Course Description

travel frontGerman artists, poets, filmmakers, and intellectuals have always exhibited great curiosity about other cultures, a desire to cross all kinds of boundaries and experience different social and  natural settings as sites of inspiration, self-discovery, and transformation. The figure of traveling, of exploring distant realities, is both a persistent motif and a creative engine of German aesthetic production. This seminar examines German culture’s preoccupation with traveling and border crossings over the past 250 years. We will study the work of roaming poets and wandering visual artists, of itinerant filmmakers and inquisitive philosophers in order to get a better grasp of what drives Germans beyond what is familiar, known, and homely. In addition, we will read a number of travel guides and an more scientific travelogues so as to place the poetics of mobility and border crossing in a larger cultural and historical context. All readings and discussions in German.