Graduate Courses

HUMA 6300: Interdisciplinary Approaches to the Arts and Humanities
Taught by Dr. Nils Roemer
The seminar will introduce students to some of the basic concepts of the humanities and interdisciplinary studies by investigation the nature of metropolitan cities. The modern city is by its very nature a multifaceted social space. Berlin, London, Paris, New York, and Chicago will provide our primary examples. We will read a wide range of writers, including sociologists, geographers, historians, and poets and will discuss representations of the city in art and film.
Students will be introduced to the study of the city in a wide interdisciplinary manner through a discussion of textual and visual sources. Students will further their ability to critically review scholarly literature and interpret sources from various perspectives.

HUHI 6313 : The German Mind: From Lessing to Nietzsche
Taught by Dr. Zsuzsanna Ozsváth
Literary history has only rarely experienced such concentration of emotional and intellectual energies as those manifesting themselves in Germany between 1750-1875. In fact, this powerful artistic output appears to be on such scale and of such stature that it must be discussed on terms comparable to those of the Attic tragedy. To study it also means to explore the cultural forces that have at once appropriated the rich lineage of the European tradition and anticipated most major artistic movements of the nineteenth and twentieth century. Our course will focus on the writings of such dramatists, writers, and poets as Lessing, Goethe, Schiller, Kleist, Hülderlin, Novalis, Eichendorff, Graf von Platen, Heine, and Büchner, and explore the works of such philosophers as Kant, Winckelmann, Hegel, Schopenhauer, and Nietzsche.
Students will read and learn to analyze the texts of the works we’ll discuss in the class; and they will consider the philosophical, historical, and aesthetic background out of which these texts spring. Studying the structures and artistic expressions of these classical art pieces in the context of the historical development and aesthetic concepts of 18th-early 19th century Germany, students will understand, and put in the context of, some of the major aesthetic theories, and the political and moral changes of this time, influencing the intellectual, historical developments of the 20th-century. 

HUHI 6320: History and Memorialization
Taught by Dr. Zsuzsanna Ozsváth
This course will study the social, political, and cultural contexts out of which the Holocaust, the mass murder of the European Jews, arose. In addition, it will consider both a wide range of historical interpretations of, and a variety of artistic responses to, this destruction process. That is, examining the historical realities and the latest historiography, including some of the major artistic creations memorializing the Shoah, our course will ponder questions that focus on the ways in which remembrance of this event is part of a new, evolving public recollection and a major force to reverse the “erosion of memory the passage of time” might create.  
Students will consider various approaches of understanding and explicating the Holocaust, including some of its ethical, aesthetic, and historical representations.  They will analyze the impact and pressures this trauma has imposed on some major artists and philosophers of the time and on our historical representations.

HUHI 6325: Post-Holocaust Thought
Taught by Dr. David Patterson
In this course the term Holocaust is taken to mean the systematic extermination of the Jews undertaken by Nazi Germany and its allies. The course examines a variety of primary and secondary texts to explore the impact of the Holocaust on theological, philosophical, and postmodern thought in the aftermath of Auschwitz. Of particular interest is the impact of the
Holocaust on Jewish identity, Christian theology, and philosophy’s ability—or inability—to respond to the event. Topics to be explored include the ramifications of the Holocaust for an understanding of the meaning of humanity, the nature of good and evil, the foundations of civilization, and the future of thought.
The ultimate aim of the course is to arrive at a deeper understanding of the philosophical and theological views of God and humanity, good and evil, and the meaning and value of the human being in the aftermath of Auschwitz.

HUHI 6325: Studies on Anti-Semitism
Taught by Dr. David Patterson
This course examines a variety of primary and secondary texts that cut across several disciplines to examine the millennial phenomenon of anti-Semitism. Exploring the history, causes, and essence of Jew hatred, the course delves into its philosophical, theological, ideological, political, and social aspects. The fundamental question to be examined in this course is: What is the anti-Semite anti? Or: Why the Jews?
The ultimate aim of the course is to arrive at a deeper understanding of the essence of Jew hatred as it appears among very diverse peoples and cultures ranging from ancient Greeks to modern intellectuals, from Saint Augustine to Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, from Karl Marx to Adolf Hitler.

