Current Courses


Fall 2019

Courses in Program

GERMAN 716: Cultural Foundations in German Studies II
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 1800 to the present, and includes a sampling of major authors and works from Romanticism, Biedermeier/Vormärz, Realism, Naturalism, Modernism, National Socialism and exile literature, as well as postwar literature in East Germany, West Germany and Austria, and the contemporary period. Works will be placed within their literary-aesthetic, as well as their social and intellectual contexts. Authors include Büchner, Stifter, Fontane, Thomas Mann, Kafka, Brecht, Grass, Handke, Jelinek, and others.
Readings in German; class discussion in English. Gellen.  WF 03:05 PM-04:20 PM.  - Duke Campus

GERM 825:  The Early Modern in the Modern
The early modern period and its vast literary production became a point of departure both for literary analysis and theory as well as a source for adaptations and new narratives in German literature of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Walter Benjamin wrote his habilitation thesis on the baroque Trauerspiel; Berthold Brecht used various early modern sources including Grimmelshausen’s Simplicius Simplicissimus for his play Mutter Courage und ihre Kinder; and several literary works from East Germany are based on early modern texts such as Peter Hacks’ Das Volksbuch vom Herzog Ernst, Thomas Brasch’s Vor den Vätern sterben die Söhne, and Stefan Heyms’ Ahasver. Early modern literary figures also play a role in recent books such as Ingo Schulze’s Peter Holtz and Daniel Kehlmann’s Tyll. This seminar will focus on a selection of early modern texts and their modern interlocutors. It will discuss questions concerning the relationship of literature and politics, folly and society, utopia and dystopia, violence and freedom. Readings and Class Discussions in German
von Bernuth.  TTH 03:10 PM-4:25 PM.   UNC Campus.

GERM 880:  Film Theory, Film Analysis, and Film Philosophy via German Cinema
This course provides an introduction to critical developments in film theory, film analysis and film philosophy by attending closely to German cinema from the late nineteenth century to the present day in the context of the larger European, Anglo-American and global film landscape. We will examine the historical formation of film analysis and its requisite objects such as montage, mise en scène, cinematography, and sound; we will survey the history of film theory, that is, engage the questions asked by film scholars since the medium’s inception: What is the material of cinema? How does the film medium compare and contrast with the other, older arts such as literature, music, painting, or architecture, and how does it fit within the current media landscape? What makes it a unique form of expression? What is the nature of the film image and what relationship does it bear to the physical world? How do the sounds, images, bodies, and narratives onscreen impact us – politically, emotionally, physically, mentally? Do technological factors, like the advent of sound or the shift from photochemical to digital “film” call for a fundamentally different theory of the medium and its expressive possibilities? Finally, we will ask how films could be forms of philosophical thought. Can the audiovisual language of moving images, this form of light and shadow, formulate ideas and concepts? How could a film contain a theory of cinema? What can film contribute to philosophy, and vice versa?

In order to engage with these questions of analysis, theory, and philosophy, we will read the classical German film theories of Hugo Münsterberg, Rudolf Arnheim, Béla Balázs, Siegfried Kracauer, and Walter Benjamin alongside classical and contemporary international theorists, from Jean Epstein and Sergei Eisenstein to Gilles Deleuze, Vivian Sobchack, Laura Mulvey, Marie-Luise Angerer, and others. Among the film-theoretical approaches we will discuss are phenomenology, feminism, psychoanalysis, affect theory, and critical race theory. Each week, we will discuss 1-2 German films and important international interlocutors in light of these theories and larger questions, including Nosferatu, Dr. Mabuse, The Legend of Paul and Paula, Redupers, Western, Phoenix, and Toni Erdmann. [Language of readings and class discussions TBA]
Pollmann.  F 10:10 AM-01:10 PM.   UNC Campus

GERMAN 890S:  Kleist and His Interlocutors
In constant conversation with the fluidly defined movements of Romanticism, Classicism, Idealism, and Naturphilosophie, Heinrich von Kleist remained adamantly nonconformist and unclassifiable.  Acerbic and incisive, tantalizing and enigmatic, violent and kaleidoscopic, Kleist’s oeuvre invites, rewards, and frustrates interpretation.  In this seminar, we will read dramas, stories, novellas, and occasional essays by Kleist in pairings with works of some of his chief interlocutors, primarily literary and philosophical.  Authors will include contemporaries such as Lessing, Goethe, Schiller, Kant, Fichte, and Hegel, as well as Kleist’s afterlives in writers such as Kafka and Christa Wolf.  We will ask questions about signification, literary form, ideology, ethics, politics, subjectivity, bodies and life processes, and nationalism, among other topics.  Suggestions for additional interlocutors will be taken into consideration.
Readings in German; English translations will be available.  Class discussions in English
Engelstein.  M 04:40 PM-07:10 PM.   Duke Campus

GERMAN 700: Foreign Language Pedagogy: Theories and Practice
German 700 provides students with foundational knowledge for teaching German within a collegiate U.S. educational context. Throughout the course, students will have the opportunity to engage theoretical knowledge pertaining to language learning, pedagogy, and curriculum with issues from the practical context of the language classroom, e.g., by conducting guided classroom observations, developing extended lesson plans, reflecting on their teaching and students’ learning, and creating a teaching philosophy.
Topics covered in the seminar include: Teaching languages in U.S. higher education, language and language learning theories, language teaching methods and approaches (e.g., communicative language teaching, task- and content-based instruction, literacy approaches), supporting different modalities (writing, speaking, listening, writing), teaching for intercultural understanding, the role of curriculum, and professional development and reflective teaching.
Crane.  W 04:40 PM – 07:10 PM.   Duke Campus.