Classes

Robert Musil / Thomas Bernhard

Semester: 

Spring

Offered: 

2012

Robert Musil and Thomas Bernhard offer two of the most provocative critiques of the relationship between narration and the construction of subjectivity in all of twentieth-century literature. The first half of the seminar will be devoted to a reading of Musil’s The Man without Qualities, the second to a series of novels from the first half of Bernhard’s career: Frost, Gargoyles, The Lime Works, and Correction. The primary focus of the course will be a comparative critique of the practice of narrativity and the construction of subjectivity in these texts; in the...

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Benjamin's Artwork Essay or Cultural History as the Rigorous Study of Art and Media

Semester: 

Fall

Offered: 

2012

Program Seminar, Doctoral Program in Interdisciplinary Humanities (with Brigid Doherty)

This seminar explores Walter Benjamin's "The Work of Art in the Age of its Technological Reproducibility" as an experiment in and a critique of modernist cultural history. Through its exacerbation of the antinomies of analyzing cultural production in historical terms and its theorization of technological media in relation to the history of art, the artwork essay interrogates both the very possibility of writing cultural history and the conditions of its necessity as a form of knowledge. Seminar...

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Introduction to German Philosophy (Undergraduate)

Semester: 

Spring

Offered: 

2011

An introduction to German thought from the Enlightenment to the present through study of its major authors (Kant, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, Weber, Heidegger, Adorno.) The course offers a survey of German intellectual history with emphasis on aesthetics, the theory of knowledge, and moral, social, and political philosophy.

The Essay as Form: Texts and Phototexts (Graduate)

Semester: 

Spring

Offered: 

2011

The advent of photomechanical reproduction in the 1890’s posed a challenge to the essay as great as that posed by photography to painting in the 1840’s. This seminar will explore the range of formal possibilities available to the essay (and essayism) in twentieth-century prose fiction and non-fiction and in photo essays and phototexts. While the seminar will focus primarily on German material (Sander, Renger-Patzsch, the Bechers, Musil, Benjamin, Adorno, Brinkmann, Goetz), essays from other traditions (Valèry, Williams, Evans, Frank) will provide comparative focus.

The German Novel in the Twentieth Century (Undergraduate)

Semester: 

Fall

Offered: 

2010

This course surveys the most important German-language novels in the twentieth century. Through close readings of the novels we will explore not only aesthetic issues of form and language, but the situation of each novel in Germany’s troubled history. 

Benjamin's Baudelaire: Toward a Theory of Modernity (Graduate)

Semester: 

Spring

Offered: 

2010

In the course of the 1930’s, the figure of Charles Baudelaire emerged as the central organizing motif in Walter Benjamin’s attempt to develop a comprehensive theory of urban capitalist modernity. The seminar will trace the development of this theory from the mid-1920’s (Origin of German Trauerspiel; Benjamin’s intensive engagement with the European avantgarde movements) through 1940, concentrating on the finished texts that emanated from the great complex of the Arcades Project. Particular attention will be paid to the exchanges between Benjamin and his friends Siegfried...

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After 1968: Art and Literature in Germany (with Brigid Doherty; Graduate)

Semester: 

Fall

Offered: 

2009

This seminar examines a range of practices in writing, drawing, photography, painting, film, television, and other forms of notation and recording in the period 1968-1983. Topics will include political and literary writings associated with the German “student movement;” ends of the modernist novel in Uwe Johnson and Peter Weiss; the reception of conceptual art in the work of Bernd and Hilla Becher and Rolf Dieter Brinkmann; systems of notation and documentation in Uwe Johnson, and Hanne Darboven; vicissitudes of historical representation in Gerhard Richter, Sigmar Polke, Alexander Kluge,...

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