Previous Semesters

Spring 2021 Graduate Courses


Teaching Apprenticeship in German (1.5 credits)

Alexander Pichugin
M4 1:10pm-2:30pm
Online class (Synchronous Remote, Canvas)

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.


Margins of Philology: The Futures of Literary Theory
Dominik Zechner
Crosslisted with Comparative Literature 16:195:610:01 and Philosophy 16:730:524:01

M 4:30-7:10pm
Online class (Synchronous Remote, Canvas)

Are the finest days of literary theory over, as some tendencies within today’s humanities make it seem, or is its brightest future yet to come? This seminar will cast a thorough look at the past and future of literary theory as a mode of thinking language; one might call it a radical form of philology. Taking Werner Hamacher’s aphoristic work 95 Theses on Philology as its starting point and guiding thread, the seminar will delve into a variety of discourses to determine the current state of critical theory, literary theory, and the philosophy of language. It will introduce students to various basic concepts pertaining to the study of literature (e.g. “form,” “performance,” “afformance,” “reading,” “reference,” “representation,” “translation,” etc.), and familiarize them with a number of approaches to the question of reading and understanding, including hermeneutics (Gadamer; Szondi), structuralism (Barthes; Lacan), discourse analysis (Foucault), rhetorical reading (de Man), performance theory (Austin; Butler), and deconstruction (Derrida; Nancy; Gasché). This methodological trajectory will help us to critically assess contemporary conversations revolving around “post-hermeneutics” (Kittler; Wellbery; Gumbrecht) and “surface reading” (Best and Marcus; Felsky). In addition to the above-mentioned authors, with a special emphasis on Hamacher and contemporary discussions of his œuvre, students will be exposed to philosophical works by Friedrich Nietzsche, Walter Benjamin, and Martin Heidegger. All graduate students with an interest in literary theory are welcome. Taught in English.


Poetic and Philosophical Encounters
Michael Levine

F 9am-12pm
Online class (Synchronous Remote, Sakai)

The course examines crucial – but also crucially missed – encounters between poets and philosophers in 20th- and 21st-century European thought. Texts discussed include Heidegger’s seminal readings of Hölderlin, Derrida’s writings on Mallarmé and Celan, Hamacher’s analysis of the famous encounter between Celan and Heidegger at the latter’s hut in the Black Forest, and Celan’s prose poem “Conversation in the Mountains“ written in the wake of a missed encounter with Adorno.  Of particular concern will be the political implications of Heidegger’s turn to poetry in the 1930s and Adorno’s famous dictum about the barbarity of writing poetry after Auschwitz.  If one is to continue to write poetry after “that which happened“ (Celan), how must it be done differently?  What new relations between poetry and philosophy does this entail? Students are encouraged to read texts in the original French and German but English translations will be provided for all works assigned and discussions will be conducted in English.