West European Studies | Special Topics in West European Studies
W405 | 12088 | Weber/Petrescu

Topic: Meet the [B]East
11:15-12:30  Daily  BH315
Course Instructors: Dana Weber and Mihaela Petrescu
CSB culture credit/Fulfills S&H distribution requirement
Cross-listed in Germanic Studies and Russian and East European
For authorization, contact: West European Studies, B542, 855-3280

This course takes us on an imaginary journey through recent Western
films, literature and journalism.  Its road-marks are stereotypes of
Eastern Europe that beg questions such as: Are Transylvanians
vampires?  Are Russian women mail-brides by tradition?  And are East
Germans natural born baby-killers?  Are petty theft and begging main
professions in Eastern Europe? The course helps us find answers by
investigating the use of cliches in a multitude of artifacts, and
aims at raising awareness about our own culturally engrained

As stereotypes appear in a variety of media, we scrutinize
documentaries, comedies, road movies, action thrillers and theatre
alongside popular fiction.  Our class activities emphasize cross-
cultural comparisons, group learning and partner work involving
interviews, internet research, and role-playing debates.

The two course instructors are both natives of Romania and have a
German-Romanian cultural background.  They bring to the course not
only their complementary expertise in literature, folklore and film
but also their sensibility for stereotypes acquired throughout many
years of existence between West and East.