Introduction to German Studies
This year-long module provides an introduction to the study of German and is compulsory for most students of German. It covers the main fields of German Studies: literature, culture, history, linguistics, media and film. You will be introduced to the study skills required for academic study: critical and analytic skills, reading skills, presentation skills and writing skills. For this module you will have one 1-hour lecture and one 1-hour seminar each week working in small groups.
Using up-to-date material from the German-speaking world this core module will help you improve your command of written and spoken German. Continuing with the four skills areas of A-level work (writing, reading, listening, and speaking) you will develop them further through a variety of exercises whilst gaining insights into contemporary German life, culture and politics. For this module you will have one 1-hour grammar lecture each week and two 1-hour tutorials per week where you will work in small groups.
German 1 - Beginners
This module is designed to take students from ab initio level (absolute beginners) to a level of written and aural comprehension, writing and speaking skills roughly commensurate with A-level. At the end of the module, students should be able to comprehend and respond to written and aural texts over a wide range of current affairs, cultural and every day topics and engage in everyday social conversation. For this module you will have one 1 hour lecture and five 1-hour tutorials per week.
Reading German Literature 1
In this module you will be introduced to the critical reading and textual analysis of German narrative literature and poetry from the late 18th century to today. You will study two mid-length narrative texts and a selection of poems which represent key phases and aspects of German literary and cultural development from ‘Goethezeit’ to the post-1945 and contemporary period. In analysing and discussing a range of texts and authors, you will be introduced to key concepts and techniques of textual analysis, to the structures of narrative and poetry, and to selected themes and developments in literary criticism. The module combines one 1-hour introductory lecture per week with in-depth study in small tutorial groups (one 1-hour tutorial per week).
Linguistics 1: The Sounds of German
This module investigates the sounds of German and how they can be described accurately (“phonetics and phonology”). Students will learn to transcribe German using the notation of the International Phonetic Association, and we will look in particular at aspects of German pronunciation that are hard to master because they are different to English or similar to French. We will also look at how foreign words (including English words) are integrated into the German sound system, and at regional variation in spoken German. Developing accurate listening and transcription skills will form a major part of the module. There will be a one hour lecture and a one hour workshop each week.
Hitler and the Third Reich
This module will explore the period of National Socialism in Germany (1933-1945). You will be introduced to an outline of the historical context of this period and critically review the ideology and politics of the time with a focus on society and culture. You will evaluate original sources (in German and in translation) such as posters, speeches, newspapers and films. In addition, theoretical writings on select topics such as propaganda, ‘leader cult’, media, childhood, womanhood and ‘the other;’ will assist in your critical analysis. For this module you will have one 1-hour lecture and one 1-hour seminar each week.
Reading German Culture
In this module you will learn to analyse short literary and popular texts (including film) which portray life in the metropolis Berlin and represent key phases in German historical and social development in the 20th century: the 1920s, the immediate post war-period, post-unification Berlin. Exploring cultural representations of urban life the course will address key questions such as: How do textual perceptions of the ‘big’ city reflect attitudes towards relationships conditioned by class, gender and race? For this module you will have one 2-hour seminars each week.
Political Ideas in Revolution
You’ll be introduced to some of the founding fathers of political thought such as Aristotle, Plato, Machiavelli and Hobbes. The evolution of political thought such as the concepts of liberty, equality and the Enlightenment will also be examined. You’ll consider their impact on modern political thought and practice, bringing together key political ideas with historical development. In this module you’ll have 2 hours of lectures per week.
Power and the State
In this module you’ll compare and contrast the decision-making structures of modern states by examining different topics such as Democratic and Authoritarian Rule, Political Culture and Legal and Constitutional Frameworks. You’ll also be introduced to the method of comparative politics and theory testing. There is a mix of lectures, seminars and workshops on different weeks totalling around 3 hours per week throughout the semester.
Problems in Global Politics
For this module, joint honours students will explore a range of issues in contemporary international relations. It focuses on the problems of security and insecurity since the end of the Cold War. You’ll learn to develop critical and reflective thinking using a variety of approaches and methods related to the study of global politics. You’ll have 3 hours of lectures, seminars and workshops per week studying this module.
