GERM 300
Mannweiber: Masculine Women in German Culture Fall 2017
Division I Writing Skills
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The German word “Mannweib” is a literal translation of the Greek “androgynous” and is a derogatory term for a woman who acts in a masculine way. This survey course examines the recurrence of “masculine femininity” in German culture with a particular focus on literary texts, operas, paintings, and films, all crafted at turning points in German history. Why does the Mannweib emerge at times of major political and historical upheavals? How does this atypical masculine woman contribute to the construction of a German national identity? These are some of the key questions this course seeks to address. We will read the Nibelungenlied epic, poems by Freiligrath, plays by Lessing, Schiller, Goethe, Kleist, and D├╝renmatt, as well as short stories by Stifter, watch operas by Wagner, and films by Sternberg and Tykwer. In all these materials featuring a Mannweib as main protagonist, we will look at the way masculine femininity is construed as unnatural and literally constructed to serve either a patriarchal or a patriotic purpose. We will also examine the misogyny underlying the artistic creation of these masculine women, either enshrined as allegories of virtue or perceived as dangerous agents of socio-political change, and ultimately doomed to rejection from the moment these misfits step out of their assigned role. Conducted in German.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 19
Expected: 12
Class#: 1446
Grading: no pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: oral presentations and three 3- to 5-page papers written in German
Extra Info: may not be taken on a pass/fail basis
Prerequisites: GERM 200-level courses
Enrollment Preferences: German majors and concentrators
Distributions: Division I Writing Skills

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