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The New Woman in Weimar Culture
/ WGSS 317
This course explores the figure of the New Woman, a professional, political, independent, and modern woman, that rises in Germany right at the end of World War I and thrives during the Weimar Republic. Acclaimed as the epitome of Weimar Modernity, the New Woman is nevertheless greeted with great ambivalence: whether a liberated and emancipated woman for some, or a dangerous and promiscuous woman loathed by others, she is perceived as threatening to the patriarchal order. A closer look at artworks by Otto Dix, Christian Schad, and Hannah Höch, films by Fritz Lang and Georg Wilhelm Pabst, poems by Gottfried Benn, Else Lasker-Schüler, and Kurt Tucholsky, novels by Erich Kästner, Vicky Baum, and Irmgard Keun, as well as plays by Frank Wedekind and Bertolt Brecht, will provide a more precise picture of the New Woman’s various incarnations, ranging from actresses (Marlene Dietrich), singers (Margo Lion and Claire Waldorf), and dancers (Anita Berber) to prostitutes, and suggest that the New Woman serves as the vessel of male anxieties and represents the contradictions of modernity. Taught in German.
Format: seminar; taught seminar style in German for the German students and as a tutorial in English for non German speaking students
Grading: yes pass/fail option,
yes fifth course option
papers and oral presentations
for students taking it in German: GERM 201 or the equivalent; for students taking the course in English: one college-level literature course
This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
Students will submit multiple drafts of their papers. Focus is on argument and thesis statement, introduction and conclusion as well as literary analysis and interpretation of primary and secondary literature. Students will receive from the instructor timely comments on their writing skills, with suggestions for improvement.