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Department of Germanic Studies

Department Chair

  • David Wellbery

Director of Undergraduate Studies

  • Margareta Ingrid Christian

Director of Graduate Studies

  • Catriona MacLeod


  • David J. Levin
  • Catriona MacLeod
  • Eric L. Santner
  • David E. Wellbery
  • Christopher J. Wild

Associate Professors

  • Florian Klinger

Assistant Professors

  • Margareta Ingrid Christian
  • Sophie Salvo

Senior Lecturers

  • Catherine Baumann
  • Maeve Hooper
  • Kimberly Kenny, Norwegian

Assistant Instructional Professors

  • Colin Benert, German
  • Jessica Kirzane, Yiddish
  • Nicole Burgoyne, German
  • Shiva Rahmani, German

Emeritus Faculty

  • Reinhold Heller
  • Samuel Jaffe
  • Kenneth J. Northcott
  • Hildegund Ratcliffe

Affiliated Faculty

  • Alice Goff, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of German History and the College
    Interests: Cultural and intellectual history 1750-1850, museums and collecting, aesthetics, looting, historical reception in the GDR. 
  • Philip V. Bohlman, Ph. D., Mary Werkman Professor of the Humanities and of Music; Chair of the Committee on Jewish Studies
    Interests: German-Jewish and German-American ethnomusicology; theory and history of folksong.
  • John W. Boyer, Ph. D., Martin A. Ryerson Distinguished Service Professor of History; Dean of the College
    Interests: German and Austrian history, 18th century to the present; religion and politics in modern European history; European urban history.
  • Daniel Brudney, Ph. D., Associate Professor of Philosophy
    Interests: Marx, German philosophy, Frankfurt School.
  • James Conant, Ph. D., Professor of Philosophy
    Interests: Kierkegaard, Heidegger, Wittgenstein.
  • Kathleen Conzen, Ph. D., Professor of History
    Interests: German-American history and the history of international migration.
  • Constantin Fasolt, Ph. D., Karl J. Weintraub Professor of History; Master of the Social Sciences Collegiate Division; Deputy Dean of the Division of the Social Sciences; Associate Dean of the College
    Interests: Early modern German history.
  • Michael Forster, Ph. D., Professor of Philosophy
    Interests: Herder, Hegel.
  • Michael Geyer, Ph. D., Samuel N. Harper Professor of German and European History
    Interests: German history of the 19th and 20th centuries with special interest in contemporary German and European affairs.
  • Andreas Glaeser, Ph. D., Associate Professor of Sociology
    Interests: Theories of culture and identity; with reference to Germany mostly post-unification controversies, social memory and architecture, reality construction processes among civil servants in authoritarian regimes.
  • Gary Herrigel, Ph. D., Associate Professor of Political Science
    Interests: Political economy of advanced industrial states (Germany, USA, Japan), German political and industrial history in the 19th and 20th centuries, social and political theory.
  • Berthold Hoeckner, Ph. D., Associate Professor of Music and the Humanities
    Interests:19th century Austro-German music; Lyrik und Lied; Romantische Musikästhetik; Wagner; Adorno and music.
  • Loren Kruger, Ph. D., Professor, Department of English; Department of Comparative Literature; Committee on African Studies; Committee on Cinema and Media Studies; Committee on Theatre and Performance Studies
    Interests: German literature 18th century to present (esp. drama); GDR and contemporary Germany; Brecht, Heiner Müller, Marxism; the Cold War; Frankfurt School; "Das andere Deutschland."
  • Jonathan Lear, Ph. D., John U. Nef Distinguished Service Professor at the Committee on Social Thought and in the Department of Philosophy
    Interests: Freud, Wittgenstein, Heidegger.
  • Francoise Meltzer, Ph. D., Mabel Greene Meyers Professor of French, Comparative Literature, and the Divinity School; Acting Director of the Franke Institute for the Humanities
    Interests: German romanticism, philosophy.
  • Paul Mendes-Flohr, Ph. D., Professor of Modern Jewish Thought in the Divinity School, Committee on Jewish Studies; Associate Faculty in the Department of History
    Interests: German-Jewish intellectual history.
  • Glenn W. Most, Ph. D., Visiting Professor in the Committee on Social Thought
    Interests: German literature and philosophy since the 18th century.
  • Robert B. Pippin, Ph. D., Raymond W. and Martha Hilpert Gruner Distinguished Service Professor; Committee on Social Thought and Department of Philosophy
    Interests: Kant; German Idealism; Nietzsche; Heidegger; Modernity Theory.
  • Moishe Postone, Ph. D., Raymond W. and Martha Hilpert Gruner Distinguished Service Professor of History; Committee on Jewish Studies
    Interests: Marx, Frankfurt School, contemporary European social theory, contemporary German affairs (with particular focus on issues of anti-semitism and the relation of the Nazi past to postwar German society and culture).
  • Robert Richards, Ph. D., Morris Fishbein Professor of the History of Science and Medicine; Professor in the Departments of Philosophy, History, Psychology, and the Committee on Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science
    Interests: German Romanticism, history and philosophy of science.
  • Jerrold Sadock, Ph. D., Glen A. Lloyd Distinguished Service Professor, Department of Linguistics
    Interests: Germanic languages (Scandinavian, Yiddish).
  • Malynne Sternstein, Ph. D., Associate Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures
    Interests: Central European Studies, Literary, Psychoanalytic and Cultural Theory; Art and Media Theory
  • David Tracy, Ph. D., Andrew Thomas Greeley and Grace McNichols Greeley Distinguished Service Professor of Catholic Studies and Professor of Theology and the Philosophy of Religion in the Divinity School; Committee on Social Thought
    Interests: 19th century German philosophy and theology.



