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Graduate Courses

Fall 2019

GERMAN 297- Modern Yiddish Culture- Sven-Erik Rose


Fridays 1:10-5:00 PM, Sproul 412

Yiddish is a fascinating “peripheral” European culture that is very rich in its own right, spanning multiple national and political contexts and opening up critical perspectives on how to look at dominant European discourses of culture, gender, territorial claims, and more. Germanists have a special obligation to become conversant with major trends in Yiddish culture, since  Yiddish culture was itself one of the victims of the German genocide of European Jewry. That said, this seminar will not, primarily, be about the Holocaust, but rather about the vibrant and extremely diverse transnational Yiddish cultural currents between the late 19th century and the Holocaust, as well as about attempts to sustain Yiddish cultural practice after the catastrophe.

We will survey the rise of modern Yiddish literature in the late 19th and early 20th century through the work of the triumvirate of modern Yiddish “classical” authors, Sholem Yankev Abramovitsh (Mendele Moykher Sforim, 1835-1917), Shalom Rabinovitz (Sholem Aleichem, 1859-1916), and Yitskhok Leybush Peretz (1852-1915). We will furthermore explore the staging of tradition to various esthetic and political ends in modernist Yiddish drama (Sholem Asch, God of Vengeance, 1906; S. Ansky, The Dybbuk, 1920), and also read key works of experimental modernist prose including Dovid Bergelson’s “At the Depot” and Descent (1913); Yiddish women’s poetry (e.g. Rokhl Korn, 1898-1982 and Kadya Molodovsky, 1894-1975); and Yiddish culture in the USA (e.g. Mani Leyb, 1883-1953; Moyshe-Leyb Halpern, 1886-1932; Yankev Glatshshteyn, 1896-1971; and Isaac Bashevis Singer, 1902-1991). Along the way, we will engage with varieties of Yiddish nationalism and Yiddish socialism; touch on Yiddish culture in the Soviet Union and on cultural exchanges between Yiddish and German; and read recent scholarship including Naomi Seidman on fault lines between European vs. Ashkenazic Jewish gender systems; Daniel Boyarin on Ashkenazic Jewish masculinity; and Zohar Weiman-Kelman on intersections between Yiddish and queer theory.

The seminar will be conducted in English, and all readings can be read in English translation.

GERMAN 206-Cognitive Grammar for Applied Linguists- Carlson Arnett

This course will focus on the role of grammar in the first and second year language classroom.  We will read articles that describe a new syntactic theory, Cognitive Grammar, as well as articles on the acquisition of certain grammatical structures by classroom learners.  The course will alternate between lecture, student led discussion of the readings and hands-on application of CG to the grammar presented in first and second year textbooks in Spanish, French and German.  At the end of the course, students will be able to discuss the role of grammar in language instruction and critically evaluate materials used to teach grammar in the first and second year. Students will also be able to identify and discuss the theoretical framework used in their textbooks. In the term paper, students will design a classroom research project that evaluates how effectively a grammatical structure is taught.

Winter 2020

GERMAN 297- Special Topics in German Literature-Visiting Max Kade Professor Stefan Keppler-Tasaki- Berlin
GERMAN 297- Special Topics in German Literature- Elisabeth Krimmer

Spring 2020

GERMAN 297- Special Topics in German Literature- What is Enlightenment- Chunjie Zhang

This seminar aims to survey the debates on Enlightenment and its global repercussions from theoretical and historical perspectives. We will read eighteenth-century thinkers such as Lessing, Schiller, Goethe, Kant, and Herder as well as contemporary scholars including Adorno/Horkheimer, Foucault, Jonathan Israel, and Martin Mulsow. This course also endeavors to cover an important part of the German PhD reading list of the eighteenth century to help student prepare for exams. Knowledge of German is helpful but not required.


This seminar will be conducted on a two-track basis, so that students without a command of German may also participate: texts will be available in both English and German and class discussions will be conducted in English.

Studies major modes and topics in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century German and Austrian literature and culture, such as the Naturalist attention to the worker as protagonist, the influence of Zola, the women’s emancipation movement, the femme fatale as topos, decadence and aestheticism, art nouveau, the figure of the dandy, and the roles of Freud, Wagner, and Nietzsche.

Authors treated include Gerhart Hauptmann, Henrik Ibsen, Elsa Bernstein, Frank Wedekind, Robert Musil, Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Arthur Schnitzler, and Thomas Mann.      


Other Resources

UC Davis General Catalog: List of German Courses