Course Descriptions (GSAS Bulletin)

(2015 - 2017)

Problems in Critical Theory
GERM-GA 1112  Ronell. 4 points. 2016-17
Past topics have included “Kant’s third critique and Arendt’s lectures” and “theories of history.”

Origins of German Critical Thought I
GERM-GA 1115  Goebel. 4 points. 2016-17
A systematic introduction to German intellectual history with special emphasis on the role of art. Authors include Baumgarten, Herder, Kant, Schiller, Schlegel, Schelling, and Hegel.

Origins of German Critical Thought II
GERM-GA 1116  4 points. 2016-17
A continuation of GERM-GA 1115, this course presents Marx, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Gadamer, Adorno, Derrida, de Man, and Luhmann.

German Romanticism
GERM-GA 1420  Weatherby. 4 points. 2016-17
Examines the Romantic Movement as a way of living and writing. Attention is given to the development of a “new” mythology connecting poetry and myth, to romantic irony as a specific aesthetic process, and the discovery of the unconscious ant the irrational.

Franz Kafka
GERM-GA 1512  Ulfers. 4 points. 2016-17
Kafka’s work in the light of his preoccupation with language, particularly with the way this preoccupation affected his writing. The point of departure is the problematization of the referential function of language. An examination of Kafka’s diaries and letters follows.

Modern German Drama
GERM-GA1520  Bronfen/Frey. 4 points. 2015-2016.
Modern German plays after 1945 to the present. Major theoretical essays on the function of the theater as a public institution and the problem of how to represent to the world on the stage are discussed in conjunction with the plays.

Visual Culture
GERM-GA 1650  Bronfen. 4 points. 2016-17
Focuses on the role of visuality in modernist thought, with an emphasis on the German tradition. Examines how epistemological models are oriented to a subject defined as a viewer and producer of images. Readings in critical theory, art history, and theories of film and photography.

Photography and the World
GERM-GA 1698  Baer. 4 points. 2015-16.
An investigation into the ways photography has been conceptualized since its inception until its recent transformation brought about by the advent of digital imaging. Particular attention is paid to the notion of the “world” as it informs most theoretical attempts to grasp photography; the way in which the rise of photography is indissociably linked to the emergence of psychoanalysis and phenomenology; theories of perception; issues of veracity, mimesis, and aesthetics; and the relation between photography and its historical moment.

Friedrich Nietzsche
GERM-GA 1842  Ulfers. 4 points. 2015-16.
Examination of Nietzsche’s terms “Appollonian” and “Dionysian” in The Birth of Tragedy that serves as the basis for an investigation of his aesthetic theory, epistemology, and ethics. Uses other writings as background and source. Traces Nietzsche’s impact on 20th-century literature.

Psychoanalysis and Philosophy
GERM-GA 1863  Ronell. 4 points. 2016-17
Explores the fundamental structures of psychoanalysis with a view to its philosophical implications. Readings range from scrupulous analyses of Freud, Lacan, Klein, Derrida, Lacoue-Labarthe, and Nancy to “Heideggerian psychoanalysis”
or cryptonymy (Abraham and Torok).

Literature of the Weimar Period
GERM-GA 1919  4 points. 2016-17
Topics include Weimar modernity, Weimar theatre, women, Jewish aspects and anti-Semitism, the rise of fascism, and the postexpressionist aesthetics of Neue Sachlichkeit (New Sobriety) in novels, drama, poetry, and journalism, with an interdisciplinary interest in the other arts. Works by Roth, brothers Mann, Brecht, Seghers, Horváth, Fleisser, Tucholsky, Polgar, and Kisch.

Topics in 19th Century Culture
GERM-GA 2601  Weatherby/Žižek. 4 points. 2015-16.
Literature of the 19th century, including the novella, the novel, and drama. Considers aspects of 19th-century culture in conjunction with literature, including science, non-literary arts, and philosophy.

Philosophy and Literature
GERM-GA 2912. Ronell. 4 points. 2016-17
Recent themes include “forgiveness and violence,” “sovereignty,” “trauma.”

Research
GERM-GA 3000  Open to advanced students with permission of the director of graduate studies and chair of the department. 2-6 points. 2015-16; 2016-17