Our courses are offered on a rotating basis, depending on faculty teaching loads at UNC and Duke, and the needs of the Germanic departments at both institutions. To help you get a sense of the flavor of our program's courses, we have selected classes offered between 2009-2015, shown below. Current course offerings can be found on the University Bulletins published by the Registrar's Offices (UNC Registrar's Class Search) (Duke Registrar's Schedule of Classes).

CDG Course Enrollment Form

Fill in and submit this form to Valerie Bernhardt every semester that you are a student in the program. Please submit your form before the semester begins.

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Core Courses

German Linguistics (Paul Roberge)

This course is offered, at the discretion of the professor, in two versions, as “Structure of the German Language” and “History of the German Language.” Either one satisfies the core requirement. The Structure of the German Language is an introduction to the formal analysis of German grammar: phonology, morphology, word formation, syntax, semantics. It is designed to provide future teachers and scholars with a basic understanding of German as a linguistic system. The course also considers the German language in its historical, sociolinguistic, extraterritorial aspects. The History of the German Language introduces students to the historical development of the German language from the earliest times until the modern period. We shall look at some of the phonological and morphosyntactic changes that differentiate German from English, Dutch and other related languages, and give the modern language its hallmark linguistic features.  We shall further examine the historical and cultural context in which German developed, noting the impact of important events, from Christianization to the Reformation, from courtly poetry to the invention of printing, on language use. Students will read short texts in the main historical forms of the language — Old Saxon, Old High German, Middle Low German, Middle High German and Early New High German.

Middle High German (taught by rotating faculty)

This course teaches the basic elements of the Middle High German language and exposes students to a variety of textual genres from the high Middle Ages such as courtly romance, heroic epic, love lyric, and late medieval rhymed couplet texts. The focus of the course is on language and translation, but the close textual work also provides an introduction to the medieval German literature and culture.

Cultural Foundations in German Studies I (taught by rotating faculty)

This seminar offers an intensive survey of literary, cultural and intellectual developments in German-speaking lands from 1200 to 1800. We will begin our investigation with a sampling of the major epics and poetry of the High Middle Ages. From there we will move into humanism and consider the invention of print and the popular literary forms characteristic of Reformation culture in the German lands. Venturing on into the 17th century, we will consider the revival of German poetry and the popularity of the picaresque novel in the aftermath of the Thirty Years War. The final section of the course will be dedicated to the drama, poetry, aesthetic writings and narrative fiction of the so-called Age of Goethe. Over the course of the semester, we will cultivate an understanding of literary history as a cultural formation that changes over time by paying particular attention to: 1) the role that shifts in media (orality and literacy, visual studies, print) played in constructing different concepts of literature; 2) conflicting models of what is German that have historically shaped the study of the diverse set of texts we are considering; and 3) the categories of gender, religion and secularization as critical indicators of social and cultural paradigm shifts. This course is designed as a reading-intensive seminar. In addition to completing the readings and participating actively in seminar discussions, students will be expected to take a midterm and final exam and to give several oral presentations. No papers will be required. After successfully completing this course, students can expect to have acquired an overview of the canonical texts, authors, and epochs of German literature from the beginnings to ca. 1800; an active understanding of the cultural and aesthetic categories through which a literary heritage is created and maintained, and the ways in which literary history came into being and has changed over time; and a deep knowledge of the modern tools of scholarly inquiry (editions, translations, dictionaries, and so on) in both print and electronic versions that are fundamental to the field of German literary studies.

Cultural Foundations in German Studies II (taught by rotating faculty)

This seminar required of all students in the Carolina-Duke Graduate Program in German Studies offers an intensive survey of literary, cultural and intellectual developments in German-speaking lands from 1800 to the present. Success in Foundations II does not require a command of the material covered in Foundations I. Over the course of the semester, students will cultivate an understanding of literary history as a cultural formation that changes over time by paying particular attention to: 1) the string of literary movements that constitute the modern literary canon; 2) the respective stylistic particularities, genres, textual forms, generic properties and idiosyncratic features of cultural production as reflected in their historical moment/movement; 3) the historically-bound ideologies and norms – literary, philosophical, historical, political, socio-economic – that are actively produced or contested through the complexity of aesthetic forms; 4) the construction of concepts of literature that have been influenced by shifts in media (orality and literacy, print, visuality, technologies of storage, reproduction and dissemination); 5) conflicting historical models of what is German that have shaped the study of the diverse set of texts we are considering; and 6) attendant philosophical and theoretical concepts relevant for situating literary texts within larger discursive context within their respective time. This course is designed as a reading-intensive seminar. In addition to completing the readings and participating actively in seminar discussions, students will be expected to take a midterm and final exam and to give two oral presentations. No papers will be required. After successfully completing this course, students can expect to have acquired an overview of the canonical texts, authors, and epochs of modern German literature since 1800; an active understanding of the cultural and aesthetic categories through which a literary heritage is created and maintained; an appreciation for the ways in which literary history came into being and has changed over time; and, finally, a deep knowledge of the modern tools of scholarly inquiry (editions, translations, dictionaries) in both print and electronic versions that are fundamental to the field of German literary studies.

Foreign Language Pedagogy: Theories and Practice (Christina Wegel & Cori Crane)

This course introduces new Teaching Assistants in the joint program to current methodologies and pedagogies relevant to teaching in a communicative classroom. We will consider theoretical developments as well as current issues in language pedagogy discussed in recent articles (Die Unterrichtspraxis, Foreign Language Annals et al.) and such readings as Making Communicative Language Teaching Happen (Lee and VanPatten), Teaching Language In Context (Omaggio-Hadley), and Approaches and Methods in Language Training (Richards and Rodgers). Furthermore, we will explore practical applications of the studied approaches and theorems, debate and engage with language, literature and culture classroom settings and methods and start building online teaching portfolios containing sample lesson plans, syllabi, and teaching philosophies.

Fall 2018

Courses in Program

Cultural Foundations in German Studies I ( GERM 615)
This seminar, a required course for graduate students in the Carolina-Duke Graduate Program in German Studies, offers an intensive survey of literary, cultural and intellectual developments in German-speaking lands from 1200 to 1800. Starting with a sampling of the major epics and poetry of the High Middle Ages, the course will move into the Early Modern period. The final section of the course will be dedicated to the drama, poetry, aesthetic writings and narrative fiction of the eighteenth century. In addition, a sample of short theoretical texts on topics such as historical discourse analysis, new historicism, and new philology will be read alongside.
Readings in German ; class discussions in English. KOELB.  TR 3:10 PM - 4:25 PM.  CAROLINA CAMPUS

The Emergence of Literary History (GERM 790S)
Graduate education in German involves the teaching of literary history. Graduate seminar syllabi are structured by means of literary history (periods, genres over time, literary movements etc.), comprehensive exams test the acquisition of literary-historical knowledge, and dissertations frequently relate to standard literary-historical accounts. But historically, literary history has not been the only or dominant way of organizing literature; it is a fairly modern device. This seminar looks at the emergence of literary history in Germany, or at the discovery of literature’s historicity, in the late 18th and early 19th century and pays attention to writings of Herder, Schiller, Friedrich and August Wilhelm Schlegel, among others.
Readings in German; class discussions in English. NORBERG.  Wed.  4:40 PM – 7:10 PM.  DUKE CAMPUS

Immanence (GERM 860)
Taking our point of departure from a reading of Spinoza’s Ethics, we will examine the way in which philosophical and literary texts become invested in immanence—both as a concept and as a mode of attentiveness to sensuous self-organization. We will particularly examine the ramifications of immanence for aesthetic and conceptual-discursive form.  Aesthetic, ethical, theological, and political consequences of literary and philosophical immanence will be considered.
Readings and class discussions in English or German (depending on the enrollment). TROP.  Tues.  4:40 PM – 7:10 PM.  CAROLINA CAMPUS.

