Current Courses


Spring 2020

Courses in Program

The King's Image: A History of Representation (GER 890S)
Repraesentatio, “to make present” or “set before the eyes,” was originally a juridical concept, which gained theological import in the early Christian debates about the true doctrinal meaning of the Eucharist. But the dynamic of Darstellung has always also been an aesthetic problem: the nexus between theories of power and theories of art—between the making-present of the sovereign and the making-present of the Idea—plays a central role in the history of literature from the middle ages to the modern. In this course, we will examine some of the key German-language texts in this lineage, by authors like Lohenstein, Goethe, Schiller, Novalis, Grillparzer, Wagner, Hofmannsthal, Kafka and George, alongside a few of the foundational theoretical attempts (Kantorowicz, Schmitt, Benjamin, Agamben) to make sense of this tradition.  
Pourciau.  Tues. 4:40p - 7:10p  Duke Campus - Old Chem. 119

Form is Bliss: On a Basic Category in German Philosophy, Aesthetics and Literature (GERM 860)
In his Philosophy of Symbolic Forms (1923-1929) the German philosopher Ernst Cassirer described mankind as “capable of form.” He thereby pointed out the interrelatedness of forms with the conditions of human existence, in other words, the relationship between life and aesthetic expression. The seminar takes this idea as a starting point and a leitmotif. On a journey through the long history of poetics and philosophy of form from Antiquity to the 20th century, we will examine how humans shape an otherwise amorphous reality. Readings include Plato and Aristotle; form in the classical rhetorical tradition; Plotinus and his thoughts on form and the beautiful in juxtaposition with Augustine and Thomas Aquinas; form and creation in excerpts from the Cosmographia by the medieval philosopher and poet Bernardus Silvestris (12th century) in juxtaposition with Derrida’s Chora (1987); form and the Eucharist in Minneleich by the German medieval poet Frauenlob (around 1300); form between knowledge, perception and being (Sein) in the age of Goethe, including texts by Karl Philipp Moritz, Schiller, Goethe and Hegel; a discussion of form and formats using the example of genre in Schlegel’s essay on the sonnet and in André Jolles’ Einfache Formen (Simple Forms, 1931); form and culture in Georg Simmel’s essays Der Begriff und die Tragödie der Kultur (Tragedy of Culture, 1911), Der Bildrahmen (The Picture Frame, 1902) and Die Ruine (The Ruin, 1911) and in Ernst Cassirer´s response to Simmel´s position; form as distortion in Viktor Sklovskij’s substantiation of formalism and in Brecht´s Kleines Organon für das Theater (Little Organon for Theater, 1948) and Über Stoffe und Formen (On Materials and Forms, 1929) and Deleuze´s Barthelby or the Formula (1989); Niklas Luhmann’s medium-form differentiation in Die Kunst der Gesellschaft (Art as a Social System, 1995) and Das Zeichen als Form (The Sign as Form, 1993). We will also include lyric poetry by Gottfried Benn, Ingeborg Bachmann, Stéphane Mallarmé and Charles Baudelaire.
Prica  Mon.  4:40p - 7:10p  UNC Campus

History of the German Language(GERM 500)
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
Prerequisite: Advanced reading proficiency (minimally) in German
Roberge  W 3:40p - 6:10p  UNC Campus


Crosslisted Courses from Affiliated Departments

The Bauhaus: Architecture, Design, Politics (ARTHIST 731S/GER 731S)
This seminar analyses the history of the Bauhaus, from its roots in Weimar Germany to its impact on framing post World War II international Modernism. It covers major scholarship on Modernism, architecture and design as well as central questions of 20th-century art and politics. Grounded in the foundation and activity of the school in Germany after World War I, the seminar will also cover the spread of Bauhaus ideas, faculty, and students internationally including in Japan, Turkey, the United States, and on both sides of the Cold War.

(Please note that this course will also have a travel component: students will be doing a 3-day on-site analysis of Bauhaus related architecture and design in Chicago after spring break [exact time to be scheduled]. This travel will be funded by the AAH&VS department.)
Jaskot  Mon. 3:20p. - 5:55p  Smith Warehouse  Duke Campus