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Unit information: Language and Power: Introductions to German History in 2022/23

Please note: It is possible that the information shown for future academic years may change due to developments in the relevant academic field. Optional unit availability varies depending on both staffing, student choice and timetabling constraints.

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
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School/department Department of German
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Unit Information

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.

Your learning on this unit

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.

How you will learn

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.

How you will be assessed

1 x 2000-word essay (70%), [ILOs 1-4]

1 x group presentation (30%), [ILOs 1, 3, 4]


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. GERM10039).

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.