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Unit information: Language and Power: Introductions to German History in 2020/21

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Unit name Language and Power: Introductions to German History
Unit code GERM10039
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Havinga
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of German
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

This unit introduces students to key aspects in the history and development of the German peoples and the German language, and to the study of the German past through the disciplines of history and linguistics. It aims to help students develop their skills of critical analysis and synthesis, informed discussion and the written as well as oral presentation of ideas. It consists of:

  • a lecture series on key aspects of the history of Germany and Austria, and on the development of the German language;
  • weekly seminars to explore the themes of the lectures in greater detail and to develop skills of analysis and formal written and oral presentation.

The unit thus aims:

  • to develop critical understanding of key developments in the history of Germany and Austria, and in the history of the German language
  • to impart a broad knowledge of selected key concepts and turning points in the political and linguistic histories of the German peoples
  • 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 study at university level, including: precision, curiosity, creativity, independence and imagination
  • to enhance students’ capacity to engage closely and critically, in oral and written form, with primary material and with scholarship
  • to develop key technical skills for university study, notably in research, close reading, independent and collaborative analysis and reasoned debate.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Students who complete the unit successfully will be able to:

1) outline knowledge of the political and linguistic history of the German-speaking world, and of key critical concepts in understanding that world

2) apply close textual reading skills, engaging independently with primary works, at a standard appropriate to Level 4

3) identify relevant primary and secondary literature (via library and IT resources) to inform their understanding of key concepts and developments in the history of the German-speaking world

4) turn their knowledge to critical analysis, formulating arguments orally and in writing at a standard appropriate to Level 4.

Teaching Information

Teaching will be delivered through a combination of synchronous sessions and asynchronous activities, including seminars, lectures, and collaborative as well as self-directed learning opportunities supported by tutor consultation.

Assessment Information

1) A 1000-word group wiki, dealing with two topics (for a group mark of 30%). Testing ILOs 1-3.

2) A 2000-word essay. (70%) Testing ILOs 1-4.

Reading and References

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

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

Horan, Geraldine, Nils Langer, and Sheila Watts (eds). 2009. Landmarks in the History of the German Language. Bern: Peter Lang.

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

Salmons, Joseph. 2012. A History of German. What the past reveals about today’s language. Oxford: OUP.