German - Doctoral Theses

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    Bildung and the feminine: an investigation into three major works by Goethe
    (University College Cork, 2021-11-22) Bezerra de Albuquerque, Juliana; Hofmann, Gert; Salice, Alessandro; University College Cork
    The subject of this thesis is the relationship between gender and the notion of Bildung in three major works by J.W. von Goethe, namely: Iphigenie auf Tauris (1786), Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre (1795-96) and Die Wahlverwandtschaften (1809). One of the central ideas throughout Goethe’s work is that of Bildung or the formation of the individual. This is a scientific and anthropological idea which was already current amongst some of Goethe’s contemporaries, but which Goethe applies in his literary works by means of analogy in relation to the achievement of self-knowledge and the harmonious integration of the different parts of one’s nature. The question addressed in the thesis is whether for Goethe the women in his fiction can be said to be potentially able to achieve the same the degree of Bildung as their male counterparts. In answering this question, the thesis contends that in studying the development of Goethe’s literary works it is important to pay attention also to the way in which his ideas on nature are reflected in his fictional creations. The thesis argues that given Goethe’s emphasis in his scientific writings on themes such as evolution and morphology, i.e. the theory of the formation and transformation of living organisms, the way he perceives nature as a whole, and human nature in particular, is very much dynamic and open-ended. All living organisms, in Goethe’s universe, are conceived as striving to develop and at the same time as being compelled to respond as well as they can to the limitations inherent in their own nature, the injuries inflicted upon them in the course of life, and the obstacles encountered in their environment, whether physical or, in the case of human beings, also cultural and social. Goethe’s notion of Bildung is not primarily moral in the traditional sense of this word but reflects a psychological and naturalistic perspective on the human condition, something that has been noted by other scholars such as T.J. Reed, Matthew Bell, Jane K. Brown and Astrida Orle Tantillo. Chapter One of the thesis deals with the relation between Bildung, gender and sexual difference in Goethe’s work by suggesting in which ways his ideas can be said to challenge the prejudices of his time on these issues. Chapter Two deals with the play Iphigenie auf Tauris. Chapter Three offers an interpretation of the novel Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre with an emphasis on the differences and similarities between the characters of Natalie and the Beautiful Soul. Chapter Four is an analysis of Die Wahlverwandtschaften.
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    Viewing as if in a female network: towards a reparative reading of post-crash female-centred US TV series
    (University College Cork, 2020-11-25) Laugalyte, Marija; Magshamhráin, Rachel; De La Garza, Armida; University College Cork
    This thesis explores and advocates for an imaginative and creative way of viewing screen texts where the purpose is to come up with alternatives for the images and narratives onscreen. This approach involves a deliberate focalisation at the level of viewing that solicits the liberation of characters from the images and narratives onscreen by way of considering what could be onscreen instead of what is onscreen. Focusing on my own viewing activity as the object of study, and my feminist commitments, I direct this strategy to post-crash US female-centred television series of the 2010s. I do so to experiment with this viewing strategy more generally but also to consider what alternatives I can come up with, and how I can come up with them, to resist the images and narratives of the individualistic white working-woman who is so often placed as the symbol of feminism in popular culture. Using Parks and Recreation (2009-2015), Girls (2013-2017), Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life (2016), Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (2015-2019) and The Bold Type (2017- ) as the series on which I experiment with this strategy of imagining alternatives, I do so in relation to my feminist commitments whereby I hope to bring new awareness to the relationship between viewer and the text. Because of my particular use of this strategy (to imagine feminist alternatives to the screen) and because of where I find the most relevant examples of it (the work of Ned Schantz), I have named this strategy ‘viewing as if in a female network’, an adaptation of what Schantz calls ‘reading as if in a female network’ (2008). I use Schantz’s proposed way of reading as a jumping off-point to articulate and develop my own, I argue, more radical way of viewing texts. This reading is also proposed as an antidote and alternative to forms of feminist academic analysis focused on critiquing gender representation; this mode of viewing proposes instead imagining what is lacking. Like the reparative reading style of Eve Sedgwick which introduces hope and joy into a text, this speculative reading focuses on constructing and producing nourishing alternatives to the screen where, as a feminist viewer, I am unsatisfied with what is on the screen. Thus, this thesis asks and illustrates what an imaginative viewing practice looks like that 1) addresses the pre-domination of whiteness and capitalist ideologies and 2) on the level of reception, repairs the damage through imaginative departure from the screen by way of considering alternatives to the screen, i. e. what might be onscreen instead. The results of this experimental study includes 1) a ‘toolbox’ of different ways that this strategy can be implemented that I offer to other viewers to take up and use; 2) the alternative images, narratives and meanings I conceive of by using this strategy that I call “viewing as if in a female network”; and 3) the address of the ethical questions and issues that arise when this viewing strategy is employed. I argue that this practice is a politicised strategy of viewing, especially when aligned with one’s political commitments and when our offscreen alternatives are conceived in line with our preferred visions of the world.
