Dear Visitor —
Welcome to the archived website for a course I developed and taught at the University of California, Riverside campus. This particular iteration of the course was given in Spring 2013.
Since UCR is a public university, I made the assignments, syllabus, and as much of the writing as possible available online.
The “German Big 10” refers to 10 writers that any educated person (and in particular any person interested in creative writing) should know.* I — as instructor — insisted that we read Immanuel Kant and Martin Luther. But after that, students were invited to debate and discuss amongst themselves whom they wanted to study. This strategy is based on Neil Postman’s work, in which he argues that students must learn actively rather than passively, and this can only happen if the classroom operates as a democratic space. I was dubious about such an approach, but when used with some limits, it creates a highly engaged group of students who work harder because they have chosen the material they are studying.
Please feel free to browse through the topics. Please remember that they are arranged in reverse order (the oldest are last). If you are interested in the creative writing question, you may want to start with the discussion of a creative writing exercise called a freewrite.
A variation on a freewrite exercise is here: https://thegermanbig10.wordpress.com/2013/05/13/slow-write/
Herzlichen Dank and viel Spass (thank you and have fun!)
Stephanie Barbé Hammer
* this class is only the first of an array of classes that could be developed focussing on a particular language/cultural tradition. I have in mind The French Big 10, or the Spanish Big 10, the Arabic Big 10, the Swahili Big 10 and so on. This approach educates students about a particular history of a culture/nation as it enables them to use that information to craft short stories, poetry, plays, and even short screenplays.