GERM-654 Narrating Space
Fall for 2016-2017
Discussions of space and spatiality are no longer confined to cultural geography and urban studies but have entered a range of other disciplines, including cultural and literary studies in recent years. This graduate seminar asks what is behind this fascination with space, how scholars conceptualize the relationship of space to time/history/power relations, and how recent discourses on space pertain to the analysis of literary texts.
Students will thus be introduced to two distinct areas of research: first to discourses on space and spatiality (often termed “Spatial Turn”) and second to narrative theories that examine the representation of space in (literary) texts. Ultimately, we will explore the impact of the “Spatial Turn” on literary studies in general and on narrative analysis in particular.
The seminar focuses on the theoretical discourses mentioned above, but will also consider the potential of literary texts to contribute -- rather than just benefit from -- these ongoing debates on space. To this end, selected literary texts will be discussed in class. (For instance, Jenny Erpenbeck’s Heimsuchung narrates the history of a particular location and can thus serve as a model for a dynamic notion of place.)
Throughout the course, students will be introduced to pertinent academic discourse and academic genres, all of which are building blocks for the concluding project. The course will enable students to make connections between a range of (trans-) disciplinary discourses on space and spatiality while keeping their main object of study (literary and cultural texts) in mind. To this end, students will work on an independent research project and will present preliminary results to the class in the last part of the semester.
Other academic years
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