Department of Germanic Studies

Matthew Sherman


Graduate Student, GRA
Matthew Sherman

Contact

Biography


Matthew J. Sherman is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Germanic Studies. His interests broadly cover Central European literature, culture, and intellectual history in the 19th and 20th centuries (especially German, Austrian, and Czech); film; physical cultures and sports; masculinity studies; literary theory and hermeneutics; identity politics; methods of research and teaching. His most recent publication (in The Journal of Austrian Studies, 2017) on Robert Musil’s novel Törleß concerns how the author inscribes class identity onto cultural spaces.

Courses


GER N612 • Accel Sec-Yr Ger: Read Mod Ger

80490 • Summer 2020
Meets MWF 10:00AM-12:00PM
Hybrid/Blended

GSD S311C • Movies Go To War

81715 • Summer 2019
Meets MTWTHF 10:00AM-11:30AM BEN 1.108
GC

Description:

This course will introduce some of the most famous war films, and some less familiar ones, from the US and Europe-- from Grand Illusion through Saving Private Ryan.   Each war has developed its own kinds of war movies, from World Wars I and II, through the Korean police action, and the Vietnam conflict. 

These films will  be used to introduce how to “read” films as part of cultural history and think critically about their content.  Scenes from each war will be compared to the "real history" behind the film, to pose questions about how history  can be written and rewritten in films.    Take a trip through cinematic battlefields, to see how films have helped their audiences think about the roles of the world's superpowers in world contexts!  

Topics to be addressed include:

                  -cultural stereotypes of heroes, villains, and victims

                  -different countries’ takes on the same war experience (StalingradEnemy at the Gate)

                  -adaptations (book to film= King Rat, play to film = Hart’s War)

                  -the politics of war films

                  -rewriting history through war movies

                  -anti-war films

                  -documentary, docu-drama

                  -how to read point of view and cultural perspectives out of movies.

Readings: 

James Monaco, Nick Drjuchin (Illustrator), David Lindroth (Illustrator).  How To Read a Film: Book (3rd ed.) and DVD-ROM.  Harbor Electronic Publishing; 2000;  ISBN: 0966974492

Text on twentieth century history (TBD)

Films  to be viewed outside of class;  some with text analogues for reading

Fact sheets on each film

Assignments and grading:

40% completion of  online quizzes that correspond to issues in class

30% each-midterm and final -- short answer/identification plus essay

GER 507 • First-Year German II

37640 • Spring 2019
Meets MW 2:00PM-3:00PM JES A307A

Course Description

German 507, a second-semester German course, continues instruction begun in German 506. (Note: If you have prior knowledge of German and did not take GER 506, you must take a placement test before taking classes at UT.) By the end of German 507, students will be familiar with most basic structures of the German language and will have developed basic cultural knowledge about the German-speaking world. As vocabulary and grammar sophistication grow, students will become increasingly proficient at expressing their thoughts, feelings, and opinions on a variety of subjects related to everyday life. To this aim, each lesson centers on linguistic, communicative and cultural goals.

The functional communicative approach that we take in this course—and in the larger German program at UT—focuses on learning to use basic German language forms, i.e., grammar and vocabulary, in meaningful contexts in a variety of real-life situations and across spoken and written genres. To help students develop their ability to communicate effectively in German, they are expected to come prepared for class, use German, and actively participate in pair and group activities. Students should expect to spend two hours studying for each class period in order to keep up with the pace of the class.

 

Required Texts:

  1. Course textbook: Christine Anton, Tobias Barske, Jane Grabowski, & Megan McKinstry (2016). Sag mal. An Introduction to German Language and Culture. Second Edition. Vista Higher Learning.
  2. Sag mal Basic Supersite
  3. Sag mal WebSAM (Student Activities Manual)

 

Grading Policy

Students’ progress in the class will be assessed during the semester across the following categories:

1      Class participation assessed weekly (10%)

2      Homework (20%)

3      Short writing tasks with multiple drafts (15%)

4      Chapter tests (30%)

5      Regular quizzes (10%)

6      Reading journals (5%)

7      Final oral exam done in pairs (10%)

 

There are no incompletes given in German 507. A grade of C or better is required to enroll in German 612 (i.e., a C- is not a passing grade).

GER 507 • First-Year German II

37795 • Fall 2018
Meets MW 3:00PM-4:00PM JES A307A

Course Description

German 507, a second-semester German course, continues instruction begun in German 506. (Note: If you have prior knowledge of German and did not take GER 506, you must take a placement test before taking classes at UT.) By the end of German 507, students will be familiar with most basic structures of the German language and will have developed basic cultural knowledge about the German-speaking world. As vocabulary and grammar sophistication grow, students will become increasingly proficient at expressing their thoughts, feelings, and opinions on a variety of subjects related to everyday life. To this aim, each lesson centers on linguistic, communicative and cultural goals.