Elemental Media (GERM 885)
If our digital age has thoroughly re-shaped our relations with ecological and economic systems, then how has contemporary German literature of the last 15 years attended to these relations?  How is literature’s own mediality always already engaged with or even intervening in the relations elemental media give rise to?  How does literature re-frame the ways in which we perceive the digital transformation of our relationships with other humans and nature?  Authors to be discussed:  Delius, Duve, Enzensberger, Grünbein, Jelinek, Kluge, Mayröker, Peltzer, Vanderbeke, and Wondratschek. Additional readings by Blumenberg, Böhme, Goethe, Groys, Hesse, Kittler, McLuhan, Peters, Vogl, etc. Readings in German; discussions bilingual.

Foreign Language Pedagogy Theories & Practice (GER 700)
Overview of current research in the fields of second language acquisition and foreign language pedagogy, and its implications for the teaching of the German language, literature, and culture at all levels. Readings and discussions on competing theories of language acquisition and learning, issues of cultural identity and difference, learner styles, and the teaching of language as culture; training in contemporary teaching techniques and approaches.
CRANE.  Mon. 4:40 PM - 7:10 PM - DUKE CAMPUS 

Crosslisted Courses from Affiliated Departments

  • English 890S.01 - Special Topics:  Hannah & Arendt
    The primary goal of this course is to focus closely on Arendt as awriter, with the goal of understanding how her concepts, and her related mode and style of writing, can reconfigure our understanding of the relationships among politics, texts, interpretation, and the arts. (For example, we will consider Arendt’s interpretation of Homer, which is important for her overall project; her critique of the form of the novel; etc.).  In order to enable this focus, we will read small selections from a number of her texts, as well as some of the authors upon whom she was drawing (e.g., Kant, Marx, Nietzsche, Heidegger), but devote much of our time to a close and patient reading of The Human Condition, which synthesizes many of her Arendt’s key concerns.
    Instructor: Robert Mitchell
  •  Italian 590S.01  -  Special Topics: Svevo & World Literature
    Italo Svevo (1861-1928) wrote some of the most important modern Italian novels, like La coscienza di Zeno (Zeno’s Conscience), but has never achieved the world status one might expect, especially for someone who was taught English by no less a figure than James Joyce. Described as “hovering” near international fame, Svevo has been categorized as Italian, Jewish, Triestine, Austrian, German, and Modernist. This class examines Svevo in these various contexts to understand the strengths and weaknesses of classifications according to language, religious or cultural background, nation, education, and literary movement. By reading Svevo in the company of other authors, such as Pirandello, Proust, Kafka, and Shakespeare, as well as thinkers like Freud, Schopenhauer, and Darwin, students will explore Svevo’s work in detail, while also investigating ideas of literary influence and the meanings of world literature. Course taught in English.
    Instructor: Saskia Ziolkowski




Spring 2019


Courses in Program

Middle High German (GERM502)
This course teaches the basic elements of the Middle High German language and exposes students to a variety of textual genres from the high Middle Ages such as courtly romance, heroic epic, love lyric, and religious literature.  The focus is on language and translation, but the close textual work also provides an introduction to medieval literature and culture.
Readings in English, German and Middle High German. Class will be conducted in German.
Von Bernuth.  F 10:15 AM-01:15 PM. Register at UNC; Course meets on Duke Campus.

Later 20th Century Literature: Multicultural Germany. (GERM 655)
What does it mean to be German? On what does a German identity depend? A common language? A common religion? A common legal status? Since the end of World War II with the arrival of numerous guest workers, foreign students and refugees, Germany has become increasingly diverse. How does this influence German notions of national identity? We will explore these issues through discussion and readings of literature, theoretical and non-fictional texts, as well as viewing films.
Readings in English or German; class discussions in English. Layne.  MW 03:10 PM-04:25 PM. UNC Campus.

The Melancholy of Art (GERM/ENG 590S)
Theodor Adorno at various points in his oeuvre remarked that the illusory and ephemeral world spun in art, literary or otherwise, often tends to engulf the reader/audience in sadness.  Because all art “is bound up with semblance, [it] is endowed with sadness; art grieves all the more, the more completely it suggests meaning.”  As it responds to a welter of inchoate and antagonistic forces that comprise our empirical existence, art and the artistic temperament knows that it can only ever bring all these conflicting perceptions, desires, fears, etc. into fleeting (symbolic) alignment.  Profoundly cognizant of its own transience as a merely symbolic world, art is bound up with melancholy.  Or, as Adorno puts it, “melancholy is the shadow of what in all form is heterogeneous, which its form strives to banish: mere existence.  … In the utopia of its form, art bends under the burdensome weight of the empirical world from which, as art, it steps away.”
The focus of this seminar is not melancholy as a “theme” in art but, rather, the inherently melancholic disposition of art and representation. It is no accident that the nexus of art and melancholy becomes pronounced just as the idea of aesthetic autonomy begins to take shape – that is, of art beginning to detach itself from metaphysical and cosmological frameworks and certitudes at the threshold of the sixteenth century. – Thus, following some exploratory theological readings that frame melancholy as a sin (acedia) – John Cassian, Gregory the Great, Aquinas – we will consider some artworks, such as Albrecht Dürer’s “Melancholia I” (1514) and Lorenzo Lotto, which offer a secular echo of the Pietá motif. We will then move on to selections from Robert Burton’s Anatomy of Melancholy (1621), a work that both explores and embodies its eponymous condition in strangely digressive and shapeless prose. The discussion will be complemented by W. G. Sebald’s self-conscious tribute to early-seventeenth-century melancholia in The Rings of Saturn (1997). – The majority of the seminar will be taken up with constellations of melancholy in nineteenth- and twentieth-century narrative: Joseph Roth, Radetzkymarch (1932); Sandor Marai, Embers (1942), and Guiseppe di Lampedusa, The Leopard (1958). The pièce de resistance will be Thomas Mann’s Doctor Faustus (1947), which perhaps more than any other European novel throws into relief the melancholy intrinsic to artistic creation, while also placing the catastrophe of European fascism in intricate dialogue with the post-Schismatic, early-modern Europe of Dürer and Luther. – In addition, we will screen two films: Ingmar Bergman’s Winter Lights (1963) and Theo Angelopoulos’ modernist cinematic reimagining of Homer: Ulysses’ Gaze (1995). Readings and class discussions in English. Pfau.  M 06:15 PM-08:45 PM. Duke Campus.

