Fall Courses

Primarily for Undergraduates
       

GRMN0100 Beginning German                                                               Jane Sokolosky
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. 
 S01         MWF     9-9:50,   T 12-12:50
S02         MWF     11-11:50, T 12-12:50
S03         MWF     12-12:50, T 12-12:50
S04         MWF     1-1:50, T 12-12:50

GRMN0300  Intermediate German I                                                    Jane Sokolosky
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.
S01         MWF 10-10:50, Th 12-12:50
S02         MWF 1-1:50, Th 12-12:50

 GRMN0500F  20th Century German Culture                                   Benjamin Brand                 
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
S01         MWF 11-11:50

GRMN0750F  Historical Crime Fiction                                             Thomas Kniesche
  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. LILE FYS WRIT
S01         TuTh 9-10:20

GRMN1200F  Waiting                                                                           Thomas Schestag
What are we doing when waiting? Is waiting a deed or activity at all? Is to wait the same as to await? And what does it mean to wait (or not to wait) for answers to such questions? This seminar will approach (in order to unfold) the question of Waiting in religious texts (waiting for God or the messiah in the psalmist, the gospels, and letters of Paul); in Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot; in Siegfried Kracauer’s Die Wartenden; in literary texts by Hebel, Kafka and Musil; in philosophical essays and aphorisms by Nietzsche, Heidegger and Blanchot. In English.
S01         TuTh 10:30-11:50
 

GRMN1320M  Die Literatur der deutschen Romantik                          Thomas Kniesche
German literature “around 1800” offers complex and fascinating reading experiences. The texts are haunted by Doppelgänger, ghostly appearances, dark secrets, and other forms of the uncanny but also present images of breathtaking beauty and stories of love and insanity. We will study these texts in the context of the beginnings of modernity, with all the uncertainties and upheavals these historical changes brought with them. Readings by Novalis, Tieck, Eichendorff, Hoffmann, Brentano, Chamisso, Fouqué, and others. In German. Pre-reqs: GRMN 600
S01         TuTh 1-2:20

 GRMN1320N Children and Childhood in Literature, Philosophy, and      
 Psychoanalysis
                                                                                     Thomas Schestag

Children are question marks. They are around, but embody everything that is not yet: no language, no manners, no education. They are both a promise and a threat. This seminar follows their traces in Lesebuch für Kinder by Karl Philipp Moritz; in Jean Paul’s treatise on education, Levana; in letters between Hamann and Kant about the possibility of a Kinderphysik; in psychoanalytic essays (by Freud, Ferenczi, and Melanie Klein); in literary texts by Adalbert Stifter and Franz Kafka; in Clara and William Stern’s Die Kindersprache; as well as in Walter Benjamin’s Berliner Kindheit um 1900 and Proletarisches Kindertheater. In German.
S01         TuTh  2:30-3:50
 

GRMN1340R  Literature and Multilingualism                                 Zachary Sng
Has literature ever really been monolingual? Has it not spoken, from the outset, with a split tongue? We will examine a range of authors from the twentieth century in this seminar for whom speaking is always speaking otherwise: speaking about the other, speaking as other, something other than merely speaking. Literary examples might include Franz Kafka, Samuel Beckett, Paul Celan, W. G. Sebald, Yoko Tawada. We will also look at a selection of theoretical writings from Derrida, Deleuze and Guattari, Freud, Benjamin, and others. In English. Reading knowledge of German helpful but not required. DPLL
S01         MWF 1-1:50

GRMN1661B  Music in German Letters                                           Susan Bernstein
In this course we will study figures and thematizations of music in German fiction, poetry and philosophy from the 18th to 20th centuries. We will also consider the convergence of music and poetry in the German Lied. Readings from Goethe, Hoffmann, Moerike, Heine, Nietzsche, Wagner, Adorno and Mann. In English; no prerequisites.
S01         W 3-5:30
 

Primarily for Graduates

GRMN2661G  Frankfurt School Critical Theory                           Gerhard Richter
Careful readings of key texts by members of the Frankfurt School, including Theodor W. Adorno, Walter Benjamin, Max Horkheimer, Siegfried Kracauer, and others. Examination of the ways in which these writers transformed their conceptual roots (provided by such thinkers as Kant, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud) into a new set of concepts, premises, and strategies that came to be known as “Critical Theory” (a term invented by Horkheimer in 1937). Taught in English; students from a variety of disciplines welcome. (Seminar takes place also in conjunction with an international conference on the Frankfurt School at Brown during Fall 2016.
S01         M 3-5:30

GRMN2661J  Art, Philosophy, and Truth:  A Close Reading of Benjamin’s Essay on Goethe’s Elective Affinities                                                        Alexander García Düttmann
This course will be devoted to a close reading of one of the most rewarding, and also most intricate, essays about aesthetics written in the first half of the twentieth century, Benjamin’s 1924 essay on Goethe. Rather than discuss the pertinence of the interpretation Benjamin proposes of Goethe's famous novel, we will focus on the ideas he develops in relation to art and philosophy, and the conceptual distinctions he introduces, such as the distinction between commentary and criticism, or the distinction between an artwork's material content and its truth content.
S01         T 4-6:30

 

