GNS Courses Spring 2022

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

    (3 credits)

    TR 8:00 am – 9:15 am

    Course Description: In 1987, the United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED) published Our Common Future, chaired by Norwegian Gro Harlem Brundtland, and stated that sustainability “meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” But what does that mean in practice? In this class, we’ll examine questions of sustainability in Northern, Central, and Eastern Europe in relation to the triple bottom line—people, planet, profits. We will explore cultural, environmental, and economic histories of the region and its populations, natural as well as human. In doing so, we’ll aim to contextualize what sustainability means for various stakeholders, from individuals to businesses to communities and countries. The class aims to contextualize sustainability in Northern, Central, and Eastern Europe to help you understand the many, often changing, facets of sustainability while exploring the role that you play in the local and global effects of sustainability. This is a practical as well as theoretical course, so you will be conducting research and class projects will incorporate ways in which you can make research available to the public. 

  • GNS 270 - Berlin-Istanbul Connection

    (3 credits)

    MW 4:00 pm – 5:15 pm          Instructor: Nâlân Erbil Erkan

    Course Description: Love Berlin and Istanbul but cannot travel? Here is a course for you! This course is about two great cities: one entirely in Europe and one half in Europe and half in Asia. Berlin and Istanbul are connected by histories of political power, cultural exchange, and in the twentieth century by Turkish migration into Germany. The course starts with post WWII guest worker movement into West Germany and spans what is now the fourth generation of Turkish-Germans making Berlin the third largest Turkish city in the world after Ankara and Istanbul. 

    We will focus on Turkish-German food such as Döner kebab, Turkish-German rap and hip-hop, films, literature, sports (soccer), and social media influencers from the Turkish-German community. The course will offer students the opportunity to understand how the Turkish presence has influenced and transformed the German-speaking world and more generally how migration from outside Europe shapes the cultures of European cities. 

    To this end, we will watch and discuss films like Kebab Connection, artists such as Eko Fresh, film makers such as Fatih Akın, controversial soccer players such as Mesut Özil and many more. Berlin and Istanbul will form the backdrop of our course. 

    All materials will either be in English translations or with English subtitles. Lectures and discussions will be in English. Prior knowledge of German and Turkish appreciated but not required. This course may be counted as a cognate toward the German major. 

  • GNS 332 - Second Semester Kazakh

    (4 credits)

    MTWR 8:50 am – 9:40 am          Instructor: Gulnara Glowacki

    Course Description: Second Semester Kazakh is designed for students who already have an elementary level knowledge of and ability to speak Kazakh. The prerequisite is First Semester Kazakh or permission of the instructor. 

    The course emphasizes all four major communicative skills (speaking, listening, reading and writing).  

    It is aimed at further development of language skills and building of the confidence of students in speaking about issues related to daily life, i.e. such as shopping, health, the weather, etc., which will be called communication in standard situations. However, it also includes teaching some cultural aspects of Kazakh people which are helpful to learn the language. Therefore, this course might be found useful also for those who are interested in learning more about Kazakh culture, traditions, history, music of Kazakhstan, etc. Midterm and final exam as well as quizzes will help to evaluate the success of students in learning the language. 

  • GNS 340 - Second Semester Turkish

    (4 credits)

    MWF 1:20 pm – 2:10 pm          Instructor: Nâlân Erbil Erkan

    Course Description: Second semester Turkish is designed for students who are interested in learning the modern Turkish language (“Istanbul dialect”) and cultures, and who have taken first semester Turkish (GNS 339) or have already a basic command of modern Turkish. In line with the communicative method, students will have the opportunity to practice the materials to increase their elementary level listening, speaking, reading and writing skills in line with the ACTFL proficiency guidelines for Turkish and based on the World-Readiness Standards. Instruction will emphasize the language that is relevant to situations that students are likely to encounter if they travel to or live in Turkey. In addition to created materials, authentic materials will be provided to simulate real-life situations. 

    The secondary goal of the course is to improve students’ understanding of Turkish society and cultures. Our teaching philosophy prioritizes linguistic competence integrated in intercultural critical competence through the lens of social justice education. Therefore, an understanding of Turkish cultures including their products, practices and perspectives in comparison with students’ own cultures is central to our curriculum. 

