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Syllabus Imagining Society: Civil Values and Aesthetic Practise in German Literatur 1785-1929 - 32806

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Last update 28-08-2016
HU Credits: 2

Degree/Cycle: 2nd degree (Master)

Responsible Department: german, russian & east european studies

Semester: 2nd Semester

Teaching Languages: German

Campus: Mt. Scopus

Course/Module Coordinator: Prof Birgit Erdle
DAAD Walter Benjamin Professor
DAAD Walter Benjamin Chair

Coordinator Email:

Coordinator Office Hours: Sunday, 14-16, and by appointment

Teaching Staff:
Prof Birgit Erdle

Course/Module description:
How does the literature of the period between 1785 and 1929 give voice to new conceptions of selfhood? Which knowledge of social norms and social fragmentation is negotiated in novels such as Karl Philipp Moritzs Anton Reiser (1785/1786/1790), Goethe's Wilhelm Meister (1795/1796/1821/1829), Heinrich Mann's Im Schlaraffenland. Ein Roman unter feinen Leuten (1900) or Alfred Döblin's Berlin Alexanderplatz (1929), which all aim, in different ways, to tell the story of a life's struggle for coherence, purpose, and social advancement? How is this communicated through narrative style or aesthetic form? In this seminar, we will discuss these questions by closely reading canonical German language novels and by placing them in their historical context.

Course/Module aims:
open up seminal German language novels of the period between 1785 and 1929, examining them as a literary reflection, reproduction, or counterdiscourse of social and political norms

Learning outcomes - On successful completion of this module, students should be able to:
analyze the literary structure of seminal German language novels (late 18th to early 20th century) in its various aspects and layers;
reflect methodologically on questions of interpretation;
discuss literary/aesthetic ways of writing/representing social reality;
reflect and contextualize historically literary conceptions of selfhood and community;
critically evaluate arguments in secondary texts.

Attendance requirements(%):
80 %

Teaching arrangement and method of instruction: seminar discussion
student presentation
reading reports

Course/Module Content:
close reading of seminal literary texts (in german) in 18th, 19th and early 20th century

Required Reading:
Literary texts and secondary literature will be provided

Additional Reading Material:

Course/Module evaluation:
End of year written/oral examination 0 %
Presentation 30 %
Participation in Tutorials 0 %
Project work 30 %
Assignments 0 %
Reports 10 %
Research project 0 %
Quizzes 0 %
Other 30 %
written paper (12 pp)

Additional information:
Students needing academic accommodations based on a disability should contact the Center for Diagnosis and Support of Students with Learning Disabilities, or the Office for Students with Disabilities, as early as possible, to discuss and coordinate accommodations, based on relevant documentation.
For further information, please visit the site of the Dean of Students Office.