GNS Courses Fall 2019

GNS 200/FOLKLORE 200 – Folklore of Central, Eastern and Northern Europe

MW 11:00-11:50 am (with Discussion Section)  594 Van Hise Hall  Professor Thomas DuBois  (3 credits)

Discussion Sections:

  • DIS 301         R 11:00-11:50 am        2121 Mechanical Engineering
  • DIS 303        R 11:00-11:50 am        6105 Sewell Social Sciences
  • DIS 304        F 11:00-11:50 am         395 Van Hise Hall

This brand new class is taught by Prof. Thomas DuBois, covering folklore from all three of our Programs: German, Scandinavian Studies, and Slavic Studies. Whether it be rousing bedtime tales of unlikely heroes and magic helpers, jaunty tunes played on the fiddle, age-old recipes for preserving foods or curing ailments, mysterious rituals for maintaining luck, celebrating a wedding, or saying goodbye to a loved one, pieces of folklore are ancient and enduring elements of daily life throughout the world. In the diverse cultures of Central, Eastern, and Northern Europe, folklore holds particular significance not only as enduring parts of culture, but also as emblems of national identity, political idealism, and historical change. This introductory course surveys a range of past and present genres of folklore from the various cultures that make up the areas of expertise of the Department of German, Nordic, and Slavic. We will look at examples of primary materials as well as the theories that have developed to explain them, and we will look at the complex and sometimes surprising ways in which “Old World” traditions have become transplanted and adapted in North America. Students will learn techniques of fieldwork and analysis and examine a range of different traditions from throughout the wide array of cultures found in Central, Eastern, and Northern Europe, both among longstanding communities and among populations that have migrated to the region in more recent eras.

GNS 210 – Cultures of Sustainability: Central, Eastern, and Northern Europe

MW 2:30-3:45 pm  391 Van Hise Hall  Dr. Marcus Cederström  (3 credits)

In German, Nordic, Slavic 210: “Cultures of Sustainability: Central, Eastern, and Northern Europe,” we will examine questions of sustainability in northern, central, and eastern Europe in relation to the triple bottom line: people, planet, and profits. We will explore cultural, environmental, and economic histories of the region and its populations, natural as well as human. We will look at the debates raging in Sámi communities concerning mining the earth, examine Germany’s efforts to harness the power of wind to power its economy, and listen to Russian scientists who are trying to return regions of Siberia to the Ice Age in hopes of staving off climate change. In doing so, we will aim to contextualize what sustainability means for various stakeholders, from individuals to businesses to communities and countries. Along the way, we will learn what role we all play in understanding and engaging with the local and global effects of sustainability.

– This course is part of the First-Year Interest Group “Sustainability in the North: Culture, Environment, and the Economy.”

First-Year Interest Groups (FIGs) are clusters of (usually) three UW classes, linked together to explore a common theme, and offered to incoming freshmen who attend these classes together as a cohort. At the heart of each FIG is a top-notch instructor who develops and leads a class exclusively for you and the other students in your FIG. For more information or questions regarding the FIG program and this courses linked classes go to FIG’s Website or contact Dr. Marcus Cederström.

GNS 265/HISTORY 265  – An Introduction To Central Asia: From The Silk Route To Afghanistan

TR 2:30-3:45 pm  206 Van Hise Hall  Milan Simić  (3 credits)

GNS/History 265 is a general introduction to the history, politics, society, economy and cultures of Central Asia, with a primary focus on the area covered by five modern Central Asian states: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan.

The course will begin by surveying Central Asia in the medieval period, followed by the Imperial Russian expansion, colonial administration and incorporation of Central Asia into the Soviet Union, profound transformations that took place in the twentieth century, and conclude with recent developments in the five modern independent states and their vicinity. Numerous important themes will be covered, including the relationship between nomadic and sedentary peoples, the impact of the Mongol Empire and its successor states on the region, Islamization and Turkification of Central Asia, nineteenth and twentieth century reform movements, colonial and postcolonial policies, oil and natural gas exploitation, and others. Meets with GNS 624.

The course will make extensive use of audio, video and print materials from the region. 

GNS 624  – Proseminar In Central Asian History

TR 2:30-3:45 pm  206 Van Hise Hall  Milan Simić  (3 credits)

Introduction to the historiography of the Golden Horde and the Tatar, Kazak, and Uzbek nations; impact on Russia; Russian colonialism in Central Asia; innovative approaches to social and economic history. Meets with GNS 265/HISTORY 265.