Marx and Philosophy (GERM/PHIL 790)
An introduction to the philosophy of Karl Marx from both analytical and historical perspectives. We shall study his early, explicitly philosophical texts and his later writings on political economy. Focus will be on his transformation of fundamental concepts from the philosophical tradition (chiefly Aristotle and Hegel), his critique of political economy, his concepts of historical materialism, ideology, and critique, as well as his reception by some later Marxist thinkers. Readings in English or German; class discussions in English. Pickford.  T 04:40 PM-07:10 PM. -  Allen 326 - Duke Campus.


Crosslisted Courses from Affiliated Departments


Coming soon! 








Spring 2018

Courses in Program

Structure of German
Introduction to German linguistics (phonology, morphology, word formation, syntax), language history, variation, standardization and language politics, overseas German.
Readings and discussions in English.

Forming, Classing, Grounding: Science and Litearture in the Age of Goethe
Literature and philosophy of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, whether classified as Romanticism, Classicism, Enlightenment, Idealism, or Naturphilosophie, shared an obsessive interest in the manner of human embedment in the natural world and the possible grounding and extent of human exceptionalism. The jurisdictions of literature, philosophy, and natural history frequently overlapped as each discipline, in differing ways, explored and experimented with natural forms, classifications, and foundations and methodologies for the study of nature. In this seminar, we will investigate various emerging life sciences, and literary works which interrogated theories of organisms and their social, political, epistemological, and ethical implications and assumptions. We will focus on the form of organisms (generation, morphology, Bildung, Bildungstrieb, inheritance, and teleology), their classifications (transformationalism, metamorphosis, race, and language family), and the methodological and epistemological grounds of knowledge about nature, including the particular methodoligical challenges attending the human position as both subject and obkect of naturalist investigation. Authors will include Herder, Blumendach, Kant, Goethe, Kleist, Fichte, Novalis, Schelling, Hoffmann, Kielmeyer, and Treviranus, among others.
Readings in German; Class Discussions in English.

Topics in German Cultural Studies: Bildungsroman
This course explores the development of the German Bildungsroman tradition from the late eighteenth to the late twentieth century. Based on close readings of exemplary texts, the focus will be on identifying both common generic traits (formal and thematic) and changing notions of the subject, aesthetics, and the relations of the subject and social sphere. While mostly addressing the literary tradition, we will also consider some of the other discursive dimensions to Bildung, especially in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. We will also be experimenting with varied theoretical approaches, including those of psychoanalysis, gender studies, and Foucault-inspired historicism. Works to be read include Goethe’s Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre, Schlegel’s Lucinde, Novalis’ Heinrich von Ofterdingen, Keller’s Der Grüne Heinrich, Mann’s Der Zauberberg, and, time permitting, Handke’s Der Kurze Brief zum langen Abschied, and Wolf’s Nachdenken über Christa T.
Readings in German; Class Discussions in English.

Fall 2017

Courses in Program

The Nearest Thing to Life: Theory and Methods of Reading
Reading is one of the core cultural techniques through which we inhabit, understand, engage with and reflect upon a common world. In this seminar we will focus on historical and contemporary methods of reading, interpretation and critique. We will also investigate in what way methods of reading apply to non-textual phenomena, such as images, objects, the world, or human lives.
Possible readings include Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Sigmund Freud, Walter Benjamin, Carlo Ginzburg, Hans-Georg Gadamer, Friedrich Nietzsche, Hans Blumenberg.
Readings and Class Discussions in German.
Prica: MW 3:10 PM – 4:25 PM. CAROLINA CAMPUS

Rilke & Phenomenology, 1900-1926
At the center of this seminar will be an in-depth exploration Rilke’s lyric oeuvre beginning with Das Stundenbuch (1899/1905) and Das Buch der Bilder (1902), extending via Neue Gedichte (1907) through his Duineser Elegien and Sonette an Orpheus (1922) and other late poetry. Additionally, we will take up some of Rilke’s prose writings on aesthetics, including his short monograph on Rodin (1902), his letters on Cézanne (1907), a few short prose pieces, and a selection of his far-flung and remarkably probing letters.
Rilke’s overriding concern lies not with “things” as such, nor for that matter with their mimetic or specifically ekphrastic “representation.”  Rather, his poetry (especially in Neue Gedichte and beyond) is concerned with capturing the way that perception of things and the spaces that contain them is qualitatively experienced by consciousness. It is this focus on experience as constitutive of the object- or thing-character of the world (and implicitly also of the consciousness experiencing the Lebenswelt) that is also being developed, during the same years, in the work of Edmund Husserl. The texts most pertinent for our purposes are Husserl’s lectures on Phantasie und Bildbewußtsein (1905) and his Ideen zu einer reinen Phänomenologie (1913), of which we will read selections. Far more than Husserl, however, Rilke is also concerned with the challenge of transposing so-called intentionale Erlebnisse into expressive verbal form. In scrutinizing and giving metaphoric expression to Ding, Bild, and Raum, Rilke conceives of lyric speech as the crucial supplement to, or fulfillment of, the “noetic” states that Husserl is only able to parse in descriptive, taxonomic fashion.
Finally, the last third of our seminar will trace Rilke’s shift, in the Elegien and other late poems, to a phenomenology of existence or Dasein that has often, if not always convincingly, been mapped onto Heidegger’s writings of the later 1920s. In fact, Heidegger appears to flatten Rilke’s stunning metaphoric creativity when it comes to capture fleeting, albeit potentially epiphanic experiences that serendipitously present themselves to Dasein. Thus, in affirming “die herrlichen Überflüsse / unseres Daseins,” and maintaining that “noch ist uns das Dasein verzaubert; an hundert / Stellen ist es noch Ursprung” (RW 2: 262) Rilke understands the encounter with the ontic realm (“der unerschöpfliche Gegenstand”) to be shaped by an interweaving of finitude and transcendence: “Gesang, wie du ihn lehrst, ist nicht Begehr, / nicht Werbung um ein endlich noch Erreichtes; / Gesang ist Dasein.“
Course Readings:
Rilke, Die Gedichte (Insel Verlag, 2006)
(All other readings will be placed on reserve as .pdf documents)
Preparatory Readings (strongly recommended for the summer):
Robert Sokolowski, Introduction to Phenomenology (Cambridge UP, 2000)
Readings in German; class discussions in English.
Pfau: T 4:40 PM – 7:10 PM. DUKE CAMPUS

