This course introduces students to the practice of graduate-level research in German Studies. Topics include:

  1. how to approach different types of texts (theoretical, fictional, visual, etc.)
  2. how to locate sources using scholarly databases and evaluate those sources
  3. how to define a topic of scholarly research
  4. how to construct a scholarly argument and write a proposal
  5. how to write a scholarly paper.

These skills will be introduced and practiced by focusing on a specific theme. Experts from outside of the course will come to offer workshops and talk about their experiences as grad students and researchers. This year's theme is: Crimes and Cases.


Readings and Viewings

Required readings for the course. All written texts available on reserve. All films available on reserve and through streaming and rental services.

  1. Alfred Döblin, Die beiden Freundinnen und ihr Giftmord (1924)
  2. Franz Kafka, Der Prozess (1925)
  3. M (dir. Fritz Lang, 1931)
  4. Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish (1975)
  5. Friedrich Dürrenmatt, Der Auftrag (1986)
  6. Der Räuber (dir. Benjamin Heisenberg, 2010)

About the instructor and the course

Sherlock Jr1.jpg

I have been writing about crimes and cases since the topic literally fell off the shelf and hit me as a PhD student in the 1990s struggling to make up my mind on a dissertation topic. Over the years as a writer and an advisor I have figured out what the most common barriers are to researching and writing a scholarly paper and identified successful techniques for overcoming those obstacles and getting things done. I have long wanted to teach a course on the nuts-and-bolts of what we do as academic researchers, but only mustered the courage to do it this semester. Those of you who know some of my work will recognize that all of the texts on the first half of the syllabus are ones that I have actively researched and written about. I usually try to stay away from things I have too much of an opinion about in my seminars, but this seemed like a good time instead to think about how I have gone about thinking about these texts. Please do not feel in any way compelled to agree with me about what I have had to say about these texts in the past. In fact, I tend to disagree with myself most of the time. This course will be highly collaborative as we work together to develop the skills to succeed in graduate school and beyond. Never hesitate to ask questions that occur to you both in class or outside of class.


Course Meetings: Tuesdays, 3:30-5:30pm (701 Old Chemistry) 

Office Hours for Fall 2013: Tuesdays & Thursdays, 11am-12noon and by appt. 

Office: 732 Old Chemistry


Phone: 513-556-2752