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Kit Belgum, Chair 2505 University Avenue, Burdine Hall 336, Mailcode C3300, Austin TX 78712-1802 • 512-471-4123

Peter Rehberg

Other faculty Ph.D. Dept. of Germanic Languages and Literatures, New York University

DAAD Adjunct Associate Professor
Peter Rehberg

Contact

GER 373 • The German Pop-Novel

37300 • Spring 2015
Meets MWF 1200pm-100pm GEA 114
show description

Description:

The phenomenon of pop literature was a hot topic of discussion towards the end of the last millennium. Young German authors such as Christian Kracht and Benjamin von Stuckrad-Barre were celebrated like pop stars. Their literature was in many ways an adaptation of an Anglo-American literary style as performed by writers such as Bret Easton Ellis and Douglas Coupland. Like some of their idols, German pop writers also grew out of a tradition of New Journalism for which a subjective perspective was characteristic and that included topics that formerly were not necessarily considered to be worth of literary representation such as pop music and partying.

But the 1990s were not the first period of pop literature made in Germany. As opposed to the KiWi (short for the publisher Kiepenheuer & Witsch)-authors of the 1990s, the Suhrkamp-authors of the 1980s – namely Rainald Goetz, Thomas Meinecke, and Andreas Neumeister – did not so much focus on everyday-phenomena. Rather, they maintained a more intellectual discussion about pop aesthetics as an alternative to a German “culture of consternation.” However, the idea of a pop novel as opposed to a literary expression as part of high culture first hit Germany in the 1960’s and early 1970’s, represented by authors such as Hubert Fichte and Rolf Dieter Brinkmann (who actually lived in Austin for a while and wrote about it!) who are considered to be the fathers of German literary pop.

This course will give an overview of the past decades of German pop literature and will raise the question how it relates to transnational debates on pop culture on the one hand and specific historical constellations of post-war German literature on the other. The course will be taught in German, that is to say: primary texts – excerpts from novels and some journalistic texts – will be read in German and writing assignments will also be in German. Secondary texts will be both in German and English. The class will also introduce students to the basic research methods of literary criticism and prepare them to write a final research paper (12-15 pages).

 

Grading:

Attendance:                                          10 %

Participation, including Tests:               30%

Presentation:                                        10 %

Writing assignments (2):                       20%

Final Paper:                                          30%

 

Literature:

Moritz Babler: Der deutsche Pop-Roman

Sibylle Berg: Ein paar Leute suchen das Glück und lachen sich tot

Rolf Dieter Brinkmann: Briefe an Hartmut

Diedrich Diedrichsen: Sexbeat

Hubert Fichte: Die Palette

Rainald Goetz: Rave

Rainald Goetz: Loslabern

Jost Hermand: Pop International

Richard Kämmerlings: Das kurze Glück der Gegenwart

Christian Kracht: Faserland

Charlotte Roche: Feuchtgebiete

Eckhard Schumacher: Gerade Eben Jetzt

Benjamin von Stuckrad-Barre: Soloalbum

Benjamin von Stuckrad-Barre: Auch Deutsche unter den Opfern

GER 392 • Madness And Modernity

37350 • Spring 2015
Meets M 300pm-600pm BUR 232
(also listed as C L 382, WGS 393 )
show description

As reason’s “other,“ the category of madness had an extensive career in post-enlightenment thought and culture. During the 19th century madness was mostly framed as either epistemological or aesthetic problem. But (as Foucault has shown) madness also served specific social and political functions in western culture. Therefore, the stories of or about mad men and women can exemplify paradigmatic social and mental shifts in modern societies.

While also acknowledging the importance of categories such as gender, sexuality, and race in the discussion of modern madness, this course will particularly scrutinize the ambiguous relationship between madness and state politics in the context of 20th century German culture by focusing on texts, both literary and theoretical. More specifically, this means elucidating madness in relation to the emergence of fascism and its aftermaths. In order to dissect the difficult cultural, political, and psychological complex at stake we will pursue the following question: Is madness a useful category to understand the atrocities and pathologies related to modern German culture?

