Spring Courses

Primarily for Undergraduates

GRMN0110               Intensive Beginning German
An intensive, double-credit language course that meets five days a week for 9 hours and focuses on speaking, listening, reading and writing skills and the cultures of the German-speaking countries. At the end of the semester, students will be able to communicate successfully about everyday topics relating to the university, jobs, daily life and traveling. Ideal for undergraduate students interested in learning German for study abroad or for concentration requirements and for graduate students interested in starting their foreign language requirements. The course is designed for new students of German, regardless of any previous experience with German.
Stephanie Galasso     S01      MWF 1-1:50; MWF 2-2:50             
TBD                                C01     TuTh 9-10:20                                   
TBD                                C02     TuTh 1-2:20    

GRMN0200               Beginning German  
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 about everyday topics and participate in the annual film festival. This is the second half of a year-long course. Students must have taken GRMN0100 to receive credit for this course. The final grade for this course will become the final grade for GRMN0100.
Jonathan Fine            S01      MWF 9-9:50, Tu 12-12:50  
Jonathan Fine            S02      MWF 11-11:50, Tu 12-12:50          
Jasmin Meier             S03      MWF 12-12:50, Tu 12-12:50

GRMN0400               Intermediate German II
An intermediate German course that stresses improvement of the four language skills. Students read short stories and a novel; screen one film; maintain a blog in German. Topics include German art, history, and literature. Frequent writing assignments. Grammar review as needed. Four hours per week. Recommended prerequisite: GRMN0300. WRIT
Michael Paninski       S01      MWF 10-10:50, Th 12-12:50          
Jonathan Fine            S02      MWF 1-1:50, Th 12-12:50   

GRMN0600B            Was ist Deutsch?
In this course we will examine some of the ideas and myths that became entangled with the emerging notion of a "German" identity in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Some of the terms that we will discuss include 'Kultur,' 'Bildung', 'Freiheit' and 'Gesellschaft,' all of which have rich semantic histories. Conducted in German. WRIT.
Thomas Kniesche      S01      MWF 10-10:50

GRMN0750E            Reading Film:  An Introduction
What is it that fascinates us about cinema? What desires and drives have held us in thrall to the moving image? This seminar introduces you to writing about film, not just within the specific field of media studies but within the humanities as a whole. We will examine 12 filmic examples (ranging from early silent film to contemporary popular cinema) alongside a selection of theoretical and historical readings. The course will impart the basic skills needed to write in a critical, reflective, and rigorous way about film. For those interested in film in the context of any humanities field. Enrollment limited to 19 first year students.  WRIT.
Zachary Sng/Stephanie Galasso     S01      TuTh  2:30-3:50

GRMN1320Q             Filler:  Füllwort Sprache
Fillers abound in everyday speech. Even while they are considered “empty” in and of themselves, they are meant to “fill” or bridge a gap without saying anything particularly meaningful. They are an awkward pause, a moment of silence, a standstill that interrupts the flow of speech. The seminar will explore both the ubiquity and strange character of these inconspicuous para-linguistic particles in texts by Georg Büchner, Franz Kafka, Paul Celan, Hannah Arendt, and others. Taught in German.
Thomas Schestag  S01   TuTh 10:30-11:50

GRMN01340T          Thinking of Thinking
Around 1900, Sigmund Freud and Edmund Husserl published path-breaking studies that opened radical ways to rethink thinking. Freud’s Interpretation of Dreams appears to translate the unconscious expressions of wish-fulfillment, and testifies to the inexhaustible poetic resources of the mind beyond its ken. Husserl’s "Logical Investigations" departs from a redefinition of expression and meaning, and calls for a fundamental reexamination of the experiential bases of logic and language. This course will be devoted to an engagement with their writings, as well as texts by their major readers, including Paul Celan, Jacques Derrida, Franz Kafka and Samuel Beckett. In English.
Kristina Mendicino   S01      TuTh 1-2:20 