The graduate program in Germanic Studies at the University of Chicago stresses an interdisciplinary model of study, long an emphasis at this University, which allows students to construct fields of research in fresh ways. In order to draw on the University's strengths, both inside and outside the department, students are encouraged to work not only with departmental and affiliated faculty but with faculty throughout the University whose courses are of relevance to their particular interests.

The University's Workshops (non-credit, interdepartmental seminars that meet biweekly) offer a further avenue for interdisciplinary work. Students are also encouraged to participate in the department's colloquia and lecture/discussions.

Language courses taught in the department include German, Norwegian, and Yiddish.

Application and Financial Support

Applicants to the Department of Germanic Studies should have a solid background in German language and culture. Students with undergraduate degrees in other fields are encouraged to apply, but must include with their application a list of relevant German/Germanic courses as well as a letter of recommendation from a faculty member able to evaluate their level of German language competency. Such students will be asked to make up deficiencies in their language preparation before entry into the graduate program. All entering students whose native language is not German are required to pass an ACTFL (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages) oral proficiency examination in German during their first quarter in the program.
Admission to the department is competitive.
PhD students who matriculate in Summer 2020 and after will be guaranteed to have funding support from the University of Chicago, external sources, or a combination of the two for the duration of their program to include the following:

● Full tuition coverage
● Annual stipend
● Fully paid individual annual premiums for UChicago's student health insurance (U-SHIP, the University Student Health Insurance Plan)

The goal of the University’s commitment to ensuring that students are supported is to allow students to prioritize their studies and prepare for rewarding careers. We expect students to remain in good academic standing and to be making progress toward completing degree requirements.

Students in the Division of the Humanities who entered their PhD program in Summer 2016 or later, and who are still enrolled in 2022-2023 will be fully incorporated into this new funding model, and will receive at least the guaranteed stipend level (subject to applicable taxes), full tuition coverage, and fully paid health insurance premiums for the duration of their program. Students are expected to remain in good academic standing.

Students who matriculated before Summer 2016 will receive at least the funding they were offered at the time of admission and may be eligible for additional funding, such as dissertation completion fellowships. Over the past several years, the Division of the Humanities has increased investments in funding to support students in degree completion.

Additional fellowships and awards are available to support language study, conference travel, and research travel. 

Pedagogical training is a required component of doctoral education, and University resources can help you acquire the skills and experiences you need to feel at ease in the classroom, whether you are leading a discussion section, lecturing in the Humanities Common Core, or teaching a course of your own design. 

The Department of Germanic Studies has some funds to support students in summer projects, travel, and research. In addition, the Norwegian Culture Program Endowment Fund provides some money for research and travel support for students interested in Norwegian language and culture.

Applications to the program must include a writing sample of not more than twenty pages, in German or English; Graduate Record Exam scores from the general examination; TOEFL (Test Of English as a Foreign Language) scores, if applicable; and three letters of recommendation.