The functional communicative approach that we take in this course—and in the larger German program at UT—focuses on learning to use basic German language forms, i.e., grammar and vocabulary, in meaningful contexts in a variety of real-life situations and across spoken and written genres. To help students develop their ability to communicate effectively in German, they are expected to come prepared for class, use German, and actively participate in pair and group activities. Students should expect to spend two hours studying for each class period in order to keep up with the pace of the class.

 

Required Texts:

  1. Course textbook: Christine Anton, Tobias Barske, Jane Grabowski, & Megan McKinstry (2016). Sag mal. An Introduction to German Language and Culture. Second Edition. Vista Higher Learning.
  2. Sag mal Basic Supersite
  3. Sag mal WebSAM (Student Activities Manual)

 

Grading Policy

Students’ progress in the class will be assessed during the semester across the following categories:

1      Class participation assessed weekly (10%)

2      Homework (20%)

3      Short writing tasks with multiple drafts (15%)

4      Chapter tests (30%)

5      Regular quizzes (10%)

6      Reading journals (5%)

7      Final oral exam done in pairs (10%)

 

There are no incompletes given in German 507. A grade of C or better is required to enroll in German 612 (i.e., a C- is not a passing grade).

GSD F340 • Monsters/Robots German Lit

82575 • Summer 2018
Meets MTWTHF 1:00PM-2:30PM BIO 301
GCWr (also listed as EUS F347, REE F325)

Description:

           

Questions of autonomy and identity remain at the center of Austria’s tumultuous past. German-Bohemian literature foregrounds the bizarre and fantastic stories of people at the margins, struggling to maintain and assert their cultures in the face of powerful empires. Over their history, the Bohemian lands of Central Europe have been the site of a dynamic, distinctive culture, reaching back from today into the Middle Ages (as the Kingdom of Bohemia, with its legendary kings of the Přemyslid dynasty and a literature including tales of saints, mythic beings, and heroes). Once the “heart of Europe,” Bohemia’s rich history reflects how cultures have converged and clashed – Germans and Slavs, Catholics and Jews. In the confrontation with oppressive power, these peoples have found representation in figures of the nonhuman. The trope of the nonhuman captured the sinister threats, frightening alienation, and paradoxical nature of identities at the periphery. Golems, ghosts, and robots signal a shift towards new iconographies that reflect diverse German-Bohemian identities and the crises of modernist literature.

This summer course explores the limits of the human through the unsettling tales that define German-speaking Europe at the turn of the twentieth century. From literary decadence to the occult and modernism, this course reads stories from Austrian, Jewish, and Czech literature. We discuss the golem, an anthropomorphic creature of Jewish folklore. We read The Metamorphosis, Franz Kafka’s classic story about a man who wakes up to find himself transformed into a monstrous insect. We anatomize the Czech science fiction play that first used the term “robot.” We chase the female spirits that haunt Bohemia throughout its history.

Each literary work exhibits a different iteration of the concept of the nonhuman in German-Bohemian literature. We compare these representations of the nonhuman and place them into cultural and historical contexts. For example, we illuminate how the golem, the ape, and the ghost all speak to Jewish identity in distinct historical moments. As an introduction to the German and Czech cultures of Central Europe, students learn how to take knowledge about specific historical moments, show how literature reflects the experiences of people in these moments, and then tracing how these collective stories have resonated up through today – as part of history, but still found as ongoing traditions within today's Austria and Czech Republic.

 

Topics to be addressed include:

  • Cultural representations of class, race, religion, gender, and sexuality
  • Modernist, decadent, and occult literatures
  • Theories of the synthetic human, the suprahuman, and anthropomorphism
  • Cultural and historical trends in Central Europe in the 19th and early 20th centuries
  • The figures of the nonhuman as distinct, but related artistic devices

 

Texts include (sections from):    

The Golem, Gustav Meyrink

The Other Side, Alfred Kubin

The Metamorphosis, Franz Kafka

A Report to an Academy, Franz Kafka

Rossum’s Universal Robots, Karel Čapek

The Good Soldier Švejk, Jaroslav Hašek

By Night under the Stone Bridge, Leo Perutz

The Paegan Queen, Constantin Werner

The White Lady, Zdeněk Podskalský

Contexts include (sections from):

The Hapsburg Legacy, 1867-1939, Bruce F. Pauley

The Czechs & the Lands of the Bohemian Crown, Agnew

 

OUTCOMES. By the end of this class students will be able to:

  • identify notable dates in and names from Austrian and Central European history and understand their roles in European history,
  • situate cultural masterpieces within their cultural contexts ("read" texts in context) and as part of ongoing historical memory,
  • understand how literature functions as a cultural artifact for identity politics,
  • research topics in history, literature, and arts effectively, using scholarly literature and databases
  • write expository and analytic prose on these topics, respectively describing and problematizing cultural artifacts.

