Paul Gebhardt joined Kenyon's faculty in the fall of 2002. He received his Ph.D. in 2001 from the University of Kansas in Lawrence with a dissertation on the poetry of Paul Celan. He holds the equivalent of a M.A. degree (Staatsexamen) both in mathematics and German from the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg in Germany. His field of specialization is twentieth-century German poetry and his research interests include problems of figurative language and literary theory.

Gebhardt has presented papers at several American universities and at major conferences, among them Yale University, Columbia University, the 20th Century Literature Conference at the University of Louisville and the Kentucky Foreign Language Conference in Lexington. Recently, he started developing a book project on theoretical aspects of German drama from the "Sturm und Drang" period to the present. The working title of this project, which grew out of a class he taught at Kenyon, is "(Im)Possibilities of Acting."

Areas of Expertise

Twentieth-century German literature, literary theory, German poetry.

Education

2001 — Doctor of Philosophy from Univ Kansas

1995 — Master of Arts from Albert-Ludwigs-Universitat

1987 — Bachelor of Arts from Albert-Ludwigs-Universitat

Courses Recently Taught

This is the first half of a yearlong course for students who are beginning the study of German or who have had only minimal exposure to the language. The first semester introduces students to the German language in all four modalities: reading, writing, speaking and listening. The work includes practice in understanding and using the spoken language. Written exercises and elementary reading materials completed outside class serve as a basis for vocabulary-building and in-class discussion and role-plays. Students will also write four short essays on familiar topics over the course of the semester. During the second semester there is more advanced practice in the use of the spoken and written language and we will use short fictional and authentic cultural texts in order to develop techniques of reading. This course includes required practice sessions with an apprentice teacher (AT), which will be scheduled at the beginning of the semester. Students enrolled in this course will be automatically added to GERM 112Y for the spring semester. Offered every fall.

This is the second half of a yearlong course for students who are beginning the study of German or who have had only minimal exposure to the language. As in the first semester, the work includes practice of the German language in all four modalities — reading, writing, speaking and listening — in class, in scheduled review sessions with an apprentice teacher and using an online workbook. There will be more advanced practice in the use of the spoken and written language. We will develop reading skills through a variety of fictional and cultural texts, including a short book we will read in its entirety. This course includes required practice sessions with an apprentice teacher (AT), which will be scheduled at the beginning of the semester. At the end of the semester, the student will read their first book of fiction in German. Prerequisite: GERM 111Y or placement or permission of instructor. Offered every spring.

This first-semester middle-level course is designed to develop German reading, writing, and speaking skills beyond GERM 111Y–112Y. We will use a grammar text for reviewing and expanding upon aspects of German grammar from the first year. We will apply this review as we read a young adult novel in German "Tschick" by Wolfgang Herrndorf and other short literary and journalistic texts, as we gain a basic understanding of films in the original German, and as we converse in German with a partner or in groups. These texts and films will serve as a point of departure for short compositions as well. Keeping a diary in German also is an integral component of the course. This course includes required practice sessions with an apprentice teacher (AT), which will be scheduled at the beginning of the semester. Students enrolled in this course will be automatically added to GERM 214Y for the spring semester. Prerequisite: GERM 111Y–112Y or equivalent. Offered every fall.

This second-semester middle-level course is designed to develop German reading, writing and speaking skills beyond GERM 111Y-112Y. We will use a grammar text for reviewing and expanding upon aspects of German grammar from the first year. We will apply this review as we read short literary and journalistic texts, as we gain a basic understanding of films in the original German, and as we converse in German with a partner or in groups. These texts and films will serve as a point of departure for short compositions as well. Keeping a diary in German also is an integral component of the course. Studying the novel "Der Richter und sein Henker" by Swiss author Friedrich Dürrenmatt will be a special component of GERM 214Y. This course includes required practice sessions with an apprentice teacher (AT), which will be scheduled at the beginning of the semester. Prerequisite: GERM 213Y or equivalent. Offered every spring.

