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World Languages and Literatures

Human. Animal. Nature - Germ 230, Spring 2016

November 02, 2015

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In this course we will examine the relationship of Human. Animal.Nature. with a focus on German literature, culture, and history.  We will study several influential literary texts that foreground the relationship and intersection of human and animal (…we will read Franz Kafka’s famous human bug) and human to nature (…we will read Theodor Storm’s Der Schimmelreiter,the story of a man who loses his struggle for domination over a raging ocean).

We will view documentary films and movies on the topic and study painting, sculpture and performance of various German artists whose work reimagines our relationship with animate and inanimate nature. In addition, we will investigate the history of the environmental movement in Germany and current efforts of preservation.

Some of the broader questions this course seeks to address are:

Do nature and animals have agency in art and literature?  In real life?  Are we part of the nature?  Do we presume domination over it?  What responsibilities do humans have vis-à-vis animate and inanimate nature?  Does nature teach us things?  What happens when we lose touch with nature?


This course will engage these and other questions through readings, discussions, and practical/experiental work with/in/on nature.


No knowledge of German necessary.

Taught by Prof. Altpeter-Jones, altpeter@lclark.edu

3-4:30 pm, MW
Spring 2016

 

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