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Empire, Memory, Translation: A Seminar on the Rings of Saturn
GRST 342
Fall 2020
Section: 01  
Crosslisting: COL 392

In this seminar, we will explore three themes: The lasting effects of European imperialism and colonialism in (mostly but not exclusively) Europe and their literary representations; the relationship between historical memory and fiction in these representations; and the role of translation in shaping the relationship between historical memory and fiction.

At the center of this course is W. G. Sebald's travelogue "The Rings of Saturn" ("Die Ringe des Saturn"), a work we will read in both its German original and its congenial English translation. Sebald's genre-defying narrative recounts the historical traces of empire, war, and colonialism in the observations and reminiscences of the protagonist's wandering through the de-industrializing landscape of England's Suffolk County during the early 1990s. Obsessively associating phenomena near and far in an almost paranoid fashion, Sebald's first-person narrator leads the reader to the devastations wrought in China during the Opium Wars and in the Congo during Belgian rule; the local and global effects of cycles of capital accumulation, resource exploitation, and climate change; and the challenges and pitfalls of memory's attempts to find an adequate narrative form for how the globally disparate effects of capitalist modernity are interlinked.

All discussions and papers will be in German, and readings will be in German and English, with a consistent focus on theoretical and practical questions of translating from German to English. We will proceed at a slow pace, with plenty of time to grant our superb primary text the time and attention it deserves. This course is designed for students who have taken GRST 213 or have spent a semester studying abroad in a German-speaking country. We will focus on developing critical writing, reading, interpretation, and translation skills in German. Since the quantity of reading is fairly modest, we will put much emphasis on regular writing and rewriting.
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: HA GRST
Course Format: SeminarGrading Mode: Student Option
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (COL)
Past Enrollment Probability: 90% or above

Last Updated on MAY-28-2024
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