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Unit information: German History and Thought in 2016/17

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Unit name German History and Thought
Unit code GERM10037
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
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

This unit develops knowledge and critical understanding of key concepts in German history and thought since 1500. It introduces the close, critical study of the German past through key political events and 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 the history of Germany and Austria
  • one seminar class per week on the history of German thought.

The unit thus aims:

  • to develop critical understanding of key developments in the history of Germany and Austria
  • to impart a broad knowledge of selected key figures, concepts and movements in modern German political and intellectual history
  • to develop students’ sensitivity to key principles and tools for the analysis and understanding of the German past
  • 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, close reading, independent analysis and reasoned debate.

Intended Learning Outcomes

On this unit students will:

a) acquire outline knowledge of the political and intellectual history of the German-speaking world, and of key critical concepts in understanding that world

b) develop their skills of textual close reading and acquire more sophisticated analytical skills and methods appropriate to Level C

c) gain experience in obtaining, and critically researching, literary, historical and cultural scholarship (via library and IT resources) learn ways of synthesising the results of this research in precise, independent arguments, in writing and in oral discussions

Teaching Information

One lecture per week

One weekly seminar

Assessment Information

All assessments test ILOs (a)-(d):

90-minute exam: 50% of unit mark

1,500-word portfolio of short response coursework (‘gobbets’): 50% of unit mark

Reading and References

Introductory reading:

  • Neil MacGregor, Germany: Memories of a Nation (London: Penguin, 2016)
  • Mark Allinson, Germany and Austria since 1814 (London: Routledge, 2014)
  • Mary Fulbrook, A Concise History of Germany (Cambridge: CUP, 2004)

Set text:

  • Modern German Thought from Kant to Habermas: An Annotated German-Language Reader, ed. by Henk de Berg and Duncan Large (Rochester, NY: Camden House, 2012).
  • [This is freely available to students, via UoB Library, as an e-book; it can be purchased in paperback. Ab initio students will be provided with English translations of the texts.]