The application process for admission and financial aid for all graduate students is administered through the divisional office of the Dean of Students. The Application for Admission and Financial Aid, with instructions, deadlines and department-specific information is available on the Graduate Student Online Application page. Please note that the application and all supporting materials are to be submitted online. Questions pertaining to admissions and aid should be directed to: or (773) 702-1552. 

International students must provide evidence of English proficiency by submitting scores from either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). (Current minimum scores, etc., are provided with the application.) For more information, please see the Office of International Affairs website at, or call them at (773) 702-7752.

Degree Requirements

The following is an outline of the main features of the graduate program. If you need additional information, please write directly to the Department of Germanic Studies.

Students in the Department of Germanic Studies are  admitted into the Ph.D. program of study. Students interested in a one-year interdisciplinary Master's program in Germanic Studies should contact the Master of Arts Program in the Humanities. Study towards the M.A. degree, normally completed after the first year, is intended as an introductory period, a time for both faculty and students to decide on the suitability of an extended graduate program. All students entering the Ph.D. program with a master's degree from another institution will undergo an informal evaluation at the end of their first year in the department to assess their progress and to plan their further course of study.

Degree of Master of Arts

Course Work

Three quarters of course work and a total of eight courses are required during the first year of study. These include the mandatory pedagogy course ("Acquisition and Teaching of Foreign Languages"). A completed M.A., which includes the pedagogy courses and a "superior" rating on the German oral proficiency test, are prerequisites for teaching appointments. Besides the pedagogy course, students must take at least one course each quarter from departmental faculty, and at least two additional courses from departmental faculty during the year. The remaining courses could contain little or no Germanic material and may be taken primarily for methodological, theoretical, or historical interest. Course selections must receive the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies. All courses must be taken for a letter grade. We expect students to develop a broad historical sense of German culture through coursework as well as their own background reading. The primary aim of the master's year is for students to explore a variety of materials, approaches and problems.

Language Examination

Students who do not achieve a "superior" rating on the oral proficiency examination in German (to be taken early in their first quarter) will be advised to undertake further language training or to take other steps to improve their skills; they will be re-tested during the second quarter.

M.A. Exam

The purpose of the M.A. exam is to test students’ ability to work with concepts central to the discipline, to articulate literary-historical arguments, to discuss significant patterns that extend beyond individual texts, and to articulate how such concepts relate to the interpretation of individual works. In addition, the exam establishes a useful foundation of knowledge upon which the student can build in later studies.

The examination takes place in the eighth week of Spring Quarter of the student’s first year of graduate study. Its basis is a list of some twenty to twenty-five texts selected by the student in consultation with the two members of the student’s M.A. exam committee. (The committee—consisting of two members of the department’s core faculty—is to be designated by the Director of Graduate Studies in consultation with the student.) This list reflects a category of literary research such as a genre, a period, or a general concept bearing on a mode of writing. Examples of the former might be “The Bourgeois Tragedy” or “Modern Urban Short Prose” or “The Elegy.” Periods can be variously conceived: Enlightenment, Realism, Weimar Republic. General concepts are more abstract categories such as “narrative” or “performance” or “argumentative writing.” Lists could also be organized along thematic lines or in terms of a traditional narrative subject. The point is that the list be designed so as to sustain a process of coherent intellectual inquiry. In addition to the 20-25 primary texts, the list includes a representative cross-section of secondary literature addressing the topic under study.

The examination itself has two components:
a) a take-home written examination, and
b) an oral examination approximately one hour in length.

The take-home component consists of three essays (of two and one half, never more than three double-spaced pages) written in answer to questions devised by the faculty. These questions offer the student an opportunity to demonstrate her/his ability to explore various intellectual issues raised by the list as a whole as well as by specific works on the list. Students will receive these questions on Friday morning of the eighth week of classes and hand in their completed essays by 5:00 p.m. the following Monday. The oral examination is devoted to a critical discussion of the students’ three essays as well as to works included on the list but not addressed in the written part of the examination. It will take place one week after the written exam. Following a forty-minute discussion of the essays, the student and the faculty examination committee will assess the student’s overall progress, including course work.

