Fall 2023

Kafka and Nietzsche

Listed in: European Studies, as EUST-219  |  German, as GERM-220


Jonas Rosenbrueck (Section 01)


(Offered as GERM 220 and EUST 219) What do we mean when we call something “Kafkaesque?” Why is “Nietzsche” considered the name of not only one of the greatest philosophers of all time but also a kind of shorthand for a danger associated with, variously, the end of modernity, fascism, or a “post-truth” age? In this class, we will respond to these questions by staging a confrontation between Kafka and Nietzsche centered on four themes: (1) the question of suffering, power, and interpretation, including how facts relate to truth and fiction; (2) the connection between guilt, the law, and morality, including the challenge of so-called “greatness;” (3) the question of genealogy and tradition, in particular as it relates to Jewish history; (4) the limits of humanness, especially as they might be found in animals (of which we will encounter monkeys, dogs, snakes, donkeys, eagles, and panthers, to name just a few). Our approach to these two thinkers will be crucially shaped by postcolonial and feminist thinkers, and will include readings from critics such as Frantz Fanon, Aimé Césaire, Luce Irigaray, Walter Benjamin, Hannah Arendt, Judith Butler, Donna Haraway, and Michel Foucault. Conducted in English, with German majors required to do a substantial portion of the reading in German.

Fall semester: Professor Rosenbrück.

Pending Faculty Approval

How to handle overenrollment: null

Students who enroll in this course will likely encounter and be expected to engage in the following intellectual skills, modes of learning, and assessment: an emphasis on analysis, written work, readings, oral presentations.

EUST 219 - LEC

Section 01
M 12:30 PM - 01:50 PM OCTA 200
W 12:30 PM - 01:50 PM OCTA 200

ISBN Title Publisher Author(s) Comment Book Store Price
On the Genealogy of Morals, transl. Douglas Smith Oxford Friedrich Nietzsche Amherst Books TBD
Kafka’s Selected Stories, transl. Stanley Corngold Norton Franz Kafka Amherst Books TBD
The Castle, transl. Anthea Bell Oxford Kafka Amherst Books TBD

These books are available locally at Amherst Books.


Other years: Offered in Fall 2023