HUHI 6325: Moving Pictures in Jewish Culture
Taught by Dr. Nils Roemer
This course examines the role of Jews in the movie industry. We will watch and discuss movies from the silent era to contemporary Hollywood production to engage some of the main themes in 20th century modern Jewish history. We will in particular pay attention to movies that document and discuss interwar Jewish cultures, the Holocaust, Zionism, Israel, and the place of Judaism in American culture.
Students will be introduced to studying films in a wide interdisciplinary manner. We will discuss Jews’ position at both the cultural centers and the social margins of modernity and analyze the functions that representations of ‘the Jew’ also assumed for non-Jewish authors. Students will strengthen their ability to critically review scholarly literature and interpret sources from various perspectives.

HUHI 6327: Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan
Taught by Dr. Nils Roemer
The course discusses Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan as songwriters, performers and artists. Readings will include lyrics, interviews, poetry collections, and novels. In addition to textual sources, we will also investigate various documentaries and performances from an interdisciplinary perspective. Our discussions will focus on gender, sexuality, politics, rebellion, the media, celebrity and popular culture, the religious quest and other searches for meaning. The course aims to further students’ abilities to critically review scholarly literature and interpret sources from various perspectives.

HUHI 6334: Exploring Urban Cultures
Taught by Dr. Nils Roemer
This seminar focuses on the European metropolitan cities Berlin, Paris, and London from the mid-19th and early 20th centuries. Each of these cities was at once the important center of population, economic and cultural life of its respective country, as well as an imperial hub for the exchange of goods, ideas, and peoples from across the world.
The seminar will explore issues of urban renewal and planning, space, class, and migration. Key factors we will look at are social class, gender, ethnicity, consumer culture, urban tourism, crime, and the representation of the city in literature, art, and film. Course readings include Walter Benjamin, Christopher Isherwood, George Orwell, Joseph Roth, and Emile Zola.

HUHI 6335: Modern Jewish Thought
Taught by Dr. Nils Roemer
This course examines modern and contemporary Jewish thought. In moving, roughly chronologically, we will examine how Jewish philosophers understand the relationship between Judaism and philosophy, and how they make the distinction or conjunction of these two entities or terms productive for their thoughts. Readings will include texts by Moses Mendelssohn, Abraham Geiger, Martin, Buber, Franz Rosenzweig, Siegmund Freud, Walter Benjamin, Gershom Scholem, Emanual Levinas, and Jacques Derrida.

HUHI 6336: Modernity, Culture, and the Jews
Taught by Dr. Nils Roemer
This course examines the role of Jews in the creation of modern cultures. Jews ‘contributions to modern arts and sciences have always intrigued commentators not in the least in light of the disproportionate impact Jews made upon the non-Jewish world. The course will be grounded in recent literature on diaspora cultures, transnationalism and border crossing, and will view Jewish participation in modern culture as an area of interaction, exchange and encounter. Readings amongst others will include Mathew Arnold, T. S. Elliot, Marcel Proust, James Joyce, Sigmund Freud, Georg Simmel, Walter Benjamin and artists like Max Liebermann, Max Weber, and Marc Chagall.
Students will be introduced to the issue of influence and difference in a wide interdisciplinary manner through a discussion of textual and visual sources. We will discuss Jews’ position at both the cultural centers and the social margins of modernity and analyze the functions that representations of ‘the Jew’ also assumed for non-Jewish authors. Students will further their ability to critically review scholarly literature and interpret sources from various perspectives.

HUHI 6338: History of the Holocaust
Taught by Dr. Zsuzsanna Ozsváth
The Holocaust, the annihilation of six million Jews under the Nazis, looms large in our twenty-first-century consciousness. It involves both a monumental assault against millions of defenseless people and a brutally imposed process of dying, which reduced the victims into matter while they were still alive. It also involves the destruction of the age-old Eastern European Jewish culture. Although the mass killing stopped after the Third Reich was defeated, this destruction process has not ceased to put pressure on our contemporary world and cast a shadow on the modern Western consciousness. Challenging our fundamental assumptions and values, it raises questions of enormous significance: "How was it possible for a state, a product of Western civilization, to systematize, mechanize, and socially organize the Holocaust?" "How could the Nazis in 12 short years unhinge the basic structure of Western civilization?" And "How could European societies, including their moral and academic institutions, fail to protest against and defeat Nazi ideology?"
This course will search for answers to these questions and raise many others. It will locate and study the roots of the "Final Solution" by analyzing the shapes and forms of some of the early persecutions of the Jews. Using a wide-ranging interdisciplinary approach, including films and works of art, it will ponder the circumstances and causes of the Holocaust and consider the psychological, social, moral, theological, and aesthetic dilemmas it has continued to raise.
The course will provide an excellent background for teachers in this field. Those interested in obtaining a certificate in Holocaust Studies and develop a curriculum and courses on the Holocaust will be able to arrange special tutorial sessions for this purpose with the instructor. Also, they will be encouraged to contact and get acquainted with the work of the Dallas Memorial Center for Holocaust Studies.

