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Unit information: Introduction to German Studies (Post A-Level) in 2016/17

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Unit name Introduction to German Studies (Post A-Level)
Unit code GERM10036
Credit points 40
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Dr. Davies
Open unit status Open




School/department Department of German
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

This unit develops knowledge and critical understanding of key concepts in German culture, past and present. It introduces the study of German literature, history and society from 1500 to the present through close study of representative texts and ideas. It aims to help students develop their skills of critical analysis and synthesis, informed discussion and the written presentation of ideas. It consists of:

  • a lecture series on themes in modern German and Austrian society ('Landeskunde')
  • a lecture series on the history of Germany and Austria
  • a lecture series on one or more aspects and genres in German literature and/or film
  • one seminar class per semester designed to introduce and consolidate a range of skills across the discipline of German Studies.

The unit thus aims:

  • to develop critical understanding of key developments in the history of Germany and Austria, and of contemporary societal structures
  • to impart a broad knowledge of selected key figures, concepts and movements in modern German literary and cultural history
  • to develop students’ sensitivity to key principles and tools for the analysis and understanding of German history, literature and film
  • to inculcate good practices and attitudes in the study of cultural artefacts at university level, including: precision, curiosity, creativity, independence and imagination
  • to enhance students’ capacity to engage closely and critically, in oral discussion and in writing, with primary material and with scholarship
  • to develop key technical skills for university study, notably in research, independent analysis and reasoned debate.

Intended Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit students will:

a) have acquired outline knowledge of the history and culture of the German-speaking world, and of key critical concepts in understanding that world

b) have developed their skills of reading both textually and visually and acquired more sophisticated analytical skills and methods appropriate to Level C

c) have gained experience in obtaining, and critically researching, literary, historical and cultural scholarship (via library and IT resources)

d) have learnt ways of synthesising the results of this research in their own, independent arguments, in essays, discussions and oral presentations

Teaching Information

  • One lecture on German history and culture per week in both semesters One weekly semester-long seminar series in both semesters One lecture on German ‘Landeskunde’ per week in one semester, delivered in German

Assessment Information

Landeskunde essay (10%), 2 hour poetry exam (20%), 2 hour history exam (20%), 2 x 1500 word essay (25% each).

Reading and References

Set texts are likely to change from year to year; students will be given a list of titles in advance of the

semester in which the unit is taken.

Introductory reading:

The Cambridge Companion to Modern German Culture, ed. Eva Kolinsky and Wilfried van der Will

(Cambridge: CUP, 1998)

Neil MacGregor, Germany: Memories of a Nation (London: Penguin, 2016)

Nicholas Boyle, German Literature: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford: OUP, 2008)

Judith Ryan, The Cambridge Introduction to German Poetry (Cambridge: CUP, 2012)

Mark Allinson, Germany and Austria since 1814 (London: Routledge, 2014)

Mary Fulbrook, A Concise History of Germany (Cambridge: CUP, 2004)