This course is divided in three sections, focusing on the place of madness in pre-fascist, fascist, and post-fascist Germany. We will start by reading texts of the first third of the 20th century (Daniel Paul Schreber, Robert Walser, Thomas Mann, Franz Kafka) where madness can figure as a signifier for a non-totalitarian subjectivity, while subsequently Nazism itself has been discussed in terms of mental illness (Adorno, Mitscherlich, Rickels). Finally, post-45 texts (Grass, Vesper, Bachmann, Goetz, et al.) evolve around the trope of madness again, in order to cope critically with Germany’ fascist legacy. Interestingly, the literary strategy of facing Germany’s political history – its fascist past in particular – through madness seems to have come to a halt with the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989, suggesting that eventually (as Nietzsche already knew) we must link the question of madness to memory.

 

Grading

Attendance & Participation:             40%

Presentation:                                     10%

First Writing assignment:                 10%

Second Writing assignment:            10%

Final Paper:                                       30%

GSD 330 • Crime Scene Europe

38405 • Fall 2014
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm GEA 114
(also listed as EUS 347 )
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From Germany’s chief inspector Derrick, France’s detective Maigret, Dutch commissar Van der Valk to British superintendent Tennison and to the rise of Scandi-noir: Over the past few decades crime shows have become a popular site for telling European national histories. While the crime story functions as a place to articulate cultural characteristics and to negotiate national belonging, it also becomes an opportunity to broach the issues of both Europe’s past and its future both from a national perspective and in a global context: The question of how different European countries have been involved with the Nazi past, for instance, or how the legacy of WWII has shaped European consciousness continually reoccurs with these narratives, as much as controversial contemporary concerns such as immigration, religious fundamentalisms, and gender politics.

This seminar will evolve around the case of Germany by discussing topics related to European politics such as the German reunification but at the same reaches out to discussing the representation of other national cultures like UK, France, Italy, The Netherlands and several Scandinavian countries – as well and their relationships to each other. Some of the more recent crime shows – such as The Killing, or the Wallander-series – were coproduced by several European countries and consequently focused on crime beyond their national frame. By analyzing TV-shows, movies, and literary texts from different European countries of the past 40 years we will discuss post-war European societies and politics from a comparative and transnational perspective in order to understand what binds Europe together – or not. 

TV-Shows

Andrea Camilleri: Inspector Montalbano (I/GB)

Nicolas Freeling: Van der Valk (GB/NL)

Stieg Larsson: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (S)

Lynda La Plante: Prime Suspect (GB)

Henning Mankell: Wallander (S/D/GB)

Reinecker / Ringelmann: Derrick (D)

Several authors: Tatort (D)

George Simenon: Maigret (F)

Søren Sveistrup: The Killing (DK/D)

Books

Berger, Stefan:   Popularizing National Pasts

Geherin, David: The Dragon Tattoo and its Long Tail: The New Wave of European Crime fiction in America

Grading

2 Writing Assignments (3 Pages)                         20%

Participation (incl. Attendance & Homework)         40 %

Presentation                                                    10 %

Final Paper                                                      30 %

GER 343C • Contemporary German Civilizatn

38405 • Spring 2014
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm MEZ 1.120
show description

Description:

To comprehend and participate in conversations about contemporary Germany it is essential to understand the main outlines of German history and culture in the twentieth century. This course will follow the radical changes in German politics, society, culture, and literature during that century. We begin by discussing the pre-war era and the impact of World War I. We then turn to the German Revolution of 1918 and political developments of the Weimar Republic. Next we consider the society and ideology of National Socialism and the origins and course of World War II. This is followed by an examination of the post-war occupation of Germany and the development of two German states, the FRG and the GDR ending with the process of German unification. Throughout the semester, we will discuss the important literary and cultural shifts that took place during this century including: the modernism of fin-de-siècle literature and expressionism; dada, cabaret and Neue Sachlichkeit of the 1920s; the emergence of German film; restrictions placed on culture under the Nazis and artists and authors who went into political exile. Finally, we examine the impact of a divided nation as well as Germany’s immigrant population (through so-called Migrantenliteratur) on the cultural and literary output in the post-war era.

