GERM 377
Austria and its Borders Fall 2023
Division I

Class Details

For centuries, Austria was characterized not just by the sheer expanse of its territory, extending from the Adriatic Sea to the South to Ukraine in the North, from Switzerland in the west to nearly Turkey in the east. Its identity was also closely associated with the many porous internal borders among its various ethnic groups: German, Polish, Romanian, Slavic, Italian, etc.. The first World War put an end to this multiethnic, multilingual identity, leaving a primarily ethnic-German “Rest-Österreich” whose fatal passivity in the face of German expansionism led to the erasure of the nation altogether. After World War II, Austria expended far too much energy cordoning off its own past as a perpetrator, creating through willful ignorance a psychic and political boundary that only began to open with the election of a former Nazi to the symbolic office of president in the mid-eighties. Austria’s entrance into the European Union in 1995 coincided with an influx of refugees from the Balkan Wars; it would seem that Austria was on its way back to expansive borders. But the 2000s have seen a two-track development: on the one hand rapidly increasing ethnic, linguistic, and cultural diversity and on the other a ferocious defense of ostensibly “Austrian” identity. This course will trace the Austrian relationship to its internal and external borders by examining literature, history, and popular culture surrounding key touchpoints: 1918, 1945, 1987, and 2015.
The Class: Format: tutorial; This will be a "tritorial," with groups of three students meeting in tutorial format with the instructor.
Limit: 12
Expected: 6
Class#: 1863
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: Three-four 5-page papers, three-four 1-2 page responses, one final project, discussion leading. Evaluation: Tutorial papers will receive extensive comments, but no grade; the instructor will meet with individual students at least twice during the semester to discuss how things are going for them. Responses will not be evaluated by the instructor, but instead will function well or less well in the context of the discussion. The final project will receive a grade, and the final grade will be determined by the overall trajectory of the student's learning.
Prerequisites: German 202 or permission of instructor
Enrollment Preferences: German students
Distributions: Division I

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