HUHI 6338: The Holocaust
Taught by Dr. David Patterson
In this course we shall take an interdisciplinary approach to one of the most problematic events of human history: the Holocaust. The purpose of examining this topic is not simply to gather information or to arrive at some explanation; nor is it to be overcome with despair or anger or outrage. The aim, rather, is to address the questions of good and evil, of divinity and humanity, of truth and responsibility that arise from this event, so that we may better understand its singular significance for human life. With the approval of the instructor, students may write on any topic, but all research topics should integrate a variety of academic disciplines as they pertain to the Holocaust.

HUHI 6395: Fashion Industry and Dallas
Taught by Dr. Nils Roemer
To this day, Kenneth Cole, Donna Karan, Calvin Klein, Michael Kors, Ralph Lauren, Isaac Mizrahi, and Diane von Fürstenberg are widely recognized as major designers and labels next to the dominating role Macy’s and other department stores have played in Americans’ pursuit of happiness. In Dallas, the Sangers, Zales, and Neiman Marcus have had a major role in the consumer and fashion industry. The course seeks to introduce students to the study, methods and theories of consumer culture, and its history in Europe and America in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The theoretical and historical introduction will place our detailed investigation of the consumer culture and fashion industry in Dallas into a wider historical context.
We will discuss Jews’ position at both the cultural centers and the social margins of modern culture and consider in particular Stanley Marcus as a pioneer in consumer culture and the fashion industry. Students will be introduced into the archival collection at SMU and the Jewish Historical Society to promote original research.

HUSL 6360: Genres of Holocaust Literature: Memoirs
Taught by Dr. David Patterson
This course consists of a thorough examination of the Holocaust memoir as a genre of Holocaust literature. The course explores the issue of the recovery of life through the literary genre of memoir, the function of memory, what the memoir reveals and conceals about the Holocaust, how the Holocaust memoir differs from other memoirs as a literary genre, and other issues. The questions raised will be based on an interdisciplinary approach, combing the disciplines of literature, history, philosophy, and religion where appropriate. Questions to be addressed include: What do the memoirs reveal about the essence of the Holocaust? What do they teach about an understanding of humanity? And what response do they summon from the reader? The instructional format is lecture with substantial discussion.
The purpose of this course is to familiarize students with the psychological, philosophical, historical, and religious issues confronting Holocaust survivors who take up the task of bearing witness to what befell them in the concentrationary universe. Topics addressed will include the function of memory, the question of what the memoirs reveal about the nature of the Holocaust, and the implications for those who encounter—or collide with—these texts.

HUSL 6370: Between Tradition and Modernity: The Literature of Weimar Germany
Taught by Dr. Zsuzsanna Ozsváth
This course will examine some of the most significant literary works written in the period of the Weimar Republic (1918-1933). In addition, it will pay attention to the cultural-political forces that shaped the artistic imagination of the time and to the formative influences that proceeded this era. We will undertake this study by relying mostly on primary sources, such as novels, short stories, poems, plays, essays, confessions, and statements of creative writers, artists, and critics of art. This approach will allow us to gain insight into the artistic and intellectual achievement that characterized the literature and culture of the Weimar Republic, into the cultural and intellectual tensions and transitions making themselves felt in Germany before and during World War I, and into the disillusionment following the war, including the polarization of the country’s culture and the major social, political, and ideological upheavals during the 1920s and early 1930s.
Students will consider the political and cultural conditions in Weimar Germany and will analyze orally as well as in writing one or two of the historical events or some of the major art works or novels of the period.

