RCHUMS 334 - Special Topics in the Humanities
Section: 003 Crossing External and Internal Borders
Term: WN 2009
Subject: RC Humanities (RCHUMS)
Department: LSA Residential College
Credits:
4
Requirements & Distribution:
HU
Consent:
With permission of instructor.
Repeatability:
May be elected twice for credit. May be elected more than once in the same term.
Primary Instructor:

In this cross-disciplinary course, we will do scene work and discuss scenes from contemporary German-language plays and first person narratives that deal with diaspora, identity, and re-presentation of the Self and the Other. We will explore issues related to crossing external and internal borders, and we will ask ourselves: What “borders” did 20th and 21st Century German history create and how did these impact on perceptions of identity? For example, how did the Berlin Wall as a physical border ultimately create hierarchies among dominant and non-dominant communities, even after its fall? To what extent has the so-called “Wall in the Head” contributed to our enhanced or diminished access to Germans and their sense of identity? We will view the role of the Wall, not only as a physical border that existed between East and West, and a temporal border separating past, present and future, but also as a perceptual border that continues to define and distort conceptions of the Other.

A desired outcome of this course will be to achieve a more differentiated understanding of German identity today as we probe what lies behind the “Mauer im Kopf”, examine what it means to various communities who live in Germany, and describe their Self/Other relationship to it, e.g, Jewish and Muslim communities in Germany, Aussiedler and recent Eastern European immigrants.

Materials used in this course will include art works and films, as well as readings from a variety of fields, including Holocaust studies, articles on memorials and counter-memorials, and non-fictional and fictional literature by and about ethnic communities in Germany today. Students in this course must be prepared to participate actively in movement and theater workshops (in German and in English), to take part in an end-of-term show created and performed by the group, and to contribute to the ongoing research and scholarship of the group as it examines course topics and follows current events.

This course has received ISAC funding from the Office of International Programs and it will culminate in an optional partially-subsidized two week study trip to Berlin in May where students will meet with and learn first-hand about various communities studied in the course, and where they will witness theater efforts to spark discussion about current issues surrounding identity.

Prerequisites: Permission of the Instructor is required to register for the course. It is desirable for students to have at least intermediate-level proficiency in German by May 2009; students with no previous language experience, who take Intensive First-Year German in Winter 2009 may qualify to take the course. Students interested in the course are urged to contact Janet Hegman Shier (jshie@umich.edu) to arrange for a time to meet by the end of November. Further information will be available on line at www.umich.edu/~jshie/CiD09.html

RCHUMS 334 - Special Topics in the Humanities
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
P
25956
Open
2
 
-
MW 4:00PM - 5:30PM
002 (SEM)
P
26241
Open
12
 
-
W 3:00PM - 5:00PM
003 (SEM)
P
28238
Open
3
 
-
M 8:00PM - 10:00PM
W 7:00PM - 10:00PM
M 7:00PM - 8:00PM
005 (SEM)
P
28283
Open
5
 
-
TuTh 10:00AM - 11:30AM
006 (SEM)
P
28284
Closed
0
 
-
TuTh 11:30AM - 1:00PM
007 (SEM)
P
28491
Open
8
 
-
Tu 10:00AM - 1:00PM
Note: Class will meet at the Detroit Center, as part of the Semester in Detroit.
008 (SEM)
P
29017
Open
3
 
-
W 1:00PM - 4:00PM
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