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Courses Taught in English

Courses Primarily for Undergraduates

German 222-0 – German History 1789-1989

The country that we now know as Germany has undergone a remarkable number of geographic, political and cultural transformations over the past two centuries. This course offers a general introduction to some aspects of the history of modern Germany from the late 18th century to today, examining the contested development of German national identity; the lengthy struggles for unification; political, military and imperial ambitions in the late 19th and early 20th centuries; the history of Germany in the two World Wars; and the gradual integration of a divided Germany into new European and international frameworks following the Second World War.
Prerequisites: None.
This course counts for Distribution Area IV.

German 222-0 – German History 1789-1989

Survey of German political, economic, social, intellectual, and diplomatic history from the consolidation of the nation in the aftermath of the French Revolution to reunification at the end of the Cold War. Prerequisite: None. (Distro Area IV)

German 224-0 – Contemporary Germany

Courses under this rubric focus on the German political, social, and cultural scene after 1945. Topics vary and may include: Political Extremism in West Germany, a seminar which traces the history of political terrorism in post-war German society and also tries to locate it within a larger framework of militant protests throughout Europe and the world. Particular attention will be given to the actions of the infamous Red Army Faction (RAF), which also left its mark in German popular culture. While the RAF and other left-wing groups of the 1960s and 1970s are the main focus of the class, we will also talk about the disquieting phenomenon of right-wing terrorism, currently a much-discussed topic in Germany because of the ongoing revelations about the National Socialist Underground (NSU). Please consult Caesar for current topic. German 224 may be repeated for credit with different topics.
Prerequisites: None.
This course counts for Distribution Area IV.

German 226-0 – New Voices in German Literature

Courses under this rubric introduce students to contemporary German literature in English translation such as the contemporary historical novel, new and important short story, novels, and/or memoirs. Topics vary and may include: The Black Diaspora and Transnationality, a course that will a) explore the concepts of “diaspora” and “transnationalism” in order to situate the course materials within the broader networks of the global African Diaspora; b) survey theoretical and historical readings about the emergence of black communities in the UK and Germany as well as their transnational conversations with other Afro-diasporic groups; and c) introduce students to the cultural productions of Afro-diasporic groups in Britain and Germany such as films, music, novels, and autobiographies. Please consult Caesar for current topic. German 226 may be repeated for credit with different topics.
Prerequisites: None.
This course counts for Distribution Area VI.

German 228-0 – The German Film

Courses under this rubric offer in-depth study of German films and their cultural background. Topics vary and may include: Cinema and the City, a course which will draw on a wide range of classic and lesser-known films from the Weimar period onward. Students will be introduced to major German cities and analyze both how space and social relationships are imagined in the German metropolis and in terms of the relationship between a German and an “extra-territorial” city. How does urban space influence how one thinks about forms of national, gendered, ethnic, sexual, and class identity? How does the perception of social relations in the urban space and in cinematic form organize the view of political and social networks? Approaches to these questions will include: formal and aesthetic analysis, examinations of the historical background and cultural specifics of both the films and the cities under consideration, and the close reading and interpretation of a brief selection of classical texts on modernity, mass society, production and reception histories, and theories of space. Please consult Caesar for current topic. German 228 may be repeated for credit with different topics.
Prerequisites: None.
This course counts for Distribution Area VI.

German 230-0 – Berlin and the Culture of Democracy

This class aims to introduce students to the history and culture of Berlin from 1900 to the present. Drawing on a wide range of media, from maps through film to music, the class concentrates on a series of transformative moments in German cultural history seen through the prism of Berlin. Students will engage with the varied historical, socio-political, and artistic changes in German culture throughout the twentieth century, including the vibrant and provocative culture of the 1920s and early 1930s, with a focus on changing forms of gender identity (the “New Woman”) and sexual subcultures (as in the film Cabaret). Further, students will examine the everyday and extraordinary history of German-Jews in Germany around the devastating caesura of the Jewish genocide executed by the National Socialists. After examining the megalomaniacal plans that the Nazis made for Berlin, the class turns to the devastated city of 1945 and the divided city of the Cold War, where the conflict between “East” and “West” emerges in the “concrete” form of the Berlin Wall. Further topics include the events surrounding the collapse of the Wall and the creation of the Berlin Republic, the changing face of national culture in light of the migration of the so-called Turkish “guest workers” of the post-War years, particularly through the art of later generations of Turkish-German authors and filmmakers in Berlin.
Prerequisites: None.
This course counts for Distribution Area IV and Area VI.

