Spring 2019 Graduate Courses

Teaching Apprenticeship in German (1.5 credits)

Alexander Pichugin
M4 1:10pm-2:30pm, Craig Seminar Room, AB West Wing 4050

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.

Vanitas: Transience and Death in Early Modern and Contemporary Culture
Distinguished Visiting Craig Professor Claudia Benthien
T 4:30pm - 7:10pm , Craig Seminar Room, AB West Wing 4050

Cultural reflections about human loss usually appear in the form of retrospect: something is mourned that is inevitably gone. The bereaved endures his or her loss by imagining the ongoing presence of the deceased or the missing object, or by trying to resuscitate past incidences and moments by means of their imagination. There is, however, another form of reflecting loss that is structured in the mode of anticipation: the so-called vanitas topos. In Baroque still lives, for instance, one may perceive, in the midst of the beauty of opulent arrangements of exotic flowers and fruits, a tiny brown spot, a rotten leaf, a fly or any other evidence of the coming and yet present decay.

This graduate seminar will explore the Baroque semantics and iconography of vanitas in literature and the visual arts. With this historical background we will look at contemporary arts and culture, to inquire into the functions of these recourses found in the representations of human skulls in photographic works and sculptures (e.g. by Damian Hirst) or in the time-based aesthetics of neo-baroque ‘still lives’ in video art, by artists such as Sam Taylor-Wood. Literary readings will include the reflection of mortal diseases such as cancer and AIDS in narrative prose (Philipp Roth: The Dying Animal; Hans Pleschinski: Bildnis eines Unsichtbaren), as well as the topic of transience and carpe diem in pop literature (Tino Hanekamp: So was von da). Vanitas poems by authors such as Ulla Hahn, Ursula Krechel, Durs Grünbein, and Jan Wagner will also be discussed. In addition, we will investigate two highly relevant films (Elegy, dir. Isabel Coixet, and Tourists, dir. Alicia Scherson).

Students must be able to read German; the language of instruction is English.


Impossible Economies: Literature and Prostitution
Nicola Behrmann
W 4:30pm - 7:10pm, Craig Seminar Room, AB West Wing 4050

This seminar explores the rhetoric, figurations, and economies of selling sex in a variety of literary master texts: If it is true that the (mostly female connoted) figure of the prostitute serves as a mere projection or screen for deviant phantasies, what is the impact of writing over an exchanged body? In what way does prostitution inform Russian Realism, French Symbolism, or German Expressionism? What is the gift of the “prostitute” and what are her/his stakes? What is really being exchanged in the sporadic encounter with a sex worker? What kind of “allegory of modernity” does the prostitute mark? Participants in this investigation will be: Marquis de Sade, Giuseppe Verdi, Charles Baudelaire, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Léon Bloy, Frank Wedekind, Emmy Hennings, Marcel Duchamp, André Breton, Jean Genet, and Elfriede Jelinek. Discussions will be framed and guided by Theodor W. Adorno/Max Horkheimer, Georges Bataille, Walter Benjamin, Maurice Blanchot, Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, Sigmund Freud, Luce Irigaray, Jean-François Lyotard, and Karl Marx.

Taught in English.

Course Requirements: 2 class presentations (20%), 2 response papers (30%), and 1 final research paper (50%).

Learning Goals: (1) Students will demonstrate familiarity with a variety of world literatures as well as methods of studying literature and culture across national and linguistic boundaries and evaluate the nature, function and value of literature from a global perspective. (2) Students will analyze a specific body of research and write a clear and well-developed paper or project about a topic related to more than one literary and cultural tradition.