Student work for this class is based on a combination of readings and films, writing assignments, and participation in class discussions (including organized debates). It presumes a fifth-semester language ability (i.e. successful completion of GER 328 and 331L) and is structured to build on the skills acquired in those classes in a systematic way to prepare students for more advanced work in German seminars. We will read texts that were written for native speakers of German and are not glossed or simplified. As a result we will frequently encounter more complicated grammatical structures, such as indirect discourse (subjunctive I), passive voice, and extended modifiers. Students will be expected to expand on their previous use of German in writing and speaking (for example by using more complex clauses and an expanded vocabulary).

 

Required texts:

Geschichtsbuch 4: Die Menschen und ihre Geschichte in Darstellungen und Dokumenten (Berlin: Cornelsen, 1996); ISBN 3-464-64204-6.

Bertolt Brecht, Leben des Galilei (Berlin: Suhrkamp, 1962 or later); ISBN 978-3-518-10001-1

Franz Kafka, Die Verwandlung (Stuttgart: Reclam).

A course packet available at the University Co-Op.

 

Grading:

Participation, homework, quizzes - 20%

Essays (10%, 10%, 10%) - 30%

Debates (5%, 5%, 5%) - 15%                                                            

Exams (10%, 15%)  - 25%

Referat/Discussion Moderation -10%

GER 392 • Body And Bio Politics

38485 • Spring 2014
Meets TTH 330pm-500pm BUR 232
(also listed as C L 382, WGS 393 )
show description

Instructor: Dr. Peter Rehberg

MEETS WITH WGS 393 , C L 382

 

Pop-cultural self-fashioning in the context of consumer capitalism including plastic surgery, diets, sports, and porn puts the body on display as evidence for a successful neoliberal subjectivity. With Deleuze such forms of aesthetization can be understood as a sign of the transition from a society of discipline to a society of (self-) control: In globalized late capitalism Foucault’s bio power works predominantly on the level of individual self-optimization. At the same time, cultural manifestations from early 20th century German literature to contemporary TV-shows, and post-metaphysical writings from Psychoanalysis to Affect Theory offer an alternative trajectory to think of the body as a site of a continual re-articulation against normative regimes of hegemonic power.

 

This course tackles some of the 20th and 21st centuries’ aesthetic, theoretical, and political debates about the body as a site of bio power on the one hand, or, as a potential resistance against it. Topics include: mental illness, military discipline, man and machine, Eros and death, gender and sexuality, emotion and affect. In addressing these themes not only “normal” vs. “pathological,” “healthy” vs. “sick,” “successful” vs. “failing,” “docile” vs. “unruly” subjectivities will be put under scrutiny. Moreover, figures beyond the dichotomies of gender, sexuality, and race, and beyond the threshold between the human and the non-human such as cyborgs, monsters, zombies, and vampires will be analyzed. Do they allow us to imagine new forms of being and becoming beyond bio power’s absolute control?

 

These questions will be pursued, by engaging in a dialogue between aesthetic (literary and filmic) and theoretical texts. Literary examples will be taken from the German tradition, including Daniel Paul Schreber, Robert Musil, Ernst Jünger, Thomas Mann, Franz Kafka, and Elfriede Jelinek (I am also open to suggestions from other national literatures), and visual examples will be taken both from German cinema and Hollywood (Metropolis, Alien, Terminator), as well as from contemporary TV-Culture (The Walking Dead, True Blood). The theoretical readings for this course will include a variety of texts from cultural theory, among others Butler, Deleuze, Freud, Foucault, Grosz, Haraway, Kittler, Rickels, and Santner.

