Course # 01:090:293:H4
Index # 06608
Tuesday 05:40 PM - 08:40 PM
Campus: CAC
Location: MU - 207
Professor Regina Karl (German Language and Literature)

A story of disappointment and failure is often ten times more remarkable than one of winning and success. In this class, we will grant ourselves permission to fail and learn why failure is such a meaningful and creative exercise. We´ll question what it means to screw up, whether it be in the eyes of your friends, family or significant other, in terms of the expectations of your teachers and future employers, or, most importantly, in your own opinion.

To fail or not to fail usually determines if you´re in or out. We share a tendency of wanting to please others so that we belong. Enrolling at a renowned college, starting your dream job, living the perfect relationship, all those forms of belonging are tied to commitment and accomplishment. That´s why it’s so frightening to fail: Being an outsider makes one feel ashamed. This class, however, is supposed to remind ourselves that failing doesn´t only depend on yourself but also on the specific circumstances you find yourself in. The inability to do something may well be the result of a lack of opportunity and accessibility. When we say failure, we will then also have to address matters of racism, gender discrimination and bias against economically disfavored groups. This will lead us to the question of who gets to decide the specific parameters of success and why? Einstein did poorly on his math exams and still won the Nobel prize, you may say. Yet, we shall avoid considering failure a productive exercise only if it’s redeemed by a success in the end. Instead, we will change gears and fully indulge in the non-productive.

Our course material will include literary stories about goofs, schlemiels and nogoodniks by Franz Kafka, Hermann Melville and Annie Ernaux. We will watch coming of age films from the 1920ies to the present and take a look at philosophical essays about flops, glitches and letdowns by Toni Morrison, Maggie Nelson and Fred Moten. We will collect popular examples of failed successes/successful failures like those of Steve Jobs or Britney Spears. Finally, we will vote on the top ten epic fails on the internet and pursue our own attempts in fiasco and disobedience when using generative AI to write a seminar paper. Failure can be empowering! Let´s try and be a failing genius.

Busch

BUSCH CAMPUS
Nelson Biological Labs
Room A-110
P 848-445-3912

CAC

COLLEGE AVENUE CAMPUS
Milledoler Hall
Room 12
P 848-932-1406

douglass

DOUGLASS CAMPUS
Ruth Adams Building
Suite 108 
P 848-932-2011

LIVI

LIVINGSTON CAMPUS
Lucy Stone Hall
Room A-201
P 848-445-3206

RU BUSINESS

RUTGERS BUSINESS SCHOOL
100 Rockafeller Rd
Rm. 1031
P 848-445-3206

CAC Main Office

COLLEGE AVENUE CAMPUS
MAIN OFFICE
35 College Avenue
848-932-7964