Undergraduate Course: Reading Antisemitism in Modern German Literature (ELCG08012)
|School||School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures
||College||College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 8 (Year 2 Undergraduate)
||Availability||Available to all students
|Summary||This course explores the debate around antisemitism in German literature since 1800, asking how antisemitic stereotypes and attitudes are encoded in texts, and how readers are able to identify them. Controversies about identifying, defining and combatting antisemitism have taken on a new intensity in recent years, but public debate often lacks historical awareness of how prejudice against Jews functions, and how it is perpetuated in narratives and images. There is often a clash between perceived intention and actual effect, an unwillingness to think oneself into another person's perspective and understand their self-definition, and an inability to deal constructively with complication, uncertainty and ambiguity. Literature can help us with all of these problems.
Students will engage with texts from a specific historical and cultural juncture (the period in which debate about Jewish emancipation develops into conceptions of racial antisemitism) and will explore how persistent images and stereotypes are developed and varied in these texts. We will also explore the specifically literary nature of 'literary antisemitism', asking whether questions of form, narrative perspective and irony complicate judgments about how prejudice is encoded in texts.
The aim of the course is to introduce students to some of the ways that antisemitic discourses are encoded in literary texts, and to help them develop ways of reading for them. They will also discuss ways of dealing with the ambiguity of literary texts and the difficulty of judging whether a text with antisemitic content opens up spaces for critical reflection. There will also be discussion of the function of identity-work and difference-work in the texts, in other words, what ideas are being negotiated in the texts through the creation, maintenance and/or questioning of Jewish/non-Jewish difference. Finally, the students will practise reading and evaluating secondary literature as a way of developing their own arguments.
The course is structured as a blend of synchronous sessions, all-group asynchronous discussion on Learn, and ALG work. I have proposed synchronous sessions at the beginning as I find it important to be able to set some ground rules on language use and to assess the attitudes and questions that the students bring with them: that¿s easier to do in a synchronous session, whether f2f or online. But I can design a back up in case that's not possible.
Each ALG puts together a group presentation that is designed to support the other students' learning, and they lead a discussion on their topic. The ALG-led asynchronous session is followed by a tutor-led asynchronous session, allowing me to pick up things that they've missed or correct anything that needs it.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
||Co-requisites|| Students MUST also take:
German 2 Language (ELCG08008)
||Other requirements|| None
Information for Visiting Students
|Pre-requisites||Visiting students should have German language skills at CEFR level B1 or above; entry to this course may be subject to a language test on arrival and is at the discretion of the course organiser. Visiting Students should also take as a co-requisite German 2 Language (ELCG08008).
|High Demand Course?
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2021/22, Available to all students (SV1)
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Seminar/Tutorial Hours 22,
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
||Essay writing assignment 70% (1250 words) Group assessment 20% Reflection on participation 10% (500 words)
||Students will receive feedback from course tutor after each ALG presentation, and the class will be encouraged to provide feedback on the presentations. The tutor's feedback will be structured as feed forward advice for their essay project.
|No Exam Information
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Construct clear and coherent arguments about literary representations of Jews
- Assess the usefulness of theoretical approaches to understanding literary antisemitism, and critique approaches that students disagree with clearly and in an appropriate style
- Analyse literary texts using the theoretical models discussed in class, and read with a sensitivity to literary techniques
- present the results of research undertaken individually and as part of a small group, respond judiciously to such research undertaken by others, and critically evaluate the importance of such material for an understanding of the chief themes of the course
- Work effectively as part of a group, managing group interactions and division of tasks in pursuit of a common aim
|Key theoretical texts:|
Gelber, Mark, What is literary antisemitism?', Jewish Social Studies, 47 (1985), no. 1, 1-20.
Gilman, Sander, The Jew's Body (New York: Routledge, 1991).
Gubser, Martin, Literarischer Antisemitismus (Göttingen: Wallstein, 1998).
Nochlin, Linda / Garb, Tamar, The Jew in the Text: Modernity and the Construction of Identity (London: Thames and Hudson, 1995).
Primary texts to be chosen from:
- Wilhelm Hauff, Jud Süß (1827)
- Annette von Droste-Hülshoff, Die Judenbuche (1842)
- Thomas Mann, Wälsungenblut (1905)
- Oskar Panizza, Der opirirte Jud (1914)
- Luise Rinser, David (1947)
- Bernhard Schlink: Die Beschneidung (2000)
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
||Critical reading; application of theory to text; testing theory against text.
Evaluating contrasting arguments.
Making connections between close reading and broader social context.
Understanding the history of representations of minoritised social groups.
Autonomous project work; identifying problems, setting tasks; organising material.
Participating in group work; setting and organising joint tasks.
High level oral and written presentation.
|Course organiser||Prof Peter Davies
Tel: (0131 6)50 3632
|Course secretary||Mr Craig Adams
Tel: (0131 6)50 3646