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HISTORY 213G: Route-Place-Object: Re-defining "Cultural Landscape" in Medieval Germany (GERMAN 240, GERMAN 340)

In modern perception, the definition of Germany's various cultural landscapes often follows narratives of regional remoteness and aesthetic coherency. Today's Bundesland (federal state) of Hesse makes a case in point. Ever since the Brothers Grimm collected many of their fairy tales there, its image is defined by ideas of small picturesque towns with half-timbered houses and impressive castles on hilltops. However, a closer look clearly reveals that Hesse's countryside was and is rather heterogeneous and diverse in its architectural and artistic heritage, just like in many other "typical" German regions. In this class, we invite students to study the rich artistic heritage of medieval Hesse with us in order to re-define a scholarly concept of "cultural landscape" as a dynamic interaction of route, place, and object. Rather than being a remote region, Hesse was determined by important trans-European routes enabling the transfer of objects and ideas. Along these passages, a dynamic netwo more »
In modern perception, the definition of Germany's various cultural landscapes often follows narratives of regional remoteness and aesthetic coherency. Today's Bundesland (federal state) of Hesse makes a case in point. Ever since the Brothers Grimm collected many of their fairy tales there, its image is defined by ideas of small picturesque towns with half-timbered houses and impressive castles on hilltops. However, a closer look clearly reveals that Hesse's countryside was and is rather heterogeneous and diverse in its architectural and artistic heritage, just like in many other "typical" German regions. In this class, we invite students to study the rich artistic heritage of medieval Hesse with us in order to re-define a scholarly concept of "cultural landscape" as a dynamic interaction of route, place, and object. Rather than being a remote region, Hesse was determined by important trans-European routes enabling the transfer of objects and ideas. Along these passages, a dynamic network of micro-landscapes around certain places like towns, abbeys, castles but also bridges with partly distinct political and religious connotations could both develop and transform over a long period. It is our aim to create a better understanding for a historically grounded diversity of German cultural landscapes.NO CLASS during the first week. Class will begin 10/5.
Terms: Aut | Units: 3-5
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