Stimmung and Film Aesthetics
In this course, we will trace the history of Stimmung (mood, atmosphere, attunement, tonality) as an aesthetic term from the Enlightenment to Romanticism to Realism to Modernity (Kant, Fichte, Nietzsche, Simmel, Hoffmansthal, Heidegger) and discuss its relevance for and application to literature and art along the way (Stifter, Riegl).
Our main question, however, will be the role of Stimmung for moving image aesthetics. Narrative and non-narrative films not only creates their own spatiotemporal worlds, but, as a medium that works by means of sensorial impact and immersion, film also imbricates the spectator in unique ways. We will explore the recourse to Stimmungsästhetik in early film theory (Hoffmannsthal, Lukács, Balázs, Eisner) and in particular its application to expressionist and Kammerspiel films of the 1920s. In a second step, we will look at contemporary global art cinema production (Malick, Arnold, Schanelec, Petzold) and discussions of Stimmung and related terms.
Questions we will ask include: What is the relationship between Stimmung and narrative? How do elements of mise-en-scène (such as performance, décor, or framing), editing, and camerawork (camera movement, position, angle, lenses, focus) contribute to a Stimmung? What is the relationship between Stimmung, realism, and anthropocentrism? What is our conception of the spectator when we think about Stimmung? And finally, how does Stimmung help us think critically about past and current stylistic transformations?
Readings and films in English and German (with translations); class discussions in English.
Pollmann: M 04:40 PM - 07:10 PM. CAROLINA CAMPUS

Crosslisted Courses from Affiliated Departments

  • English 590S.01 - Special Topics: Comparative Modernism in Arts
    This course explores modernism as a rich mosaic of intermedial aesthetic practices, focusing closely on intersections between music, visual, and literary arts. This exploration will often take us behind the scenes of modernism, listening in on conversations in literary salons that inspired composers, or looking over the shoulder of writers jotting down ideas in diaries, while listening to music. Consider, for example, the lively portraits of artists emerging from Gertrude Stein's unusual Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas; or Parade (1917), produced by Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes, with costumes by Pablo Picasso, music by Erik Satie, and a scenario signed by Jean Cocteau; or Oskar Schlemmer’s eccentric piece of Bauhaus brilliance, the Triadic Ballet (1922), partly inspired by Arnold Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire (1913), both emancipated from the constraints of theatrical and operatic traditions that had dominated Western art for centuries.

Spring 2017

Modernism, Language, Theory
According to one narrative, literary modernism emerged out of the crisis of language articulated by such thinkers as Friedrich Nietzsche, Hugo von Hofmannsthal, and Karl Kraus. This crisis implicated various aspects of language, from its communicative potential to literary figuration, and from the formulaic to the formless, as well as issues of accent, dialect, idiosyncratic speech, phraseology, and oral versus written practices. The works of numerous writers in the modernist literary tradition--including James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, Samuel Beckett, Rainer Maria Rilke, Franz Kafka, and Robert Musil--can be read in this context. Whether they reformulate the problems of language in modernity or offer explicit or implicit solutions to it, a critical, often skeptical view of language is central to their works. Decades later, numerous structuralist and post-structuralist critics picked up on this concern with the limits and possibilities of linguistic expression in modernism. The crisis of language thus enjoys an afterlife in the critical writings of Roland Barthes, Jacques Derrida, Paul de Man, Dorrit Cohn, and others. This course will trace the crisis of language in modernism in some of its philosophical, literary, and critical manifestations.
Class discussions in English. Students are encouraged to read all texts in the original, but English translations will be available.
Gellen. TH 4:40 PM – 7:10 PM. DUKE CAMPUS

Germans, Jews, and the Theatre
“What good actor today is not a Jew?” Friedrich Nietzsche asked in 1882, posing a question that drew on a long tradition of regarding Jewish efforts at integration into the modern world as a mode of dissimulation. This seminar explores the real and symbolic roles that theatre played in shaping Jewish identity and relations between Germans and Jews from roughly 1750 to 1900. Examining a range of dramas and writings about theatre, the course explores relations between concepts of Jewishness and understandings of theatricality as these shift over time. We will consider antisemitic conceptions of Jews as actors and mimics while studying the role that the theatre played in promoting idealized conceptions of Jewish men and creating affective communities of compassion with the suffering of exotic Jewish women.
We will begin by considering Gotthold Ephraim Lessing’s Die Juden (1749) and Nathan der Weise (1779) against the backdrop of German adaptations of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice. Moving into the nineteenth century, we will study Julius von Voss’s Der travestierte Nathan (1804) alongside both Karl Sessa’s anti-Jewish farce Unser Verkehr (1813) and Aaron Halle-Wolfssohn’s German-Jewish family drama, Leichtsinn und Frömmelei (1798). The next section of the course will consider two dramas that became fixtures in theatre repertoires throughout the German-speaking world: Karl Gutzkow’s Uriel Acosta (1846) and S. H. Mosenthal’s Deborah (1849). After a detour to consider the Orientalist exoticism of Karl Goldmark’s grand opera, Die Königin von Saba (1875), we will conclude the semester by studying Karl Emil Franzos’s Bildungsroman Der Pojaz (1905), a recasting of Goethe’s Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre in which the Yiddish-speaking protagonist longs to play Shylock on the German stage. Close readings of texts will be supplemented by discussion of reception documents, contemporary responses, and theoretical readings on questions of identity and performance.
The primary goal of the seminar is that students produce a paper similar in scope and format to an article that would be published in a scholarly journal. To this end, students will spend a significant portion of the semester working on an individualized research project and sharing their work with the seminar. Students will be expected to contribute to the seminar through regular oral presentations, a fifteen-minute conference paper to be presented in the final weeks of the semester, and a final research paper due at the end of the semester.
Reading knowledge of German essential; class discussions in English. Hess. F 9:05AM – 11:55AM. CAROLINA CAMPUS

Fall 2016

Courses in Program

Afrofuturism, Cyborg Feminism and Afro-German Literature
Though Afro-German literature reaches as far back as the early twentieth century, it has only became a concrete field of study in the past 30 years. The first recognized Afro-German authors primarily produced autobiographies and literature addressing the quotidian experience of being black in German society. However, in the past twenty years, Afro-German authors, poets and playwrights have increasingly looked to Afrofuturism as an inspiration for rethinking what it means to be black and German. The turn towards Afrofuturism in Afro-German literature is especially revolutionary, considering its potential for countering Afro-pessimist discourses circulated in Europe and abroad.
This course seeks to explore what is at stake in Afro-German artists’ turn to futurity. In order to investigate this topic, we will begin by asking what is Afrofuturism? What differentiates it from an earlier movement like Futurism? What motivates African diasporic artists to engage with the modes of science fiction and speculative fiction? And what can futurist discourses in feminist theory and queer theory contribute to these questions? In this course we will trace discourses around Afrofuturism in literature, film and music by engaging with texts from across the African Diaspora. We will also read a range of theorists including Arjun Appadurai, José Estaban Munoz, Shulamith Firestone, Donna Haraway and Leslie Adelson.
Discussions in English. Readings in English and German (translations will be provided).
Layne. MW 3:10 PM – 4:25 PM. CAROLINA CAMPUS

