GERMAN 416 - Seminar in German Studies
Fall 2019, Section 001 - German Ecocriticism
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is  In Person (see other Sections below)
Subject: German (GERMAN)
Department: LSA Germanic Languages & Literatures


Waitlist Capacity:
Advisory Prerequisites:
One year beyond GERMAN 232. Students may not take the same topic twice.
May be repeated for a maximum of 12 credit(s). May be elected more than once in the same term.
Primary Instructor:


Nature and the environment feature prominently in the philosophy and cultural traditions of the German-speaking world—from the deification of nature within Romantic poetry and painting, through the blood-and-soil ideology of the Nazis, to the land art of Joseph Beuys and Hans Haacke during the Cold War. Today, German, Austrian, and Swiss people are considered some of the world’s most environmentally conscious, a fact reflected in the extent to which environmental issues currently shape the political agendas of their respective countries.

While it may sound like it should belong exclusively to political or scientific activity, ecocriticism is environmentally focused criticism practiced by producers of literature, film, art, and theory. American films like the Mad Max Trilogy, The Day After Tomorrow, or Pixar’s WALL-E are popular earlier examples of the post-apocalyptic genre that has exploded in the last five years, and which arguably participates in ecocriticism by imagining the dystopias that could follow environmental collapse; novels like Cormac McCarthy’s The Road or Emily St. John Mandel’s Station 11 are examples of a similar strain of criticism in English-language literature. In this course we will examine ecocriticism’s history and the appearance and disappearance of environmental themes in German-language literature, film, and art over the course of the last two centuries. With works from writers, artists and filmmakers: Humboldt, Goethe, the German Romantics, Adalbert Stifter, Wilhelm Raabe, Rainer Maria Rilke, the Worpswede artist colony, the Blue Rider group, the Frankfurt School, Edgar Reitz, Ingeborg Bachmann, Joseph Beuys, Elfriede Jelinek, Herta Müller, Daniel Kehlmann, Werner Herzog, and others.

Course Requirements:

Short response papers or creative assignments; 6-8 page final paper or creative project with analytical abstract.

Class Format:

This class is taught in German.


GERMAN 416 - Seminar in German Studies
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
 In Person
MW 10:00AM - 11:30AM

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