 

COURSE GRADING:

  • 10%:    2 historical quizzes
  • 20%:    2 analytical précis (1-page analyses setting up longer analyses. Based on the

               Swaffar-Arens précis model. A précis reflects the difference between a text’s       

               facts and the strategy used to present those facts. It has three parts: focus,        

                logic/goal comparing two “texts,” and implications)

  • 20%:    2 short expository prose pieces (500-700 words each), posted on Canvas that

               explain how a particular text/artifact/event has refashioned something from        

               earlier history

  • 10%:    2 peer evaluations of other’s postings.
  • 40%:    Historical research project: “reading” a text in context, done in stages:
    • 10%:    abstract and research plan
    • 5%:      3-4 slide project presentation
    • 25%:    final research paper (10-15 pages)

 

READINGS/VIEWING: All texts will be available in English as pdf on CANVAS.

RECOMMENDED: Hugh Agnew, The Czechs and the Lands of the Bohemian Crown (Stanford, CA:  Hoover Institution Press, 2004)

GER 507 • First-Year German II

37530 • Spring 2018
Meets MW 3:00PM-4:00PM JES A307A

Course Description

German 507, a second-semester German course, continues instruction begun in German 506. (Note: If you have prior knowledge of German and did not take GER 506, you must take a placement test before taking classes at UT.) By the end of German 507, students will be familiar with most basic structures of the German language and will have developed basic cultural knowledge about the German-speaking world. As vocabulary and grammar sophistication grow, students will become increasingly proficient at expressing their thoughts, feelings, and opinions on a variety of subjects related to everyday life. To this aim, each lesson centers on linguistic, communicative and cultural goals.

The functional communicative approach that we take in this course—and in the larger German program at UT—focuses on learning to use basic German language forms, i.e., grammar and vocabulary, in meaningful contexts in a variety of real-life situations and across spoken and written genres. To help students develop their ability to communicate effectively in German, they are expected to come prepared for class, use German, and actively participate in pair and group activities. Students should expect to spend two hours studying for each class period in order to keep up with the pace of the class.

 

Required Texts:

  1. Course textbook: Christine Anton, Tobias Barske, Jane Grabowski, & Megan McKinstry (2016). Sag mal. An Introduction to German Language and Culture. Second Edition. Vista Higher Learning.
  2. Sag mal Basic Supersite
  3. Sag mal WebSAM (Student Activities Manual)

 

Grading Policy

Students’ progress in the class will be assessed during the semester across the following categories:

1      Class participation assessed weekly (10%)

2      Homework (20%)

3      Short writing tasks with multiple drafts (15%)

4      Chapter tests (30%)

5      Regular quizzes (10%)

6      Reading journals (5%)

7      Final oral exam done in pairs (10%)

 

There are no incompletes given in German 507. A grade of C or better is required to enroll in German 612 (i.e., a C- is not a passing grade).

GER 506 • First-Year German I

37995 • Fall 2017
Meets MW 2:00PM-3:00PM JES A305A

Course Description

German 506, a first semester German course, assumes no prior knowledge of German. (Note: If you have prior knowledge of German, you must take a placement test before taking classes at UT.) German 506 introduces students to the language and culture of the modern German-speaking world. Every effort is made to present opportunities to use the language: for self-expression in everyday situations, for basic survival needs in German-speaking language communities, and for personal enjoyment. To this aim, lessons center on linguistic, communicative, and cultural goals.

The functional communicative approach that we take in this course—and in the larger German program at UT—focuses on learning to use basic German language forms, i.e., grammar and vocabulary, in meaningful contexts in a variety of real-life situations and across spoken and written genres. To help students develop their ability to communicate effectively in German, they are expected to come prepared for class, use German, and actively participate in pair and group activities. Students should expect to spend two hours studying for each class period in order to keep up with the pace of the class. 

 

Required Texts:

  1. Course textbook: Christine Anton, Tobias Barske, Jane Grabowski, & Megan McKinstry (2016). Sag mal. An Introduction to German Language and Culture. Second Edition. Vista Higher Learning.
  2. Sag mal Basic Supersite
  3. Sag mal WebSAM (Student Activities Manual)

 

Grading Policy

Students’ progress in the class will be assessed during the semester across the following categories:

1  Class participation assessed weekly (10%)

2  Homework (15%)

3  Short writing tasks with multiple drafts (15%)

4  Chapter tests (25%)

5  Structured reflections on learning experiences (5%)

6  Regular quizzes (10%)

7  Short collaborative video project (10%)

8  Final oral exam done in pairs (10%)

 

Opportunities for extra credit are available. There are no incompletes given in German 506. A grade of C or better is required to enroll in German 507 (i.e., a C- is not a passing grade).

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