Germanic Languages | German Cultural History
G364 | 22129 | Rasch

G364: European Identities

This course will look at a variety of ways Europe and/or European
nation-states (e.g. Germany) have constructed identities.  In
particular, we will look at how political and cultural identities –
the idea of “Europe” or of “Germany” – are fashioned in terms of what
and who they are not.  In other words, we will examine in what way
“selves” are determine by the idea of their “others,” or “friends” by
their “enemies.”  The course will be organized in approximately five
clusters: two will focus on the medieval opposition of Christianity
and Islam (in Spain and during the era of the Crusades), one on the
European conquest of the “New World,” and one on the early
19th-century construction of German identity in opposition to Napoleon
and the French.  The final cluster will look at the idea of “perpetual
peace” as articulated by Kant and both propagated and critiqued by
contemporary thinkers.
	The course will be based on the careful reading and discussion of
literary, historical, theological, and philosophical texts.  Students
will also be encouraged to locate and introduce related material.
Requirements include active participation in discussion, regular short
writing assignments, and a final project to be determined (which might
include the writing of a paper, the teaching of a class session,
taking an exam, or possibly other alternatives).
	The purpose of the class is at least twofold: to make ourselves aware
of certain recurrent patterns in European history and give us a
historically and theoretically rich background understanding of
contemporary Europe’s attempt to form, as the saying goes, “a more
perfect union.”

Required Texts:

Anonymous, Poem of the Cid, Penguin 0140444467

Richard Fletcher, Quest for El Cid, Oxford 0195069552

Kant, Perpetual Peace and Other Essays, Hackett	0915145472

Las Casas, Short Account of Destruction of Indians, Penguin	0140445625

J. Riley-Smith, The First Crusade and the Idea of Crusading, 	
Pennsylvania UP 0812213637

G. Rothenberg, The Napoleonic Wars, Cassell 0304359831

T. Todorov, The Conquest of America, Oklahoma 0806131373

Peter S. Wells, The Battle that Stopped Rome, Norton 0393020282