German 232-0 – The Theme of Faust through the Ages

"To sell one's soul," "to strike a bargain with the devil," or even "to beat the devil at his own game," these expressions and others like them have retained their currency for centuries and continue to enjoy undiminished popularity. Also for centuries, "Faust," as a figure of the "mad genius," has served as a formulaic abbreviation for the folly, daring, and danger in pursuing human ambition at any price. The Faust who made his pact in the sixteenth century undergoes many mutations and incarnations over the years, and so does the devil as well as the contract that would burden human enterprise with a final debt to inhumanity. The texts selected for this course probe the history of this contract as a specifically modern phenomenon and address the question of what terms would assure it the undiminished supply of signatories that have kept the theme of Faust alive throughout the ages. The final section of the class generally includes a discussion of Faust-themed films. Readings will include Christopher Marlowe, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Charles Baudelaire, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Thomas Mann.
Prerequisites: None.
This course counts for Distribution Area V and Area VI.

German 234-1 – Jews and Germans: An Intercultural History I

This course examines a series of German-Jewish writers, thinkers, and scientists of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, each of whom, in his or her own way, created transformative projects, programs, and perspectives from which the modern world can be seen. The class will consider the extent to which the specific experience of German Jewry, with its extraordinary cultural as well as scientific advancement and its abysmal political impotence, played an important part in the creation of global modernity. The course is divided into four sections: the first section examines writers of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries who are seeking innovative forms of writing and action in response to a political and social environment in which the traditional rabbinate has lost its authority, while a newly racialized movement declaring itself “anti-Semitic” has formed political parties in both the new German and the old Austrian Empires; the second section concerns the re-assertion of Jewish messianism in the thought of Hermann Cohen, Martin Buber, and Franz Rosenzweig; the third section concentrates on a radical transformation of literary and critical modes of reflection in the writings of Franz Kafka and Walter Benjamin; and the fourth section highlights two revolutionary scientists, Sigmund Freud and Albert Einstein, who changed the way the modern world conceives of mind and matter alike.
Prerequisites: None.
This course counts for Distribution Area IV, Area V, and Area VI.

German 234-2 – Jews and Germans: An Intercultural History II

This course examines a series of German-Jewish writers, thinkers, and scientists of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, each of whom, in his or her own way, created transformative projects, programs, and perspectives from which the modern world can be seen. The class will consider the extent to which the specific experience of German Jewry, with its extraordinary cultural as well as scientific advancement and its abysmal political impotence, played an important part in the creation of global modernity. The course is divided into four sections: the first section examines writers of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries who are seeking innovative forms of writing and action in response to a political and social environment in which the traditional rabbinate has lost its authority, while a newly racialized movement declaring itself “anti-Semitic” has formed political parties in both the new German and the old Austrian Empires; the second section concerns the re-assertion of Jewish messianism in the thought of Hermann Cohen, Martin Buber, and Franz Rosenzweig; the third section concentrates on a radical transformation of literary and critical modes of reflection in the writings of Franz Kafka and Walter Benjamin; and the fourth section highlights two revolutionary scientists, Sigmund Freud and Albert Einstein, who changed the way the modern world conceives of mind and matter alike.
Prerequisites: None.
This course counts for Distribution Area IV, Area V, and Area VI.

German 236-0 – Kafka and Nietzsche

This course takes its point of departure from two sayings: “there are no facts, only interpretations” (Nietzsche), and “Only here is suffering suffering” (Kafka). It explores the relationship between suffering and interpretation. For Nietzsche, the interpretation of suffering – real or imagined – is not only the origin of all moral and legal categories but also the source of philosophical speculation. For many of the characters that inhabit Kafka’s fictions, suffering – real or imagined – generates interminable interpretations, and the interminability of interpretation is itself the source of intensified suffering. Beginning with, and continually returning to, Kafka’s very short story, “The New Advocate,” which is about Alexander the Great’s horse, who has lowered his ambitions and thus become a lawyer, the course considers the question: what is greatness? In the first part of the course we pursue this question in the context of certain sections from Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra and from his Toward the Genealogy of Morals. In the second, we turn to a series of Kafka stories, aphorisms, and his great unfinished novel, The Castle.
Prerequisites: None.
This course counts for Distribution Area V, and Area VI.

