Past Courses

The following graduate courses were offered in recent semesters.

GERM-445 Literacy and FL Teaching (Pankova)

This graduate-level seminar focuses on developing requisite foundational knowledge and critical awareness of various practical approaches to foreign language instruction in the American educational context, particularly at the college level (e.g., communicative, task-based, ecological-semiotic, etc.). Students become informed about (1) cognitive, socio-cultural, linguistic, and affective factors influencing the principles and processes of learning, particularly instructed second language learning; (2) the historical, educational, institutional, and curricular context within which instruction takes place; (3) pedagogical approaches to developing adult learners’ second language ability; and (4) the roles they could and should take on as teachers in order to enhance student learning.

GERM-510 Theorizing Culture (Sieg)

GERM 510 is one of the core courses in the MAGES program. The course is designed to introduce students to the major concepts, thinkers, and debates concerning European cultural identity formation. We will examine the historical emergence of national identity in the context of modern mass-produced print culture; trace the construction of a post-national, multicultural democracy in contradistinction to the colonial, imperialist, fascist, and communist past through a consideration of museums and memorials; and explore the appeal and perils of a cosmopolitan Europe in relation to visual media. Each module comprises theoretical readings and an application of the theories to cultural texts and objects. It is designed to make you more astute interpreters of cultural objects, and encourage you to integrate cultural analysis into your individual areas of concentration. In addition, the course will introduce you to certain genres of academic writing and oral presentation, enabling you to become more skilled at textual analysis, strengthen your abilities to conduct independent and collaborative research, and communicate succinctly and effectively.

GERM-542 Classical Drama (Dupree)

This graduate seminar will engage in a threefold examination of drama in the long eighteenth century: as a site of theoretical inquiry, as a field of literary praxis and as a mode of theatrical performance. Through analyses of texts from the early Enlightenment to the so-called Classical period, the seminar will address the following questions: Why does drama hold such pride of place in eighteenth-century aesthetics (and in accounts of eighteenth-century literary history)? How do eighteenth-century intellectuals think through the relationship between dramatic form and the social world? How, when and why do they use (or abandon) Aristotelian theory and the rhetoric of classicism? What are the consequences of theoretical and practical interventions such as the banning of the Hanswurst, the rise of bourgeois tragedy, and the publication of Lessing’s Hamburgische Dramaturgie? Finally, how do eighteenth-century dramas generate, critique, and transform images of gender and the family?

GERM-580 Autobiographical Fiction (Eigler)

This reading-intensive graduate seminar explores a pervasive trend in contemporary literature: the blurring of the distinction between fictional and autobiographical texts. Following a brief introduction to the history of autobiography in German literature (Goethe, Jean Paul), the course covers works by important contemporary authors and explores how, in the narration of individual life stories, these authors rely on the rhetorical tools of fiction.

GERM-660 Performing Race (Sieg)

Germans have thought of themselves as a post-racial society even longer than Americans, and even today are often not comfortable speaking about race and racism. Yet the presence of an Afro German minority culture that is becoming increasingly established and visible, and the prominence of Afro German artists in German and European pop culture, especially in music and television, make it important to reflect on the history of race in Germany and Europe. How has race been mapped onto human bodies, and how did notions of race change from the times of “scientific racism,” which climaxed in colonial atrocities and genocide, to the postwar, post-racial present? How have the activities of black Europeans—activists and artists—affected how we think about race in our multicultural, hypermediated culture, in which we think of identity as virtual and performative? How have American and German/European discourses of race touched and influenced each other during the Jazz Age, the Civil Rights Movement, and our contemporary moment?

GERM-727 Representations of Work (Pfeiffer)

“Work” is one of the defining aspects of modern life, at the same time highly regarded and despised as either the most important way for humans to be in and interact with the world or to be alienated from their true selves. Given the centrality of work for the modern self, the relative lack of representations in literature seems surprising. In part, this can be explained by the strong tradition of idealist aesthetics (Kant, Schiller) where Spiel is contrasted with a negatively connoted notion of labor/work. The course will give an overview of the uses and abuses of work and how it is variously conceptualized in theories and literature. The focus will be on the aesthetics of representations in the German tradition from around 1800 to the 21st century. Literary readings will be embedded in broader discussions of economic and political discourses. Theoretical anchors will be relevant excerpts from Friedrich Schiller’s Über die ästhetische Erziehung des Menschen, Karl Marx’ Das Kapital, Max Weber’s Die protestantische Ethik und der ‘Geist’ des Kapitalismus, and Hannah Arendt’s Vita activa oder Vom tätigen Leben.

GERM-731 Advanced Instructed SLA (Byrnes)

The course addresses theoretical, research, and instructional issues that arise when one investigates the L2 learning of adult instructed learners and explores approaches to teaching that support and enhance learning a second or third language, including a heritage language, to that level of capacity. Students gain in-depth knowledge through committing to a particular topic within one of the three areas, – theoretical, research, or instructional issues. They will develop their project in consultation with me, present it to the class, and prepare it as a final paper. Possible areas of interest include: theoretical issues arising from the literature, insights from research studies, and instructional or curricular proposals for advanced learning on the basis of classroom observation and/or available classroom data, such as from GU courses.

GERM-734 Bachmann & Celan (Speier)

Das Seminar beschäftigt sich mit ausgewählten Werken von Paul Celan und Ingeborg Bachmann. Dabei werden Beispiele aus einzelnen Entwicklungsphasen beider Autoren im Kontext von Tendenzen und Aspekten der deutschen Literatur nach 1945 behandelt, etwa Celans und Bachmanns Begegnung mit dem Wiener Surrealismus und der ‚Gruppe 47‘, Konzepte sogenannter „hermetischer“ Lyrik, die Stellung beider Autoren im bundesrepublikanischen Literaturbetrieb der 60er Jahre oder ihr Verhältnis zur politischen Lyrik und zur 68er-Bewegung. Schließlich werden ihre persönlichen und ästhetischen Beziehungen zueinander erörtert sowie die (unterschiedliche) Rezeption Celans und Bachmanns in der Literaturwissenschaft und in kreativen Aneignungen anderer Medien.