 

Readings

 

Literature

 

Daniel Paul Schreber: Memoirs Of My Nervous Illness

Robert Musil: Young Toerless

Ernst Jünger: Storm of Steel

Franz Kafka: In the Penal Colony, The Trial, The Metamorphosis

Thomas Mann: Death In Venice, The Magic Mountain

Elfriede Jelinek: Lust, The Piano Teacher

 

Films

 

Fritz Lang: Metropolis

Ridley Scott: Alien

James Cameron: Terminator

 

TV

 

Alan Ball: True Blood

Frank Darabont: The Walking Dead

 

Theory

 

Judith Butler: Bodies That Matter

Gilles Deleuze: Postscript On the Societies Of Control

Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari: Anti-Oedipus

Michel Foucault: History of Sexuality

Michel Foucault: Madness and Civilization

Sigmund Freud: The Schreber Case

Melissa Gregg and Gregory J. Seigworth: The Affect Theory Reader

Elizabeth Grosz: Volatile Bodies: Toward a Corporeal Feminism

Donna Haraway: Simians, Cyborgs, and Women: The Reinvention of Nature

Donna Haraway: When Species Meet (Posthumanities)

Friedrich Kittler: Film, Grammophon, Typewriter

Julia Kristeva: Powers Of Horror: An Essay On Abjection

Jacques Lacan: The Psychoses: The Seminar Book III

Lawrence Rickels: The Vampire Lectures

Eric Santner: My Own Private Germany

 

Grading

 

Attendance & Participation:             50%

Presentation:                                     10%

Final Paper:                                       40%

GER 363K • Berlin In The Movies

38510 • Fall 2013
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm BUR 337
show description

The history of modern metropolis is closely linked to the history of film: the city not only became a privileged topic of film making from early cinema on, but industrialization and growing urban centers also provided the economic basis for both the production of movies and their reception by a mass audience.

Therefore our imagination of modern cities is mostly influenced by the visual representations we received while watching movies. The myths that cities culturally came to represent have been created here.

This is particularly the case for the city of Berlin with its troubling history throughout the 20th century. While Berlin became the center of power in Nazi Germany and later on the battleground of the cold war, this course traces the portrayal of the German capital from the beginning of the 20th century to the present.

Movies

Walther Ruttmann: Berlin, Sinfonie einer Groβstadt

C. Sidmak, et al: Menschen am Sonntag

Fritz Lang: M – eine Stadt sucht einen Mörder

Slatan Dudow: Kuhle Wampe

Billy Wilder: A Foreign Affair

Billy Wilder: Eins, zwei, drei

Bob Fosse: Cabaret

Rainer Werner Fassbinder: Berlin Alexanderplatz (excerpts)

Wim Wenders: Der Himmel über Berlin

Tom Tykwer: Lola rennt

Kutluğ Ataman: Lola and Bilidikid

Christian Petzold: Gespenster

Grading

2 Writing Assignments (3 Pages)                                  20%

Participation (incl. Attendance & Homework)                   40 %

Presentation                                                            10 %

Final Paper                                                              30 %

GRC 362E • Freud, Feminism & Queer Thry

38695 • Fall 2013
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm GEA 114
(also listed as C L 323, EUS 347, WGS 345 )
show description

Freud’s psychoanalytic project started in the 1890s and thus stands at the beginning of the 20th century’s discourse on sexuality. Queer Theory, emerging around 1990, marks its end. Within those 100 years all theorists on sexuality in the cultural context of the West such as Marcuse or Foucault had to position themselves in relation to Freud – whether they approved of his concepts or not.

In the context of Feminist and Queer Theory this conflict has played out in a particularly dramatic fashion: One of the reoccurring question has been, whether Freud provides a diagnosis of patriarchy or rather one of its manifestations.

In this course we will start with a close reading of Freud’s canonical texts, for instance The Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality and The Interpretation of Dreams.  In the second part we will focus on the Feminist reception of Freud in the writings of Juliet Mitchell, Luce Irigaray, and Julia Kristeva, before we will eventually breach into Queer Theory and discuss a couple of essays by authors such as Leo Bersani and Tim Dean who renegotiate Freud’s thinking on the body and desire from a non-normative perspective.