German 238-0 – Turn-of-the-Century Vienna

This course highlights ideas and art brought forth during the period of Viennese history from the late 1880s to the 1920s, when Vienna emerged as one of the major intellectual and artistic hubs in Europe. Art Nouveau, the advent of psychoanalysis, and a society that turned its gaze inward, away from the Monarchy, paved the way for the era of Viennese Modernism. Freud, Wittgenstein, Schnitzler, Musil, Schönberg, Klimt, Kokoschka, Schiele are just some of the great names in fin-de-siècle Vienna that identify it as a major mindscape of modernist culture. For a few decades Vienna was the principal rival of Paris as the cultural capital of Europe with a considerable impact on the modern consciousness up to our time.
Prerequisites: None.
This course counts for Distribution Area VI.

German 242 – Imagining Modern Jewish Culture in Yiddish and German

The aim of this course is to introduce students to the dynamic tension between two distinct yet closely related Jewish cultures, one rooted in the German language, the other in Yiddish. The relation between modern German-Jewish culture and its Yiddish counterpart in Eastern Europe is at once highly-fraught and astonishingly creative: both sides of this divide at the heart of greater European modernity now see themselves in relation to each other, sometimes disparaging, sometimes emulating the other. In literature, art and music the encounter between Western and Eastern European Jewry lies at the heart of 20th Century culture. The course will examine the works of world-famous artists such as Kafka, Chagall, and Mahler as well as classic writers of a literature that is unfamiliar to most: Mendele the Bookseller, Sholem Aleichem, and Y.L. Peretz.
Prerequisites: None.
This course counts for Distribution Area VI.

German 244 – Analyzing Freud

This class examines the life and work of the groundbreaking Viennese psychologist Sigmund Freud from a comparative and interdisciplinary angle. Long after his death, Freud’s legacy continues to be controversial: some claim that his theories are no longer relevant in the light of new research, whereas others defend his theories and/or expand upon the implications and influence of his ideas, in the realm not only of psychology, medicine, and neuroscience, but also in the fields of sociology, cultural studies, philosophy, literary studies, criminal justice, queer studies, gender’s studies, and many more. What is certain, however, is that Freud’s work—and the image of his life—have marked the modern world. This class will read fundamental texts from Freud’s body of work in dialogue with texts by Freud’s near and distant predecessors and followers, both to situate Freud in his historical and cultural context, and to think through the many different kinds of questions that Freud’s work addresses.
Prerequisites: None.
This course counts for Distribution Area VI.

German 246-0 – Special Topics in German Literature and Culture

Courses taught under this heading may address various topics at the intersection of German literature, culture, and history. Topics may include: From Luther to Bismarck, a seminar which highlights the road to German unity from Martin Luther's Protestant Reformation to Bismarck and the founding of the German Empire with emphasis on the Thirty Years’ War, the intellectual and national awakening of the German people in the 18th century, the impact of the French Revolution on German affairs, the flowering of German culture in the Enlightenment and the Classicism of Goethe's Weimar, the Romantic movement, as represented by Schopenhauer, Hegel, Beethoven, Schubert, and Wagner. Please consult Caesar for current topic. German 246 may be repeated for credit with different topics.
Prerequisites: None.
This course counts for Distribution Area VI.

German 248 – Learning Diversity: Germany and Global Migration

With the so-called refugee crisis re-defining Europe’s self-perception, Germany is very much in the focus of global attention: The government’s decision to accommodate more than a million refugees in 2015 met praise and criticism alike, both inside and outside of Germany. The influx of hundreds of thousands of people from Syria, Afghanistan, and other countries has given new urgency to questions of what immigration and a diverse population means for Germany and how practices and policies have to change. The class will follow and analyze these discussions from a historical standpoint so that students are better able to evaluate German positions on immigration, citizenship, and diversity today.
Prerequisites: None.
This course counts for Distribution Area IV.

German 266-0 – Introduction to Yiddish Culture: Images of the Shtetl

In collective memory the shtetl (small Jewish town) has become enshrined as the symbolic space of close-knit, Jewish community in Eastern Europe; it is against the backdrop of this idealized shtetl that the international blockbuster Fiddler on the Roof is enacted. This seminar explores the spectrum of representations of the shtetl in Yiddish literature from the nineteenth century to the post-Holocaust period. The discussion will also focus on artistic and photographic depictions of the shtetl: Chagall and Roman Vishniac in particular. The course will include a screening of Fiddler on the Roof followed by a discussion of this film based upon a comparison with the text upon which it is based, “Tevye the Milkman.”
Prerequisites: None.
This course counts for Distribution Area VI.