In this course, we will attempt to gain an understanding of some of the most complex poetry in German in the 20th century. At least two of the poets we will study, Rainer Maria Rilke and Paul Celan, have made it into the canon of what some call "world literature." Our approach will be theoretical in that we will start with a seminal work in German aesthetics, Nietzsche's "Birth of Tragedy," and throughout the semester we will discuss the poems side by side with philosophical and critical essays on the poems in question. German 20th-century poetry has resonated in extraordinary ways with writers in theoretically and philosophically oriented criticism. Theoretical work we will discuss in this course will include Martin Heidegger's essays "What are Poets for?" and "Language," Hans Georg Gadamer's essays on Rilke and Celan, Werner Hamacher's "The Second of Inversion," Adorno's "The Lyric and Society" and Paul de Man's "Tropes (Rilke)." In addition to Rilke and Celan, we will study poems by Else Lasker-Schüler, Stefan George, Georg Trakl, Gertrud Kolmar and Gottfried Benn. The readings will open up perspectives on the central aspects of criticism on poetry, namely the relationship between philosophical thought and poetry, the relationship between poetry and language, the problem of self-reference, and questions of history and memory. This course is taught in English translation. No prerequisite. Generally offered every three years.

Contemporary German cinema has been criticized for its presentation of "characters whose primary sense of person and place is rarely an overt function of their national identity or directly impacted by Germany's difficult past" (Eric Rentschler). Politics seem to disappear more and more from the German screen, whereas the New German Cinema from the 60s to the early 80s often used film explicitly as a means of coming to terms with the past. This course presents major trends in German film since 1989 (beginning with Heiner Carow's "Coming Out," a queer movie and one of the last DEFA films). We will try to reassess the often-repeated claim of the disappearance of the political. Indeed, we will look at a number of films dealing with gender and queer issues by directors such as Monika Treut ("My Father is Coming") and Kutlug Ataman ("Lola and Billy the Kid"), among others. Ataman, along with director Fatih Akin ("In July," "Head On") will serve as an example for a breakthrough in Turkish-German film production. Discussing the work of Tom Tykwer ("Winter Sleepers," "The Princess and the Warrior" and "Perfume") will form one thematic block in this overview of the past 18 years of German film. Another group of movies that deals with the German division and re-unification, such as "The Promise," "Good-Bye Lenin" and "Go For Zucker," will be included as well. The course also introduces students to the tools of film analysis. No previous knowledge of German or film is required. This course is taught in English translation. No prerequisite. Generally offered every three years.

In this course, we will explore a wide array of topics in contemporary German culture to provide advanced students with the opportunity to strengthen their abilities to write, read and speak German. Topics may include the impact of reunification on contemporary Germany, religious life and popular music. The students will read excerpts from two German books on German culture and identity: "Typisch Deutsch: Wie deutsch sind die Deutschen?" by Herman Bausinger and "Die deutsche Seele" by Thea Dorn and Richard Wagner. We will explore the topics of migration and citizenship, as well. Students will develop fluency in German to perform linguistically and culturally appropriate tasks. The composition component will seek to improve the ability to write clearly and coherently in German. To foster these goals, the course also will provide a review of advanced grammatical structures. This course can be repeated for credit up to 1.0 unit. Prerequisite: GERM 213Y–214Y or equivalent. Offered every fall semester.

This course is designed as an introduction to the study of German literature and culture beginning with the earliest writings by the Germanic tribes in the early Middle Ages and going through 1900. Students will gain a greater understanding of German literary history and of related social and philosophical trends. Other central goals include practice in the close reading of texts and acquiring a basic German vocabulary to do so. We will read samples from various genres — drama, prose, and lyric poetry. Authors and works to be studied may include the "Hildebrandslied," Walther von der Vogelweide, Martin Luther, Immanuel Kant, Ludwig Tieck, Georg Büchner (including Werner Herzog's film rendition of Büchner's "Woyzeck"), Karl Marx, Louise Otto-Peters, Gerhard Hauptmann, Karl May and others. Prerequisite: GERM 213Y–214Y or equivalent. GERM 321 is recommended.