While this course has its emphasis on psychoanalytic theory and its reception in the historical context of the 20th century for each of these three sections we will also analyze films and novels in order to put, in an exemplary fashion, the concepts on sexuality that these theories provide to the test. Readings include Thomas Mann, Alfred Hitchcock, and Jean Genet.

Readings

Leo Bersani: The Freudian Body

Tim Dean and Christopher Land (eds.): Homosexuality and Psychoanalysis

Anthony Elliott: Freud 2000

Sigmund Freud: Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality

Sigmund Freud: The Interpretation of Dreams

Sigmund Freud: Beyond the Pleasure Principle

Sigmund Freud: Dora: An Analysis of a Case of Hysteria

Jean Genet: Funeral Rites

Alfred Hitchcock: The Birds

Luce Irigaray: The Sex which Is not One

Julia Kristeva: The Portable Kristeva

Thomas Mann: Death in Venice

Thomas Mann: The Magic Mountain (excerpts)

Juliet Mitchell: Psychoanalysis and Feminism

 

Grading 

2 Writing Assignments (3 Pages)                                  20%

Participation (incl. Attendance & Homework)                   40 %

Presentation                                                            10 %

Final Paper                                                              30 %

GER 343C • Contemporary German Civilizatn

38085 • Spring 2013
Meets TTH 930am-1100am MEZ 1.120
show description

Description:

To comprehend and participate in conversations about contemporary Germany it is essential to understand the main outlines of German history and culture in the twentieth century. This course will follow the radical changes in German politics, society, culture, and literature during that century. We begin by discussing the pre-war era and the impact of World War I. We then turn to the Revolution of 1918 and political developments of the Weimar Republic. Next we consider the society and ideology of National Socialism and the origins and course of World War II. This is followed by an examination of the post-war occupation of Germany and the development of two German states, the FRG and the GDR ending with the process of German unification. Throughout the semester, we will discuss the important literary and cultural shifts that took place during this century including: the modernism of fin-de-siècle literature and expressionism; dada, cabaret and Neue Sachlichkeit of the 1920s; the emergence of German film; restrictions placed on culture under the Nazis and artists and authors who went into political exile. Finally, we examine the impact of a divided nation on the cultural and literary output in the post-war era.

Student work for this class is based on a combination of readings and films, writing assignments, and participation in class discussions (including organized debates). It presumes a fifth-semester language ability (i.e. successful completion of GER 328 and 331L) and is structured to build on the skills acquired in those classes in a systematic way to prepare students for more advanced work in German seminars. We will read texts that were written for native speakers of German and are not glossed or simplified. As a result we will frequently encounter more complicated grammatical structures, such as indirect discourse (subjunctive I), passive voice, and extended modifiers. Students will be expected to expand on their previous use of German in writing and speaking (for example by using more complex clauses and an expanded vocabulary).

Required texts:

Geschichtsbuch 4: Die Menschen und ihre Geschichte in Darstellungen und Dokumenten (Berlin: Cornelsen, 1996); ISBN 3-464-64204-6.

A course packet available at the Coop Bookstore, 2242 Guadalupe 

Assignments:

1)      Reading assignments are due in class on the day indicated on the syllabus. Unless otherwise noted, the pages cited are from the Geschichtsbuch 4. All other required readings will be in the course package. All films must be screened prior to class (they are all available at UT in the Fine Arts Library; you may also rent them from Netflix, local video stores, etc.).

2)      Homework and quizzes. To help you to focus your reading, questions (Fragen) to many of them have been posted on Blackboard. There may be occasional (unannounced) content quizzes about the day’s reading. Be prepared! Daily participation is expected of all students and is graded. This includes contributing to discussions each day in class. Unexcused absences will dramatically affect your grade (-1% for each absence).

