GER 506 – Representing the Other

Course materials:

Ger 506: Representing the Other

INSTRUCTOR: Prof. Albrecht CLASSEN, University Distinguished Professor. Office: 318 Learning Service Building. Telephone: 621-1395. e-mail:; fax: 626-8286
CLASS MEETINGS: LSB 346, TT 3:30-6:00 p.m..
Mo and We 12:15 p.m.-1:15 p.m., and any other time after appointment (but always feel free simply to stop by at my office)
The study of literature can be justified by many different reasons. One major factor consists of the realization that in literary text the contact with foreigners and the foreign, the exchange with a foreign world, and hence the epistemic transformation of the own self through the establishing of an engagement with the foreign is set into process. We can observe this in light of modern texts, but also, and very much so, in light of medieval literature. This course will provide both a theoretical framework for xenology, and introduces also some of the most relevant medieval German texts relevant for our topic. So we will read some of the recent studies on the topic with a focus on the Middle Ages, and then turn to the primary texts, from the early Middle Ages to the early sixteenth century.
This will also be a very good preparation for your M.A. exam, for instance.
Texts and textbooks:
Hildebrandslied (see the link below)
Herzog Ernst, trans. B. Sowinski (bookstore has copies; but if you can find other translations, good; if you can read it in MHG, even better)
Wolfram von Eschenbach, Parzival, trans. Cyril Edwards (or any other), and Willehalm
Nibelungenlied, trans. A. T. Hatto
Hartmann von Aue, Der arme Heinrich
Mechthild von Magdeburg, Licht der fliessenden Gottheit
Der wilde Alexander
(all three contained in link)
Thüring von Ringoltingen, Melusine
anonymous: Fortunatus (1509)
Arnold von Harff
A. 1 Oral presentation on one or two (this depends on the class size) of the major texts discussed in class: 20%: biography, structure of the text, genre, etc.
B. 1 presentation of one scholarly article dealing with our material: read it, summarize it, and present your results to the class, orally. Please consult with me first before you choose one. Hand out copies of the article: 20%. I would suggest that you combine A and B for your own work.
C: 1 written paper (term paper) focusing on one text, or the works of one poet, i.e., an interpretation, with solid scholarly apparatus, engage with at least 6 outside sources, at least 3 in German): 40%: ca. 10 pp., or 8000 words (with careful reflection of relevant scholarship). Due date is Dec. 5 in my office!  An electronic submission would be preferrable. Structure: Name, ID, Date, Word Count on top. Title, thesis statement, arguments, conclusion. Bibliography. At the bottom: sign that this is your own piece of work and that you did not receive outside help. 1.5 spacing, 1″ margins. Feel free to consult with instructor before you submit your paper. The paper should either investigate a topic including a number of texts, or focus on one text different from A and B.
C: comprehensive bibliography on a chosen topic (in consultation with instructor):  This is not to be on the same topic as your term paper, 10%. Ca. 8-10 monographs, ca. 15 articles or chapters in books. Please use Chicago or MLA style.
D: Active class participation, homework, text preparation: 10%
Although it is assumed that you will attend all class sessions, you are informed hereby that excessive absences will have consequences: More than three unexcused absences lead to a drop of one grade in this course, and more than five unexcused absences will lead to an automatic grade of E (failing). If justified circumstances prevent you from attending, please inform me in writing either before or after the event, and provide satisfactory documentation (e.g., doctor’s note).

The UA’s policy concerning Class Attendance, Participation, and Administrative Drops is available at:

The UA policy regarding absences for any sincerely held religious belief, observance or practice will be accommodated where reasonable,

Absences pre-approved by the UA Dean of Students (or Dean Designee) will be honored.  See:

Participating in the course and attending lectures and other course events are vital to the learning process. As such, attendance is required at all lectures and discussion section meetings. Students who miss class due to illness or emergency are required to bring documentation from their health-care provider or other relevant, professional third parties. Failure to submit third-party documentation will result in unexcused absences.

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 two class meetings per week will only be of profit for you if you respond to my questions and those of your classmates, and contribute on your own as often as possible.
The UA Threatening Behavior by Students Policy prohibits threats of physical harm to any member of the University community, including to oneself. See
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. ( Students need to submit appropriate documentation to the instructor if they are requesting reasonable accommodations.