German Literature
This course looks at the category of German literature historically. How did “German literature” come into being as an object of interest and independent field of study? Many elements had to be assembled for this field to appear. German had to become an official university language rather than a vernacular of little scientific or aesthetic use; the field of writing had to become internally differentiated into various domains, one being highbrow literature; individual texts had to emerge not as products of a rhetorical practice but as objects of aesthetic reception and careful interpretation; a national canon had to be discovered or built, comprising ancient and near-contemporary texts of indisputable value; a course of study with plausible practical-preparatory relevance for a post-university life had to be drafted etc. This course traces the emergence of German literature as a particular formation deemed worthy of sustained and methodical study and explores the implications of this history for our situation today.
Readings in German and English, class discussion in English.
Norberg. TH 4:40 PM – 7:10 PM. DUKE CAMPUS

Aesthetics and Poetry
This course will examine the relationship between aesthetics and poetry starting in the eighteenth century and continuing into the twenty-first century. Baumgarten's Philosophical Reflections on Poetry (1735) launches the birth of aesthetics by rethinking the philosophical status of poetic objects: not only does poetry become an appropriate object of philosophical discourse, but it produces and embodies its own particular media-specific form of truth. This seminar will follow threads that link aesthetic discourses, poetic practices of production and reception, the precise yet elusive form of poetic objects, and the discursive and philosophical fields of meaning and truth-production--ethical, political, scientific--in relationship to which poetic objects position themselves. Authors include: Baumgarten, Kant, Hölderlin, Schelling, Novalis, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Benjamin, Lukàcs, Celan, Rancière, Badiou, among others.
This course, which emphasizes the continental aesthetic tradition and will include later nineteenth- and twentieth-century contributions, has been designed to complement Professor Robert Mitchell’s class on aesthetics at Duke which will be held Wednesdays 11:45 AM – 2:15 PM.
Class discussion in English, readings in English (the German and French originals will be available for those who can read these languages).
Trop: T 4:40 PM – 7:10 PM. CAROLINA CAMPUS

Spring 2016

Courses in Program

History of the German Language
This course introduces students to the historical development of the German language from the earliest times until the modern period. We shall look at some of the phonological and morphosyntactic changes that differentiate German from English, Dutch and other related languages, and give the modern language its hallmark linguistic features. We shall further examine the historical and cultural context in which German developed, noting the impact of important events, from Christianization to the Reformation, from courtly poetry to the invention of printing, on language use. Students will read short texts in the main historical forms of the language — Old Saxon, Old High German, Middle Low German, Middle High German and Early New High German.
Taught in English.  Advanced reading proficiency in German required.
Roberge: MW 03:10 PM-04:25 PM  CAROLINA CAMPUS

Form and Experience: Film and the Melodramatic
Melodrama is pure cinema. Films are marked by excess in both mise-en-scène and affect and by an intricate relationship between form and emotional content as well as between the personal and the social-political. Though often derided as low form, kitsch, “just” woman’s film or tearjerker, film scholars have long recognized that melodramas are stylistically highly complex and push the boundaries of cinematic form and spectatorship. We will approach melodrama as a question that concerns all of cinema. Rather than engage with melodrama as a genre, we will define the contours of a melodramatic style in the cinema—a style that, as some have argued, seems synonymous with narrative film itself, as the melodramatic is defined by pure visibility, external signs, and a focus on gesture. By looking at films from a variety of national contexts we will refine our understanding of the melodramatic as a mode that conveys concrete historical experience.
Our course is divided into four sections. We will begin with a survey of the main characteristics of film melodrama and its indebtedness to 19th century stage melodrama. We will then focus on two case studies, Douglas Sirk (Detlef Sierck) and Max Ophüls, who started their career in Germany and Austria and went into exile during the 1930s (Netherlands, Italy, USA, and France). Their films will not only allow us to probe the relationship between film form, affect and national and cultural environment, but will also highlight how elements of German cinema from the 1920s (New Objectivity, Expressionism) infiltrate American melodrama and how this film language cycles back to Germany and amalgamates with French cinema. Finally, we will look at diverse examples of contemporary films that recycle, and redefine, melodramatic elements. The class discussion will be in English and all readings will be provided in English (and the German original where applicable); German and other foreign films will be subtitled in English.
Pollmann: R 04:40 PM-07:10 PM

Consent: Sex and Governance in the Age of Revolution
Now is not the first period of rampant interest in consent. This seminar will explore the ways in which consent came to serve as the foundation of both political and marital legitimacy in the 18th century. Women's contractual agency remained ambiguous in both cases, embedding discourses on rape and disenfranchisement within political theory. We will focus on constructions of will, desire, reason, autonomy, political voice, and law in theory and literature, and will examine their legacy for liberalism. Particular attention will be paid to the reciprocal authorization between political theory and the emerging field of biology. We will also engage with current debate on consent. Readings to include Locke, Rousseau, Kant, Schiller, Fichte, Marquis de Sade, Heinrich von Kleist, Percy Shelley, Hannah Arendt, and Carole Pateman. Students will have the opportunity to suggest readings.
Readings available in German and English. Discussions in English. 
Engelstein: T 04:40 PM-07:10 PM. DUKE CAMPUS

Fall 2015

Courses in Program

Get Real! Or not… German Poetic Realism
This course will focus on the rise of Realism and the wake of Romanticism in German-language literature of the second half of the nineteenth century. Emphasis will be on the delineation of realist literary strategies, with a special focus on the genre of the novella; on the political and historical complicities of the movement in terms both overt (e.g., the rise of nationalism, regionalism) and indirect (e.g., visual practices, gender politics); the relation to other cultural fields (e.g., philosophy, historiography, education, art history); and the relation to other nineteenth-century realist movements in England and France. I have a particular interest in issues of inheritance I hope we can explore: as part of this, we will be asking why Romanticism, the supposedly superseded movement of the earlier part of the century, continued its afterlife in the Realism period. Although mostly focused on our primary texts, we will also consider various theoretical approaches to the problem of realism in general.
Readings in German and English; class discussions in English.
Downing. T 4:40 PM – 7:10 PM. CAROLINA CAMPUS.
GER 790.01

Frankfurt School Critical Theory
This course serves as an introduction to the “Frankfurt School” and Critical Theory, with particular emphasis upon rationality, social psychology, cultural criticism and aesthetics. Through close readings of key texts by members of the school, we will work towards a critical understanding of the analytical tools they developed and consider their validity.
Readings available in both German and English;discussions in English.
Pickford. W 4:40 PM – 7:10 PM. DUKE CAMPUS.

Reformation Literature
The heavy impact of the Reformation on early modern religious life, on politics, and on society is well known. But how did the literary world of the period change? This course will investigate German literature written in the period from the end of the fifteenth century to the end of the seventeenth century, which shows the range of literary production, genres, and styles. The course will focus on songs, pamphlets, translations, and dramas by Martin Luther, Sebastian Brant, Andreas Karlstadt, Thomas Müntzer, Hans Sachs, Paul Rebhun, and Paul Gerhardt.
In addition, current scholarship as well as exhibitions of the Reformation’s 500th anniversary in 2017 will be used to examine the way in which the Reformation is conceived today.
Readings available in German and English; class discussions in German or in English, depending on the students enrolled.
Some course meetings will take place at Duke University’s Perkins Library.
von Bernuth. TH 4:40 PM – 7:10 PM. CAROLINA CAMPUS.

