German Studies

Past Courses

Download pdfs of current and past semesters' courses and view recently offered graduate courses in German Studies and related departments.

PDFs of Current and Past Courses

Recent Graduate Courses

In German Studies

GRMN2340B - Poetik der AutorInnen (T. Kniesche)

This course will examine postwar literary aesthetics as put forth in the so-called "Poetikvorlesungen" which several universities in German-speaking countries have instituted since 1959. These lectures have featured important contemporary authors thinking about their work - from poetic practices and aesthetic theories to biographic considerations and the technicalities of writing literature in today's world.

GRMN2460B - German Literature 1968-1989 (T. Kniesche)

Discussion of major trends in literature written in German: New Subjectivity, postmodernism, feminist literature, the role of mythology, post-histoire. Authors include Botho Strauss, Elfriede Jelinek, Thomas Bernhard, W.G. Sebald, among others.

GRMN2660J - Late Heidegger: Art, Poetry, Technology (G. Richter)

This seminar will focus on key statements in some of the late Heidegger's most influential essays and lectures, with a focus on the nexus of art, poetry, and technology as it inflects language, dwelling, and Being. While in his thinking of art and poetry his emphasis is on the work of Hölderlin, in his thinking of technology he regards the enframement of technics as both completing and undoing Western metaphysics. For Heidegger, the essence of technology is not technological at all but instead requires a wholly different kind of questioning.

GRMN2660K - Ontology of Life: Reading Heidegger's Being and Time with Derrida (G. Richter and D. Krell)

Martin Heidegger's Being and Time (1927) develops a "fundamental ontology" of Dasein, or human existence. Dasein, which in each case dies, is for the time being alive. How does mortal human being relate to other life forms? We will read Heidegger's masterpiece in its entirety with this question in mind, a question sharply honed by Jacques Derrida in his Of Spirit, Aporias, and The Beast and the Sovereign, that is, from the 1980s until his death in 2004.

GRMN2660A - On the Sublime (Z. Sng)

Survey of major theories of the sublime from antiquity to modern times, with emphasis on German, British, and French texts from the 18th to 20th centuries. Authors include Longinus, Immanuel Kant, Edmund Burke, Jean-Francois Lyotard, and Neil Hertz.

GRMN 2660L - Hölderlin, in Theory (Z. Sng)

We will spend the semester reading the enigmatic writings of Friedrich Hoelderlin, with particular focus on the pivotal role that he has come to play in major philological and philosophical projects of our time. Critical readings include texts by Heidegger, Adorno, Benjamin, de Man, and Lacoue-Labarthe.

In Related Departments

HIST 2980W - First Person History in Times of Crisis: Witnessing, Memory, Fiction (O. Bartov)

This seminar examines the relationship between History as a narrative of events and history as individual experience. Postulating that historical events as related by historians were experienced in numerous different ways by their protagonists, the seminar focuses on the complementary and contradictory aspects of this often fraught relationship at times of crisis, especially in war and genocide. While much time will be spent on World War II and the Holocaust, the seminar will engage with other modern wars and genocides across the world. Materials will include eyewitness reports, postwar testimonies and trial records, memoirs and relevant works of fiction.

COLT 2821B - Memory/Commemoration/Testimony (S. Bernstein)

An investigation of the mnemonic functions of poetry from the elegy to historical witnessing in the Romantic and post-romantic period. We will study the creative and performative function of memory as well as processes of repetition, recollection, trauma and canon-formation. Theoretical and poetic texts will be studied together. Authors will include: Rousseau, Wordsworth, Hölderlin, Lamartine, Baudelaire, Dickinson, H.D., Rilke, Celan, Reznikoff; Heidegger, Freud, Arendt, Adorno, Derrida, de Man, Ronell.

HMAN 2970H - Realism, Idealism, and Modernity I: From Early Modernity through German Idealism (P. Guyer)

Debates between realism and idealism are central to modernity. The opposition between them might seem straightforward, realism being the philosophy of the scientific worldview, idealism the philosophy of more traditional religion and morality. But sometimes idealism has been the philosophical basis for modern science and moral autonomy, and realism the basis for more traditional worldviews. The philosophical debate between realism and idealism is thus part of the larger struggle over science, religion, morality and politics in modern culture. This course will begin a two-semester study of this complex dialectic from the seventeenth to the twentieth centuries.

COLT2820S - Poetry after Kant (K. McLaughlin)

Begins with the intensive study of a selection of writings by Kant focused especially on force and conflict in politics and aesthetics. This study, along with relevant readings from more recent work, will provide the basis for an approach to this topic in nineteenth-century poetry. Readings of Kant, Walter Benjamin, Jacques Derrida, and Giorgio Agamben, leading to several "case studies" of 19th--century poetry, including works by Hölderlin, Baudelaire, and Matthew Arnold.

The Department of German Studies offers a set of courses that covers the range from beginning language instruction to graduate seminars. Explore Undergraduate and Graduate course listing for Fall 2023.
The Department of German Studies at Brown offers a Ph.D. program which both provides a coherent perspective on major developments in German literature, culture, and critical thought in the modern period (1517 to the present) and provides students with the opportunity to develop their own specialized interests in German Studies.
Information about coursework, foreign language requirements, the qualifying exam, dissertation and teaching.