Graduate Seminars for Fall 2021

Content for Fall 2021

German 204 (2) Compact Seminar. Vosskamp

“Goethe’s Faust as Project of Modernity and Critique”

In this seminar we will examine Goethe‘s Faust, the pinnacle of his work, as both a product and critique of modernity, under the leadership of Prof. Wilhelm Vosskamp (Uni-Köln). The following themes will be discussed: 1) The position of Faust in European literature, vis-a-vis Classical literature, Calderon, Shakespeare, Marlowe; 2) The historical context of Faust‘s composition, i.e. as a lifelong Goethean project stretching from feudalism to modern capitalism; 3) Faustian satire, with respect to the relationship between the individual and knowledge, in particular in the pact with Mephisto; 4) Gender positions, with a focus on Gretchen and the witches; 5) Christian eschatology and Faust as a play about the „Last Days“ and the possibility of salvation;  6) The multimedia afterlives of Faust in theatrical productions, films, and novels, including by Thomas Pynchon and Thomas Mann.  This course will be taught in German.  NOTE: This 2 unit seminar will only meet for 5 weeks from 09/03 to 10/01/2021.

German 207 (4) Methods.  Gokturk

This introductory graduate seminar has several goals. First, it offers an introduction to methods of reading and writing in the Humanities. To this end, we will examine a variety of theoretical approaches including philology, discourse analysis, archive work, cultural memory studies, New Historicism, postcolonial studies, reception studies, media theory and digital humanities with case studies on drama, poetry and prose as well as audiovisual media. Second, the proseminar provides an orientation to the field of German studies, the history of the discipline, and a variety of debates within the fieldThird, the proseminar offers students training necessary for academic work. Professionalization exercises and practical workshops to refine skills needed for graduate-level research are therefore a central part of this seminar. Fourth, the proseminar offers elements of guidance regarding determining your course of graduate study. You will learn how to pose questions to frame your topic, determine your material, articulate your methodology, present results, and, most importantly, explain the scope, implications, and consequences of your project to other scholars within or beyond your own field.

German 214 /Comp. Lit. 215 (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.

German 256/Critical Theory 240 (4) Problems of Literary Theory.  Feldman

“History and concept: Phenomenology, narrative, figure”

The practice of “conceptual history” (German: Begriffsgeschichte)—or, better said, “history of concepts”—combines several approaches and disciplines. The task of producing a historical narrative about a concept involves tethering an abstraction to material circumstances and contexts. It is also a phenomenological operation, insofar as a delineation of “what X concept means” takes place through various historical lenses. There is a philological aspect, insofar as concepts are attested in texts from a range of epochs. This combination of elements also involves what Blumenberg defines as a “metaphorological” analysis, insofar as the concept is described in a variety of figural modes. In this course we will look at a selection of “conceptual history” essays and works, along with their phenomenological and historical predecessors. Authors will include Heidegger, Arendt, Auerbach, Blumenberg, Habermas, and Koselleck, and concepts that will be examined will include history, time, being, freedom, and modernity.


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.