This module will consolidate students' proficiency in the four skill areas of German 1 (writing, reading, listening and speaking) and develop these further. The vehicles for instruction will be texts from newspapers and other sources, which will be used for discussion of translation issues and grammatical structures, linguistic analysis and textual comparison, oral presentation, and essay writing. You will have one 1-hour lecture and four 1-hour tutorials each week.
German 2 - Beginners
This module will consolidate students' proficiency in the four skill areas of German 1 - Beginners (writing, reading, listening and speaking) and develop these further. The vehicles for instruction will be texts from newspapers and other sources, which will be used for discussion of translation issues and grammatical structures, linguistic analysis and textual comparison, oral presentation, and essay writing.
Democracy and its Critics
You’ll examine the concept and organisation of democracy using primary sources to investigate historic and contemporary debates. You’ll consider the principles and arguments of democracy and its critics as well as the future for democracy in the context of accelerating globalisation. A variety of approaches and methods will be used to help you develop your skills for the study of political theory. You’ll have three hours a week of lectures and seminars studying this module.
Civilisation and Barbarism
You’ll explore some of the major themes of international relations using a variety of different sources including novels, essays, manifestos, treatise and film. Power and Order is the underlying theme linking together areas such as imperialism, emancipation, human rights, terrorism and torture among others. The interconnectivity between all of these areas and the sources will help you appreciate texts from the breadth of your studies. There will be three hours a week of seminars and lectures for this module.
New German Cinema
Between the mid 1960s and the mid 1980s West German cinema rose to new national and international success due to the work of a number of young directors who were commonly perceived as representatives of a "New" or "Young" German cinema. This module will analyse selected films from this period. You will be introduced to the individual styles of different directors (Fassbinder, Herzog, Wenders) as well as to their common thematic preoccupations. The analysis will aim to situate the "New German Cinema" within the contexts both of the development of the film industry and of contemporary social and political developments in West Germany. You will have one 2-hour seminar and one 1-hour workshop per week.
Reason and Its Rivals from Kant to Freud
This module discusses a selection of theoretical approaches to modernity. You will start by studying Immanuel Kant’s assertion of individual reason as the founding stone of enlightened social organisation. You will then explore interrogations of that position in the work of Marx and Engels, Nietzsche and Freud. You will have one 2-hour seminar per week in addition to four hours of private study.
Media in Germany
The aim of this module is to explore the history of print and broadcasting in Germany from 1933 to the 1990s, and investigate the relationship between media content and culture. You will develop a foundation in the key concepts of media studies and gain insight into the connection of media and ideology. For this module you will have one 2-hour seminar per week.
From Runes to ROFL: Language Change in the Germanic Languages
This module will introduce students to the history of the Germanic languages, from the earliest linguistic evidence up to the present day. We will investigate the major sound changes that distinguish Dutch, German and other Germanic languages like English from the rest of the Indo-European language family (which includes French, Greek, and many other European languages, as well as Sanskrit). You'll look at the process by which Dutch and German went their separate ways , ultimately emerging as two standardised languages in the 17th century. You'll spend two hours per week in lectures and seminars.
Introduction to German Dialects
This module explores the various dialects spoken in Germany and other German-speaking areas. It examines the key linguistic features which can be used to identify a dialect, and explores the use of dialect, which has changed considerably over the past centuries, but particularly since 1945, and which also varies considerably regionally. It also looks at the interactions between the dialects and the standard language (‘High German’). For this module you will have one 1-hour lecture and one 1-hour seminar each week.
From Bourgeois Wife to New Woman: Sex and Gender in Modern Germany
This module focuses on three periods in the modern history of the German-speaking lands: the emergence of bourgeois gender roles in the nineteenth century & the women’s movement around 1848; the fin-de-siècle, with a particular focus on gender and sexuality in Viennese society; and the Weimar Republic, exploring the myth and reality of the so-called ‘New Woman’. Drawing on a range of political, theoretical and autobiographical texts and visual material, the module considers the interrelation between social and economic developments, gender roles and notions of masculinity and femininity. We also discuss the ways in which ideas and images of masculinity and femininity are deployed in the representation of political and social institutions and processes. Each week you will have a one hour lecture and a one hour seminar.