A crucial aspect of the M.A. examination is planning and advising. Students should choose their examiners and have one planning meeting with each examiner by the eighth week of Autumn Quarter. Students should choose examiners and design the lists with a view to the seminars they plan to attend throughout the year. Students must submit their lists for approval at the end of the fourth week of Winter Quarter. Two weeks after submission, they should meet with their examiners to discuss preparation for the exams. During Spring Quarter, students should meet with their examiners twice prior to the exam in order to discuss questions arising from their readings. Of course, throughout the process students are encouraged to discuss questions arising from their readings with other faculty members, both inside and outside the Department of Germanic Studies.

First Year: Time Schedule for M.A. Exam

Fall, Week 8 - Choose examiners
Winter, Week 4 - Submit exam list for approval
Winter, Week 7 - Arrange to meet with examiners to discuss exam preparation
Spring, Week 8 - Written exam
Spring, Week 9 - Oral exam

The Degree of Doctor of Philosophy

The Ph.D. phase of study will be self-designed to a greater extent than the M.A. phase. Students who enter with an M.A. from another university will be required to take one pedagogy course in their first year ("Acquisition and Teaching of Foreign Languages"). This requirement may be waived by the department if a student can demonstrate that equivalent work was successfully completed at another institution. Completion of the course (or a departmental waiver), together with a "superior" rating on the oral proficiency interview in German taken early in the first quarter (or re-taken later if necessary), are prerequisites for teaching appointments.

COURSE WORK: Students will establish that balance of course work and individual preparation that best suits their intellectual agenda. Course selections, however, must be approved by the director of graduate studies. A minimum number of eight courses over two years, not including the pedagogy course, is required. All of these courses must be taken for credit. Six must be taken for a letter grade. The remaining two may be taken Pass/Fail. Typically, the two post-M.A. years (during which students will also be teaching) will look as follows: two seminars each quarter the first year; at least one seminar each quarter for the fall and winter quarters of the second year; exams in the spring quarter of the second year. In this way students will have ample time during the second Ph.D. year to prepare for the exams.

LANGUAGE EXAMINATION: All students are required to pass one university foreign language reading examination before taking their Ph.D. oral exams. The choice of language should be made in consultation with the director of graduate studies. Exams are administered by the Chicago Language Center.

Ph.D. EXAMINATIONS: The exam focuses on a small archive of literary, philosophical, and literary critical works (approximately 50 works) established by the student. This “major field list” should be organized around a broad topic that will in many cases anticipate the larger field within which the dissertation project will be situated. Some examples from previous exams: “Discourses of Madness from Kant to Musil,” “Worldly Provincialism: German Realism 1850-1900,” and “The Aesthetics of Sacrifice in Postwar German Literature and Art.” Works on the list should be grouped into clusters according to categories and questions relevant to the topic. These criteria should be expressly formulated in the list. Students are encouraged to meet with as many faculty members as possible as they work on these materials. In consultation with the director of graduate studies, they should arrange for an exam committee of three faculty members: two faculty members (normally both members of the department) to compose and evaluate the written examination questions, and a third faculty member (from either departmental or resource faculty) to serve as an additional examiner for the oral exam. At the beginning of the fall quarter of the second Ph.D. year, students will submit a preliminary exam list to the faculty committee they have chosen and to the director of graduate studies.

The four-hour, open-book, written exam will normally be taken around the seventh week of spring quarter. Five weeks prior to the exam, each student will submit to the exam committee and to the director of graduate studies a final draft of the list. As noted, the list should be organized by way of the categories and questions that indicate what the students considers to be the salient issues animating the different clusters of texts. Faculty will use this list as a guide in preparing the exam. Within two weeks of the exam, the full committee will meet with the student for an hour-long discussion that will encompass the exam and plans for the dissertation. Students should work on their dissertation proposals over the summer and schedule the formal proposal defense at the beginning of the fall quarter of the third Ph.D. year. For further details regarding the Ph.D. exams, students are encouraged to consult with the director of graduate studies.

