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German 486/586: German Studies Seminar.

Session II

"Frauenpower" - Famous German Women in History, Culture, and Politics

Have you ever been curious to learn more about the achievements of distinguished German women, from the famous mystic nun Hildegard von Bingen, composer and pianist Clara Schumann, Saloniere Rahel von Varnhagen, artist’s muse Alma Mahler, resistance fighter Sophie Scholl, actress Marlene Dietrich, feminist Alice Schwarzer, Austrian Nobel prize winner Elfriede Jelinek and pop icon Nena to the first female “Bundeskanzler” Angela Merkel? Using case studies of fascinating female figures, we will look at the role of women in German life throughout the ages from a variety of angles. We will uncover the achievements of major players in the arts and sciences, will look at the varying roles of women in everyday life, and will discuss important current issues (Why is it that women still earn 22% less than their male counterparts in Germany?). As part of our inquiry, we will consult first-hand sources such as women’s creative literary and musical works, as well as diaries, letters and autobiographies, complemented by a study of secondary sources, such as philosophical discussions, journalistic coverage, official reports and of course relevant films. This will provide a lively and thought-provoking picture of historical and contemporary Germany through the eyes of the “other” 50% of its population.

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