Topics Courses Offered, Spring 2022
Topics courses cover a wide variety of content, allowing students to explore different subject matter while fulfilling the requirements for the major or minor.
We will investigate questions such as: How acculturated can one become while retaining other parts of one’s identity, and how does literature function as a means of announcing and enacting such assimilation and separateness? How did literature portray and motivate anti-Semitic stereotypes of Jewish men and women? What, if any, sort of literature can mourn the trauma of the Holocaust? How do contemporary writers incorporate and transcend the long history of German-Jewish relationship?
This course will introduce students to the world of Black Germans. People of African descent have lived in Europe and Germany since antiquity and have been a part of Central European and German history and culture. We will consider the legacies of antiquity, the medieval conception of race, nineteenth century experiences of African in Germany, German colonialism, the rise of the Nazis, and the varied experiences of Afro-Germans after the World wars. Along the way, we will have the opportunity to critically examine the changing definitions of race, the impact of racism and nationalism, and the lived realities and responses of Black and White Germans to these developments.
We will read scholarly texts, but also excerpts of biographies and other media that will allow students to examine and empathize with the experiences of Black people in Germany as well as understand the persistence of racism and nationalism. We will also encounter Black German activism and compare it to BLM and other US domestic developments.