GRMN1340V             Mis(s)Education: Feminist Undoings of the Bildungsroman
Declared central to Western history and culture by Freud, the Oedipal complex survived in manifold literary reiterations – particularly the Bildungsroman, which privileges the father as primary educator and eventual adversary. This course challenges the genre’s patriarchal premise by shifting focus to female representations, in order to reconsider the traditionally ‘masculine’ discourse on Bildung. As a dynamic construct, femininity allows to dispute the historically patriarchal paradigm of knowledge acquisition and the precarious position of woman beyond psychoanalysis. Departing from Goethe’s Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship, we will open the genre’s paternal margins toward works such as Arendt’s Eichmann in Jerusalem and Satrapi’s Persepolis.  In English.
Rebecca Haubrich     S01      MWF 12-12:50

GRMN01441B          The Awful German  Language
German (not unlike others) is a foreign language. As such, it embodies oddities and barbarisms, provoking both interest and fascination, trembling and fear, from “native“ speakers of other (foreign) languages. Yet, even for “native“ speakers of German the language is not simply a given, but (at times) a threat (and under threat), an infinite (historical) task, a political-linguistic phantasm, a projection screen, a love affair, a traumatic experience. This undergraduate seminar will explore complaints and concerns, from inside as well as from outside the German language, by Tacitus, Kleist, Twain, Hölderlin, Hebel, Kafka, Benjamin, Adorno, Pastior. Taught in English.
Thomas Schestag  S01   TuTh 4-5:30

GRMN1661C           Troubled Origins:  Accounting for Oneself
What does it mean to account for one’s life by accounting for one’s origins? Nietzsche, for one, expressed the“uniqueness” of his existence “in the form of a riddle”: “As my father I have already died, as my mother I still  live and grow old.” We will study literary and philosophical attempts at catching up with one’s troubled origins,including Nietzsche’s Ecce Homo: How One Becomes What One Is (self-interpretation); Freud’s  “Selbstdarstellung” (self portraiture); Kafka’s Letter to Father (paternal confessions); Derrida’sMonolingualism of the Other (native languages and lost origins); Eribon’s Returning to Reims (“class closet”).Undergraduates from diverse fields welcome.
Gerhard Richter       S01      W 3-5:30        

GRMN01900L          Deutsche Gegenwartsliteratur
In contemporary literature, a multimedia array of literary institutions, what is called der Literaturbetrieb in German, is needed to guide a text trough the fields of creation, production, and reception, among them programs for professional writing, authors, literary agents, editors, publishing houses, translators, events, literary prizes, literary critics, bookstores, and theaters. In addition to studying these institutions, we will read literary texts by Heinrich Böll, Martin Walser, Ulrich Woelk, Thomas Glavinic, and others that focus on the Literaturbetrieb. Students taking this class will be expected to participate in a study tour to Germany during spring break. In German.
Thomas Kniesche      S01      MWF 1-1:50 

GRMN2661N                        Paul Celan and His Readers
This graduate seminar will be devoted to encountering the oeuvre of Paul Celan through careful readings of his poems, prose, speeches, and translations, as well as through sustained engagements with several of his most careful readers, including Jacques Derrida, Werner Hamacher, Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe, and Peter Szondi. In English.
Kristina Mendicino   S01      Th 4-6:30

GRMN2661O                        Heidegger and the Arts 
The work of Martin Heidegger remains one of the most consistently fascinating and challenging adventures in modern thinking. He saw his creative and intellectual life’s work as a contribution to the task of learning how to think after the end of conventional philosophy. Our graduate seminar will focus on the role that the arts play in his thought, especially poetry, painting, and sculpture. We will study, closely and patiently, some of the seminal texts that Heidegger wrote especially in the later phase of what he called his “paths of thinking” (“Denkwege”). In English. Open-minded graduate students from diverse fields welcome.     
Gerhard Richter       S01      M 3-5:30