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Friday, November 16, 2012

New courses in the department of German, Scandinavian and Dutch studies

The department of German, Scandinavian and Dutch studies has recently added two courses for the spring semester. These courses will be taught in English - no knowledge of Dutch or German is necessary (though credit toward a GSD major or minor does require some coursework in the target language).
DTCH 3510 Topics in Dutch Culture: Sex, Drugs, and Radicalism: Amsterdam & Brussels
Description: If we are to believe Fox News and conservative American politicians, the Netherlands are a country where "coffeehouses are crammed with happy stoners enjoying decriminalized hashish and marihuana, shopping for sex in Amsterdam's RLD is as simple as shopping for clothes anywhere else, full-fledged gay marriage is also legal, as are weddings with more than two people." Nobody goes to church, and doctors are allowed to euthanize feeble looking elderly people and infants with no perspective on life. Indeed, "Amsterdam is a cesspool of corruption, crime, everything is out of control. It's anarchy." So says Fox. Is this really what the Netherlands are all about? Belgium, on the other hand, rarely attracts outside attention: it has the reputation of being one of the dullest countries in the world, inhabited only by friendly people who eat mussels with French fries and mayonnaise, make fine chocolate and produce delicious beers. Actually, Belgium is anything but boring; it is in fact one of the strangest countries in the world. To begin with, their national monument is a little boy that pisses in public, their landmark building is made exclusively out of balls and for over 150 years, Belgium has produced the best experts in engineering the most inefficient political structure. Belgium excels in making everything as complicated as possible, in their three official languages of course. But in Belgium, people do not all need to be on the same wavelength. Their diversity is their greatest strength, their creativity their greatest commodity, their non-conformity their greatest virtue. Using text and images, this course takes students deeper into the culture of the Netherlands and Belgium. It is designed to engage students in meaningful discussions on current topics such as multiculturalism, right-winged politics, euthanasia, abortion, and legal prostitution. We will approach these issues in a nuanced manner and with a healthy dose of social criticism. In Belgium and the Netherlands, laughing is serious business, so the course will have its fair share of humor and the good life.
Instructor: Detailleur,Paulien
3 credits
05:45 P.M. - 08:15 P.M. , M (01/22/2013 - 05/10/2013) , PeikH 335 , TCEASTBANK
Click here for a flier for the new class.
GER 3610 German Literature in Translation: Defense Against the Dark Arts: Evil in Film & Lit
Description: Sure, you know about the connection between the Brothers Grimm and Disney's Snow White. But what about Franz Kafka and Harry Potter? ETA Hoffmann and the Terminator? This course will focus on conceptions of evil in German film and literature that are familiar in American popular culture as well. Students will learn about the German origins/inflections of several common villain figures in American popular culture such as witches, vampires, robots, Nazis, communists, and terrorists. We will explore how these figures embody evil and, with the help of film clips from Disney classics to Harry Potter, how they are neutralized or defeated in German and American media. This course will develop appreciation of how representations of evil vary over time and across cultural settings. It will encourage critical reflection on the binary of good and evil as well as its political usefulness. What purpose did (do) these evil figures serve? How do German and American understandings of these figures compare? To what extent do different conceptions of evil reflect the fears, anxieties and desires of a cultural group? This course will be taught in English, but can be used toward the German major or minor if extra work is done in German.
Class Time: 40% Lecture, 20% Film/Video, 30% Discussion, 10% Student Presentation.
Work Load: 20-30 pages reading per week.
Grade: 40% special projects, 10% reflection paper, 20% in-class presentation, 30% class participation.
Instructor: Lawton,Lindsay Jorgensen
3 credits
09:45 A.M. - 11:00 A.M. , M,W (01/22/2013 - 05/10/2013) , FordH 150 , TCEASTBANK
Click here for a flier for the new class.