RCHUMS 334 - Special Topics in the Humanities
Section: 003 Crossing External and Internal Borders
Term: WN 2010
Subject: RC Humanities (RCHUMS)
Department: LSA Residential College
Requirements & Distribution:
With permission of instructor.
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 from present, 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 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 2010. Students with no previous German language experience, who take Intensive First-Year German in Winter 2010 (German 191/RCLang191) may qualify to take the course. Students interested in the course are urged to contact Janet Hegman Shier (jshie@umich.edu) to express interest in the course and the trip. jshie@umich.edu Further information will be available online at www.umich.edu/~jshie/CiD10.html

Study Trip to Berlin, Germany • May 2010. . .
DATES: (tentative) May 7-21, 2010
LANGUAGE: Instruction in English and German. (Participants must be through at least first-year German by the end of WN 2010).
HOUSING: Youth Hostel or home stays.
DEADLINE: Prospective participants should contact Janet Hegman Shier by November 20 to arrange for an interview. Travel documents and a down payment for the trip will be due in January.
COST: to be determined in January. The trip will be partially subsidized by OIP and the RC, and students are urged to help with fundraising for the trip.

RCHUMS 334 - Special Topics in the Humanities
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
MW 4:00PM - 5:30PM
002 (SEM)
W 3:00PM - 5:00PM
003 (SEM)
M 8:00PM - 10:00PM
W 7:00PM - 10:00PM
M 7:00PM - 8:00PM
005 (SEM)
MW 3:00PM - 4:30PM
007 (SEM)
Th 2:00PM - 5:00PM
Note: Class will meet at the Detroit Center, as part of the Semester in Detroit.
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