SWED0100  Beginning Swedish                                                               Ann Weinstein
Swedish 100 is an introduction to both Sweden and Swedish, covering various aspects of Swedish history, art and society, as well as screening at least three Swedish films per semester. The course packet contains the text/workbook, Mål 1, with additional materials. We will cover one chapter of Mål per week, with quizzes every three weeks. There will be a midterm and a final exam, along with a short take-home project. This is a small class, so your presence is absolutely required. Emphasis will be placed on speaking and understanding Swedish. Good will and good humor are required.
S01 TuTh 4-6:20

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Courses Offered Beyond German Studies that May Count Towards the Concentration

COLT1210  Introduction to the Theory of Literature              Zachary Sng/Susan Bernstein
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.
S01 MWF 11-11:50am

COLT1814P  Fascinating Fascism                                                             Marc Redfield
This seminar examines the enduring First World fascination with fascism and above all with Nazism, not just as a historical political phenomenon, but as a cultural, literary, and cinematic topic, trope and image. The question of the commercial and ideological appeal of Nazi villains, imagery and iconography will be pursued through several contexts: the historical, psychological and ideological appeal of fascism; the trauma of the Shoah; the narrative and ideological imperatives of late-capitalist entertainment systems. Readings will engage a variety of theoretical texts (Freud, Bataille, Adorno, Sontag), films (Riefehstahl, Tarantino), novels (Dick, DeLillo, Littell).
S01 Th 4-6:30pm

COLT2821P  Walter Benjamin:  Literary Criticism                              Kevin McLaughlin

The seminar will trace the emergence of an idea and a practice of literary criticism in Benjamin's writings from his early essay on Friedrich Hölderlin through his essays on Goethe, Proust, the Baroque Trauerspiel, Kafka and Baudelaire. We will pair selections from the literary works with Benjamin's critical writing on them.
S01 F 3-5:30pm

GNSS1721  Cinema Bodies                                                                          Gertrude Koch  
The course explores the cinematic construction of bodies – female, male, animal, and other. Cinematic bodies do not stand alone as they are framed, cut, exposed, veiled, enlarged, distorted, and gendered. The body is screened and composed into an image of beauty, of death, of sex, of work. Cinematic devices like the close-up, camera angle, light are transform bodies into the body of the film and its specific style. This leads to the question of the spectator’s body as a screen for the filmic body and to theoretical explorations of the embodied visions cinema entails and stimulates. DPLL
S01 Tu 4-6:30pm

HMAN1972G  Eternal Returns:  Poetry and Politics in Modernity   Kristina Mendicino
The title of this course alludes to Friedrich Nietzsche’s “eternal return of the same,” which he famously called “the highest formula of affirmation,” and which later philosophers and thinkers, such as Pierre Klossowski and Martin Heidegger, would repeatedly return to. Yet Nietzsche’s discovery is not new, for it inflects, too, the thinking of the professional revolutionary, Louis-Auguste Blanqui, the returns of commodity production in high capitalism, and the poetic figurations of the big city found in nineteenth-century writers such as Charles Baudelaire. In this course, we will examine the problem of returns—temporal, political, economic, and poetic—in modernity.
S01 W 3-5:30pm

HMAN2970V  Aesthetics and Architecture                                        Paul D. Guyer    

Is art produced for disinterested contemplation? Then how can architecture, which fundamentally serves one of the most fundamental human interests, that for shelter from an adverse environment, count as art? This question has both motivated philosophical speculation and caused tension in architectural practice for centuries. We will approach it through texts by philosophers such as Kames, Kant, Hegel, Schopenhauer, and Wittgenstein; architects such as Vitruvius, Alberti, Loos, Wright, Corbusier, and Venturi; and critics such as Ruskin, Watkins, Vidler, and Leatherbarrow.  This course is a seminar requiring oral presentation and a term paper.
S01 W 3-5:30pm

PHIL1720  Kant: The Critique of Pure Reason                                 Paul D. Guyer 
We will cover the main topics of Kant's masterpiece, including his third way between rationalism and empiricism, his approach to skepticism and idealism, his foundational approach to science and everyday experience, and his limitation of knowledge to leave room for practical faith.
Prerequisites: PHIL 0360, 1700, 1710 or instructor permission.
S01 TuTh 1-2:20pm

PHIL1840  Twentieth-Century Continental Philosophy                Charles Larmore
The course will focus on the main figures of the German tradition-- Husseri, Heidegger, Cassirer, Gadamer, Adorno, Habermas, and Tugendhat, with emphasis on their efforts to rethink such key concepts as consciousness, history, reason, and the self. Some attention will be paid to points of intersection with German-language philosophers standardly considered "non-Continental"--Frege, Wittgenstein, and the Vienna Circle.
S01 TuTh 10:30-11:50am

RELS0830 Religion, Reason, and Ethics from Kant to Nietzsche            Thomas Lewis  
The nineteenth century witnessed revolutionary transformations in thinking about the power and limits of human reason, the relation between reason and religion, revelation, the role of humanity in creating religion, morality and religion, the significance of history, and the plurality of religions. This course examines major thinkers from this period who continue to shape our own assumptions and reflection. WRIT LILE                 
S01 MWF 10-10:50am