophical tracts, and political essays from the past three centuries by authors ranging from Goethe, Kant and Hölderlin to Thomas Mann, Heidegger, and Habermas. 


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.