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Spring 2013 Graduate Courses

Teaching Apprenticeship in German (1.5 credits)      
Th, 4:30-6:30, 172 College Ave, 2nd Fl. Library
Dr. Silke Wehner-Franco          
document Syllabus

The Teaching Apprenticeship will introduce graduate students who are teaching classes in the department to the professional expectations they will encounter as they seek careers in the foreign language teaching profession. Two major topics will be addressed: practical advice f or your own classes, and an introduction to the most current methodologies of foreign language teaching in New Jersey and in the United States. Both issues will help to prepare you for your future as a foreign language educator. The practical aspects of this class will include the writing of lesson plans and thematic units for a learner-centered classroom, based on the Standards for Foreign Language Learning in the 21st Century and the ACTFL proficiency guidelines, as well as the use of authentic teaching materials for meaningful activities and assessments. Assignments for this class will also include a weekly journal and an end-of-semester report, two peer observations per semester, and weekly observations regarding the classes you teach. This class is taught in German.

Topics: 20th Century Avant-Garde: Between Archive and Exile (in German) (3 credits)      
M 4:30-7:10pm, 172 College Ave, Seminar Room
Professor Nicola Behrmann
pdf Syllabus

The concept of the “avant-garde” in the first half of the 20th century settles in between memory and forgetting, remembrance and silence, death and resurrection, negation and affirmation in ways that challenge the writing of history. Focusing on major texts from the first half of the 20th century, this course will engage the so-called avant-garde in regard to modes of historiographical containment (“archive”) and the experience of abandonment and failure (“exile”). By way of a series of theoretical inflections (Bürger, Lyotard, Derrida, de Man, Blanchot, and Patočka) and literary case studies we will examine pertinent questions in vanguard productions: the notion of space and time, repetition and montage, the failure of language, and intellectual responsibility in the face of catastrophe. Readings include: Rainer Maria Rilke (Malte Laurids Brigge), Hugo Ball (Tenderenda), Emmy Hennings (Das Brandmal), Franz Kafka (Das Schloß),  Else Lasker-Schüler (IchundIch), Sigmund Freud (Der Mann Moses), and Klaus Mann (Der Vulkan). Visual examples include: John Heartfield, Barnett Newman, Walter Ruttmann (Symphonie der Großstadt), and Hans Richter (Vormittagsspuk).

Topics: Introduction to Trauma Studies (in English) (3 credits)      
Cross-listed with Comparative Literature (16:195:617:01)
T 4:30 - 7:10pm, 172 College Ave, Seminar Room
Professor Michael Levine

Individual experiences may register as traumatic when they exceed and overwhelm existing psychological, cultural, and symbolic frames of reference. The psychological suffering of such experiences often results in the impossibility of adequately expressing the occurrence. Every trauma may thus be said to result in a crisis of representation. In light of this inherent difficulty of the communication of traumatic experiences, the question arises how to integrate such “non-remembered,” previously undescribed, or indescribable experiences and events into accounts of history. At the same time, the demand for more inclusive accounts of history requires the representation of such contested and seemingly inexpressible experiences in particular. How can a history be remembered if the individuals who suffered it cannot fully recall the experiences which constitutes it? How can the elusive phenomenon of trauma be captured without surrendering the notion of historical truth to speculation and invention? In the seminar, we will explore these two questions regarding the difficulty of representing traumatic experience within the specific context of literature.

This interdisciplinary course explores the representation of individual and collective traumatic experiences in texts and visual documents dating from the 19th and 20th centuries. We will explore literary, artistic, historiographic, and theoretical attempts of representing traumatic incidents, examine the limits of such representations, and analyze the relation between individual experience and collective history. We consider representations of a number of historical events that have presented a problem for representation and conceptualization for both historians and artists. The intent is not to cover the history of these events but to examine the nature of these representational difficulties, and to investigate how these difficulties are linked to ethical concerns.

Topics: Systems, Chaos, and Games (in English) (3 credits)      
Cross-listed with Comparative Literature (16:195:609:01)
W 4:30 - 7:10pm, 172 College Ave, Seminar Room
Visiting Craig Professor Henry Sussman
document Syllabus

This is a course spanning the developments between some of the most original and still-telling early systems-makers, Kant and Hegel, and some important 20^th -century fiction writers, among them Kafka, Proust, Borges, Calvino, and Pynchon, whose works built and played upon the architecture of systems. As a way of extending some of the ideas introduced in the course, we will be reading a number of scholars and scientists who themselves have thought about the systematic dimensions of culture and life: Geoffrey Bateson, /Steps to an Ecology of Mind/, Anthony Wilden (/System and Structure/), Douglas R. Hofstadter (/Gödel, Escher, Bach)/, and James Gleick (/Chaos/). There will be a double-thrust to many of the seminars, which will be divided between elucidations of systematic pictures of the world and specific instances, whether from criticism, literature, or other art forms. We will work hard at discerning the follow-through between conceptual systems and the systematic dimensions of our everyday lives, whether legal, institutional, or familial.

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