German 272-0 – Luther and the West

October 31, 2017 marked the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. This anniversary commemorated the day the German monk Martin Luther is said to have posted his 95 Theses on the church door in Wittenberg, Germany. The results of Luther’s ideas and actions cannot be understated. His teachings led to an ongoing division between Roman Catholic and Protestant forms of Christianity and inaugurated a “modern” turn towards rationalism, secularism, and individualism. This course probes the lasting significance of Luther’s life and thought in the modern West. Two questions will guide the course. First, how did Luther shape the cultural, political, and social questions and issues in the West since the 16th century? And, second, what is Luther’s ongoing relevance in the West today?
Prerequisites: None.
This course counts for Distribution Area IV and Area V.

German 326-0 – German Cultural Studies

Courses taught under this heading explore key concepts, major figures, and cultural and literary themes in German studies and interdisciplinary fields such as political science, media studies, music, and art. Topics may include: Racism in modern Germany, a seminar that explores the ways in which the contested category of race has shaped modern German history. While considerations of race in Germany generally focus on Nazism and the Holocaust, the aim of this course is to situate racial categories like ‘Aryan’ and ‘Jew’ within a longer and contextual narrative. The course will examine German relationships with and fantasies of Africans, Jews, Slavs, Turks, Gypsies, Aryans and the many other categories of peoples who shaped modern Germany. While the seminar itself focuses on German history, the course is intended to raise larger questions about the roles of race and racism in the modern world at large. Please consult Caesar for current topic. German 326 may be repeated for credit with different topics.
Prerequisites: None.

German 328-0 – German Cultural Criticism from Kant to Kluge

Exploration of major texts in German cultural criticism form the late 18th to early 21st century, including philosophical, philological, scientific, and essayistic texts.

Prerequisite: None. (Distro Area IV and V)

German 334-0 – Writers and their Critics

Courses under this rubric will expose students to texts of leading writers in German through a discussion of the criticism these texts have evoked. Students will thereby be given the opportunity to reflect on the relationship between literary texts and their historical and critical interpretation. Topics may include: Kafka and the Question of the Narrator, a seminar on the question of the narrator and the role the narrative plays in Kafka’s fiction. Much of Kafka criticism avoids this question either by equating the narrator with the author and focusing on “Kafka,” or by regarding the narrative as transparent and focusing on the objects represented. Perhaps the most powerful and significant aspect of his writings relates, however, to the ambiguous figure and discourse of the narrator. The narrative never simply relates a series of events existing independently of the perspective from which they are presented. It thereby reveals something about the process of story-telling as well as of the different figures and events involved in it. Please consult Caesar for current topic. German 334 may be repeated for credit with different topics.
Prerequisites: None.
This course counts for Distribution Area VI.

German 346-0 – Topics in German Literature and Culture

Courses under this heading examine at an advanced level selected topics in German literature and/or pivotal periods in German culture. Topics may include: On Historical Epistemology, a class on the theory and history of the modern sciences, with an emphasis on the emergence of a new science called “biology” in the nineteenth century. The organizing thread for this class will be the contribution that different streams of twentieth-century philosophy of science made to the process of discovery and justification of knowledge. Please consult Caesar for current topic. German 346 may be repeated for credit with different topics.
Prerequisites: None.
This course counts for Distribution Area VI.

German 366-0 – Yiddish Culture and the Holocaust

This course begins with an examination of certain works of Modern Yiddish Literature written before the Holocaust that are uncanny in their premonitions of disaster. The course then proceeds to read Yiddish literature written during the Holocaust, especially the Warsaw and Vilna ghetto diaries. It concludes with a discussion of the outpouring of Yiddish literary responses to the Holocaust from 1945 to 2000. The literature examined remains a dark continent for the majority of scholars of both the Holocaust and of modern Jewish culture. Thus, this course serves also as an introduction to a magnificent literature in its own right.
Prerequisites: None.
This course counts for Distribution Area VI.

