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What is GSLL offering next semester?

Every semester GSLL offers undergraduate students:

  • First-Year Seminars;
  • Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced Language Courses;
  • English-Language Seminars and Lectures on Language, Linguistics, Literature, Film, Philosophy, and Culture;
  • Language, Linguistics, Literature, Film, Philosophy, and Culture Seminars taught in the Target Language;
  • Individual Seminars on Independent Readings;
  • Honors Thesis Mentoring.

GSLL also offers every semester for graduate students German- and English-language courses in Literature, Linguistics, Theory, Film & Media Studies.

The following catalogue of current courses is organized according to language and level.

In the event you have questions, contact the director of undergraduate or graduate studies.


Spring 2021 Course Descriptions

Note: Instructional Modes may potentially be subject to change.

GSLL 59. First-Year Seminar: Moscow 1937: Dictatorships and Their Defenders.

A study of recurrent problems of enormous consequence:

1) the origins and emergence of dictatorships that engage in grievous practices of repression and mass murder,

2) in what ways these regimes are understood, and by whom, as they develop and “mature”—philosophically, ideologically, historically;

3) and how such regimes tend often to be enveloped in rationalizations that facilitate their continuing existence.

The Soviet Union, particularly during the 1930s and the blood purges, serves as the axis.
However, the main objective is to use this “case study” to branch off into different directions of student inquiry.

Readings and discussions in English.

Gen Ed: HS, GL.

Pike. TR 2:00 PM – 3:15 PM.


GSLL 60. Avant-Garde Cinema: History, Themes, Textures.

The cinema we frequently encounter in theaters and on television is full of stories comprised of discernible beginnings, middles, and (happy) endings. However, conventional narratives are but one approach to making films. For over a century, filmmakers have employed the medium of film to explore and broaden the limits of aural and visual perception, to invent new aesthetic forms in motion, to express emotions and desires, and to intervene critically in cultural politics. Students enrolled in this seminar will uncover the history, techniques, and meanings of non-narrative cinema from the twentieth century. Often called “avant-garde,” “underground,” or “experimental,” the films we will discuss are international in scope and represent major chapters in the century-old history of this “minor cinema.” Seminar participants will develop in the course of the semester a critical vocabulary for making sense of these works and will articulate their own analyses in writing and their own video essays.

Readings and discussions in English.

Gen Ed: VP.

Langston. TR 12:30 PM – 1:45 PM.


GSLL 68H. Intensity, Vitality, Ecstasy: Affects in Literature, Film, and Philosophy.

This course focuses on three powerful affects: intensity, vitality, and ecstasy. We will examine philosophical, literary, and artistic representations of these affective states without being tempted to produce an absolute definition of them.

We will also consider the ramifications of these affects when authors attempt to integrate them into social, political, and imaginative practices. Emphasis will be placed on creative responses to texts that can be difficult and obscure.

Authors include: Plato, Sappho, Plotinus, Marcus Aurelius, Hildegard von Bingen, Mechthild von Magdeburg, Meister Eckhart, Bruno, Pascal, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Pessoa, Cixous, and Deleuze/Guattari, among others.

All readings and class discussions in English.            

Gen Ed: PH, NA.

Trop. TR 11:00 AM – 12:15 PM.


GSLL 80. Not Just Dogs: Animals in Russian Literature.

This seminar explores the “question of the animal” in the works of major Russian writers (Gogol, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Turgenev, Chekhov). Among the topics to be discussed are the animal as the other, animal and human natures, dominance and submission, ethics of the human/animal relations, and the theme of “talking” animals.

Readings and discussions in English.

Gen Ed: LA, BN.

Lapushin. TR 3:30 PM – 4:45 PM.


GSLL 89.001. Uncharted Territory: Underworlds in Literature and the Visual Arts.

Examines concepts and representations of underworlds in literature and the visual arts from the ancient world to the Middle Ages and Renaissance to modernity. Our journey will take us to the realms of the afterlife as well as into the abyss of the human psyche and the shady areas of underground criminal activities.

Readings and discussions in English.

Gen Ed: LA, NA.

Prica. TR 2:00 PM – 3:15 PM.


GSLL 89.002. Nature and Death: Ecocrises in German Literature and Film.

This course will explore ecological crises through literature and film. The narratives we will discuss will range from Romantic fairy tales to contemporary ecothrillers.

All German texts will be read in English translation; class discussions in English.

Gen Ed: LA, NA.

Weiler. TR 2:00 PM – 3:15 PM.


Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced Languages Courses




Small English-Language Seminars

GERM 247. Music, Madness, and Genius: The Pathologies of German Musical Literature.

What is the relation between music, madness, and genius? In this course, we will explore this question by looking at the violent and maddening effects of music and extreme depictions of musical geniuses in German literature and film. In our investigation of these themes, we will encounter different theories of genius, consider some of the scientific background to the association between music and pathology, and see how these works continue to affect our understanding of the link between music, madness, and violence in popular music.

Readings and class discussions in English.

Prior knowledge of music is recommended but not required.

Gen Ed: LA, NA.


GERM 271. Women in German Cinema.

German cinema has received its most decisive impulses from women both in front of and behind the camera. In this course, we will take a look at the history of German cinema by considering how female stars and filmmakers as well as feminist concerns shaped both film aesthetics and politics.

Class, texts in English; films shown with English subtitles.

Gen Ed: VP, NA.

Same as: WGST 271, CMPL 271.

Pollmann. TR 12:30 PM – 1:45 PM.


GSLL 251. Ideology and Aesthetics: Marxism and Literature.