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    Dynamics of self-discovery in Hermann Hesse’s novels (1919–43): an analysis of the influence of Jung, Freud and Nietzsche on Hesse
    (University College Cork, 2019) Linehan, Uschi; Hofmann, Gert; Magshamhráin, Rachel
    My thesis explores the protagonists’ developmental sequences in five novels by Hermann Hesse, namely, Demian (1919), Siddhartha (1922), Der Steppenwolf (1927), Narziß und Goldmund (1930) and Das Glasperlenspiel (1943). These five novels place more emphasis on the ongoing process of personal self-discovery than any other works by Hermann Hesse. I examine the influence of Jungian and Freudian psychoanalytical patterns of thought on the specific narrative composition of Hesse’s novels and also how Nietzsche’s psychology of self-composition (cf. Graham Parkes, Composing the Soul: Reaches of Nietzsche’s Philosophy, 1994) and his ideas of philosophy as autobiography have impacted on Hesse’s interpretation of the Entwicklungsroman (i.e. “novel of personal development”) genre of literature. Hesse started to read Nietzsche at the age of eighteen in 1895, and later began to read psychoanalytical books by Jung and Freud whilst simultaneously undergoing a mid-life crisis. Hesse had three separate periods of Jungian psychoanalysis sessions during his life: 1916–18, 1921 and 1925–26, and seems to have been more attracted to Jung’s concern with imaginative and aesthetic processes in the human psyche than Freud’s clinical psychoanalytic approach. Like Hesse, Jung talks about the development of the Self in a creative way in his psychoanalytical theories. The main difference between Jung’s idea of the Self and that of Hesse is that Jung saw the Self as reaching a static point in self-realisation, whilst Hesse saw the Self as something that was being constantly reinvented. This is immediately redolent of Nietzsche’s concept of the Self as involving dynamic processes of Dionysian self-excess. My interpretative perspective focuses on how Hesse’s protagonists undergo processes of self- discovery in certain transitional periods of their lives. Processes of self-discovery and self-composition are thematised and examined both in Jung’s psychoanalytical theories and Nietzsche’s philosophy of life. My analysis suggests that Hesse’s works became more Nietzschean than Jungian in nature as his oeuvre progressed, as is particularly evident in his last two novels, Narziß und Goldmund and his magnum opus Das Glasperlenspiel
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    Man's inhumanity to woman: an extended translation analysis of the Greifswald project pertaining to sexual violence in 1945 Germany
    (University College Cork, 2018) Syms, Adelina; Finnegan, Nuala; Hoffman, Gert; McAvoy, Sandra; Magshamhráin, Rachel
    This thesis seeks to contribute to knowledge of female experience in the aftermath of the Second World War in Germany, and the concomitant trauma of German women who suffered rape ordeals at the hands of the Russian Red Anny. With the provision of transcriptions and translations of rape testimonies uncovered by the Greifswald project conducted by a team of psychologists from the Ernst-Moritz-Arndt University in Germany, it serves to supplement mainstream historical accounts of 1945 and raise questions about the behaviour of the victors. These interviews provide a snapshot of the trauma of rape inflicted on an estimated 2 million women and girls, and according to Anthony Beevor approximately 250,000 women in Germany died in conjunction with their rape ordeals (2002: 410). In addition, the corpus showcases the way in which the testimonies function as snapshots of women's history, the situation of women in post-World War II Germany as well as the long-term impact of rape and sexual violence. In promoting an awareness of the scale and consequences of wartime rape, it contributes to the developing body of literature on rape in a range of war zones. This project takes a feminist approach to translation following the works of scholars; Luise von Flotow, Sherry Simon, and Barbara Godard and highlights the plight of German women and their war-time experiences hitherto not foregrounded in official historiographies.
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    Teaching subjects as languages: academic English development in the multilingual post-primary classroom
    (University College Cork, 2016) Collins, Mandy Jane; Schewe, Manfred
    This action research study explores three classroom interventions in the context of Biology and Religion transition year classes (15 year old pupils) to answer these research questions: 1. How can academic language development be integrated into mainstream curriculum lessons to the benefit of all pupils in a multilingual post-primary context? 2. What are pupils’ and teachers’ attitudes towards classroom interventions designed to integrate academic language development into lessons? The study includes a detailed description of the post-primary educational context of Ireland and discusses ethical issues pertaining to school-based research. It reviews the literature around academic English, particularly at post-primary level. By analysing public examination papers, classroom texts and classwork written by pupil participants, this study offers a description of post-primary academic English specific to this context in real terms. Systemic functional linguistics, particularly genre theory, provides the linguistic theoretical framework, with sociocultural perspectives based on the work of Vygotsky providing the theory of learning. Language is integral to learning. As academic English development supports subject content learning, it should be a feature of all subject lessons, pre-planned and spontaneous. There is evidence of a lack of awareness of the importance of academic English development at all levels of the education system. Initial teacher education and continuing professional development for serving teachers is required to equip all teachers to integrate academic English development into their mainstream subject lessons. This will also address English as an additional language (EAL) and promote the ideal of plurilingualism. The study recommends raising linguistic awareness, in particular through teacher education, to the benefit of all post-primary pupils.