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 who address the same issues from a different time, place, angle, or genre. Further emphasis is placed on the history of ideas and how it contributes to current issues and debates. Paired readings may include Kant and Kleist, Freud and Kafka, Benjamin and Brecht, Böll and Celan, Seghers and Wolf.
Course Notes: Readings and discussion in German.