To summarize, the second Ph.D. year will normally flow in the following way. In the fall quarter, the student establishes the exam committee in consultation with the director of graduate studies. A preliminary list is submitted by fifth week of the quarter. The winter quarter is dedicated to reading and exam preparation. By the second week of spring quarter, the final list (articulated into clusters of texts) is submitted to the committee. The written exam is taken in the second half of the quarter, typically around the seventh week. Within two weeks of the written exam, the student meets with the committee for an hour-long discussion of the exam and dissertation plans. The summer after the exam is dedicated to elaborating the dissertation proposal. The final proposal is due no later than one quarter (not including summer) after passing the Ph.D. exam.

DISSERTATION PROPOSAL: Within three weeks of the Ph.D. exam, a student must identify a primary dissertation advisor (in some cases there will be two co-advisors). A full dissertation committee of three members will be established in consultation with the advisor. The committee need not be identical with the exam committee and there is always the possibility that the dissertation committee and primary advisor(s) will change over the course of the project (it may turn out, for example, that another faculty member proves to be more engaged with the primary materials of the dissertation). The proposal itself ought not attempt to predict the final conclusions of the project before the research is fully under way. Instead, it should seek to divide the project into subordinate questions and to rank the parts of the project in terms of priority. It should include a preliminary bibliography and a potential chapter structure, and also indicate a rough timetable for the research and writing of the dissertation. The proposal of approximately 20-25 pages should be problem-driven and question-oriented, and should contextualize the project within relevant scholarly debates. The student will discuss the project in a proposal defense with the dissertation committee, to be scheduled in consultation with the primary advisor and the departmental administrator. This will typically be done one quarter (not including summer) after the Ph.D. examination. Students must file copies of their exam lists and proposal with the department administrator.

SYLLABI PROPOSALS: During the third summer of the Ph.D. program, students will compose two syllabi, one for an upper-division undergraduate class and one for a graduate seminar (consultations with faculty about the syllabi should already have begun in the spring quarter). These syllabi may overlap to some extent with the dissertation project but should ideally represent other areas of interest and developing expertise. They may be designed as courses in translation, courses taught in German, or courses requiring reading knowledge of German. In many cases students will wish to submit one of these syllabi for the annual Tave competition in the winter quarter. (The Stuart Tave Teaching Fellowship allows graduate students to teach a free-standing, self-designed undergraduate class.) The primary advisor(s) of the dissertation will meet with the student in the course of the fall quarter to discuss and evaluate the syllabi.

WRITING THE DISSERTATION: After the proposal has been approved by the readers, the student should plan on spending the remainder of that year researching and reading. Some students may spend this time away from campus; others may choose to remain in Chicago to work closely with their committee. Students are strongly encouraged to try to complete the dissertation during the sixth year. All students should complete the dissertation by the end of the fall quarter of their seventh year.

Teaching in the College

Graduate students in the Department of Germanic Studies at the University of Chicago will enter the job market with a solid basis in current pedagogical theory and practice as well as a range of teaching experiences in a variety of classroom settings. Teaching in the undergraduate language program is an integral part of the graduate program.

Before they begin teaching, graduate students must participate in a graduate seminar on pedagogy ("Acquisition and Teaching of Foreign Languages"). This course is an introduction to foreign language acquisition and to the theoretical models underlying current methods, approaches and classroom practices. Syllabus and test design and lesson planning are also treated. All participants do two days of observation and two days of supervised teaching in a first-year class.

Graduate students have the opportunity to teach in the beginning and intermediate German language program. They have full responsibility for the courses they teach, including syllabus design, day-to-day instruction, test design, grading and all other record keeping. Input from the graduate students is also critical in the ongoing implementation and revision of the curriculum. Internal grant monies have been made available to support the development of an on-line writing project designed by graduate students, as well as other curricular innovations.

Graduate students also have the opportunity to work as on-site coordinators and/or instructors in study-abroad programs in Vienna and Freiburg. The preparation of students for study-abroad and their reintegration into the curriculum is an ongoing process in which graduate students, in their roles as instructors, are deeply involved.

Each fall there is an orientation for all graduate students who will teach that year. It is held in conjunction with the Center for Teaching and Learning and deals with general procedural and pedagogical issues as well as specific course objectives and practices. This inter-departmental cooperation also includes jointly held workshops and seminars on different topics in the field of second language teaching, offered by University of Chicago faculty and experts from other institutions.

Germanic Studies Graduate Courses


GRMN 30606. Beginning Translation Workshop. 100 Units.

Beginning Workshops are intended for students who may or may not have previous experience, but are interested in gaining experience in translation. See the course description for this particular workshop section in the notes below.

