I had an extraordinary experience teaching this course. I was fortunate to have a group of twenty enthusiastic students whose curiosity and commitment to the course exceeded all of my expectations and pushed me as an educator. Their willingness to engage inspired me to introduce more interactivity in the classroom, including small group work analyzing how form and philosophical intent merged in Expressionist artwork, active viewing of the Nazi propaganda film Triumph of the Will, and a debate on the postwar cultural policies of East and West Germany. Our course website, which I designed with the Digital Humanities platform Scalar, showcased student work, including comments they posted individually in response to guiding questions from each unit, and annotated images—like a photomontage from the Berlin Dada artist Hannah Höch—which we worked on together as part of our in-class discussion.
From the first modern artists of Germany to the foundations of an avant-garde cinema to the cultural responses to two major world wars to the aesthetics of Nazi politics, in this course we will examine together one of 20th century Europe's most tumultuous histories. Course material will include traditional, experimental, and reactionary forms of culture to underscore different systems of representation and their relationship to history, ideology, and politics. Emphasis will be placed on situating the material in a global context.
“I wish this class had a sequel and I could continue taking it over and over!”
“Sara is an extremely available, approachable teacher. She is always willing to give feedback and hear different opinions of the students. Even when students go off subject or are saying something that may be wrong, Sara is very receptive and makes students feel comfortable talking. She is a great teacher.”
“I really liked how She used many different styles to engage us as students. It was really helpful and it kept things interesting.”
“I enjoyed taking her class very much, I honestly got so much help from her about writing. She laid out the important tools for me to understand how writing works, and it was not difficult after that to get into writing my papers. Many professors helped as well with my help in writing, but Instructor Blaylock made sure I knew in my way of writing, how I could best answer the prompt, she took time in knowing the student.”
- Here is a photomontage by Hannah Höch that we digitally annotated thematically as a class.
- Here are two separate visual analyses of Nazi-era artwork that the students drafted together. These images scaffold one of the written assignments, as well.
Image caption: students work in small groups to discuss how the form reveals the philosophical intention of an artist in Expressionist artworks.