Courses


Fall 2016

German Aa. Beginning German

An introduction to German language and culture designed for students with little or no knowledge of the language. Encompasses all four skills: speaking, listening, reading, and writing. Class sessions emphasize the development of oral proficiency. Instruction is supplemented by literary and non-literary texts, videos, and Internet activities. The first half of this course may not be taken as a half course for credit toward the AB degree; there are no exceptions to this rule. May not be taken Pass/Fail. Not open to auditors. Students must complete both terms of this course (parts A and B) in order to receive credit.

Staff

M-Th 9, 10, 11, or 12

German Ax. German for Reading Knowledge

An introduction to German language and culture designed for students with little or no knowledge of the language. Encompasses all four skills: speaking, listening, reading, and writing. Class sessions emphasize the development of oral proficiency. Instruction is supplemented by literary and non-literary texts, videos, and Internet activities. The first half of this course may not be taken as a half course for credit toward the AB degree; there are no exceptions to this rule. May not be taken Pass/Fail. Not open to auditors. Students must complete both terms of this course (parts A and B) in order to receive credit.

Parkes

T, Th 11:30-1:00

German Bab. Beginning German (Intensive)

A complete first-year course in one term for students with no knowledge of German. Provides an introduction to German language and culture encompassing all four skills: speaking, listening, reading, and writing, as well as an introduction to the culture of the German-speaking countries. Class sessions emphasize the development of oral proficiency. Instruction is supplemented by literary and non-literary texts, videos, and Internet activities.

Staff

M-F 9 -10 (plus F 10 - 11)

German Ca. Intermediate German: Speaking, Listening Comprehension, Reading, and Writing

Using an interactive discussion format, this third-semester language course offers systematic vocabulary-building and a grammar review. The focus is on improving comprehension and speaking skills. Materials include short fiction and drama, poetry, contemporary film, interactive lab work, and cultural materials from German websites.

Staff

M-Th 9 or 12 

German Dab. Intermediate German (Intensive): Speaking, Listening Comprehension, Reading, and Writing

A complete second-year course in one term for students with a basic knowledge of German. Focuses on enhancing students' proficiency in all four skill areas with special emphasis on speaking/discussion. Extensive vocabulary-building exercises, a thorough grammar review, and an introduction to various cultural topics of the German-speaking countries through the use of literary and non-literary texts, Internet, multimedia resources, and film.

Staff

M, W, F 12 - 1 and T, Th 1 - 3

German 61. Advanced Grammar and Reading

Prerequisite to true fluency in German. Advanced language instruction through systematic study of the rules of grammar, their nuances, and their exceptions. Application of this knowledge through the meticulous reading and parsing of selections from sophisticated texts (Goethe, Kant, Kleist, Heine, Kafka), as well as an entire Nietzsche essay and Thomas Mann story, prepares students for courses and any work requiring advanced German reading comprehension.

Burgard

T, Th 10-11:30, T, Th

German 101. German Literature, Culture, and Society

This course examines the major social-political trends and tensions that have informed literature and culture in the German-speaking countries. Students will develop the language skills to discuss, analyze, and interpret a variety of texts and cultural phenomena from the 18th to the 21st centuries, with special attention to social theory and political critique. Our readings and discussions are organized around pairs of thinkers from literary Realism and filmic representations to recent political editorials. We will put thinkers in dialogue with one another who address the same issues from a different time, angle, or place. Further emphasis is placed on the history of ideas and how it contributes to current issues and debates. Readings range from Goethe and Hegel through Benjamin and Brecht, Kafka and Jelinek, Arendt and Adorno. 

Course Notes: Readings and discussion in German.

Horakova

TBA

German 115. Deutsche Komödie

What provokes laughter in German culture? This course explores the genre of German-language comedy through major dramatists, satirists, stand-up comedians, and comedic film, and concludes with a performance in German at the end of the semester. Introduction to forms, techniques, and theories of comedy, as well as workshops on techniques of comic performance. Conducted entirely in German.

Course Notes: a 60-level course, or permission of instructor.

Parkes

M, W, F 1-2

German 143. German Empires

This course examines the history of Germans in Europe and elsewhere, starting with the revolutions of 1848 and ending with the separation of Austria, West Germany, and East Germany following the Second World War. We will consider multiple different visions of what "Germany'' should be, what borders it should have, and who should be considered "German."

