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Course Information

Coursework In keeping with our ethos of disciplinary flexibility, the graduate program is designed to satisfy a set of core competencies in German Studies. On the recommendation of our curriculum committee, students are encouraged to satisfy course requirements within the German Department before exploring course options elsewhere. They are required to take courses from an array of curricular rubrics designed to give them deep exposure to several different subdisciplinary discourses. Graduate students select a minimum of 36 credits of graduate course work during their first three years in the program, including eight credit hours of German 990 during the sixth term in preparation for their preliminary examinations. So as to allow students to tailor the curriculum to their discrete needs, required courses are limited to the following:

  1. German 540: Introduction to German Studies, taken in the Fall semester of the first year. This seminar familiarizes students with scholarship in German Studies and introduces them to the field's central theoretical and methodological debates. It provides insight into the history of the discipline, and its future trajectory;
  2. German 531: Teaching Methods, compulsory for all GSIs who have not taken a language pedagogy course elsewhere;
  3. German 825: The German Studies Colloquium, which students must take in the Winter of the first and second year (in addition, they are expected to enroll whenever the student is on campus during years three to five)..

The remaining credit hours are comprised from our core curriculum rubrics, described below. Students are required to have taken courses from at least two of these rubrics before taking their preliminary examinations.

  1. German 701/02: Textual and Visual Interpretations (3 credits): Courses under this rubric explore textual and visual rhetoric, questions of genre and media, and relations between text and image. Students are exposed to and work with a broad definition of textuality (including music, film, the visual arts, as well as literature), and seminars emphasize the theoretically informed, close analysis of texts from German-speaking Europe. These can include text-intensive seminars such as a recent intensive study of Robert Musil's Der Mann ohne Eigenschaften, or a class on Albrecht Duerer co-taught by Helmut Puff and an art historian, or Julia Hell's current class on post-1945 literary and visual culture.
  2. German 731/32: Cultural and Historical Analysis (3 credits): These courses focus on concepts of history, culture, and their interrelationship. Such courses provide analytical tools and readings to engage with the field of premodern and modern German cultural history, to explore and challenge its contemporary practice (historiography), and to expand its vision. Examples of classes under this rubric have included Modern Interpretations of the Premodern, Modernism/modernities, or Ruins of Modernity, another co-taught seminar.
  3. German 761/62: Critical Theory and Philosophy (3 credits): Courses under this rubric explore issues in aesthetics, theories of language and subjectivity, and the genealogy of critical thought in continental philosophy (Kant, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, among others), psychoanalysis (Freud, Lacan), and sociology (Weber, Simmel, Elias). These courses may also treat the legacy of critical thought in the twentieth century, examining representatives of the Frankfurt School (Adorno, Horkheimer, Marcuse, Habermas, Benjamin, and Kracauer), and the work of post-structuralists, feminists, and post-colonial theorists. These classes can be on a single theorist (Johannes von Moltke's recent Kracauer seminar), or classes taught by Andy Markovits and George Steinmetz on sociological thought, or Silke Weineck's seminar on Myth.

A listing of all undergraduate and graduate courses taught in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts may be found in the LSA Course Guide.