This core module aims to consolidate the high level of language skills you will have acquired during the time spent in a German-speaking country in Year Three. In classes taught by native speakers of German, you will further refine your advanced proficiency in written and spoken German. Contemporary texts and discussions of up-to-date topics are a key feature of this module and you will be encouraged to build on the knowledge and skills acquired during your year abroad. For this module you will have three 1-hour seminars each week working in small groups.
Politics and Drugs
This module examines the implications of narcotics abuse for the political system from both a national and international perspective. Contemporary British drug policy will be the explored and questions raised by drug control policy will be discussed. You’ll consider the production, consumption and trade of drugs as a global problem. You will spend around three hours a week in lectures and seminars studying for this module.
Weapons of Mass Destruction
This module introduces a range of debates concerning weapons of mass destruction (WMD) to give you an appreciation of the importance of the issue. The reasons for states to develop or acquire WMDs will be explored through core concepts such as deterrence, the security dilemma and organisation theory. You’ll discuss whether WMDs are good or bad and if Britain should build a missile defence system among other topics. Three hours a week are spent in lectures and seminars studying for this module.
Dissertation (German Studies)
This module involves the in-depth study of a topic in German Studies resulting in a dissertation written in German. You will write a 4,000 word essay in German or English on a topic of your particular interest and expertise (normally related to a German module which you have taken in your second or final year). In addition to extensive private study you will have two 1-hour seminars per semester followed by five individual meetings with your supervisor. This module is also available as a 20 credit version where you will write a 7,000 word essay in German or English.
Culture and Society in the Weimar Republic
The Weimar Republic (1919-1933) was one of the most fascinating and culturally productive periods of German history, but it was equally plagued by crises and violent conflicts. This module aims to introduce central issues in the literary and social developments of Weimar Germany. You will study a wide range of materials (literary texts, film, aesthetic and political programmes) to analyse key features of the period. Topics will include the impact of the Great War, developments in the press and the cinema, political confrontations, cabaret, and unemployment. You will have one 2-hour and one 1-hour seminar per week.
‘Heimat’ in the German Cinema
Heimat, a political and psychological concept of rural rootedness, is at the core of German identity, and the Heimat genre has been ever-present in the German cinema since the days of the silent cinema. This module will explore the cultural and historical contexts of the concept of Heimat through the study of Heimat films from different historical moments. We will explore the artistically ambitious and politically controversial 1920s/30s mountain films; the immensely popular Heimat films of the 1950s; the aesthetically challenging and critical anti-Heimat films of the 1960s/70s; Edgar Reitz’s landmark historical saga of the 1980s; and post-1990s reinventions of the genre. We shall ask why film-makers in Germany and Austria keep returning to this genre. In addition we shall consider the question of the alien within the Heimat, the gendering of Heimat and the representation of nature and modernity in these films. You will have a two hour seminar, a one hour syndicate workshop, a two hour screening.
Recent Women's Writing
In this module you will explore a number of novels and stories written since 1960 by German-speaking women writers. You will also study selected texts on the cultural, political and social contexts of the rise of the second wave feminism in the 1970’s, the changing position of women in the FRG, GDR and Austria, and the increasing awareness of ethnic pluralities. You will compare texts and contexts and explore a variety of reading strategies developed in feminist criticism. For this module you will have one 2-hour and one 1-hour seminar each week.
Translation and Linguistic Exchange
This module offers in-depth discussion of grammatical, lexical and idiomatic aspects of German and English as well as issues of translation, register and cultural difference. You will be taught primarily through the medium of translation, both from and into German, using a variety of texts and passages on a range of topics and in a range of registers. You will work in a team with exchange students who are German native speakers and this will foster dialogue about linguistic and translation issues as well as general cultural exchange. You will have one 2-hour and one 1-hour seminar per week.
The modules we offer are inspired by the research interests of our staff and as a result may change for reasons of, for example, research developments or legislation changes. This list is an example of typical modules we offer, not a definitive list.