Course Notes: This course, when taken for a letter grade, meets the General Education requirement for Societies of the World. This course fulfills the requirement that one of the eight General Education courses also engage substantially with Study of the Past. This course is also offered through the History Department as History 1265. Credit may be earned for either History 1265 or German 143, but not both.

Johnson

M, W, F 11-12

German 176. Staging War: Representations of Violence and Conflict in Drama and Theater 

Ever since Homer's epic Iliad, war has been a prominent subject of literature. Drama plays a particularly interesting role in this respect as it is faced with the problem of how to represent battle and warfare: to stage it by bodily action or by mere narration. In fact, throughout the centuries the immediate presentation of violence was seen as a threat to theater and its auditorium as it introduces dissent, strife, and violence to the center of the community. This is why Hegel famously sees drama as an ideal medium for (the representation of) domestic wars and civil strife. And it is why the strategies ancient Greek drama developed to keep such dangers at bay have proven so long living. The use of techniques such as the messenger report, teichoscopy or the synecdoche in representative protagonists remains remarkably stable until well into the 20th century -- and that in spite of a great number of technological, aesthetic, political, and social developments. In this class we will pursue the strategies of bringing war on stage and of keeping war off stage in German drama and theater. Before turning to the pivotal years around 1800 (Schiller, Goethe, Kleist, and Grabbe) we will establish the historical background by, firstly, identifying the main strategies in Aeschylus and, then, juxtaposing two early modern models that were highly influential on the later German authors: Racine's and Shakespeare's. With Bertolt Brecht, Heiner Muller, and Elfriede Jelinek we will, finally, discuss how twentieth-century theater positions itself in relation to these classical texts, both German and non-German, and show how the old strategies are put to new theatrical and ideological uses."

Auer

T, Th 
11:30-1

German 280. Voice, Affect, Subversion. The German and English Ode around 1800

According to Friedrich Kittler, the discursive network 1800 produces a medial voice suggesting a hallucinatory immediacy. In this seminar we will apply Kittler's insight to the "lyrisches Ich" established in late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century Germany and compare it to the “universal voice” simultaneously developed in England. The ode has always been understood as the medium of a common voice engendered, and sustained, by a shared affect, redefined when a new circuit of production, distribution, and consumption supplements the classical rhetoric of amplificatio by a medial amplification. In reconstructing these historical developments, we shall pursue the new aesthetic and political configurations they give rise to, and determine how the two traditions interact and can be contrasted from one another. Of particular interest is how the medially amplified affective voice subverts traditional rhetorical gestures of amplification, and at what point this voice itself fails.

Auer

W 1- 3

German 291. Questions of Theory

The seminar is built around a sequence of fundamental questions regarding the literary disciplines, their history and epistemology. Discussions are instigated by readings in philology, stylistics, the history of ideas, semiotics, structuralism, psychoanalysis, post-structuralism, film theory, genetic criticism, literary sociology, cultural studies, and digital humanities.

Hamilton/Schnapp

F 10 - 12

Scandinavian 90r.a Danish

Individualized study of Danish at the elementary, intermediate and advanced levels. Contact hours with language coach. Emphasis on literacy.

TBA

TBA

Scandinavian 90r.b Finnish

Individualized study of Finnish at the elementary, intermediate, and advanced levels. Contact hours with a language coach. Emphasis on literacy.

TBA

TBA

Scandinavian 90r.c Norwegian 

Individualized study of Norwegian at the elementary, intermediate and advanced levels. Contact hours with language coach. Emphasis on literacy.

TBA

TBA

Swedish Aa. Beginning Swedish Language and Literature

A basic course focusing on listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills. During fall term, pronunciation and listening comprehension will be emphasized, as well as regular writing assignments. Literary, film, music and other cultural texts will be introduced relatively early on. By semester's end, students will have achieved a basic literacy in everyday Swedish.

TBA TBA

Swedish Ba. Intermediate Swedish: Childhood in Swedish Literature and Culture

Sweden and Swedish Finland have produced some of the most translated and beloved works of children's fiction in the world. In this intermediate Swedish language course, we will review the essentials of Swedish grammar and vocabulary as we explore some of these classic works of children's fiction, film, and comic books and the aspects of Swedish culture they illuminate. The final project for this class involves producing your own work of children's fiction or film.

