This course is one of two skill courses intended for major and minors in German Studies designed for double majors to help students develop the requisite skills to understand and critique not only German culture but also culture in general. It provides a solid foundation for upper-division courses in German literature as well as in culture.
What is German culture? How has it been defined and contested? How (and why) do we study it? How do other questions about identity—such as those related to gender or ethnicity—expose key aspects of German culture? These are some of the questions that we will explore in this course by examining key concepts in cultural studies (i.e. representation, history, identity, difference, and everyday life). Each unit of the course focuses on aspects of these concepts.
By the end of the quarter you will develop a better sense of how you wish to do cultural studies in a German context. This overall objective encompasses many particular goals as well. As a result of this class, you should be able to:
- explain key concepts of cultural studies;
- identify a range of approaches to the study of German culture;
- read and analyze texts closely;
- apply the questions in each unit to a variety of cultural productions.
Since the issues central to German culture studies do not stop at the border but instead permeate and even construct our global culture, we will concern ourselves with texts from diverse fields. This will offer the added benefit of allowing you to engage in discussions with students in other disciplines about questions, for example, concerning gender, national identity, ethnicity and justice.