GERM-367 Enter the Actress
Fall for 2017-2018
Professor Mary Helen Dupree
The actress is one of the most enigmatic and controversial figures in German culture. She is a harbinger of modernity: the emergence of the first German-speaking actresses coincided with the rise of the Enlightenment, and actresses were actively involved in the eighteenth-century movement to reform German theater. In the twenty-first century, actresses continue to occupy an important place in German culture, both as celebrities and as embodiments of femininity.
This course will investigate why the image of the actress has figured so prominently at certain moments in German literary and cultural history, and why the contributions of real-life theater women are so often taken for granted. We will look at texts that document the lives and working conditions of German actresses and female playwrights, as well as texts that use the figure of the actress to ask questions about gender, media and spectatorship. In addition, the course will look at texts that depict femininity as a type of performance, thus calling into question fixed and stable notions of gender.
The course will focus on readings and tasks in a variety of genres, with the goal of building the advanced reading and writing skills one would need to function in a German Proseminar. Course requirements include an oral presentation (Referat), short writing assignments such as play and film reviews, dramatic readings/performances and a final research paper.
Prerequisites: Two Level VI courses
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