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Syllabus Hannah Arendt and Rahel Varnhagen - 32873
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Last update 01-08-2021
HU Credits: 2

Degree/Cycle: 2nd degree (Master)

Responsible Department: German Language & Literature

Semester: 2nd Semester

Teaching Languages: English

Campus: Mt. Scopus

Course/Module Coordinator: Prof. MICHAEL FISCH

Coordinator Email:

Coordinator Office Hours: Thursday 14:30 - 16:00

Teaching Staff:

Course/Module description:
Hanna Arendt (1906-1975) is one of the great thinkers of the 20th century. An extensive exhibition in the German Historical Museum (Deutsches Historisches Museum) in Berlin was dedicated to her life and work. The catalog for this was published in 2020 under the title “Hannah Arendt and the 20th century”. She studied with Martin Heidegger and Edmund Husserl and did her doctorate with Karl Jaspers. In addition to philosophy, she was interested in literature and wrote numerous articles on it. The book about the romantic writer Rahel Varnhagen, planned as a habilitation thesis, was first published in London in 1957 under the title “Rahel Varnhagen, The life of a jeweness” and finally in Germany in 1959 under the title “Rahel Varnhagen. Lebensgeschichte einer deutschen Jüdin”.
Hannah Arendt’s book and the work of Rahel Varnhagen (1771-1833) are assumed as the basis for his lecture. The course reminds the 250th brithday of this extraordinary writer, head of a literary salon and a staunch representative of the Romantic epoch and the European Enlightment, who continued to advocate Jewish emancipation and equal rights for women. As a part of the Critical Complete Edition by Hannah Arendt, the book about Rahel Varnhagen will appear in full for the first time and will be commented on in 2021.

Course/Module aims:
Introduction to the Romantic epoch, using Rahel Varnhagen as an example and with the help of the biography of Hannah Arendt.

Learning outcomes - On successful completion of this module, students should be able to:
The biography of Rahel Varnhagen by Hannah Arendt as a new approach to biography and an innovative attempt and philosophical practice. It is about their theory in literary practice and their interpretation of romantic literary texts.

Attendance requirements(%):
Open to all students (Language skills in German desired).

Teaching arrangement and method of instruction: Communicative method, discussion of topics and texts, application of theory to practice and intensive reading and academic analysis.

Course/Module Content:
Introduction to the book »Rahel Varnhagen. Lebensgeschichte einer deutschen Jüdin«. Application of cultural and literary theories to Hannah Arendt.

Required Reading:
The texts are posted on the Moodle platform. Each week, extensive academic texts (in German) have to be read and understood.

Additional Reading Material:
Hannah Arendt: Rahel Varnhagen (1957 english edition / 1959 german edition).
Hannah Arendt and the 20th century. Catalog. München: Piper 2020.

Course/Module evaluation:
End of year written/oral examination 0 %
Presentation 0 %
Participation in Tutorials 0 %
Project work 0 %
Assignments 0 %
Reports 0 %
Research project 100 %
Quizzes 0 %
Other 0 %

Additional information:
This course is especially aimed at students in the new German Master-Program of the HUJI (Faculty of Humanities).
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.