Crosslisted Courses from Affiliated Departments

  • PolSci 577.01 - Nietzsche's Political Philosophy
    Study of the thinker who has, in different incarnations, been characterized as the prophet of nihilism, the destroyer of values, the father of fascism, and the spiritual source of postmodernism. An examination of his philosophy as a whole in order to come to terms with its significance for his thinking about politics. One course / 3 units.

Spring 2015

Courses in Program

German Grammar in Context
GERM 400 is an intensive German grammar course for advanced undergraduate and graduate students. Over the course of the semester, we will study current German structures and their usages, as well as idiomatic expressions. We will work to strengthen your writing and speaking skills, as well as your attention to different modes of expressions. Required book: Grammatik mit Sinn und Verstand (2011) by Wolfgang Rug and Andreas Tomaszewski.
Readings in German, class discussions in German and English.
Wegel. F 12:20 PM - 2:50 PM. CAROLINA CAMPUS.

Classics of Literary Criticism
This course will examine some of the great literary critics of the 20th century, writers whose ability to produce focused, inspired, and influential readings of major works of literature has been widely recognized. Our focus will be on studying, and learning from, exemplary readings of major literary works. In other words, this is not a course in literary theory. Readings of landmark critical texts will be combined with selections of canonical texts of English and continental European literature. While the syllabus has not yet been finalized, we will almost certainly attend to the following critics/literary works: William Empson and Stanley Fish on Milton’s Paradise Lost; Erich Auerbach, T.S. Eliot, and Charles Singleton on Dante’s Divine Comedy; Christopher Ricks, John Bayley, and Cleanth Brooks on Keats; Frank Kermode and Rene Girard on secrecy and desire in the nineteenth-century novel; Geoffrey Hartman and Alan Liu on Wordsworth; Jean Starobinski and Paul de Man on Rousseau, and Walter Benjamin on Goethe’s Elective Affinities.
This will not be a lecture course but a discussion-intensive seminar for advanced undergraduate and first- and second-year graduate students.
Readings and class discussions in English.
Pfau. M 4:40 PM – 7:10 PM. DUKE CAMPUS

Postcolonial German Literature
In this seminar, our main focus will be German texts and films that could be considered postcolonial. Some of these texts might be set in the so-called “Third World,” while others might depict the experiences of foreigners in postwar Germany. A few of the questions that will guide our discussion over the course of the semester are: What is postcolonial German literature? Do the German authors of the postwar period succeed in a cultural exchange with the “Third World” that does not simply repeat the racism and fetishism found in colonial literature? And to what extent is a postcolonial approach useful for discussing texts by foreign authors who are not from former colonies? In addition to reading aesthetic texts, we will also read essays from postcolonial theory and German Studies to complement our analyses and help us consider what differentiates German post-colonial theory from the theoretical texts from other countries.
Readings in German; class discussions in English.
Layne. TTH 3:10 PM – 4:25 PM. CAROLINA CAMPUS

Theater, Culture, and Commerce in 19th-Century Germany
The nineteenth century witnessed the construction of an unprecedented number of theaters throughout the German-speaking world. As the theatergoing public expanded exponentially, a cultural sphere that had been dominated a century earlier by court theaters and itinerant theater troupes experienced tremendous diversification. In part because of the rapidity with which the theater established itself as a staple of middle-class urban life, the stage remained for much of the nineteenth century an object of fierce cultural politics. Critics who celebrated drama’s potential to stage ethical conflicts and launch a national culture of worldwide renown complained extensively about the decline of the German theater and the commercialization of Friedrich Schiller’s “moral institution.” Deploring the lack of great German drama following the golden age of Weimar classicism, critics railed against the endless imitators of Schiller and sensational, effect-driven spectacles that catered to the lowest common denominator of public taste. Yet amid all the strife and complaints about commercialism, the period produced tremendous innovations in acting, directing, and staging and the creation of many theatrical institutions that have lasted until the current day.
This course offers an introduction to nineteenth-century theater history that focuses on the interplay between cultural innovation and the market, studying the texts of dramas against the backdrop of their performance and reception history. A significant portion of the seminar will be devoted to close reading and analysis of plays that dominated the theater repertoire in the nineteenth century. In this context we will consider both canonical dramas (Schiller’s Maria Stuart, Grillparzer’s Medea, Shakespeare’s Der Kaufmann von Venedig) and more popular fare (Kotzebue’s Die deutschen Kleinstädter, Birch-Pfeiffer’s Die Waise von Lowood, Mosenthal’s Der Sonnwendhof, etc.). We will supplement our readings of these texts with an exploration of nineteenth-century productions of them throughout the German-speaking world and abroad. Our discussion of these dramas and their performances will be set in dialogue with both nineteenth-century theoretical writings on
drama and research into key players in the world of the nineteenth-century theater: representative theater companies, directors, actors, etc.
Student participation will be key to the seminar’s integration of close reading with original research, and the seminar will be designed in such a way as to help students develop the skills to engage in historical research that contributes in a meaningful way to our understanding of literary texts. Students will give a series of short presentations throughout the semester, participate actively in class discussion, and produce a conference presentation-length final paper (10 pp.). Preliminary drafts of the final papers will be presented at a mock conference on “Theater, Culture, and Commerce in Nineteenth-Century Germany” to be held in the final weeks of the semester.
Readings in German, class discussion in English.
Hess. F 9:05 AM – 11:35 AM. CAROLINA CAMPUS

History of Literary Criticism I (Classicism)
This course is designed to introduce students to some of the major strains in literary criticism from the Classical Period to the 18th century. Readings of major authors will be paired not only with literary examples contemporary with our chosen critics, but also with modern day theoretical responses to their works. Our objective is a working knowledge of dominant trends in European literary criticism up to (and including) the Enlightenment, useful in understanding the literature of the successive historical periods and also as a continuing, vital influence on twentieth-century poetics. We will also be devoting some time to the primary non-Classical tradition of early Western literary criticism, namely Biblical interpretation. Authors read include Gorgias, Plato, Aristotle, Aristophanes, Horace, Longinus, Philo, Proclus, Plotinus, Augustine, Scaliger, Luther, Boileau, Sidney, Burke, Young, and Lessing; Homer, Pindar, Callimachus, Ovid, Vergil, Dante, and Pope; and Auerbach, Derrida, Genette, Ricouer, Benjamin, and Bernal.
Readings and class discussions in English.
Downing. TTH 3:30 PM – 4:45 PM. CAROLINA CAMPUS

Crosslisted Courses from Affiliated Departments

  • PoliSci 676S.01 - Hegel's Political Philosophy
    Within context of Hegel's total philosophy, an examination of his understanding of phenomenology and the phenomenological basis of political institutions and his understanding of Greek and Christian political life. Selections from Phenomenology, Philosophy of History, and Philosophy of Right. Research paper required.

