German

  • Studies in German Film: Fritz Lang - The Weimar Films

    This seminar subjects the surviving German films by Fritz Lang to a variety of critical interrogations --narratological, techno-historical, cultural-theoretical-- within the context of Weimar cinema. A combination of close film analyses and readings in film history, theory and aesthetics serve to both reassess and complicate the retrospective teleology of Siegfried Kracauer's canonical account of this formative and deeply heterodox period in German media history.
  • German Intellectual History: Labyrinths of Literature

    In literature and art, dance and architecture the labyrinth delineates a path which has been interpreted in various ways, as a figuration of the polarity of chaos and order, for example, or as a trajectory of initiation symbolizing the experience of separation, disorientation and rebirth. On the basis of selected pictorial material as well as selected readings of the myths of Theseus and Dedalus, the seminar will focus on the relation between the structure of the maze and narrative structures in 20th century German literature.
  • German Intellectual History: Labyrinths of Literature

    In literature and art, dance and architecture the labyrinth delineates a path which has been interpreted in various ways, as a figuration of the polarity of chaos and order, for example, or as a trajectory of initiation symbolizing the experience of separation, disorientation and rebirth. On the basis of selected pictorial material as well as selected readings of the myths of Theseus and Dedalus, the seminar will focus on the relation between the structure of the maze and narrative structures in 20th century German literature.
  • German Intellectual History: Margins of Enlightenment

    What mechanisms of exclusion accompanied the constitution of modern reason in the eighteenth century? Are the universalist ideals of the Enlightenment inherently flawed, or can they be recuperated by a more inclusive universalism? This course interrogates Enlightenment universalism by reading canonical eighteenth-century works together with texts that highlight the occult, gendered, and racialized undersides of Enlightened reason.
  • German Intellectual History: Margins of Enlightenment

    What mechanisms of exclusion accompanied the constitution of modern reason in the eighteenth century? Are the universalist ideals of the Enlightenment inherently flawed, or can they be recuperated by a more inclusive universalism? This course interrogates Enlightenment universalism by reading canonical eighteenth-century works together with texts that highlight the occult, gendered, and racialized undersides of Enlightened reason.
  • Topics in Literary and Cultural Theory: Drive: Toward a Conceptual History

    This course tracks the concept of drive through a series of natural scientific, literary, and philosophical discourses between approximately 1780 and 1940. After a preliminary discussion of appetite and self-motion between Aristotle and Newton, we explore the surge of interest in the concept around 1800, followed by the emerging science of sexuality, before finally turning to psychoanalytic and 'cosmological' theories of drive from early 20c. Our focus is on changing conceptions of human motive, especially the difference between instinct, desire, and intelligence.
  • Topics in German Culture and Society: Denial, Disavowal, and the Problem of Knowing

    Why is it that we know something but don't act accordingly? This question becomes urgent in the face of issues that require immediate action, like global-warming, meat-production, sexual violence, racism, exploitative working conditions. "Death is a master from Germany," the poet Paul Celan wrote -- given the long denial of the death-camps, we could also say: "Denial is a master from Germany." This class traces a series of catastrophic (quasi-)events in German history and discusses global analogues.
  • German Media Theory: Rhetorics of Surveillance

    Taking up the master trope of dystopian futurity articulated in Orwell's 1984, this seminar in media theory will track the paranoid logic of surveillance across a wide range of literary, philosophical, technological (photographic, cinematic, digital) and architectural manifestations. Using a comparative, historical and interdisciplinary approach we will consider surveillance as a political tactic, a narrative strategy, a theory of the subject, a spatial configuration, a mode of spectatorship, and as a key dynamic of both old and new media.
  • Topics in German Culture and Society: Denial, Disavowal, and the Problem of Knowing

    Why is it that we know something but don't act accordingly? This question becomes urgent in the face of issues that require immediate action, like global-warming, meat-production, sexual violence, racism, exploitative working conditions. "Death is a master from Germany," the poet Paul Celan wrote -- given the long denial of the death-camps, we could also say: "Denial is a master from Germany." This class traces a series of catastrophic (quasi-)events in German history and discusses global analogues.
  • German Media Theory: Rhetorics of Surveillance

    Taking up the master trope of dystopian futurity articulated in Orwell's 1984, this seminar in media theory will track the paranoid logic of surveillance across a wide range of literary, philosophical, technological (photographic, cinematic, digital) and architectural manifestations. Using a comparative, historical and interdisciplinary approach we will consider surveillance as a political tactic, a narrative strategy, a theory of the subject, a spatial configuration, a mode of spectatorship, and as a key dynamic of both old and new media.

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