HUSL 6372: Modern Jewish Literatures Across Cultures
Taught by Dr. Nils Roemer
This course introduces and explores modern Jewish literatures in multiple national contexts and languages. We will investigate the interaction between modernity and vision of Jewish identities and traditions. Our discussion will be structured around close readings of texts and will focus on the relation between history and literature, language and identity, aesthetics and ideology, and debates about Jewish literature, its scope, nature, and character. Texts included in this course cover a broad range of literary styles and periods from the nineteenth to the end of the twentieth centuries. Readings will include, amongst others, Heinrich Heine, Grace Aguilar, Israel Zangwill, Arthur Schnitzler, Hayim Bialik, Shalom Aleichem, Shmuel Agnon, Isaac Babel, Philip Roth, and Cynthia Ozick.
Students will be introduced to variety of styles and genres of modern Jewish literatures in translations from different historical and geographical contexts. They will gain an understanding of the contours of the modern Jewish experience through the prism of literature. They will further their ability to critically review scholarly literature and interpret literary texts from various perspectives.

HUSL 6375: German Literature and Ideas 1870-1960
Taught by Dr. Zsuzsanna Ozsváth
This course will focus on the unique range and diversity of German-Austrian literature and thought from the end of the nineteenth-century until the 1960s. It will locate the beginnings of the radical changes Nietzsche’s ideas created and their influence on the early Expressionist movement. In addition, it will examine some of the major works of the pre-and post-WWI era and consider the political trends and upheavals which shaped and warped this brilliantly creative artistic period. Exploring works composed in Germany just before the rise of the Third Reich and works produced by some of the German artists in exile, we also will consider the creative output of the generation of poets and writers coming of age in the post-World War II period, capturing in shattering words the new reality of loss, betrayal, and anguish.

HUSL 6378: The Holocaust in Literature
Taught by Dr. Zsuzsanna Ozsváth
The enormous pressure the Holocaust exerts on our contemporary world manifests itself in a variety of ways, among them, in our persistent efforts to evoke, define, and explain this cataclysmic event and to incorporate it into our creative imagination. Besides ongoing evaluation and re-evaluation of the Shoah in the fields of historical research, moral philosophy, and social studies, there is a massive body of literature and art that has arisen in its wake, ranging from eyewitness accounts to novels, short stories, and poetry; from music to painting, sculpture, and film. The purpose of this seminar is to consider some of these artistic endeavors and the psychological, moral, and aesthetic tensions the Holocaust has imposed upon our contemporary consciousness. In addition, we will asses the role it plays in the late twentieth-century early twenty-first-century literary imagination. We will study a number of texts revolving around this event and consider not only their radically new aesthetic devices but also their portrayals of evil and moral survival. In addition, it will explore a wide-ranging set of critical responses the literature of the Holocaust has engendered.
Students will analyze the background and the history of the Holocaust. In addition, they will consider the philosophical, moral, and aesthetic responses this calamitous event has engendered. Studying some of the most dramatic and beautiful texts of our time, they will also explore the issues and conflicts that arose among the creators and interpreters of the “literature of atrocity.”

HUSL 7309: Yiddish Literature
Taught by Dr. David Patterson
Concentrating on fictional narratives in English translation, this course examines Yiddish literature from its flowering in the nineteenth century to its demise in the twentieth century. Of particular interest are the ways in which Yiddish literature reflects and responds to the social, cultural, political, and religious aspects of Jewish life as it unfolds in Eastern Europe, as well as in North America. The texts include selections from Chasidism, the Jewish Enlightenment, and Yiddish Modernism, as the course traces the development of a major literary tradition that was obliterated with the destruction of European Jewish civilization in the Holocaust. The purpose of the course is to impart to students an understanding of the Yiddish literary tradition and how that tradition reflects Jewish history, Jewish teachings, and the tensions that shape both.
The ultimate aim of the course is to arrive at a deeper understanding of the themes that run throughout Yiddish literature and the Jewish life reflected in that literature, so that student may have an appreciation of this tradition that was obliterated in the Holocaust.

HUSL 7379: European Romanticism
Taught by Dr. Zsuzsanna Ozsváth
The purpose of this course is two-fold: to trace the origins and development of the Romantic Movement and explore its central issues, shaping much of nineteenth-and twentieth-century art and thought. We will examine the ideas of some of the major Romantic thinkers, writers, poets, and artists, studying their vision of the human imagination, their concepts of the arts, dreams, passion, and the subconscious; and we will explore their battles against the Enlightenment, with its established rules in the realm of the factual, objective, and the universal. Analyzing the culmination and legacy of this movement in philosophy and literature, we will also study the historical-cultural context out of which our readings sprang and explore their authors’ soaring ideas and new artistic approaches.

Last Updated: 1/8/2014