Our goal in this classroom is that learning experiences be as accessible as possible. If you anticipate or experience physical or academic barriers based on disability, please let me know immediately so that we can discuss options. You are also welcome to contact the Disability Resource Center (520-621-3268) to establish reasonable accommodations. For additional information on the Disability Resource Center and reasonable accommodations, please visit

Code of Academic Integrity

Students are encouraged to share intellectual views and discuss freely the principles and applications of course materials. However, graded work/exercises must be the product of independent effort unless otherwise instructed. Students are expected to adhere to the UA Code of Academic Integrity as described in the UA General Catalog. See:

Recommended language: The University Libraries have some excellent tips for avoiding plagiarism, available at

Recommended language: Selling class notes and/or other course materials to other students or to a third party for resale is not permitted without the instructor’s express written consent. Violations to this and other course rules are subject to the Code of Academic Integrity and may result in course sanctions. Additionally, students who use D2L or UA e-mail to sell or buy these copyrighted materials are subject to Code of Conduct Violations for misuse of student e-mail addresses. This conduct may also constitute copyright infringement.

UA Nondiscrimination and Anti-harassment Policy

The University is committed to creating and maintaining an environment free of discrimination; see

Our classroom is a place where everyone is encouraged to express well-formed opinions and their reasons for those opinions. We also want to create a tolerant and open environment where such opinions can be expressed without resorting to bullying or discrimination of others.

If you use secondary material for your papers, 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 there is any doubt in your mind whether you might commit plagiarism, see:
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.
Aug. 23: Introduction; reflections on ‘the foreign,’ bibliographical research
Aug. 25: Read Ulrich Mueller’s article
Aug. 30: Mueller; and Kuehnel; read Charles Connell’s article
Sept. 01: We continue with Connell’s article; visit of the UoA library
Sept. 06: Hildebrandslied (this, and Mechthild, Der wilde Alexander in my textbook)
Sept. 08: Hildebrandslied (Forschung)  – I will probably be at a conference in Brazil that week, so please do not use the HL for your oral presentation.
Sept. 13: Herzog Ernst
Sept. 15: Herzog Ernst – Jess Archbold
Sept. 20: Hartmann von Aue, Der arme Heinrich
Sept. 22: Hartmann
Sept. 27: Wolfram von Eschenbach: Parzival (specifically: Books V and XV, but we also need the prologue and quickly go over the first books)
Sept. 29: Parzival (I will be at the GSA; please select a recent article on Pz and write a brief summary, like a review, ca. 700 words) – Hayden Godfrey
Oct. 04: Presentation of your reviews on Pz; we also read: Wolfram von Eschenbach, Willehalm
 – Jessi Long: intro to Willehalm
Oct. 06: Willehalm (I will attend the RMMLA in SLC; please do the same as forPz)
Oct. 11: Wolfram: final reflections; intro to Nibelungenlied (selection) – Amalie
Oct. 13: Nibelungenlied
Oct. 18: Nibelungenlied
Oct. 20: Mechthild von Magdeburg, Das Licht der fliessenden Gottheit – Matt
Oct. 25: Mechthild
Oct. 27: Der wilde Alexander (Hayden)
Nov. 01: Thuering von Ringoltingen, Melusine – Tara Taylor/Jessie Long
Nov. 03: Melusine (Long: Prose Novels)
Nov. 08: Melusine
Nov. 10: Bibliographieren, wiss. Arbeiten, ev. Besuch in der Bibliothek
Nov. 15: anonym: Fortunatus, Auszug (Fortunatus)
Nov. 17: Fortunatus –  Jessie Archbold
Nov. 22: Fortunatus
Nov. 24: Thanksgiving
Nov. 29: Arnold von Harff, Auszug eins, zwei, drei – Carolin Radtke
Dec. 01: Balthasar Sprenger, Meefahrt nach Indien (1509), Auszug. Umschrift; Susan
Dec. 05: Sprenger, Abschlussdiskussion; read A. Classen’s article
Semesterarbeit faellig am 5. Dezember
 Possible Changes:
The information contained in the course syllabus, other than the grade and absence policies, may be subject to change with reasonable advance notice, as deemed appropriate by the instructor.