Fall 2014

Courses in Program

“Mensch ohne Welt”: 20th-Century German-Jewish Literature
This course will offer a survey of German-Jewish literature from 1900 to the present. Readings will include works by Jakob Wassermann, Franz Kafka, Alfred Döblin, Arthur Schnitzler, Joseph Roth, Soma Morgenstern, Arnold Zweig, Veza Canetti, Else Lasker-Schüler, Paul Celan, Ilse Aichinger, Nelly Sachs, Edgar Hilsenrath, Robert Menasse, Ruth Klüger, and Barbara Honigmann. We will be attentive to historical and geographical contexts, as well as theoretical issues, such how German-Jewish writers negotiate questions of modernity and modernism, tradition and ritual, multilingualism and multiculturalism, memory and nostalgia, and trauma and violence. What are the distinguishing features of German-Jewish writing in the twentieth century? How German is it and how Jewish is it? Are there stylistic and formal continuities between the works under consideration, or only thematic ones? Who writes this literature, for whom is it intended, and who actually reads it? How does it reflect and negotiate historical and political realities, such as assimilation, Bundism, Zionism, exile, and the Holocaust? How do these authors help shape modern German-Jewish identity—culturally, religiously, politically, aesthetically, and otherwise? The course takes it title from the German-Jewish critic, philosopher, and writer Günther Anders’s 1984 collection of essays on literature. The assertion of humanity in the face of a fundamental homelessness is a predicament shared by all the German-Jewish authors in this course.
Readings in German and English; discussion in English.
Gellen. T 4:40 PM – 7:10 PM. DUKE CAMPUS.

German Political Thought
This course serves as an introduction to German political and social thought. No previous knowledge is required. We will read short but important and influential texts by, for instance, Immanuel Kant, J. G. Herder, Karl Marx, Friedrich Nietzsche, Max Weber, Georg Simmel, Carl Schmitt, and Hannah Arendt. Our discussions will cover the central concerns and key concepts of the German tradition of political and social thought, such as autonomy, state, society, people, and community. The seminar is intended as a complement to studies in German literary and intellectual history.
Readings in German and English; class discussion in English.
Norberg. F 10:05 AM – 12:35 PM. DUKE CAMPUS.

All of the major and minor works of Kleist, including letters and occasional pieces, form the basic subject-matter for the course. In addition, we will examine some of the biographical material available documenting his short life, along with some of the pertinent secondary literature. The course goals will be:
• to become familiar with the corpus of his works;
• to obtain a rough working knowledge of the facts of his biography;
• to understand the literary and cultural context in which he worked;
• to develop strategies for interpreting his (often difficult and even downright bizarre) plays and stories.
We will work in seminar format as much as possible, with lecturing by the instructor taking second place to informed discussion by the course participants, and so reading assigned material in preparation for class will be essential. Assignments assume a fluent command of written German and can be lengthy. Students will develop a topic of research, share that research with the class in an oral presentation, and finally write up the results in a formal paper of 15-20 pages.
Conducted in English, with readings primarily in German.
Papers and presentations in German or English.

Crosslisted Courses from Affiliated Departments

  • History 532.01 - Fin-de-siècle and Interwar Vienna: Politics, Society, and Culture
    Fin-de-siècle and Interwar Vienna: Politics, Society, and Culture. Advanced undergraduate and graduate colloquium and research seminar focusing on the cultural milieu of fin-de-siècle and interwar Vienna. Readings in the Austro-Marxists, the Austrian School of Economics, Freud, Kraus, the Logical Positivists, Musil, Popper, and Wittgenstein. Monographs on the Habsburg Empire, Fin-de-siècle culture and technology, Viennese feminism, Austrian socialism, philosophy of science, literature and ethics, and the culture of the Central European émigrés.

  • PoliSci 577S.01 - Nietzsche's Political Philosophy 
    Study of the thinker who has, in different incarnations, been characterized as the prophet of nihilism, the destroyer of values, the father of fascism, and the spiritual source of postmodernism. An examination of his philosophy as a whole in order to come to terms with its significance for his thinking about politics.

Spring 2014

Courses in Program

History of the German Language
Why is it that there are so many differences between modern German and English? Why do Germans say Bücherei for library, Friseur for hairdresser, Handy for cell phone, but no longer use the word Jungfernzwinger for monastery? This course introduces students to the historical development of the German language from the earliest times up to the modern period. It looks at some of the most important developments and changes of the language and explores the cultural and historical background of the German language. Students will read texts in Old High German, Middle High German, Middle Low German, and Early New High German.
von Bernuth. WF 3:10 PM – 4:25 PM. CAROLINA CAMPUS.

Lyrik und Sprachbild, 1772-1848
Dieses Seminar bietet eine Einführung in die romantische und nachromantische Lyrik, wobei der Schwerpunkt auf detaillierten Einzelinterpretationen kanonischer Lyrik liegt. Das Seminar wird mit Lesungen von Goethe’s “Sesenheimer Liedern” (1772) beginnen. Ein zweiter thematischer Komplex betrifft die plötzliche Wendung der deutschen Lyrik von der Empfindsamkeit zum Klassizismus hin, wobei Goethes, Schillers und Hölderlins Experimentieren mit Ode und Elegie zwischen 1790 und 1802 im Vordergrund stehen werden. – Die zweite Hälfte des Seminars konzentriert sich auf das zwiespältige Verhältnis von Kunstgedicht und Volkslied, wie es sich von Brentano über Eichendorff und Heine bis hin zu Mörike entwickelt. – Ein konstanter Fokus unserer Diskussion wird das sprachlich fixierte Bild sein; wie entwickelt sich Bildlichkeit? Wie werden lyrische Bilder erfahren? Welcher Wahrheitsanspruch manifestiert sich im lyrischen Bild? Lässt sich das lyrische Bild auf rein säkulärer Basis überhaupt lesen? – Sekundärliteratur von Peter Szondi, David Wellbery, Peter von Matt, Winfried Menninghaus, sowie einige Texte zur Bildtheorie werden in die Interpretation von Primärtexten mit einbezogen. – Das Seminar wird auf Deutsch abgehalten; Seminararbeiten können wahlweise auf Deutsch oder Englisch verfasst werden.
Pfau. M 4:40 PM – 7:10 PM. DUKE CAMPUS.

Man, Animal, Cinema
This course proposes a cinematic investigation into—and intervention in—the historical and current debate about the ontological, political, biological, and emotional relationships between human beings and animals. To familiarize ourselves with this fundamental debate, we will read not only key philosophical texts, but also literary and scientific texts that approach this problem from the perspective of their own media and disciplines. However, the central goal of this course will be to consider the role of technology and mediation—and of the cinema in particular—for the “question” of the animal. To this end, we will confront philosophy and science with a variety of films as well as engage film criticism that focuses on the ways in which film communicates, mediates, and transforms creaturely life. What happens to animals when they are technologically mediated, what happens to technology in conjunction with the animalistic, and what happens to (human) spectators in the film experience of wild, anthropomorphous, strange, or horrifying creatures?
In addition to key texts of the current debate (Giorgio Agamben, Jacques Derrida, Cary Wolfe, and others) and classic positions, we will also look at the long history of the man/animal question, beginning with Aristotle but focusing on debates that took place primarily in Germany (and to a lesser extent in France) in the early 20th century, involving authors such as Jakob von Uexküll, Martin Heidegger, Georges Canguilhem, Wolfgang Köhler, and Max Scheler. This canon is supplemented by literary texts by Rainer Maria Rilke, Franz Kafka, J. M. Coetzee, and Marion Poschmann. The films cover a broad range of genres, styles, and periods, and encompass early safari and hunting films, popular science films, animation, documentaries, narrative films featuring animals, and contemporary experimental film and video, including films by Werner Herzog, Robert Bresson, Carolee Schneemann, Stan Brakhage, Jean Painlevé, and F. W. Murnau.
Readings and class discussions in English.
This course requires occasional film viewings outside of class.
Pollmann. T 4:40 PM – 7:10 PM. CAROLINA CAMPUS.