TBA TBA

 

Spring 2017

German Ab. Beginning German

An introduction to German language and culture designed for students with little or no knowledge of the language. Encompasses all four skills: speaking, listening, reading, and writing. Class sessions emphasize the development of oral proficiency. Instruction is supplemented by literary and non-literary texts, videos, and Internet activities. Students must complete both terms of this course (parts A and B) within the same academic year in order to receive credit.

Staff

M-Th 9, 10, 11, or 12

German Bab. Beginning German (Intensive)

A complete first-year course in one term for students with no knowledge of German. Provides an introduction to German language and culture encompassing all four skills: speaking, listening, reading, and writing, as well as an introduction to the culture of the German-speaking countries. Class sessions emphasize the development of oral proficiency. Instruction is supplemented by literary and non-literary texts, videos, and Internet activities.

Staff

TBA

German Cb. Intermediate German: Speaking, Listening Comprehension, Reading, and Writing

Continuation of German Ca. Discussion materials include literary and non-literary texts and film. Emphasis on speaking proficiency and on strengthening writing skills. Course includes a review of selected grammatical structures and exercises in vocabulary building.

Staff

M-Th at 9 or 12

German Dab. Intermediate German (Intensive): Speaking, Listening Comprehension, Reading, and Writing

A complete second-year course in one term for students with a basic knowledge of German. Focuses on enhancing students' proficiency in all four skill areas with special emphasis on speaking/discussion. Extensive vocabulary-building exercises, a thorough grammar review, and an introduction to various cultural topics of the German-speaking countries through the use of literary and non-literary texts, Internet, multimedia resources, and film.

Staff

M, W, F 12 -1 and T, Th 1 - 3

German 62. Advanced Conversation and Composition

This course is designed to further students' spoken and written German at the advanced level. Students will analyze and practice the stylistic and rhetorical features of various written and spoken genres. By focusing on aspects of contemporary society in the German-speaking countries, students will broaden and refine their vocabulary and idiom, become sensitized to different registers, as well as hone points of grammar.

Parkes

T, Th 10-11:30

German 63. Environment Matters: Green Thought in the German-Speaking World

The German-speaking world has long been known for its ecological concern and green credentials. Myriad films and novels from the post-1945 period deal with the degradation of the environment and the concomitant threat to human life. In this course we will look at novels from and about the former East Germany, newspaper and journal articles about the Green Party in West Germany, and both German and Austrian fiction films and documentaries dealing with the fragile state of the global environment. What kinds of formal features do these texts evince? Do they at times suggest a counter-argument to the large-scale destruction they depict? Do they actually promote an “ecology of images” (Sontag)? How do these texts relate their narratives of environmental damage to post-colonial politics or to international economic policies? How has the recent rise of “extreme cinema” influenced the kinds of films being made about such topics? Finally, do the films privilege a peripheral perspective and, if so, does this offer certain advantages? Texts by Heidegger, Adorno and Horkheimer, Mitscherlich, Sontag, Johnson, Maron, Wolf; films by Herzog, Wenders, Geyrhalter, Glawogger, Sauper, Maurer, Haneke, Seidl.

Course Note: This course is conducted in German.

Naqvi

T, Th 1-2:30

German 69. Crossing Borders in 20th and 21st Century German Culture

This course examines geographical, political and literary border-crossings within German-speaking Europe. We will explore how the notion of border crossings has been articulated in the small form, including poetry, the short story, the newspaper article, film, and visual art. Topics include literary projections of America (Kafka, Kracauer), exile communities before and during the Second World War (Zweig, Sebald), the Berlin Wall and German division (Grass, Schlöndorff, Schneider), multiculturalism in contemporary Germany, Austria, and Switzerland (Özdamar, Zaimoğlu), the current refugee crisis (Erpenbeck), and multilingual experimentation (Herta Müller, Pastior, Tawada).

Course Note: This course is conducted in German.

Horakova

T, Th 11:30-1

German 102. German Literature, Art, and Thought

This course explores the major trends and tensions that have informed German literature, art and thought from the 18th to the 21st centuries. In addition to developing the language skills to discuss, analyze and interpret literature, students will explore the rich cultural tradition in the German-speaking countries and its continued relevance for the world. Figures include: Kant, Goethe, Nietzsche, Freud, Benn, Kafka, Celan, Beethoven, and Wagner, plus a selection of writers from the post-War period.

