German 171. Just Law? Truth, Trial & Error in German Literature

Semester: 

Spring

Offered: 

2022

Top of stack of books installation at Bebelplatz, Berlin

Day/Time

T 9:45-11:45am

Instructor

Schwakopf

This course examines the intersections of law and literature from both a historical and a theoretical point of view. We will engage with literary and philosophical texts written by German-speaking authors that have become central for the understanding of this interdisciplinary field of study. With the help of readings spanning the time between the 18th and the 21st centuries, we will reflect on the manifold representations of questions of law in literature. How do literary texts articulate the rule of law and/or its failure, how do they depict legal procedure and “due process?” How is the complex relationship between violence, law and justice negotiated in philosophical discourse? What are the limits of the law and its authority, and what is the role of morality both in law-making and the subsequent execution of the law, as it becomes manifest in trial procedures, judgments and measures of retribution? Authors studied in this course may include: Goethe, Kleist, Büchner, Fontane, Kraus, Arendt, Jelinek, Zeh. Readings and discussions will be in English.

Course Notes: Readings and discussion will be in English.