  • GNS 370 - Stories Cities Tell

    (3 credits)

    TR 1:00 pm – 2:15 pm          Instructor: Oksana Stoychuk

    Course Description: What are cities? Places of commerce? Demonstrations of national or imperial power? Crucibles of revolutionary ideals? Places of refuge, encounter, immigration, innovation, danger, decay? In this course, we will try to answer those questions by looking at three main themes: Movements, Monuments, and MigrationsWe will traverse cityscapes in the wide array of countries encompassed in the Department of German, Nordic and Slavic in order to sense the ideas and ideals of the cities, the nations in which the cities are located, and the nature of city life in general. Through examining city plans, architecture, monuments, museums, parks, poetry, prose, film, contemporary performances and online culture (of e.g. Berlin, Moscow, St Petersburg, Istanbul, Kyiv, Amsterdam, some “ghost cities” such as Pripyat), we will delve into the many meanings of cities past and present, with particular attention to what the cities of Central, Eastern and Northern Europe can teach us about Western ideas of the city more generally. 

  • GNS 375 - God and Money

    (3 credits)

    TR 1:00 pm – 2:15 pm          Instructor: Adam Stern

    Course Description: What is the relationship between “God” and “money”? Why is the market guided by an “invisible hand”? And who in heaven and earth decided to stamp the dollar bill with the phrase: “In God we trust”? These questions will guide us as we explore the relationship between capitalism and religion. From Karl Marx to Walmart, and from the factory to the cubicle, we will think about the recurring interaction of these two seemingly separate domains. Did religion sow the seeds of capitalism? Does it support the reproduction of social inequalities, unjust labor practices, and exploitative economies? How have religious traditions and practices contributed to the critique of capitalism and the culture it created? Areas covered include classical social theories of religion and capitalism; contemporary examples of religious practice and capital accumulation; and the relationship between religious movements and social-economic justice. 

    GNS 375: God and Money counts as a cognate course toward the German major. Taught in English.

  • GNS 432 - Fourth Semester Kazakh

    (4 credits)

    MTWR 11:00 am – 11:50 am          Instructor: Gulnara Glowacki

    Course Description: The Fourth Semester Kazakh course (GNS 432) will review, strengthen, and upgrade the knowledge acquired during the Third semester of language study in Kazakh. The prerequisite for this course is Third Semester Kazakh. 

    While enhancing their familiarity with grammatical structures, students will also develop a broader vocabulary, more idiomatic patterns of speech, and greater fluency in oral expression.  All linguistic skills (listening, speaking, reading, writing) will be practiced, but the main emphasis will be on competence in communicating in Kazakh in broader contexts and more situations, as well as on a closer knowledge of Kazakhstan’s life and culture. 

  • GNS 440 - Fourth Semester Turkish

    (4 credits)

    BTAA course-share

    Course Description: Fourth Semester Turkish is designed for students who have studied three semesters of Turkish or its equivalent. This course is designed to help students develop intermediate competence in spoken and written Turkish. Emphasis is on listening comprehension, reading, speaking, writing, and cultural and historical knowledge in line with ACTFL proficiency guidelines for Turkish and the World-Readiness Standards. Knowledge of the grammatical structures taught in the first three semesters is assumed while we review them and introduce advanced grammar preferably in the context. You can expect to engage in group and pair work and to take part actively in class. Your ability to communicate in Turkish will increase as you apply yourself in class and even outside of the classroom. Turkish will be the primary language of the class although there could be instances where the instructor resorts to English for clarification. Any questions and concerns that require the use of English may be addressed after class time or during the instructor’s office hours. 

  • GNS 471 - Intercultural Introduction to Kazakhstan

    (1-4 credits)

    W 9:55 am – 10:45 am          Instructor: Assel Almuratova

    Course Description: This is a 1-credit introductory survey on Kazakhstani culture and society. The seminar incorporates original sources in Russian, feature films and documentaries, academic articles and the articles from the Internet. It is designed to provide a general overview of the geography, history, culture, politics, society, economy, and culture of everyday life in Kazakhstan.

  • GNS 540 - Sixth Semester Turkish and Azeri

    (3 credits)

    MW 2:30 pm – 3:45 pm          Instructor: Nâlân Erbil Erkan

    Course Description: Sixth Semester Turkish and Azeri is designed for students who have studied fifth semesters of Turkish or its equivalent. This course will focus equally on reading, writing, listening and speaking skills with the goal to enhance multiliteracy in Turkish and intermediate skills in Azeri. This course will follow ACTFL proficiency guidelines for Turkish and the World-Readiness StandardsMaterials will include various authentic texts produced for the Turkish speaking audience such as newspaper articles, novels, short stories, poems, songs, and films. Perspectives of Turkish speaking cultures will be analyzed in comparison with those of students.