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Unit information: Introduction to German Studies (ab initio) in 2016/17

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Unit name Introduction to German Studies (ab initio)
Unit code GERM10033
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Dr. Davies
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of German
Faculty Faculty of Arts


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 the history of Germany and Austria
  • 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
  • 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 details

One lecture on German history per week in one semester

One weekly semester-long seminar series in both semesters

Assessment Details

2x Essay x 1500 word essay (33.5% each), 2 hour history exam (33%)

Reading and References

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

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)