3)          In addition, there are three (3) in-class debates (Debatten) scheduled on the syllabus. For each debate there is a worksheet on the course website to help you structure your arguments. One purpose of this course is to challenge you to develop and express your ideas in German. Every student is required to participate in each debate. Note that if you miss a debate you miss 5% of the semester grade.

4)         Written work for this class will consist of three (3) essays on the literary readings. Assignments for these schriftliche Arbeiten are on Blackboard; these essays are due in class on the dates specified on the syllabus. They should be approximately 500 words (2 pages) and should be typed, double-spaced, and proofread. As with the answers to the Fragen, these schriftliche Arbeiten should integrate the new vocabulary from the readings and from class lectures and discussion. They should also incorporate the rhetorical and stylistic elements that we will be reviewing such as subjunctive I, passive voice, and extended modifiers. Be sure to review the “Essay Guidelines” document on Blackboard. 

5)         There will be three tests in this course. Review sheets for each test will be posted on the Blackboard course website. While the grammatical accuracy of your test answers will not be graded, all answers must be written in complete and coherent sentences (with proper word order and verb-subject agreement). You will also be expected to use the new vocabulary that you have been learning in your answers.

Grading:

Essays (10%, 10%, 10%) = 30%

Debates (5%, 5%, 5%) = 15%                                                           

Exams (10%, 15%, 15%) = 40%

Participation, homework, quizzes = 15%

GER 382N • Queer History Of Pleasure

38145 • Spring 2013
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm BUR 232
(also listed as WGS 393 )
show description

What is the relationship between beauty and sexuality? Beyond the realm of aesthetics the answer to this question had strong implications for gender norms and their political ramifications in modern Europe. For instance, when in the 19th century the idea of “classical beauty” was exploited by nationalistic movements.

This course will link the non-idealistic German tradition of aesthetic theory to more recent debates about sexuality, gender, and art. We will discuss the functions of the “Apollonian” and “Dionysian” in Nietzsche’s Birth of Tragedy, and read Freud’s texts, which have been decisive for the 20th century. For instance, his theory of the drives and its language of “repression,” “sublimation,” “fetishism,” and “narcissism.”

Beyond the German context, we will raise the question, how in postmodern times and their debates on “de-sublimation” (Lyotard) and “aesthetics of existence” (Foucault) the relationship between the body and artistic representation has been re-configurated. This discussion has taken place mostly in the field of Queer Theory, for example with Bersani’s understanding of sexuality as “ego-shattering” or Halberstam’s re-appropriation of an aesthetics of “failure.”

With this course students will gain a thorough knowledge of canonical theoretical texts of the 19th and early 20th century from the Germanic context and will learn how this tradition via Nietzsche, Freud and Foucault relates to contemporary debates at the intersection of sexuality, aesthetics and politics.

Readings

Bersani, Leo The Freudian Body

Davis, Whitney Queer Beauty

De Lauretis, Teresa The Practice of Love

Dean, Tim Beyond Sexuality

Dean, Tim and Lane, Christopher (eds.) Homosexuality and Psychoanalysis

Foucault, Michel The History of Sexuality

Foucault, Michel Foucault Live: Interviews

Freud, Sigmund Leonardo da Vinci and a Memory of his Childhood

Freud, Sigmund Beyond the Pleasure Principle

Halberstam, Judith The Queer Art of Failure

Huffer, Lynne Mad for Foucault: Rethinking the Foundations of Queer Theory

Kant, Immanuel Critique of The Power Of Reason

Lyotard, Jean François The Postmodern Condition

Nietzsche, Friedrich The Birth of Tragedy

Nigianni, Chrysanthi and Storr, Merl (eds.) Deleuze and Queer Theory

Winckelmann, Johann Joachim History of Ancient Art

Winckelmann, Johann Joachim Reflections on the Paintings and Sculptures of the Greeks

Grading

30%     Participation                          

20%     Presentation                           

50%     Final Essay (15 - 20 pages)

GER 373 • The German Pop-Novel

38055 • Fall 2012
Meets TTH 930am-1100am MEZ 2.124
show description

Description:

The phenomenon of pop literature was a hot topic of discussion towards the end of the last millennium. Young German authors such as Christian Kracht and Benjamin von Stuckrad-Barre were celebrated like pop stars. Their literature was in many ways an adaptation of an Anglo-American literary style as performed by writers such as Bret Easton Ellis and Douglas Coupland. Like some of their idols, German pop writers also grew out of a tradition of New Journalism for which a subjective perspective was characteristic and that included topics that formerly were not necessarily considered to be worth of literary representation such as pop music and partying.

