Germanic Languages | Configuring Cultural Identity: Intersections of Gender, Sexuality, and Race in the Modern German Imagination
G620 | 26108 | C. Breger

European modernity has been thoroughly shaped by its concepts of
gender, sexuality and race. The course begins by tracing the
historical genealogy of hegemonic claims about essential differences
between men and women, the development of sexuality as a marker of
personal identity and the force of conflicted, but therefore no less
effective racial distinctions (for example between white Germans and
Blacks, ‘Aryans’ and Jews or more recently, Christians and Turkish
immigrants). In particular, we then focus on the ways in which the
interplay between these categorical distinctions has worked to
configure – and contest – collective identities through fantasy as
well as critique. The course draws on a range of media, prominently
including literature and film, but also theoretical and scientific
writings. Geographically, the emphasis is on German culture within
the larger frames of Europe, post/colonialism and globalization.
Looking at different historical moments throughout the 20th and
early 21st centuries, we discuss the impact of political and social
change, including the rise of fascism, post-war democratization
processes, feminist and sexual liberation movements.

The course is offered jointly for graduate students in Germanic and
Gender Studies. Lectures and discussions are in English; all
readings and films are available in English or with English
subtitles. According to departmental policy, students of Germanic
Studies are encouraged to read primary materials in German. The
scheduled film showing will take place as needed (approx. every
other week). Please try to reserve the time slot; however,
alternative arrangements will be possible in individual cases.

Course Materials:

Foucault, Michel: History of Sexuality: An Introduction. Vintage
1990 (Paperback). ISBN: 0679724699.

Wedekind, Frank: Lulu. Die Büchse der Pandora. Eine Monstretragödie.
Gebundene Ausgabe Suhrkamp 2nd ed. 1999. ISBN: 3518223151.
Translation: The first Lulu. Applause Books 2000 (Paperback ISBN:

Mann, Thomas: Der Tod in Venedig. Novelle. Fischer (Taschenbuch.)
18th ed. 1992. ISBN: 3596112664.
Translation: Death in Venice. Dover Publications (1995) ISBN:

Irmgard Keun: Das kunstseidene Mädchen. List Tb. 2001 (broschiert).
ISBN: 3548600859.
Translation: The Artificial Silk Girl (Hardcover). Other Press (NY)
(2002) . ISBN: 1892746816.

Bachmann, Franza: Das Buch Franza- Requiem für Fanny Goldmann Texte
das 'Todesarten'-Projekts (broschiert). Piper 2004. ISBN: 3492242413
Translation: The Book of Franza & Requiem for Fanny Goldmann
(Hardcover) Northwestern University Press 1999. ISBN: 0810112043