Prof. Stephanie Galasso

The concept “race” may call to mind nefarious pseudo-sciences aimed at justifying dehumanization and exploitation. Racist hierarchies and theories of civilization certainly owe much to scientists and ethnographers of the past. But what role has literature played in the development of ideas around race? On the one hand, literature can at times reproduce racial stereotypes and perpetuate forms of exclusion. On the other, literary writing has helped expose and protest the racial ordering of the modern world.

This course introduces students to founding texts in the thinking of race and literature. Topics and themes to be covered include German colonialism; race, antisemitism, and National Socialism; intersectional and Black feminist organizing in Berlin and beyond; and the roles of literature and cultural production in the struggle against resurgent right-wing movements in Germany today. Connections to broader conversations around curricular decolonization in German Studies and racial justice at Rutgers will also be highlighted.

Although the course devotes special attention to literature, students will have the chance to respond to a variety of media and genres, including philosophical texts and journalistic material.

No prerequisites. All readings and discussions in English. This course satisfies SAS Core Curriculum Learning Goals AHp, WCd.