But the 1990s were not the first period of pop literature made in Germany. As opposed to the KiWi (short for the publisher Kiepenheuer & Witsch)-authors of the 1990s, the Suhrkamp-authors of the 1980s – namely Rainald Goetz, Thomas Meinecke, and Andreas Neumeister – did not so much focus on everyday-phenomena. Rather, they maintained a more intellectual discussion about pop aesthetics as an alternative to a German “culture of consternation.” However, the idea of a pop novel as opposed to a literary expression as part of high culture first hit Germany in the 1960’s and early 1970’s, represented by authors such as Hubert Fichte and Rolf Dieter Brinkmann (who actually lived in Austin for a while and wrote about it!) who are considered to be the fathers of German literary pop.

This course will give an overview of the past decades of German pop literature and will raise the question how it relates to transnational debates on pop culture on the one hand and specific historical constellations of post-war German literature on the other. The course will be taught in German, that is to say: primary texts – excerpts from novels and some journalistic texts – will be read in German and writing assignments will also be in German. Secondary texts will be both in German and English. The class will also introduce students to the basic research methods of literary criticism and prepare them to write a final research paper (12-15 pages). 

Grading:

Attendance:                 10 %

Participation, including Tests:         30%

Presentation:                 10 %

Writing assignments (2):         20%

Final Paper:                 30% 

Literature:

Moritz Baβler: Der deutsche Pop-Roman

Sibylle Berg: Ein paar Leute suchen das Glück und lachen sich tot

Rolf Dieter Brinkmann: Briefe an Hartmut

Diedrich Diedrichsen: Sexbeat

Hubert Fichte: Die Palette

Rainald Goetz: Rave

Rainald Goetz: Loslabern

Jost Hermand: Pop International

Richard Kämmerlings: Das kurze Glück der Gegenwart

Christian Kracht: Faserland

Charlotte Roche: Feuchtgebiete

Eckhard Schumacher: Gerade Eben Jetzt

Benjamin von Stuckrad-Barre: Soloalbum

Benjamin von Stuckrad-Barre: Auch Deutsche unter den Opfern

GRC 361E • Brecht, Sirk, And Fassbinder

38165 • Spring 2012
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm BUR 337
(also listed as EUS 347 )
show description

Description:

Bertolt Brecht’s theory of an „Epic Theatre“ and its famous „Verfremdungseffekt“ were the blueprint for many avangardist aesthetics that followed. Generally, Brecht’s thinking on theatre is understood as a tool both to raise the spectator’s awareness for ideological constructions and to inspire political action.

Douglas Sirk, who was born in Hamburg as a child of Danish parents and later emigrated to the United States, became a director of 1950’s Hollywood-melodrama like „All that Heaven allows“ starring Rock Hudson. As a sentimental tale that takes place in a petit-bougeois cosmos, the melodrama at first sight seems to represent exactly the opposite of Brecht’s theory.

But the artificiality of the melodrama filmed in Technicolor with its camp-appeal can also be read along the lines of avantgardist aesthetics, for don’t these colorful and emotional movies also display a difference between actor and character, for instance, like Brecht demanded? Furthermore, the survivor stories of the melodrama often times show the strong woman as heroine, thus challenging gender stereotypes maybe more than Brecht’s plays with their idea of proletarian heroism.

One of the figures that brought Brecht and Sirk together was the German film director Rainer Werner Fassbinder, who in the 1970s also filmed a remake of „All that Heaven allows“, namely „Ali: Fear eats Souls“.