Sütterlin

T 2-4

German 134. Understanding Beethoven

This course, co-taught by two professors, combines historical, cultural, and musicological approaches so as to develop a deepened understanding and appreciation of Beethoven’s music, assessing its intrinsic character while also placing it in German cultural, intellectual, and political history. The course does not require extensive musicological knowledge, but an understanding of basic music theory and music history will be presumed. Students will be required to attend performances by the Parker String Quartet, and there will be at least one class-trip to a performance at the Boston Symphony Orchestra. The course counts for credit in either history or music or German.

Gordon/Rehding

T 2-4

German 191. Engineering Texts: Avantgardes in Twentieth-Century Germany

This course examines the relationship between legal discourses and poetic representations of justice from the late 18th to the 21st Century. Can literature offer poetic justice when, as Schiller suggests, the legal system fails? Moreover, to what extent can literature adequately testify to historical events? Is fiction necessarily false testimony? Or is testimony fictional? Following an initial examination of Aeschylus’ Eumenides, where the vengeful furies yield power to the law, the course turns to modern depictions of criminals (Schiller, Goethe, Büchner, Kleist), holy justice (Droste-Hülshoff, Gotthelf), historical trials (Kippardt), and human rights (Arendt). We will conclude with the on-going debate about vengeance and forgiveness in literature and film (Wiesenthal, Améry, Tarantino).
With texts from Weimar Classicism, Romanticism, Realism and Modernism, the seminar offers a cultural-theoretical framework for reading each literary epoch alongside historical legal developments.

Horakova

M 2-4

German 231. Schwarze Romantik

The term “Schwarze Romantik” (“Dark Romanticism”), coined by Mario Praz in the 1930s, denotes a wide range of European literatures that draw on gothic motifs such as monsters, violence, and eroticism. Before and since Praz, the notion of a deviant Romantic literature has informed a number of fascinating aesthetic theories from Ästhetik des Hässlichen (Rosenkranz) to Ästhetik des Horrors (Brittnacher), Ästhetik des Ekels (Menninghaus), and Ästhetik des Schmerzes (Borgards). Focusing on German texts around 1800, this course explores “schwarzromantische” literature and its cultural implications. What larger epistemic shifts is this literature symptomatic of? Schwarze Romantik, thus our working hypothesis, is inextricably linked with developments such as the emergence of new sciences around 1800 (anthropology, biology, psychology, psychiatry), changes in penal law and the concomitant rise of criminology, shifts in societal and political systems in the wake of the French Revolution, the advent of new media, and last but not least, the rise of experimental and characteristically ‘modern’ aesthetics. We also explore German Romanticism’s relation to 18th-century aesthetics (Bodmer/Breitinger) and its impact on other literatures and arts (Poe, Baudelaire, surrealism), on 20th-century critical theory (Benjamin, Bakhtin, Foucault, de Man), psychoanalysis (Freud), media history (Kittler), and political theory (Carl Schmitt). Authors include Goethe, Schiller, Moritz, Novalis, Arnim, Brentano, Hoffmann, Tieck, Kleist, Büchner.

Course Notes: Readings and discussions in German. Open to undergraduates with permission of instructor.

Sütterlin

W 2-4

German 242. Germany and the Greeks: Philhellenism from Winckelmann to Heidegger

The seminar investigates the rise and development of German Philhellenism from 1750 to the twentieth century. Topics include the relation of epic to German national identity; the cult of originality, genius and tradition; pedagogy and revolution; the formation of the lyrical subject and concepts of the modern vates; representations of the classical body; Dionysus and tragedy; Mutterrecht; the history of Antiquarianism, philology, and classical scholarship; psychoanalysis and myth; metaphorology; Heidegger and the Pre-Socratics.

Course Notes: Readings are available in both the original (ancient Greek, Latin, German, and French) and in English translations, with seminar discussions in English. Also offered as Comparative Literature 242, but credit may be earned for only one of these courses.

Hamilton

F 10-12

German 254. The Frankfurt School on Film and Mass Culture

This seminar considers the Frankfurt School's deliberations on film, radio, television, and mass culture. We will devote the majority of the course to three seminal figures: Siegfried Kracauer, Walter Benjamin, and T. W. Adorno. More generally, we will focus on the debates catalyzed by the emergence of modern mass media and an industrialized visual culture; we will also reflect on the pertinence of these debates for our own contemporary culture of media convergence

Course Notes: This course is also offered through Visual and Environmental Studies as VES 289. Credit may be earned for either VES 289 or German 254, but not both.

