Fall 2023

Fall 2023 Graduate Courses

Teaching Apprenticeship in German (1.5 credits)
Alexander Pichugin
W2, 10:20am - 11:40am, Murray Hall 113

This course prepares graduate students for a successful teaching and learning experience in the foreign language classroom. The course addresses two major goals: introduce aspiring and beginning instructors to the most current methodologies of foreign language teaching and provide them with guidance and practical advice in the classroom. Special focus this semester will be on classroom interaction with its various aspects. The course includes designing lesson plans for a learner-centered classroom, stating objectives based on standards of foreign language learning and nationally accepted proficiency guidelines, finding authentic materials for teaching, developing and reviewing graded assignments, analyzing and comparing different assessment tools, observing and reflecting upon one's own teaching and the teaching by others, and discussing personal experiences and the challenges of the language classroom. This course is taught in German with some assignments and readings in English.


Hannah Arendt: For the Life of Politics
crosslisted with Comparative Literature, 16:195:605:01
Distinguished Visiting Craig Professor, Elisabeth Weber
co-taught by Michael Levine
W56, 3:50pm - 6:50pm, Craig Seminar Room, AB 4050

Taught in English.

The writings of German-American political theorist Hannah Arendt, who in 1933 had to flee German national-socialism, have in recent years been rediscovered for their strong resonance with questions that preoccupy Western societies of the 21 century: Among others, the obliteration of the differences between truth and falsehood in politics, the crisis of the republic, the appeal of totalitarianism and racism, the resurgence of antisemitism, the "decline of the nation state and the end of the rights of man," the exacerbation of the condition of stateless refugees, but also the enduring necessity of the revolutionary spirit. Most famous for coining the phrase of the "banality of evil," Arendt's concepts of "nativity" and of the "dignity of politics" stand for her staunch conviction that however dark political times are, human action can achieve radical –revolutionary– beginnings. Her fierce commitment to friendship as an always lively and ultimately political praxis continues to inspire readers today. The seminar will focus on Arendt's oeuvre, and will include excursions to thinkers who were decisive for her intellectual journey.


Between Archive and Exile: 20th Century Avant-Gardes
crosslisted with Comparative Literature, 16:195:608:02
Nicola Behrmann
T 56, 3:50pm - 6:50pm, Craig Seminar Room, AB 4050

Taught in English

The concept of “avant-garde” art in the first half of the 20th century negotiates exclusion and inclusion, preservation and loss, language and silence in ways that profoundly challenges the paradigm of representation and linear history. Focusing on major texts, films, and dance performances from the first half of the 20th-century, this course will engage the European avant-garde movements with regards to historiographical containment (“archive”) and the multi-faceted experience of displacement (“exile”). We will examine a wide range of vanguard techniques and theories of the avant-garde as way to relate preservation and belonging with exile and abandonment: the notion of space and time in a dislocated present, the loss of communicable experience, the use of repetition and montage, and the breakdown or meltdown of the signifier.

Readings include literature by Aichinger, Carrington, Hennings, Kafka, Loy, Mann, Rilke, and Stein. Visual examples include films by Hans Richter and Robert Siodmak/Billy Wilder together with dance performances by Josephine Baker, Louis Douglas, and Richard Huelsenbeck. With theoretical support from Adorno, Arendt, Benjamin, Blanchot, Bürger, Certeau, Derrida, Freud, Glissant, Kristeva, Lyotard, McKay, Susman, and Stein.


Lessing and the Reinvention of German Literature
Nicholas Rennie
Th56, 3:50pm - 6:50pm, Craig Seminar Room, AB 4050

Taught in German

This course aims to introduce and examine a selection of Lessing’s most important writings in the context of the developments that transform German literature and philosophy in the 18th century prior to Sturm und Drang. Topics to include: Classical and neo-Classical theories of literature and theater, and the invention of a new “German” culture; “Enlightenment” as a set of ideals and as work-in-progress; Empfindsamkeit; class society and literature’s role in both representing it and theorizing its end (Diderot and the new bürgerliches Trauerspiel); shifts in the portrayal and instrumentalization of gender roles; new theories of education and religion; and the creation and development of the modern field of aesthetics. We will be reading shorter selections by Gottsched, Bodmer and Breitinger, and other precursors and contemporaries of Lessing’s; and texts by Lessing to include Der junge Gelehrte, Der Freigeist, Die Juden, Miß Sara Sampson, Laokoon, Minna von Barnhelm, selections from the Literaturbriefe and Hamburgische Dramaturgie, Emilia Galotti, Die Erziehung des Menschengeschlechts, and Nathan der Weise.

Class discussion, readings and all assignments in German.