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GERMAN 322 A: Introduction To German Cultural Studies

Meeting Time: 
MWF 10:30am - 11:20am
RAI 107
Jason Groves

Syllabus Description:

German 322: Introduction to German Cultural Studies

MWF 10:30am - 11:20am / DEN 359

Professor Jason Groves

Office Hours: Weds. 1:30-3:00 (DEN 342)


To understand the definitions and deployments of the vast term “culture,” it is necessary to comprehend its pluralistic lines of theoretical tradition. Beginning with the framework of the Birmingham Center for Cultural Studies and its most famous intellectual Stuart Hall, and contrasting this with the Kulturkritik of Theodor Adorno and the Frankfurt School, this course brings together ideas from critical theory, cultural studies, film, and literature to analyze developments in contemporary German culture and society, principally in the postwar period. Both inter- and multidisciplinary, German Cultural Studies will inquire into questions of identity, language, history, power, politics, gender, culture, nationalism and transnationalism, mobility, migration, and memory. The goal is to provide students with a set of tools to critically analyze (representations of) culture through close reading. At the end of each unit there will be a session where we draw on the readings and discussions to compare and contrast with U.S. cultural events. Although some secondary literature in English is included in the reading assignments, all primary texts are in German and the course will be conducted in German.


Readings: Course Reader (available at Ram’s on the Ave.) as well as others posted to canvas.



 Class Participation: 25%

 Referate: 5%

 Forum (Blog): 10%

 Midterm paper: 20%

 Final Paper 40&


Policies: The general method of instruction is through brief lectures and classroom discussions. The primary language of instruction is German. We recommend that the student have completed German 203 or its equivalent. Readings of up to 30 pages of text in German are assigned for every class meeting. You will be graded on written work (75%) and on your participation in class (25%). Assignments are due at the beginning of class on the day assigned; exceptions on paper due dates can only be made with the advance permission of the instructor. Because of the heavy emphasis on discussion, daily participation is expected. Everyone is allowed two excused absences, beyond that 0.1 points are deducted from your final grade per class period missed.

Please familiarize yourself with the University’s policies on grading and grade change posted at

ACADEMIC INTEGRITY: The University of Washington is a community dedicated to learning. Students belonging to the community adhere to the ethical obligations outlined in the student conduct code. Plagiarism, cheating, and disruptive behavior in class violate the code, and harm everyone’s learning. Any violations of the code in connection with the course will result in referral to the University administration for appropriate action. Plagiarism of any sort will automatically result in a grade of 0.0 for the assignment as well as referral to the University administration, and may lead to harsh measures including expulsion.

ACCESS AND ACCOMMODATIONS: It is crucial that all students in this class have access to the full range of learning experiences. At the University of Washington, it is the policy and practice to create inclusive and accessible learning environments consistent with federal and state law. If you anticipate or experience barriers to your learning or full participation in this course based on a physical, learning, or mental health disability, please immediately contact the instructor to discuss possible accommodation(s). A more complete description of the disability policy of the College of the Environment can be found here. If you have, or think you have, a temporary or permanent disability that impacts your participation in any course, please also contact Disability Resources for Students (DRS) at: 206-543-8924 V / 206-543-8925 TDD / e-mail /

German 322: Reading Schedule (any updates will be announced in class and canvas)


  1. Cultural Studies and Kulturkritik

March 27: Course Introduction.  Culture vs. Kultur? What is cultural studies?

March 29: Raymond Williams, “Culture” from Keywords

     Stuart Hall, The Work of Representation*, pp. 15-30

March 31: Hall, The Work of Representation, pp. 30-51.

April 3:  Adorno, “Kulturkritik und Gesellschaft”* Auszug: Gedichte nach Auschwitz

Lukacs “Die Verdinglichung und das Bewußtsein des Proletariats”* (Auszug)

April 5:  Adorno, Minima Moralia* (Dedication; 18)

April 7:  Adorno, Minima Moralia* (19;22;35;74;84;96;102;117;137)


II: Cultural Memory / Memory Culture

April 10:  Adorno, “Was bedeutet: Aufarbeitung der Vergangenheit”*               

April 12: Celan, “Todesfuge”*

                  Anselm Kiefer, “Nuremberg,” “Shulamith”

April 14: Michael Rothberg, “Theorizing Multi-directional Memory in a Transnational Age”*

                  Other readings TBD

April 17: Simon Schama, Landscape and Memory*, pp. 75-134

                  Tacitus, “Germania” (Auszug)

April 19: Ascan Breuer et al., Forst

April 21: Group Workshop: Remembering histories of genocide in the U.S.


III. Politics of Mass Media

April 24: Adorno, “Resume über die Kulturindustrie”* MIDTERM PAPER DUE

April 26: Fiedler, “Cross the Border – Close the Gap”*

April 28: Rolf Dieter Brinkmann, aus Schnitte

May 1:  Die verlorene Ehre der Katharina Blum dir. Volker Schlöndorff & Margarethe von Trotta

Jack Zipes, “Political Dimensions of The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum”*

May 3: Heinrich Böll, „Will Ulrike Gnade oder freies Geleit?“*

May 5: Group Workshop: Politics of Mass Media


  1. Cultural Identity and Globalization

May 8: Adorno, “Was ist Deutsch”*

May 10: Stuart Hall, “Cultural Identity and Diaspora”*

May 12: Seyla Benhabib, “Who Are ‘We’? Dilemmas Of Citizenship In Contemporary Europe”*

May 15: Fatih Akin, Auf der anderen Seite I

May 17: Akin, Auf der anderen Seite II

May 19: Akin, Auf der anderen Seite III

May 22: Emine Sevgi Özdamar, “Mutterzunge”*

Yasemin Yildiz, “Surviving the Mother Tongue”

May 24: Yoko Tawada, “Europa Und Mehrsprachigkeit”*

Tawada, “Wo Europa anfängt”*

May 26: Group Workshop on Cultural Identity

May 29: Memorial Day

May 31: TBD

June 2:  Course Conclusion


* indicates materials are in Course Reader

Catalog Description: 
Questions addressed include: What is "German culture," how has it been defined and contested, and how and why do we study it? Interdisciplinary methods and readings. Prerequisite: GERMAN 203.
GE Requirements: 
Arts and Humanities (A&H)
Last updated: 
January 10, 2018 - 9:20pm