Graduate Seminars for Fall 2020

Content for Fall 2020

German 205/ Comp. Lit. 215 (4) Studies in Medieval Literature. Largier

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, and Derrida; 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 of the most 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.

German 207 (4) Methods.  Feldman

This graduate seminar is intended to introduce students to the following areas of study: Germanistik as a discipline in Germany and its counterparts in the USA; literary theory; and basic elements of professional academic writing, including genres other than the seminar paper.

German 256/Film 240/Critical Theory (4) Problems of Literary Theory.  Kaes
The Frankfurt School and Critical Media Theory

This research seminar will focus on Frankfurt School theories of film, photography, radio, and television, as well as the culture industry in general. We will engage in close readings of texts by Siegfried Kracauer, Walter Benjamin, Leo Löwenthal, and Theodor W. Adorno, and also bring their works into dialogue with examples from media history, then and now. Some of the questions we’ll ask: What stakes did the classic Frankfurt School have in the analysis of media? How do their writings respond to the changing historical contexts from Weimar culture to German fascism, and from American exile to German postwar society? To what extent do present-day digital and social media challenge some theoretical assumptions of the Frankfurt School? How can we envision a critical media theory today? (Also offered as Film 240).  Taught in English.

German 263A (4) The Process of Translating.  Kudszus

In this seminar, we will think about and critically engage past and present practices and theories of translation. Following their particular interests in research & writing, participants will choose a text or a constellation of texts for their individual semester projects. While the seminar texts will mostly involve German and English, further languages are welcome. Lectures and discussions in English.

German 270 (4) History of the German Language. Rauch

Designed for graduate  and undergraduate students  interested in the story of the German language from prehistoric times to the present, and its contact with closely and remotely related languages. Understanding German shows that the same language principles underlie all language learning; their practical application for various professional skills, including digital skills, is stressed. Sociolinguistic approaches to language changes, informing the German language across time,  are illustrated through the interface with literary texts dating from ancient Cattle Raids though  Runic, Gothic, Medieval German and English texts, as well as excerpts from Luther’s era, Modern and Popular Contemporary  German. No prerequisites.

German 276 (4) Old High German.  Rauch

Reading of poetic and prose texts in Old High German; passages selected to represent a broad scope of chronology, geography, and genre in eighth- to eleventh-century German. Study of the cultural dynamics of the Old High German period as reflected in varying levels of usage. Included is socio-political standing which is closely linked to the legal codes of the era, e.g., OHG degan ‘thane’ can refer to concepts as varied as ‘boy’, ‘warrior’, or ‘vassal’. Another level of usage to be considered is travel guides / literature which reveal how Old High German was actually spoken. Old High German offers a medley of dialects. No prerequisites.


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.