GERM-394 Images of Childhood
Spring for 2015-2016
Ever since the Grimm brothers published their Kinder- und Hausmärchen in 1812, images of childhood and youth have formed a crucial part of German culture and literature. Drawing on this tradition, German writers, filmmakers and artists have used children to represent innocence as well as extreme brutality and political horror. In this course, we will examine discourses of childhood and adolescence in German culture, literature and film from Romanticism to the present. We will look at a variety of texts and media, including children´s books, reminiscences, novels, visual artifacts, films, plays and music. Class discussions will address the following questions: How and why do images of childhood and youth change from one time period to another? What can images of childhood tell us about larger conceptions of family, gender and nation? What is the cultural significance of “Kinder- und Jugendliteratur”? Why do German-language authors use childhood reminiscences and coming-of-age narratives to depict political and social upheaval, and what are the consequences of such an approach?
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