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Unit information: After The Wall: Remembering the GDR TB-2 in 2021/22

Unit name After The Wall: Remembering the GDR TB-2
Unit code GERM30077
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Debbie Pinfold
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of German
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

Ever since the fall of the Berlin Wall and the unification of Germany, writers, artists, film makers and the general public have continued to reflect on the GDR and the role that individual and collective memories of this past play in present day German national identity. Responses to the GDR range from museums, memorials and literary texts documenting political oppression to consumer-orientated Ostalgie (= nostalgia for the East). This unit draws on both autobiographical and literary texts from three different generations of authors who lived in the GDR and on recent films in order to explore a range of responses to the GDR past and investigate how and why such memories are constructed. The unit will be taught through a mixture of informal lectures and seminar discussions and students will be encouraged to develop their capacity for critical analysis through close reading and debate.


  • To introduce students to the complex memory landscape of the former GDR from 1989/90 to the present day, through the analysis of literary and autobiographical texts, films, memorials, museums and political discourse.
  • To facilitate students’ engagement with a wide range of primary and secondary sources in both English and German as a basis for their own independent analysis and arguments.
  • To develop students’ understanding of the highly transferable concepts of memory studies, such that they can apply them to contexts beyond this unit.
  • To develop students’ linguistic skills through detailed engagement with primary sources in German.
  • To develop further students’ skills of synthesis, analysis and independent research, building on the skills acquired in units at level I and to develop their confidence in presenting their arguments both orally and in writing.
  • To equip students with the skills to undertake postgraduate study in a relevant field.

The unit is open subject to sufficient knowledge of German.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Students will be able to demonstrate:

  1. detailed knowledge of the memory landscape of the former GDR and an understanding of the debates around it
  2. ability to engage critically with specialist literature on the subject at an advanced level
  3. familiarity with a range of memory studies approaches and an ability to apply these to their own critical work
  4. capacity for independent research, critical analysis and discussion
  5. ability to present their ideas in a structured form, both orally and in writing at a level appropriate to level H

Teaching Information

The unit will be taught mainly through seminar discussions for which students will prepare with the aid of regular worksheets. Students will also be expected to deliver short oral presentations based on their own reading and research.

Assessment Information

1. ONE group presentation (25% of total mark)

2. ONE 3,500-word coursework essay, (75% of total mark)


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. GERM30077).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.