Instructor(s): Jason Grunebaum     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): Open bid through Attendance on the first day is mandatory. To participate in this class, students should have intermediate proficiency in a foreign language.
Equivalent Course(s): SALC 30706, SALC 10606, CRWR 30606, GRMN 10606, CRWR 10606

GRMN 33622. Postwar Austrian Literature. 100 Units.

The seminar will focus on four of the most important Austrian authors of the postwar period: Ingeborg Bachmann, Thomas Bernhard, Peter Handke, and Elfriede Jelinek. In addition to poetry, prose, and drama we will also read the addresses each author gave upon receiving the Büchnerpreis. All readings are in German.

Instructor(s): Eric Santner     Terms Offered: Spring

GRMN 33823. Fictions of Patriarchy in German Literature and Thought. 100 Units.

In his 1861 study Mother Right, J. J. Bachofen argues that patriarchy is, at is most basic level, fictive. While the mother's connection to the child is materially perceptible-she gestates, births, and nurses her offspring-the father is a "remoter potency" whose relationship to his progeny, because it is always mediated through the mother, can never be known for sure. Paternity, Bachofen suggests, is a juridical invention rather than a naturally evident fact. Taking its cue from Bachofen, this course will investigate the relationship between notions of patriarchy and fictionality in German literature and thought. We will consider how philosophical texts use the figure of the father to ground their speculative claims, how literary narratives adapt changing ideas about the family and the state, and how concepts of patriarchy have structured thinking about fiction's function and effects. Readings from: Herder, Schiller, Fichte, Kleist, Bachofen, Hauptmann, Freud, Werfel, Heiner Müller, and Jelinek, among others.

Instructor(s): Sophie Salvo     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): GNSE 20124, GNSE 30124, GRMN 23823

GRMN 34819. Maniacs, Specters, Automata: The Tales of E.T.A. Hoffmann. 100 Units.

In this course we will read stories by one of the most prominent representatives of Romanticism, the German writer, composer, and painter E.T.A. Hoffmann who wrote "The Nutcracker and the Mouse King" on which Tchaikovsky would later base his ballet. His stories of bizarre yet psychologically compelling characters will introduce us to the "dark side" of Romanticism as well as to its fantastical aspects. Students will read Hoffmann's extraordinary stories, develop skills of literary analysis, and engage in historical inquiry by tracing the way in which Hoffmann's texts engage with the context of their time, in particular with the history of medicine (mesmerism, early psychiatry) and law (Hoffmann worked as a legal official). Those with reading knowledge of German can read the texts in the original, otherwise readings and discussions will be in English.

Instructor(s): Margareta Ingrid Christian     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): GRMN 24819

GRMN 35000. Literary Criticism before Theory: Auerbach's Mimesis. 100 Units.

This course is an introduction to Erich Auerbach's Mimesis: The Representation of Reality in Western Literature, often hailed as the masterpiece of twentieth-century literary criticism, through a historical contextualization that recovers the theoretical, ethical, and existential underpinnings of so-called Romance Philology, as purveyed by Auerbach, the influential Dante scholar Karl Vossler (1872-1949), the medievalist Ernst Robert Curtius (1886-1956); and, especially, Leo Spitzer (1887-1960), the author of innumerable seminal essays in the French, Italian, and Spanish literary traditions. We will home in on these scholars' quarrelsome sodality among themselves and others (e.g., Benedetto Croce, Martin Heidegger, Arthur Lovejoy, and Georges Poulet) by reviewing some of the discipline-defining debates, such as debates about canonical authors (including, Dante, Cervantes, and Proust) and the (dis)advantages of periodization in textual interpretation (Middle Ages, Renaissance, Baroque). We will also take stock of this generation's shared reliance on 18th- and 19th-century sources and methodologies (Giambattista Vico and German Hermeneutics, among others) and their remarkable foreknowledge of the many turns literary analysis would take at a time when textual concerns and/or close readings gave way to a more theoretical outlook.

Instructor(s): Rocco Rubini     Terms Offered: Winter
Note(s): Taught in English.
Equivalent Course(s): RLLT 35000, RLLT 25000, KNOW 25001, MDVL 25000, KNOW 35001, FNDL 25003, GRMN 25000

GRMN 35304. Goethe: Literature, Science, Philosophy. 100 Units.