What is ideology and does it have an aesthetic? Is ideological literature exclusively limited to regimes that instrumentalize Marxism in the name of socio-political revolution? Or does the literature of Western democracies not also evince its own ideological aesthetic? This course introduces students both to a world history of Marxist literature as well as to the long tradition of Marxist literary criticism. Authors include :Brecht, Breton, Dath, Gorki, Hughes, Ibsen, Lem, Mayakovsky, Sinclair, Wells. Marxist critics include: Adorno, Barthes, Jameson, Lifshitz, Lukács, Marcuse, Marx, Suvin & Williams.

Discussions and texts in English.

Gen Ed: HS, GL.

Langston. TR 9:30 AM – 10:45 AM.


GSLL 260. From Berlin to Budapest: Literature, Film, and Culture of Central Europe.

Throughout the twentieth century, Central Europe has been at the center of dramatic historical changes: the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the rise and fall of the Nazi regime, the spread of communism, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and finally, incorporation into the European Union.

These tumultuous historical events have culturally shaped the region in unexpected, even contradictory ways, and have ironically produced some of Europe’s most creative and relevant cultural voices, that have relevance far beyond the region.

We will concentrate on the work of writers and filmmakers who depict the turbulent events of this region, specifically as played out in the four capital cities of Berlin, Budapest, Prague, and Warsaw. Through their work we will understand how these cities changed with each political upheaval, what type of atmosphere they provided for artists, what fears they awoke among their populous, and how imagination and creativity flourished in these cities’ cafes and pubs.

Readings and class discussions in English.

Gen Ed: LA, GL.

Pichova.  TR 11:00 AM – 12:15 PM.


GSLL 268. Cultural Trends in Post-Communist Central Europe: Search for Identity, Importance of Jewish Voices.

We will study how contemporary literary and cinematic works of Central European intellectuals serve as reflections on the everyday life of this region.

Readings and class discussions in English. Films with English subtitles.

Gen Ed: LA, BN.

Same as: JWST 268.


RUSS 279. Sunstrokes in Dark Alleys: Russian Short Stories.

An introduction to the Russian short story, focusing on the topic of love in all its intriguing aspects. The readings include works from the 18th century to the 20th.

Readings and discussions in English.

Gen Ed: LA, BN.

Lapushin. TR 12:30 PM – 1:45 PM.

Small Seminars Taught in the Target Language

GERM 303. German Literature and Culture.

An overview of German literature, culture, and politics, highlighting works from various periods. Students will engage in discussions about German literature, and will be encouraged to think and re-think the significance of literary production in different contexts and media.

Pre- or corequisite, GERM 301 or 302; permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisite.

Gen Ed: LA, CI, NA.

Prica. TR 11:00 AM – 12:15 PM.


GERM 305. Business German.

As a continuation of GERM 304, the course offers a more advanced treatment of the current German economic and business debates and events while further strengthening relevant German language skills.
GERM 304 recommended but not required.

Prerequisite, GERM 204; permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisite.

Gen Ed: NA.

Rockelmann.  MW 3:35 PM – 4:50 PM.


GERM 372. German Drama.

In this course, we will consider the most important German epochs of theater. From Sturm und Drang to postmigrant theater. We will read texts from authors including Lessing, Goethe, Hauptmann, Brecht, and Zaimoglu, among others.

Readings and discussions in German.

Prerequisite, GERM 303; permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisite.

Gen Ed: LA, NA.

Layne . TR 2:00 PM – 3:15 PM.


Dual-Level Seminars (for Undergraduates and Graduate Students)

 GERM 501. Structure of German.

Introduction to German linguistics: formal analysis of German grammar (phonology, morphology, word formation, syntax), language history, variation, standardization and language politics, overseas German.

LING 101 is recommended for undergraduates.

Prerequisites for undergraduates, GERM 302 and 303; permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisites.

Same as: LING 567.

Roberge. TR 3:10 PM – 4:25 PM.


GERM 655. Introduction to Black German Studies

We will trace the development of Black German Studies from the autobiographical texts and poetry written in the 1980s and 90s to the recent novels and theater performances. We will also read theoretical texts by Black Germans, Black Europeans and African Americans to find the appropriate lens for analyzing this work.

Readings and discussions in English.

Permission of the instructor for undergraduates.

Layne. T 4:40 PM – 7:10 PM.


GSLL 465. Literature of Atrocity: The Gulag and the Holocaust in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.

Historical contexts and connections through artistic representation of the Holocaust and Soviet terror in Eastern Europe and the USSR.

Taught in English; some foreign language readings for qualified students.

Gen Ed: LA, BN, GL.

Same as: JWST 465, PWAD 465.


GSLL 489. GSLL Across the Curriculum (LAC):  Language and Identity in Central Asia

Looking to improve your Russian conversation skills?

Sign up for this one-credit discussion course conducted entirely in Russian and explore the nature of linguistic dynamics in Central Asia and their role in shaping identity in the region.
Prerequisite, RUSS 204; permission of instructor for students lacking the prerequisite.

Doubleday.  TBA.


RUSS 415. Introduction to Russian Literature.

Reading and discussion of selected authors in Russian aimed at improving reading skills and preparing the student for higher-level work in Russian literature.

Readings and class discussions in Russian.

Prerequisite, RUSS 410; permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisite.

Gen Ed: LA, BN.

RUSS 455. 20th-Century Russian Literature and Culture.

As Russia became a laboratory for sociopolitical experiments of global significance, its culture reflected on the most spectacular of its aspirations and failures. Course surveys 20th-century literary, musical and cinematic artifacts that emerged to affect the world profoundly.

Taught in English; some readings in Russian for qualified students.

Gen Ed: LA, BN.

Carolina-Duke Seminars





Courses Taught by GSLL Faculty in Other Departments