Fall Courses

Primarily for Undergraduates

GRMN 100                    Beginning German
Jane Sokolosky          
MWF 9:00am–9:50am  /   T 12:00pm–12:50pm
                                        MWF 11:00am–11:50am / T 12:00pm–12:50pm
MWF 12:00pm–12:50pm / T 12:00pm–12:50pm
                                        MWF 1:00pm–1:50pm   /   T 12:00pm–12:50pm

A course in the language and cultures of German-speaking countries. Four hours per week plus regular computer and listening comprehension work. At the end of the year, students will be able to communicate successfully about everyday topics. This is the first half of a year-long course whose first semester grade is normally a temporary one. Neither semester may be elected independently without special written permission. The final grade submitted at the end of the course work in GRMN 0200 covers the entire year and is recorded as the final grade for both semesters.

 GRMN 300                    Intermediate German 
Jane Sokolosky
           MWF 10:00am–10:50am / R 12:00pm–12:50pm
                                      MWF 1:00 pm–1:50 pm / R  12:00pm–12:50pm

Focuses on deepening students' understanding of modern German culture by reading texts and viewing films pertinent to Germany today. Intended to provide a thorough review of German grammar and help students develop their writing, reading, listening, and speaking skills. Frequent writing assignments. Four hours per week. Recommended prerequisite: GRMN 0200.

 GRMN 500F        Twentieth-Century German Culture
Kristina Mendicino
     MWF 9:00 am– 9:50 am
                                         MWF 11:00am–11:50am

A broad exploration of twentieth-century German culture using many kinds of written and visual texts (e.g. literature, journalism, film, art). While continuing to work on all four language skills (speaking, listening, reading, writing) students will gain more intensive knowledge about German culture, society, and history. In German. Recommended prerequisite: GRMN 0400. WRIT

 GRMN 750F        Historical Crime Fiction
Thomas Kniesche
       T R 10:30am–11:50am
There is almost no time period that has not been covered by historical crime fiction. From ancient Egypt and Rome to 18th century China, historical crime fiction has complemented and contested our knowledge of history. In this seminar, we will do some extensive time travel and explore how crime fiction explores the past and challenges our understanding of bygone times. Readings of texts by Ellis Peters, Umberto Eco, Peter Tremayne, Lindsey Davis, Alan Gordon, Robert van Gulik, Laura Rowland, among others. In English. LILE FYS

GRMN 1320L     Weimarer Klassik
Thomas Kniesche
       T R 2:30pm–3:50pm
The anthropology and aesthetics of Weimar Classicism. Readings of major works by Johann Wolfgang Goethe and Friedrich Schiller, with discussion of selected texts by Herder, Humboldt, and Kant. In German. Pre-requisite: GRMN0600 or placement.

GRMN 1340O     Political Theater
Thomas Schestag      
T R 9:00am–10:20am
Politics and theater share a long and twisted history. For centuries, their relation was dominated by countless reinterpretations of Aristotle’s definitions of tragedy in his Poetics that hinged on three key terms: representation, identification, and purification. This seminar examines the work of four of the 20th century’s most extreme writers of dramatic prose experimenting with non-Aristotelian forms of theater – from the absurd to the epic –and thus dealing with unprecedented notions of political life. Readings include dialogues, sound-recordings, and films by Karl Valentin; Bertolt Brecht’s Die Maßnahme; Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot; and Heiner Müller’s Mauser. Taught in German.

GRMN 1340P      Franz Kafka
Thomas Schestag
       T R 1:00pm–2:20pm 
On 27 April 1915, Franz Kafka writes in his diary: “I have nothing to communicate, never, to no one.“ Five years later, in a letter to Milena Jesenská, Kafka modifies this note: “I always try to communicate something incommunicable.” This seminar is an introduction to Kafka’s writings, where language is no longer simply considered a means of communication nor simply an end in itself, but something most dangerous and unavoidable. Readings will include letters, diaries, unpublished notes, short stories, and fragments from Kafka’s unfinished novels. Taught in English; students from all fields welcome.

