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GERMAN 233: Cultures of Forgetting: On the Ethics and Aesthetics of Dementia

Both identity and narration rely on memory and (some extent of) cohesion. What happens in the case of dementia, when the ability to remember fails and language tends to disintegrate? Reading scientific and (fictitious or biographical) literary texts, we will analyze competing concepts of forgetting, their bioethical and political impact against the backdrop of (post-) World War II, possible differences between European and American ways of relating dementia, and the aesthetic strategies of telling stories about the breakdown of language. Readings include literary texts by J. Bernlef, Irene Dische, Ulrike Draesner, Jonathan Franzen, Arno Geiger, Michael Ignatieff, Tilman Jens, and Alice Munro. Taught in English with some readings in German. 6-week course, offered weeks 1-6.
Terms: Aut | Units: 3 | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit
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