Honors Colloquium 2016: Wolfram von Eschenbach, Parzival

Honors Colloquium Fall 2016

TOPIC: Wolfram von Eschenbach, Parzival (ca. 1205)
INSTRUCTOR: Prof. Albrecht Classen, Dept. of German Studies, LSB 318, tel.: 621-1395; email: aclassen@email.arizona.edu; aclassen.faculty.arizona.edu
CLASS MEETING TIME: Fri 9:00-9:50 a.m.
OFFICE HOURS: Mo and We 12:15 - 1:15 p.m., and most other times during the week; just come by, or give me a call to make an appointment.
This is a colloquium geared toward Honors students only. You are the most inquisitive, curious, intellectually motivated students on campus, I assume. For you I have selected a truly medieval ‘classic,’ Wolfram von Eschenbach’s Parzival. It is a huge, daunting, and most rewarding, yet also challenging romance originally composed in Middle High German. While all the other poets at that time composed Arthurian romances, Wolfram superseded that concept with his idea of the Grail kingdom. Parzival is a protagonist who has to undergo many challenges and ultimately succeeds in reaching his life’s goals, but the text illustrates fundamental human problems. The timeless messages in this text will accompany and occupy us throughout the semester. 
You will become familiar with one of the greatest medieval romances and learn to address critical issues formulated here that continue to have major meaning and urgency for us today. Parzival consists of 16 books, so this is just right for a one-hour colloquium per week. We will go over each book as a group, and discuss the major aspects and topics. At the end you will have a solid understanding of this masterpiece and will have gained deep insight into the universal topics addressed in this text. 
Although it is assumed that you will attend all class meetings, you are informed hereby that excessive absences will have consequences.
Please treat each other with respect and tolerance. People do have different views and opinions, but all these can only contribute to the rich learning experience I hope you all will have in this class. You are strongly encouraged to participate in class as much as possible. The one meeting per week will only be of profit for you if you respond to my questions and those of your classmates, come forward with your own questions, opinions, etc.
The University of Arizona is committed to fostering a learning, working, and living environment free from all forms of discrimination, including harassment. The University’s Nondiscrimination and Anti-harassment Policy prohibits discrimination and harassment on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, and gender identity. The policy also prohibits retaliation for opposing discriminatory conduct, filing a discrimination-related complaint, or participating in the investigation of a discrimination-related complaint.
For definitions of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation, please see the University's Nondiscrimination and Anti-harassment Policy here or visit the Office of Institutional Equity website.
For information on the University of Arizona Policy on Threatening Behavior by Students, click on this link. 
SPECIAL NEEDS: Students with disabilities who require reasonable accommodations to participate fully in course activities or meet course requirements must register with the Disability Resource Center. (http://drc.arizona.edu/). Students need to submit appropriate documentation to the instructor if they are requesting reasonable accommodations.
If you use secondary material for your journal, make sure that you indicate clearly where you took it from. Plagiarism and cheating violate the Code of Academic Integrity. For further information, see:
Do not ever copy from the work produced by your classmates or by other students who might have taken this course in previous semesters. If you receive help in writing your papers, make sure that the final outcome still represents your own work. You can discuss your papers with your fellow students, but at the end they need to consist of your own ideas and words! Be advised that the Web is a great search tool, but never, never copy from there without identifying very clearly what you used.  At this point the scholarly value of web-based material still is not totally reliable, and the chances that you might stumble upon a most dubious webpage with untrustworthy information are very high.  When you quote from a secondary source, clearly identify the quote and tell the reader in a footnote where you quoted from.  Every year more than 100 students at the UA are caught having committed the crime of plagiarism, resulting in penalties that could be as severe as expulsion from the University!  You are smart enough not to copy from other people.
If there is any doubt in your mind whether you might commit plagiarism, see:
Plagiarism and the Web
If you commit plagiarism, you could either receive a 0 on your specific assignment, or an F for the entire course.  Depending on the gravity of the case, you might even be expelled from the University. Every plagiarism case must be reported to the Head of my depart., to the head of your dept., and to the Dean of Students.
Help with writing: The Writing Skills Improvement Program offers a number of valuable workshops at 1201 E. Helen Street.  Please consult with them if you have a need to improve your writing skills (no walk-ins).  For perhaps more immediate help, see the Writing Center (walk-ins allowed). Tel.: 621-5849
Writing Center: The Writing Center is a free resource for UA undergraduate and graduate students as well as faculty and staff.  At the Writing Center, a trained peer consultant will work individually with you on anything you're writing (in or out of class), at any point in the writing process from brainstorming to editing. Appointments are recommended, but not required.  For more information or to make an appointment, visit their website at http://thinktank.arizona.edu/programs/thinktank/services/writing, stop by at Nugent Building, main level, or call (520) 626-0530.?
I’ll collect your journals 3 times per semester. Your attendance in the colloquia is assumed; if you have to miss, please let me know in writing. Excessive, unexcused absences will result in the drop of your overall grade. More than 2 of such absences will lead to an automatic F in this course.
Keep a journal and write ca. 300 words or more per week, dealing each time with the respective chapter that we are discussing every Friday. 
A: good journal, full critical discussion, plus questions and creative responses to the text
B: not always full amount of words, few questions, little critical thinking
C: mostly paraphrasing, too short entries, no comments of your own
D: spotty entries, misunderstandings, faulty grammar, spelling
F: few entries, short texts, no personal responses, or worse, no understanding of the text or the task
Aug. 26: Introduction, the Middle Ages, Wolfram von Eschenbach
Sept. 02: Prologue, Parzival Book I
Sept. 09: Parzival Book II (I will be out of town, but will post a series of questions for you to be answered in your journal)
Sept. 16: Parzival Book III
Sept. 23: 1st journal is due. Parzival Books IV-V
Sept. 30: Parzival Book VI
Oct. 07: Parzival Book VII
Oct. 14: Parzival Book VIII
Oct. 21: Parzival Books IX-X
Oct. 28: 2nd journal is due. Parzival Book XI: adjustment: Book IX
Nov. 04: Parzival Book XII; Books X and XI
Nov. 11: Veteran’s Day
Nov. 18: Parzival Books XIII-XIV, Books XII-XIV
Nov. 25: Thanksgiving break
Dec. 02: Last day of class; 3rd journal is due Parzival Books XV-XVI