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Georgetown University


Detailed Course Information


Fall 2017
Nov 24, 2017
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GERM 705 - Heimat I
Heimat I  is the first of a  two-course sequence (part II will cover the period 1945-present). Each course can also be taken independently.

Exploring the changing notions of ‘Heimat’ and the ‘nation,’ this course introduces students to key concepts that are critical for understanding German cultural and literary history. Both concepts play a major role in creating a sense of identity and continuity -- in particular at times of rapid social, political, and cultural change. Both ‘Heimat’ and the ‘nation’ rely on strategies of inclusion and exclusion to achieve this sense of belonging; and both have been used for emancipatory and for reactionary purposes. 

The course examines the differences and changing relationship between these two concepts: Heimat is linked to a specific geographical site while notions of the German nation transcend local sites and posit collective identities alternatively rooted in language and culture, history, ethnicity, or ‘race’. Among other issues, we will explore the tension between pre-modern notions of ‘Heimat’ and modern notions of the German nation as well as the respective gender connotations.  

We will ask how ‘Heimat’ and the ‘nation’ were imagined, nostalgically evoked, or challenged by considering examples in literature and film as well as essays on aesthetics, culture, philosophy, and psychoanalysis. This first part of a two-course sequence examines notions of Heimat and the German nation/Volk as they emerged in the late 18th and early 19th century and the roles they play in a variety of literary text. The course is organized around three interrelated topics: 

1. Emergence of the modern concepts of Heimat/ Nation around 1800
2. Gendered notions of  Heimat and Nation
3. Notions of Belonging and Exclusion: Germans and Jews

Based on this topical approach, we will look at canonized texts from a number of different literary periods: Sturm und Drang, Classicism/Idealism, Romanticism, Biedermeier. 

3.000 Credit hours
3.000 Lecture hours
0.000 Lab hours

Levels: MN or MC Graduate, Undergraduate
Schedule Types: Seminar

German Department

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