Graduate-level Courses Available to Undergraduates

German 322-0 – German Contributions to World Literature

Courses taught under this heading are oriented to the origin and consequences of major works of modern German literature. Topics may include: Nietzsche’s Will to Power as Eternal Return, a course that will illuminate the three different directions of Nietzsche’s thought – language, eternal return, will to power, by focusing on their mutual interdependence, and above all, on the way his practice of writing provides the indispensable context for understanding the concepts it articulates. The literary dimension of Nietzsche’s writing – evident in Thus Spoke Zarathustra, but prevalent throughout – consists in the priority of the “how” of his writing over the “what” of its “content.” Readings and discussions in class will center around a brief résumé of Nietzsche’s conception of language and rhetoric; a discussion of his conception of “eternal return”; and an interpretation of his efforts to think what he calls “the will to power”. Please consult Caesar for current topic. German 322 may be repeated for credit with different topics.
Prerequisites: None.
This course counts for Distribution Area VI.

German 324-0 – Modern German Drama

Courses taught under this heading discuss plays by authors ranging from Lessing and Kleist to Brecht and Peter Weiss, and from the perspective of the stage as a “moral institution.” Topics may include: The Ride of the Director in German Theater, a course that examines the rise of the director in the German theatre from 1791 to today. In studying the most important directors of each era, the course seeks to distinguish between personal directorial style, aesthetic trends, and the development of directing as a profession. The course will cover such influential directors as Goethe, Duke George II of Saxe-Meiningen, Max Reinhardt, Leopold Jessner, Bertolt Brecht, Peter Stein, and Heiner Müller. Please consult Caesar for current topic. German 324 may be repeated for credit with different topics.
Prerequisites: None.
This course counts for Distribution Area VI.

Courses Primarily for Graduate Students

GERMAN 401 – German Literature and Critical Thought, 1750-1832 (1)

This course begins with the formative aesthetic discussions undertaken by Lessing and Mendelssohn, turns to Kant’s program for critical self-reflection, and considers a wide range of responses, including those of Schiller, the early romantics, Kleist, Hölderlin, and Goethe.

GERMAN 402 – German Literature and Critical Thought, 1832-1900 (1)

Thematic approach to key texts of 19th century German literature between Goethe and Gottfried Keller, tragedy and the Bildungsroman. Literary and philosophical texts are read side by side in order to interrogate traditional concepts of realism, mimesis, and interpretation.

GERMAN 403 – German Literature, Critical Thought, and New Media, 1900-45 (1)

Built around selected key texts on the aesthetic theories of modernism (e.g., by Nietzsche, Adorno, Bürger, and Kittler), this course explores the relationship of literature and the visual arts and scrutinizes the status of literature within aesthetic production in modernity. Particular attention to works by Rilke, Kafka, Brecht, Lasker-Schüler, Benn, Musil, and Mann.

GERMAN 404 – German Literature, Critical Thought, and New Media since 1945 (1)

Overview of the most influential texts that reflect the mounting concern with media in German literary and critical theory since the Second World War. Emphasis on the effects of the rise of media studies and theory on the understanding and interpretation of literature.

GERMAN 405 – Basic Issues in Foreign Language Teaching: Theory and Practical Applications (1)

This course focuses on basic principles of second language acquisition and language teaching methodology. It introduces students to the major trends and theories in language teaching. The critical reflection of pedagogical practices is emphasized.

GERMAN 406 – Contours of German History since 1750 (1)

Partly thematic and partly chronological approach to familiarizing graduate students with the social and cultural contexts of major intellectual and literary developments. Focus on the end of the early modern order, industrialization, urbanization, unification, utopianism, expansionism, the burden of the National Socialist past, and the vexed question of national identity.

GERMAN 407 – Proseminar (1)

Spring quarter writing workshops in which students complete a research-level paper in conjunction with work in others courses.

GERMAN 431 – Contemporary German Literature (1)

Readings from authors representative of literature in the former East and West Germany’s. May be repeated for credit with change of topic.

Sample Classes:

GERMAN 441 – Studies in Communication and Culture (1)

Content varies. Samples; feminist literature, media studies, the history of literary journals, and other specific topics representative of current research interests. May be repeated for credit with change of topic. Sample TOpics: Trauma; Nietzsche.

GERMAN 490 – Independent Reading (1)

May be repeated for credit. Permission of instructor and department required.

GERMAN 499 – Independent Study (1)

May be repeated for credit. Permission of instructor and department required.

GERMAN 590 – Research (1)

Independent investigation of selected problems pertaining to dissertation. Permission of instructor and department required. May be repeated for credit.

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