Rentschler

TBA

German 274. Architecture and the Literary Imagination from the 19th to the 21st Century

In German culture, a rich tradition of thought deals with the importance of architecture and urban planning for human development and growth. This course seeks to retrace the outlines of this tradition, focusing on the 19th century to the present day. How does architecture respond to the pressing demand of housing humans in a manner adequate to the historical moment? How does literature reflect on and expand more abstract ideas on the built environment? After a brief foray into theoretical texts by Goethe and Hegel, we will look at realist works of the 19th century that outline a specific way of living as it is conducive to a young person’s Bildung or education (Grillparzer, Stifter, Ebner-Eschenbach). At the turn of the 20th century, we will focus on the designs and writings of urban planners and architects such as Camillo Sitte, Otto Wagner, and Josef Hoffmann, as well as texts by Karl Kraus, Adolf Loos, Robert Musil and Arthur Schnitzler. In the 1920s and 1930s, we will turn our attention to the designs and theorizations of the German Bauhaus in conjunction with models and texts by Ludwig Wittgenstein, Adolf Loos, Josef Frank, and Veza Canetti. In the post-World War II period, a new theoretical discourse bemoans the overhasty development of both rural and urban areas. We will examine some of the writings of the neo-avantgardist architects of the “Austrian Phenomenon” (Hans Hollein, Walter Pichler) in conjunction with prose by Thomas Bernhard. Finally, we look at “parametric” architecture (Zaha Hadid) and experimental literature (Brigitta Falkner, Elfriede Jelinek).

Course Notes: Conducted in English.

Naqvi

W 1-3

History of Art and Achitecture 276m. Berlin - Moscow 1913-1933

A comparative examination of the two greatest cultural experiments of the early 20th century - Weimar Germany and the Soviet Union - and the extraordinary dialogue that took place between them. Major topoi include the proliferation and intersection of various dadas, constructivisms, and realisms; the concepts of estrangement and alienation; the rise of photomontage, photo-illustrated magazines, monumental photography, and new media technologies; theories of technological reproducibility and distribution; and the perennial question of the relationship between aesthetics and politics.

Course Notes: Conducted in English.

Buchloh/Gough

Th 3-5

Scandinavian 55. One Hundred Years of Scandinavian Cinema

This course explores Scandinavian cinema from the pioneers of the silent era to the globally successful hit films of the present day. Students will trace the development of Scandinavian cinema through the films of directors such as Viktor Sjöström, Carl Th. Dreyer, Lars von Trier, Ingmar Bergman and Lukas Moodysson and discover the profound influence the region’s films have had, and continue to have, on filmmaking in America and the world.

Broomé

M 12-2, W 12-1

Scandinavian 90r.a Danish

Individualized study of Danish at the elementary, intermediate and advanced levels. Contact hours with language coach. Emphasis on literacy.

TBA

TBA

Scandinavian 90r.b Finnish

Individualized study of Finnish at the elementary, intermediate, and advanced levels. Contact hours with a language coach. Emphasis on literacy.

TBA

TBD

Scandinavian 90r.c Norwegian 

Individualized study of Norwegian at the elementary, intermediate and advanced levels. Contact hours with language coach. Emphasis on literacy.

TBA

TBA

Swedish Ab. Beginning Swedish Language and Literature

Continuation of the basic course focusing on a basic mastery of listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills. During spring term, the emphasis is on more advanced conversation and an exploration of Sweden's culture and civilization through selected texts and video. By semester's end, students will be able to carry on conversations in everyday Swedish, read news articles, and write letters and produce substantial creative work.

Broomé

M-Th 9

Swedish Bbr. Special Topics in Swedish Literature and Culture: Women of Letters

In this fourth semester Swedish course, we will explore women’s contribution to Sweden’s literary heritage. The course provides an overview of important historical and contemporary female Swedish writers and works with texts drawn from several centuries and a number of genres. The chronological framework will be complemented by thematic discussions on subjects such as motherhood, sexuality, national and international politics and the city. We will also investigate recent and current Swedish debates on gender, in the news and the wider public discourse.

Broomé

T, Th 11:30-1