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Unit information: Spotlights on Anglo-German Relations: Literature, Media, Film in 2016/17

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Unit name Spotlights on Anglo-German Relations: Literature, Media, Film
Unit code GERM20031
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Davies
Open unit status Open




School/department Department of German
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

Mutual fascination, revulsion, and rivalry have characterised Anglo-German cultural relations for centuries. Travellers have made themselves familiar with the foreign country and given accounts of their journeys; scholars, journalists and writers have reflected on the mutual relationship even – and especially – during times when this relationship has been tense, such as before the World Wars or in their aftermaths. Towards the end of the twentieth century, cultural differences have been portrayed increasingly without ease. The unit will follow the development of Anglo-German mutual perception by turning spotlights on selected German and British literature, film and media from 1827 onwards; it will assess the formation of stereotypes and the attempts to put prejudices into perspective. More comprehensively, the sources will also serve as a foundation for discussing the relationship between cultural production and political/economic history. Students will be expected to be proficient in German as source material will be in German.

This unit aims:

  • to develop knowledge of the mutual perception of Britain and Germany since 1827, based on selected examples
  • to explore historical contexts, train students’ sensitivity for cultural-historical developments, with a focus on international cultural relations
  • to develop German language skills by the detailed reading of fictional/non-fictional texts and by engaging with selected films
  • to model a critical approach to comparative literature and develop confidence in engaging with literary criticism
  • to enable students to structure ideas, to develop critical interpretations of their own and to present their findings to an audience
  • to inspire students to work further, and independently, in this and other fields.

The unit is taught by Dr Margit Dirscherl.

Intended Learning Outcomes

By the end of the unit successful students will have: 1. Knowledge of selected examples for the mutual perception of Britain and Germany since 1827 (A7) and an in-depth knowledge of at least one piece and relevant contexts, backgrounds, secondary sources 2. Enhanced sensitivity for cultural-historical developments and their representation in literature, film and media (A3) 3. Employed close reading techniques, cultural concepts of linguistic, literary, historical and intellectual analysis, and independent research (B1, B2, B5) 4. Ability to access and select relevant material for the purpose of identifying and solving problems – orally and in writing (C2 and C3)

Teaching Information

Weekly 2-hour-seminars comprising informal lectures, seminar presentations and discussions in weeks 1-5 and 7-11. Week 12: concluding discussion and revision class.

Assessment Information

• 25% group presentation (group mark), incl. 1-page handout to be submitted on the day of the presentation (1-4) • 75% 2500 word essay (1-4)

Reading and References

• Fred Bridgham, The First World War as a Clash of Cultures (Rochester: Camden House, 2006)

• Philip Oltermann, Keeping up with the Germans (London: Faber & Faber, 2012).

• Nicholls, A. J., 50 years of Anglo-German Relations. The 2000 Bithell Memorial Lecture (London: Institute of Germanic Studies, 2001)

• John Ramsden, Don’t mention the War. The British and the Germans since 1890 (London: Little, Brown, 2006)