Crosslisted Courses from Affiliated Departments

  • LIT612S.01 -Theories of the Image
    Different methodological approaches to theories of the image (film, photography, painting, etc.), readings on a current issue or concept within the field of the image. Examples of approaches and topics are feminism, psychoanalysis, postmodernism, technology, spectatorship, national identity, authorship, genre, economics, and the ontology of sound


Fall 2013

Courses in Porgram

Nietzsche, Freud and Benjamin: On History
This course examines the positions of Nietzsche, Freud, and Benjamin on human history. It focuses on close readings of primary texts, with were, how these ideas related to their broader projects, and how their ideas of history compare both with each other and with other, relatively contemporary positions on history. Readings include Nietzsche's vom Nutzen und Nachteil der Historie für das Leben and Zur Genealogie der Moral; Freud's Totem und Tabu and Das Unbehagen in der Kultur; and Benjamin's "Theologisch-politisches Fragment," "Ueber den Begriff der Geschichte," and several other essays.
All readings will be in German, though non-German students are welcome to take the course and work with the texts in translation: discussion will be in English.
Downing. TTH 3:10 PM – 4:25 PM. CAROLINA CAMPUS.

Difference/Indifference: Texts and Contexts in the Eighteenth Century and Beyond
This seminar explores the way in which aesthetic and philosophical texts "account for differences," focusing on the legacy of eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century literature and philosophy. Special emphasis will be placed on interrogating the limits of the Cartesian subject as it emerged in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. In response to the supposed separation of the subject from the exterior world, certain eighteenth- and nineteenth-century thinkers seek out processes of "indifferentiation" (as opposed to mere indifference) that call into question not merely subject-object boundaries, but instances
of discrete separation as such. We will examine the diverse strategies developed by artists and thinkers to overcome (or embrace) the perceived threats and problems of subjectivism through figures of difference, identity, and indifferentiation, reading literary works by Goethe, Novalis, Hölderlin, Rilke, and Musil, along with philosophical and theoretical texts by Descartes, Fichte, Hegel, Schelling, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, Barthes, Deleuze, Luhmann, Derrida, and Badiou. Readings available in German or English; class discussions in English.
Trop. T 4:40 PM – 7:10 PM. CAROLINA CAMPUS.

Science +/- Fiction
The future. Spaceships. Alien encounters. Underlying this superficial stuff of “science fiction” are fundamental concerns regarding the historical status of knowledge production and the relationship between narrative and experience in our modern era governed by scientific progress. This graduate seminar will query both sides of science fiction: on the one hand, the composition and transformation of the genre throughout the entirety of twentieth-century German literary history. On the other hand, the seminar investigates the epistemic functions fiction awards scientific inquiry (compared to literature’s own) and to the truths and fabrications it attributes to the scientific process as well. Primary literature: Lasswitz, Scheerbart, Benn, Döblin, Brecht, Dürrenmatt, Schmidt, Koeppen, Kluge, P.M., Wolf, Steinmüller, Dath, Kehlmann. Secondary literature: Chu, Foucault, Habermas, Haraway, Jameson, Latour, Rheinberger, Schnädelbach, Stengers, Suvin, Vogl. Readings in German and English. Discussions in German.
Langston. TH 4:40 PM – 7:10 PM. CAROLINA CAMPUS.
GERM 700



Spring 2013

Courses in Program

Political Disengagement? Forays into Contemporary German Literature
In light of select contemporary authors, this seminar will examine the phenomenon of literature’s alleged “disengagement,” its liberation from social agendas. We will take as our starting point the “killing off of the fathers” (Gruppe ’47) and the great Literaturstreit of the early nineties, in which influential critics attempted to disassemble the legacy of East German literature. Theoretical readings by Adorno, Saul Friedlaender, Egon Schwarz, Habermas, and Wolf.  he class will feature a visit and reading by Barbara Honigmann.  Primary texts will be read in German; discussions in English and in German. 
Donahue. Mondays 4:40 – 7:10.  DUKE CAMPUS

Twentieth Century Austrian Literature
Austrians have arguably produced a disproportionate number of outstanding works of twentieth-century literature in the German language. In this course we will examine great works by writers from this tradition, including Arthur Schnitzler, Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Karl Kraus, Hermann Broch, Joseph Roth, Robert Musil, Ilse Aichinger, Peter Handke, Ingeborg Bachmann, Thomas Bernhard, Elfriede Jelinek, and Christoph Ransmayr. We will also consider various sites, groups, and movements associated with artistic and intellectual life (from Kaffeehaus culture to Wiener Aktionismus) in their relation to literature. Throughout the course we will remain attentive to historical and cultural contexts, but our primary concern will be the exploration of literary form and language. Some broad questions that will guide our readings and discussions are:

What, if anything, distinguishes Austrian literature from German literature?
•   To what extent have specific political formations and events (Habsburg monarchy, Red Vienna, the Anschluss, consensus democracy) influenced the nation’s literary culture?
•   What other features of Austrian life and history have proven crucial to its literary development (provincialism, cosmopolitanism, anti-Semitism, “Easternness”)?
•   Why has Austria been such fertile ground for avant-garde movements?
•   How has the experience of exile shaped Austrian literature?
•   Why have postwar Austrian writers developed such a strong tradition of “Österreichkritik”?
In addition to weekly readings of primary texts, we will read some relevant secondary literature. You can choose to write either 3 short papers (6-8 pp.) over the course of the semester or one longer research paper (20-25pp.) at the end. The course will also have a pedagogical dimension, which will involve working with undergraduates in a German theater course who will be reading and performing Schnitzler’s “Liebelei.”
Readings in German; class discussions in English.
Gellen.  Tuesdays 4:40 PM – 7:10 PM.  DUKE CAMPUS.

This seminar will examine almost all of Kafka’s literary output: the  stories, novels, and major fragments, plus selected letters and material from the notebooks. In addition to discussing this corpus in detail with the instructor, each student will develop a research project culminating in 1) a class presentation of the sort given at scholarly meetings (GSA, MLA) and 2) an essay based on that presentation that aspires to be a genuine contribution to Kafka scholarship.    
Readings in German; class discussions in English. 
Koelb.  Fridays 1:00 PM – 3:50 PM.  CAROLINA CAMPUS