This course analyzes some of Brecht’s writings on theatre and the ways in which they are implemented in his plays. It will compare the educational ambition of his aesthetics for the theatre with the „pleasure“ of watching Hollywood melodrama, and the reinvention of a „New German Cinema“ and its political understanding by Fassbinder.

The material selected for this course offers a disussion of aesthetic questions on the threshold of modernism and postmodernism. Issues at stake include: The role of the spectator, the construction of political meaning, the representation of gender, mass culture and the death of the avantgarde.

Readings:

Brecht, Bertolt. Brecht on Theatre: The Development of an Aesthetic (1994)

Elsaesser, Thomas. Fassbinder’s Germany. History, Identity, Subject (1996)

Fischer, Lucy (ed.) Imitation of Life (1991)

Jameson, Frederic: Brecht and Method (1998)

Klinger, Barbara: Melodrama and Meaning: history, culture, and the films of Douglas Sirk (1994)

Films:

All that Heaven allows (1955), Director: Douglas Sirk

Written on the Wind (1956), Director: Douglas Sirk

Imitation of Life (1959), Director: Douglas Sirk

Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (1974), Director: Rainer W. Fassbinder

Fox and his Friends (1975), Director: Rainer W. Fassbinder

The Marriage of Maria Braun (1978), Director: Rainer W. Fassbinder

Berlin Alexanderplatz (1980), Director: Rainer W. Fassbinder

Polyester (1981), Director: John Waters

Far from Heaven (2002), Director: Todd Haynes

Grading:

one short oral presentation  (10%)

two three-page papers  (20%)

one final ten-page paper  (50%)

class participation  (20%)

GRC 360E • Sexual Polit 20-C Germanic Cul

38213 • Fall 2011
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm BUR 337
(also listed as EUS 347, WGS 340 )
show description

Since the rise of sexology and psychoanalysis in the late 19th century, sexuality has become a key concept for the understanding of modernity. Starting with a reading of both the epistemological and theatrical aspects of sexuality in Freud's writing as indicative for fin-de-siècle Viennese culture, this course traces sexuality in 20th Century Germanic cultural and political history as a site of spectacle where notions of gender, race, morals, and politics intersect.

 

The conditions, visions, and discontents of modern subjectivity will thus be analyzed from the perspective of sexual politics: While we discuss the vocabulary of sexuality as a critical discourse whose key concepts like "hysteria", "fetishism", and "perversion" have been influential for popular culture, we will also spell out their meanings with respect to specific historical constellations.

 

Class discussion will include the following topics: sexual murder in Weimar Republic, family values in Nazi Germany, sexual scandal in postwar Germany, and the generation of 68. Examples will be taken from historical texts, from popular culture and film, including classics like  M, Blue Angel, and Young Torless.

 

Readings:

Bronfen, Elisabeth: Over Her Dead Body: Death, Femininity and the Aesthetic (1992)

Foucault, Michel: History of Sexuality: The Will to Knowledge, vol. 1 (1998)

Freud, Sigmund: Three Essay on the Theory of Sexuality (2000)

Freud, Simund: Civilization and its Discontents (1989)

Herzog, Dagmar: Sex After Fascism: Memory and Morality in Twentieth-Century Germany (2007)

Krakauer, Siegfried: From Caligari to Hitler: A psychological history of the German film (1947)

Kuzniar, Alice: The Queer German Cinema (2000)

Tartar, Maria: Lustmord. Sexual Murder in Weimar Republic (1995)

 

Films:

Der Blaue Engel (1929/1930), Director: Josef von Sternberg

M - Eine Stadt sucht einen Mörder (1931), Director: Fritz Lang

Die Sünderin (1951), Director: Willi Forst

Der junge Törless (1965), Director: Volker Schlöndorff

 

Grading:

one short oral presentation  (10%)

two three-page papers  (20%)

one final ten-page paper  (50%)

class participation  (20%)

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