GRMN 1440S      Grimms’ Fairy Tales
Kristina Mendicino
     MWF 2:00pm–2:50pm
"One doesn't know the sorts of things one has in one's house," says the servant girl in Kafka's "A Country Doctor," as a stranger, who will soon act violently towards her, emerges on all fours from an unused sty. The precarious moment of finding more than what one seeks, hidden in one's midst, is among the recurrent motifs in the German storytelling tradition that fill the pages of the Grimm brothers' collection, Nursery and Household Tales. What was "once upon a time" cannot be said to be finished, nor can, for all their familiarity, the strangeness of these household tales be domesticated. After reading the Grimm brothers' Nursery and Household Tales for the greater part of the course, we will discuss their less familiar iterations in other literary and filmic sources. Taught in English.

SWED0300                   Intermediate Swedish
Anne Weinstein          T R 4:00pm-6:20pm
Continuing Swedish

Primarily for Graduates

GRMN 2660A     The Sublime
Zachary Sng
               W 3:00pm–5:30pm
Survey of major theories of the sublime from antiquity to modern times, with emphasis on German, British, and French texts from the 18th to 20th centuries. Authors to be read include Longinus, Immanuel Kant, Edmund Burke, Jean-Francois Lyotard, and Neil Hertz. Readings and discussions in English, with optional readings in original languages provided. Open to seniors with instructor's permission.

GRMN 2661D     What Is Critique?
Gerhard Richter
         F 3:00pm–5:30pm
Few concepts have enjoyed as much authority and sustained engagement over the past 250 years of Western modernity as the concept of "critique"—from German Idealism to contemporary critical theory. Beginning with the formulation of critique in Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason, we will trace various trajectories and practices of critique in thinkers such as Schlegel, Hegel, Marx, Heidegger, Benjamin, Horkheimer, Adorno, Derrida, and Foucault, who revisits the politics of critique by asking: "How is it possible…not to be governed like this and not for that purpose and not by those people?" Taught in English. Students from various fields welcome.



        Courses Offered Beyond German Studies that May Count Towards the Concentration

COLT 1210                Introduction to the Theory of Literature
Susan Bernstein, Zachary Sng
MWF 11:00am–11:50am
An historical introduction to problems of literary theory from the classical to the postmodern. Issues to be examined include mimesis, rhetoric, hermeneutics, history, psychoanalysis, formalisms and ideological criticism (questions of race, gender, sexuality, postcolonialism). Primarily for advanced undergraduates. Lectures, discussions; several short papers.

COLT 1710                Literary Translation
Kenneth Haynes, Esther Whitfield
       T R 2:30pm–3:50pm
Exercises and investigations in the history, theory, and practice of literary translation. Prerequisite: at least one foreign-language course in literature at 1000-level (or equivalent).

HMAN 2970               Art and Philosophy in the Nineteenth Century
Paul Guyer
                  W 3:00pm–5:30pm
An excessively cognitivist approach to aesthetics in German Idealism led to Hegel's thesis of the "end of art" (who had himself redefined aesthetics as philosophy of art). During the remainder of the century, philosophers searched for more complex approaches to the experience of art that would not have this consequence. We will explore this narrative. Authors to be studied include Hegel, Schopenhauer, Emerson, Nietzsche, Ruskin, Dilthey, and Santayana.

JUDS 1820                 Holocaust Literature
David Jacobson
          MWF 11:00am–11:50am
Readings in works of prose and poetry by victims and survivors of the Holocaust that portray experiences in ghettos, in concentration camps, and in hiding. Additional readings in works of the post-war era by survivors and their offspring. Discussion of the moral, psychological, religious, and cultural dimensions of the Holocaust and its ongoing impact on humanity. WRIT

PHIL1290                  Kant’s Moral Philosophy
Paul Guyer
                  T R 10:30am–11:50am
An introduction to the central themes of Kant's moral philosophy, including autonomy, freedom, happiness, obligation, and virtue. Kant's position in the history of moral philosophy will also be considered. Readings to include all of Kant's major writings in this field, thus Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals, Critique of Practical Reason, Religion within the Boundaries of Mere Reason, and Metaphysics of Morals, as well as several essays and lectures. Work will include two short papers and one term paper.