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.

Goethe's Faust and the Fracturing of Tradition
Nicholas Rennie
Crosslisted with Comparative Literature 16:195:516:01. Meets with 01:470:388:01 and 01:195:480:01

W 4:30pm - 7:10pm , Craig Seminar Room, AB West Wing 4050

Faust, in Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s drama, is every university’s worst nightmare. Frustrated that his multiple academic degrees have left him knowing nothing of value, the aging scholar goes rogue: he gives up standard research for magic; he flees his study with the devil to go out and party; he uses his status to help him impress and seduce a much younger woman; he heads off on a world tour without regard to those he encounters or has left behind; and he becomes a capricious and dangerous tyrant.

In this seminar we will examine both Part I and Part II of Goethe’s work, as well as historical sources, to consider first some questions about the Faust legend: how did this legend become the quintessential myth of modernity? What does Faust, in the various iterations of this legend, experience and learn by selling his soul? Is his story a celebration or a condemnation of the modern age of discovery – research, teaching, learning and self-exploration?

Even as we take these and other more general questions about the Faust myth into account, we’ll focus more particularly on the dramatic text that came to be widely considered the most important work both of Goethe’s life, and of the modern German literary tradition – as well one of the most disruptive and innovative works of modern European literature. Written and revised over six decades and drawing texts from the Bible to Kālidāsa’s Shakuntala, Dante’s Divine Comedy, the works of Shakespeare, Milton’s Paradise Lost, and poetic, scientific and philosophical writing of the 18th and early 19th centuries, the play updates an old German story about experimentation and the limits of human autonomy; it integrates, recasts and anticipates 18th and 19th-century developments in European literary and intellectual history; it adopts or develops virtually every metric and generic form that would be available in German by the time of Goethe’s death in 1832; and it has been invoked as a test case by literary, aesthetic, philosophical, political and social theories of the past 200 years. This seminar will combine close readings of the play in relation to these various literary and historical contexts, along with discussion of a selection of the drama’s recent interpretations.

Taught in English.


Visions of Europe: The films of the Berlin School
Regina Karl
M 4:30pm - 7:10pm, Craig Seminar Room, AB West Wing 4050

Coined the “German Nouvelle Vague” by critics, the “Berlin School”—a loose association of German filmmakers—has gained popularity over the last two decades not just in Germany, but also amongst the European and American arthouse community. Films by this informal collective share an aesthetics deeply concerned with formal aspects of filmmaking, yet they also betray a candid political realism. 

While the films of the “Berlin School” are largely understood as a portrayal of Germany lacking an identity after 1989, this course will read a selection of films by Harun Farocki, Christoph Hochhäusler, Valeska Grisebach, Christian Petzold, and Angela Schanelec as indicative of a subtle engagement with the European Union in crisis. A close reading of basic cinematic strategies as well as a critical investigation of both the history of the European Union as well as the history of art house cinema, will allow us to reconsider recent developments in the European socio-political and cultural context. Readings include Béla Balázs, André Bazin, Miriam Hansen, Siegfried Kracauer, Anna Seghers, Yoko Tawada, and Jacques Rancière. 

The seminar will be followed by a conference on the same topic at the Harun Farocki Institute in Berlin in the summer of 2020, involving scholars, critics, and filmmakers. Students will have the opportunity to help conceptualize and actively participate in the conference. 

Taught in English.