German

  • Marx, Nietzsche, Freud

    An introduction to the thought of Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud. Organized thematically rather than chronologically, the course will bring these thinkers into dialogue on six themes: interpretation, history, subjectivity, politics, religion, and art. By concentrating on such pivotal issues, it seeks not only to delineate the origins of much modern thought, but also to develop resources for reflecting on our contemporary moment.
  • Topics in German Intellectual History: Aesthetics and (Un)Freedom

    Do aesthetic practices harbor radical political potential, or have they been co-opted by the creative economy's imperative of relentless aesthetic innovation? This seminar explores a formative motif of German critical thought: the notion that some feature of art or aesthetics--the plenitude of aesthetic experience, the indeterminacy of aesthetic judgment, or unconstrained artistic form--prefigures political freedom.
  • Marx, Nietzsche, Freud

    An introduction to the thought of Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud. Organized thematically rather than chronologically, the course will bring these thinkers into dialogue on six themes: interpretation, history, subjectivity, politics, religion, and art. By concentrating on such pivotal issues, it seeks not only to delineate the origins of much modern thought, but also to develop resources for reflecting on our contemporary moment.
  • Topics in German Intellectual History: Aesthetics and (Un)Freedom

    Do aesthetic practices harbor radical political potential, or have they been co-opted by the creative economy's imperative of relentless aesthetic innovation? This seminar explores a formative motif of German critical thought: the notion that some feature of art or aesthetics--the plenitude of aesthetic experience, the indeterminacy of aesthetic judgment, or unconstrained artistic form--prefigures political freedom.
  • Topics in Germanic Literatures: Happy Endings and the Politics of Affirmation. From Homer to Hollywood

    Happy endings are better than their literary reputation might suggest. This course will challenge the widespread misconception that happy endings are simply trite, conventional, and reactionary. By looking at diverse examples from entertainment to high art, from Disney's "The Little Mermaid" to Milton's "Paradise Lost", from Goethe and Schiller to Jordan Peele, we will examine the political dimension of the happy ending as an intriguing cultural phenomenon. Affirmative art can make valuable contributions to social cohesion and democracy. And, happy endings are joyful.
  • Middle High German Literature II: Gender, Sanctity, and Popular Piety in the Middle Ages

    Seminar explores constructions of sanctity in texts and objects from the tenth to the fifteenth centuries. Beginning with saintly Queens, working through mystic writings, and ending with popular material culture surrounding vernacular legends and cults, we ask what constitutes holiness in these situations, as well as the relationship of these ideals to medieval understandings of gender: the multivalence of virginity; the gendering of male clergy; the different valuation of ascetic practices in male versus female holy women; the significance of female cross-dressing in proving female sanctity.
  • Topics in Germanic Literatures: Happy Endings and the Politics of Affirmation. From Homer to Hollywood

    Happy endings are better than their literary reputation might suggest. This course will challenge the widespread misconception that happy endings are simply trite, conventional, and reactionary. By looking at diverse examples from entertainment to high art, from Disney's "The Little Mermaid" to Milton's "Paradise Lost", from Goethe and Schiller to Jordan Peele, we will examine the political dimension of the happy ending as an intriguing cultural phenomenon. Affirmative art can make valuable contributions to social cohesion and democracy. And, happy endings are joyful.
  • Middle High German Literature II: Gender, Sanctity, and Popular Piety in the Middle Ages

    Seminar explores constructions of sanctity in texts and objects from the tenth to the fifteenth centuries. Beginning with saintly Queens, working through mystic writings, and ending with popular material culture surrounding vernacular legends and cults, we ask what constitutes holiness in these situations, as well as the relationship of these ideals to medieval understandings of gender: the multivalence of virginity; the gendering of male clergy; the different valuation of ascetic practices in male versus female holy women; the significance of female cross-dressing in proving female sanctity.
  • 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.

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