Aug 11, 2020  
Catalogue 2019-2020 
Catalogue 2019-2020 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

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GERM 235 - Introduction to German Cultural Studies

1 unit(s)
Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud are three of the most influential thinkers of the modern era. We associate their names with different, even antagonistic agendas ranging from political systems (socialism and communism), entire disciplines (psychoanalysis), and even the death of God.  Yet all three were pivotal in developing a “hermeneutics of suspicion,” in which “reality” turned out to be hiding darker and more powerful forces: economic motives, unconscious desires, or the will to power.  In conjunction with their radical critiques of religion and morality, we concentrate primarily on the strong aesthetic dimension of their thought: Marx’s vision of a socialist future in which our sensual or aesthetic powers come to full fruition; Nietzsche’s theory of the primacy of music, and his aesthetic justification of reality; Freud’s use of art as a cognitive model of psychic processes, and his psychoanalytic interpretation of the function of art. We explore the cultural milieus in which their ideas originated, and we examine the influences their theories have had in modern culture and thought.  We also investigate the ways in which twentieth-century writers, thinkers, and film-makers continued to develop, but also at times to question, their theories. All readings and discussions are in English.

Open to all classes.

Two 75-minute periods.

Not offered in 2019/20.

Course Format: CLS

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