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Unit information: Images of Austria: Blue Danube and the Third Man in 2015/16

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Unit name Images of Austria: Blue Danube and the Third Man
Unit code GERM10030
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Kreutner
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of German
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

What is Austria? Germany's little step-son? Home of the ultimate Sound of Music? Or a dark dungeon that gave birth to Hitler and Fritzl?

This unit focuses on giving the students an introduction to Austria from various perspectives. We will look at the image of Austria, how the country is seen and perceived in the world and how Austrians see themselves. The aim of this unit is to supply students with basic knowledge of Austrian history, culture and everyday life with the help of literature, film, TV, music and press.


  • To introduce students to cultural theory, focusing on the concepts of culture, identity, mentality, stereotype and cliché.
  • To enhance students’ ability to understand the image of Austria produced by media as only one aspect of reality and to encourage them to reflect on their own images.
  • To redefine their own images by referring to the context of the medium, on which the perception is based.
  • To develop students’ capacity for critical analysis, informed discussion and independent research.

Intended Learning Outcomes

By the end of the unit students will have an overview of different concepts of culture, identity, mentality, stereotype and cliché and will be trained to analyse and discuss images of Austria presented in media in this context.

Students will also become familiar with important stages of Austrian history after 1945, which both defined Austrians’ own sense of identity, and shaped the perceptions of Austria in the world. This enables students to also to (re)construct their own views of Austria, being sensitive to the influences of the media on this image.

Teaching Information

2 Seminar hours

Assessment Information

project 50%, essay 50%

Reading and References

  • Brook – Sheperd. 1996. The Austrians: a thousand-year odyssey. London: HarperCollins
  • Bruckmüller, Ernst. 1996. Nation Österreich. Kulturelles Bewußtsein und gesellschaftlich-politische Prozesse. Wien, Köln, Graz: Böhlau.
  • Heringer, Hans Jürgen. 2004. Interkulturelle Kommunikation. Grundlagen und Konzepte. Tübingen/Basel: A. Francke Verlag.
  • Monaco, James. 2000. How to read a film: the world of movies, media, and multimedia : language, history. Oxford: Oxford University Press.