This course provides an overview of various movements in German, Swiss and Austrian literature and film of the 20th and 21st centuries on the basis of representative textual and cinematic examples. Students will gain a greater understanding of German literary history and of related social and philosophical trends. Other central goals include practice in the close reading of texts and films and acquiring a basic German vocabulary to do so. We will read samples from various genres — drama, prose and lyric poetry. Authors to be studied may include Arthur Schnitzler, Franz Kafka, Thomas Mann, Anna Seghers, Bertolt Brecht, Heinrich Böll, Ingeborg Bachmann, Barbara Honigmann, Uwe Timm and Judith Hermann. We also will watch films such as "The Blue Angel" (1930, von Sternberg), "The Murderers Are among Us" (Staudte, 1946), "Berlin: Schönhauser Corner" (Klein 1957) and "Aguirre: The Wrath of God" (Herzog, 1972). GERM 321 recommended. Prerequisite: GERM 213Y–214Y or equivalent.

As Tanya Krzywinska writes in "Sex and the Cinema," "From the sanctioned to the forbidden, the suggestive to the blatant, evocations of the sexual have saturated cinema with a heady distillation of fleshly passions." For the German-language cinema after reunification, this is especially true, as one of the most commercially successful films of the early days of the Berlin Republic -- the comedy "Maybe, Maybe Not" (Sönke Wortmann) -- aptly demonstrates. Criticized for belonging to the contested "comedy wave of the 1990s," few critics are actually aware of the fact that the film is an adaptation of two queer graphic novels by the popular but nonetheless controversial gay cartoonist Ralph König. Starting with König's graphic novels and Wortmann's adaptation, the course will take us through different topics and perspectives on sexuality throughout the 1990s and the early 2000s. Among the films that will highlight these topics are "Love in Thoughts," a scandal about youth sexuality in Weimar; "Jerichow" a drama set in new Eastern States by Berlin School director Christian Petzold; "Three,"an exploration of the fluidity of sexual orientation by "Run, Lola, Run" director Tom Tykwer; and "A Woman in Berlin" about the sexual violence against German women during the downfall of the Third Reich. Additional movies we will interpret include films by Fatih Akin, Michael Haneke, Ulrich Seidl, Maren Ade, Margarethe von Trotta and Matthias Luthardt. We will discuss films alongside the books of which they are adaptations, as well as essays by German film studies scholars (Randall Halle, Marco Abel and Helga Druxes, among others). Films will be screened in the original German, and most readings, as well as class discussion, will be in German. No film studies background required. Prerequisite: GERM 325 or above or permission of instructor. Generally offered every three years.

This course offers an opportunity to study on an individual basis an area of special interest — literary, cultural or linguistic — under the regular supervision of a faculty member. It is offered primarily to candidates for honors, to majors and, under special circumstances, to potential majors and minors. Individual study is intended to supplement, not to take the place of, regular courses in the curriculum of each language program. Staff limitations restrict this offering to a very few students. To enroll in an individual study, a student must identify a member of the MLL department willing to direct the project and, in consultation with them, write a one-page proposal for the IS which must be approved by the department chair before the individual study can go forward. The proposal should specify the schedule of reading and/or writing assignments and the schedule of meeting periods. The amount of work in an IS should approximate that required on average in regular courses of corresponding levels. It is suggested that students begin their planning of an IS well in advance, so that they can devise a proposal and seek departmental approval before the registrar's deadline. Typically, an IS will earn the student 0.25 or 0.50 units of credit. At a minimum, the department expects the student to meet with the instructor one hour per week. Because students must enroll for individual studies by the end of the seventh class day of each semester, they should begin discussion of the proposed individual study preferably the semester before, so that there is time to devise the proposal and seek departmental approval before the registrar’s deadline.