This lecture-discussion course will examine Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's intellectual development, from the time he wrote Sorrows of Young Werther through the final states of Faust. Along the way, we will read a selection of Goethe's plays, poetry, and travel literature. We will also examine his scientific work, especially his theory of color and his morphological theories. On the philosophical side, we will discuss Goethe's coming to terms with Kant (especially the latter's third Critique) and his adoption of Schelling's transcendental idealism. The theme uniting the exploration of the various works of Goethe will be unity of the artistic and scientific understanding of nature, especially as he exemplified that unity in "the eternal feminine." (B) (IV)

Instructor(s): R. Richards     Terms Offered: Winter
Note(s): German would be helpful, but it is not required. Assignments: four papers (5–8 pages each).
Equivalent Course(s): KNOW 31302, PHIL 30610, HIPS 26701, GRMN 25304, HIST 35304, HIST 25304, FNDL 25315, CHSS 31202, PHIL 20610

GRMN 35322. New German Cinema. 100 Units.

This class will offer an intense exploration of the classical New German Cinema and some of the issues in its aesthetics, history and theory. Thus, we will see a broad variety of films (some familiar, some not so familiar: including work by R.W. Fassbinder, A. Kluge, W. Herzog, W. Wenders, H. Sanders-Brahms, U. Ottinger, J-M Straub/D Huillet, et al.) and read a broad range of material-incorporating, among others, questions of genre, auteur theory, psychoanalysis, history, politics, and film style. Proficiency in German language, culture, or history is welcome but not required (all films have subtitles); a serious commitment to thinking about the logic, rhetoric, history, and textuality of film is essential. The pace and conceptual level of the readings make this course most appropriate for graduate students.

Instructor(s): David Levin     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): undergrads by consent only
Equivalent Course(s): CMST 42027, GRMN 25322

GRMN 35623. Sexual Disorientation in Freud's Vienna. 100 Units.

In his Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality (1905), Sigmund Freud argued that human sexuality is born out of a series of deviations from what would seem to be a naturally given norm. The seminar will take Freud's Essays as a point of departure for an exploration of the larger literary and cultural world in which his ideas came to fruition. The main authors to be considered: Otto Weininger, Arthur Schnitzler, Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Lou Andreas-Salomé, and Robert Musil. Reading knowledge of German required.

Instructor(s): Eric Santner     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): GNSE 35623, RLVC 35623

GRMN 36522. Hegel's Aesthetics. 100 Units.

An intensive study of Hegel's lectures on aesthetics. The aim is a grasp of Hegel's conception through a discussion of core sections from the expansive text. To mark our engagement, we ask what to make of the conception for our own thinking about the aesthetic today, with a look to examples from contemporary art. Reading in English or German, discussion in English. Please use Hegel's Aesthetics. Lectures on Fine Arts, 2 vols., trans. T.M.Knox, Oxford University Press. For the German text, use Vorlesungen über die Ästhetik I-III, Suhrkamp Verlag.

Instructor(s): Florian Klinger     Terms Offered: Winter

GRMN 36523. Motherless Tongue:" Introduction to Transnational Writing in German. 100 Units.

This course introduces students to contemporary authors writing in German whose texts explore cross-pollinations between languages and cultures. Discussions will center around topics such as: identity; cosmopolitanism; memory; cultural hybridity and alterity; hospitality; guests and hosts; storytelling; migration; what are transnational German Studies? Authors include: the Japanese writer Yoko Tawada who lives in Berlin and writes in Japanese and German; the Romanian-born author Herta Müller (Nobel Prize in 2009); the Black British author Sharon Dodua Otoo who resides in Berlin and writes in German and English; the Ukrainian-German writer Katja Petrowskaja; the Turkish-born writer Feridun Zaimoglu; and others. Course conducted in English with an LxC option for interested students.

Instructor(s): Margareta Ingrid Christian     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): CMLT 26523, GRMN 26523, CMLT 36523

GRMN 37621. Philosophical Aesthetics: Heidegger and Adorno. 100 Units.

Two major positions in German philosophical aesthetics of the 20th century will be considered in detail: 1) the ontological-hermeneutic theory advanced by Martin Heidegger; 2) the dialectical-critical theory developed by Theodor W. Adorno. Primary readings will be Heidegger's Origin of the Work of Art and selections from Adorno's Aesthetic Theory. In addition, selected shorter pieces by the two authors will be studied, with a special emphasis on their work on lyric poetry. The seminar will also consider contributions by Georg Simmel, Walter Benjamin, Helmut Plessner, Arnold Gehlen, Georg Lukács. The course seeks to develop an understanding of the conceptual foundation of each of the two philosophical positions. Particular topics to be considered: a) the nature of artistic presentation (Darstellung); b) the nature of artistic truth; c) the historical character of art; d) the political significance of art; e) the relation of art to philosophy.

Instructor(s): David Wellbery     Terms Offered: Spring
Note(s): Undergrads must receive consent.
Equivalent Course(s): CMLT 27621, SCTH 27621, GRMN 27621, CMLT 37621, SCTH 37621

GRMN 38523. Goethe and Kafka. Criticism and Literary History. 100 Units.

This seminar will focus on two novels of unquestionable importance separated by just over a century: Goethe's Die Wahlverwandtschaften (Elective Affinities) of 1809 and Kafka's Der Prozess (The Trial), written in 1914-15, but not published until 1925. These works are notable not only for their mysterious depth and narrative complexity, but also for having attracted some of the intellectually most adventurous interpretations in the history of literary criticism. The seminar will consider examples of that criticism from Walter Benjamin's famous essay on Goethe's novel and his various pieces on Kafka to recent contributions by Friedrich Kittler, Tony Tanner, Roberto Calasso, and Pascale Casanova. Each work will be submitted to an intensive, detailed interpretation, with particular emphasis on the novelistic rendering of space and time, the relationship between knowledge and unknowingness, the treatment of sexuality, the forms of symbolization employed, and the processing of social energies. In this sense, the seminar is a case study in the poetics of the novel and major positions in the discussion of the novel (Lukács, Bakhtin, Pavel, Moretti, Mazzoni) will therefore provide important points of reference. Command of German is not required, although welcomed.

Instructor(s): David Wellbery     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): SCTH 38523

GRMN 39821. Goethe's Faust: Myth and Modernity. 100 Units.

In this seminar we shall undertake an intensive study of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's Faust, with close textual study of the entirety of Part I and Act 5 of Part II. We will begin by casting a brief look at the earliest versions of the Faust myth, the so-called Faust Chapbook of 1587 and Christopher Marlowe's Dr. Faustus composed 1589-92, premiered 1592), and we will have an eye on later versions such as those of Paul Valéry and Thomas Mann. Some consideration will be devoted to the question of modern "myth" and the Faust myth will be compared to that of Don Juan in particular. Our major task, however, will be to develop a close reading and interpretation of Goethe's text, which ranks as one of the supreme achievements of the European literary tradition. The interpretive issues at the center of our inquiry will include: a) the theory of (modern) tragedy; b) desire and subjectivity; c) Faust in relation to post-Kantian philosophy; d) the theme of time and the "moment." In addition to major works of scholarship, we shall touch on interpretations of the play by Schelling and Kierkegaard. Command of German will be helpful, but students may also refer to an English translation. (Recommended English version: Faust I & II, translated by Stuart Atkins, introduction by David E. Wellbery, Princeton Classics, 2014. Recommended German version: Faust I und II, hrsg. Albrecht Schöne, 2 vols. Text + commentary. Deutscher Klassiker Verlag 2017.)

Instructor(s): David Wellbery     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): CMLT 39821, SCTH 39821

GRMN 48421. Stifter's Modernity. 100 Units.

Probably no other author has been written off as boring as frequently as Adalbert Stifter (1805-68); yet Thomas Mann recognized in this boredom a compelling "sensationalism" and Stifter was admired by writers as diverse as Nietzsche, Benjamin, Handke, and Sebald. His work rewards closer attention today for readers interested in his extreme description, but also for its treatment of ecocritical themes and diagnosis of violence and modernity. In this seminar we will focus on reading his monumental Bildungsroman Der Nachsommer (1857). We will also consider shorter prose works ranging from his Viennese feuilleton essays to later stories from the collection Bunte Steine, as well as his output as a painter.

Instructor(s): Catriona MacLeod     Terms Offered: Winter