Fourth year modules

In the final year, you divide your time equally between advanced language study and optional courses.

The language strand consists of the following core module:

  • German Translation and Oral (20 credits)
  • Independent Study Module (20 credits)

Plus two of the following modules (20 credits):

  • German Essay
  • Oral Presentation and Debating
  • Translation Theory and Practice

You will also take  optional modules (20 credits each) drawn from a selection of the following modules in German literature, politics, history and philosophy:

  • From the Stasi to the Sandmännchen: Remembering the GDR in the United Germany
  • Comparative Germanic Philology 
  • The Politics of Remembering: Germany & the Nazi Past 
  • Governance and Political Culture in Germany 
  • The German Language and National Identity 
  • Medieval German Epic and Romance 
  • German-Language Cinema since 1960: Images of a Nation? 
  • German Literature and Society, 1770-1815: Order, Social Change and Revolution
  • Oppositional Writing in Nazi Germany
  • German First World War Writing
  • Nietzsche
  • Emancipating Women in the Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Century

Final year options are studied across both semesters, in order to enable you to study the topics that interest you in depth. Note that we can typically offer seven of the options listed above at any one time.

German Translation & Oral

Various tutors
20 credits - core module

This module offers practice and training in translation both into and from German coupled with the revision of German grammar. It will also offer extensive practice in a wide variety of oral skills. By the end of the module you should be able to translate both into and from German and to converse fluently and accurately in German.

Assessment: oral and written examination

Independent Study Module

Various tutors
20 credits - core module

This module enables you to do independent research on a German Studies topic of your own choosing. Under the supervision of a member of the German staff you will write an extended essay on your chosen topic.

Assessment: extended essay (word limit 6000 words)

German Essay

Dr Nigel Harris
20 credits - optional module

This module offers advanced practice and training in the planning and writing of an essay in German. Essay topics will be based on the main socio-political and cultural debates which have preoccupied post-war Germany.

Assessment: coursework essays and examination

Oral Presentation and Debating

Dr Ruth Whittle, Professor Bill Dodd
20 credits - optional module

This module builds on and your skills in spoken German, gained during the year abroad, by developing two important practical language skills. In the first semester you prepare a presentation on your work during the year abroad work; and in Semester 2 you practise debating skills before engaging in a group debate (chaired by a member of staff with a second member of staff present) on an issue of contemporary relevance to Germany. Each of these tasks is supported by discussing video examples, and by feedback on informal rehearsals.

Assessment: oral presentation in class plus participation in a debate

Translation in Theory and Practice in Europe

Dr Hilary Brown
20 credits - optional module

The course focuses on approaches to the theory and practice of translation in Europe. It addresses the main areas of debate in Translation Theory and Translation Studies, with a historical survey of key theoretical texts and comparative and contrastive analysis of translations into English. It also covers key approaches, skills and resources available to the translator. It gives students the opportunity to apply their knowledge to their own translation practice via the production of a translation from their language of study into English (or from English into their mother tongue in the case of Erasmus students) accompanied by a critical and theoretically-informed reflection on the translation.

Assessment: coursework essay and translation project

From the Stasi to the Sandmännchen: Remembering the GDR in the United Germany

Dr Sara Jones
20 credits - optional module

tv-towerIn this module students will learn about the social, political and cultural processes of remembering the German Democratic Republic (GDR) in contemporary Germany. We will study socio-political debates surrounding the history and memory of East Germany (e.g., concepts of totalitarianism and nostalgia, or the opening of the Stasi files), and the production of works of culture in this context (e.g., the Stasi prison memorial in Berlin-Hohenschoenhausen, Henckel von Donnersmarck’s Das Leben der Anderen, or Hensel’s Zonenkinder). We will consider the relationship between individual memory, memories of different social groups and the creation of ‘official’ narratives about the past. Our discussions will be grounded in memory and media studies theory, as well as political approaches to the legacy of state socialism.

Assessment: coursework essay and end-of-year exam

Comparative Germanic Philology

Mr Robert Evans
20 credits - optional module

This module expands upon the material covered in German Linguistics (Past) and Old High German Language and Literature. The course covers not only Old High German, but also looks at the linguistics and artifacts of other early Germanic languages, in particular Old English (Anglo-Saxon) and a language called Gothic, which is the oldest Germanic language for which we have written records and dates back to around 360AD. Indeed this course offers a very rare opportunity for Gothic to be studied at undergraduate level.

Assessment: coursework essay and end-of-year exam

The Politics of Remembering: Germany & the Nazi Past

Dr Joanne Sayner
20 credits - optional module

This course examines the way that the Nazi past has been remembered in Germany since the end of the Second World War. We examine how East, West and unified Germany have confronted the horrors of the Holocaust and debated questions of guilt, resistance and victimhood. We look at the different ways in which the Nazi past has been portrayed in books, television series, films, exhibitions and monuments and we consider the role that high profile court cases have played in raising public awareness about these issues. If you already want to find out more about these topics, why not take a look at Inge Scholl’s Die Weiße Rose, Das Tagebuch der Anne Frank, or investigate some of the controversy in Germany surrounding the film Valkyrie (2008).

Assessment: coursework essay and end-of-year exam

Governance and Political Culture in Germany

Mr Dietmar Wozniak
20 credits - optional module

dome-reichstagGermany defines itself as a parliamentary democracy based on the rule of law, social justice and federalism. What does that actually mean in the theory and practice of the Federal Republic? How is Germany governed and furthermore, have the underlying cultural conditions for a successful democracy been met? The course aims to provide an overview and an analysis of Germany’s system of government taking the main aspects of German governance and political culture into account. Students are welcome and encouraged to pursue their particular interests and share their (gained) expertise with all course participants.

Assessment: coursework essay and end-of-year exam

The German Language and National Identity

Dr Hilary Brown and Professor Bill Dodd
20 credits - optional module

Language plays a key role in the identity formation of individuals, groups and nations. This module allows you to explore the various ways in which language has been a political issue for speakers of German from Luther to the present day. The module explores how the language has been used as a political instrument in different contexts, and the extent to which politics and ideologies have influenced the language itself. The first part of the module focuses on the period from Luther to 1900 (the Reformation, ‘Kulturpatriotismus’ in the baroque era, the so-called ‘flowering’ of the national language and national literature in the age of Goethe, and the role of language in relation to the first German unification). The second part of the module focuses on the period since 1900 (the two World Wars and their legacies, the National Socialist period and its legacy, the Cold War, German unification and its legacy, including current debates about linguistic purism.

Assessment: coursework essay and end-of-year exam

Medieval German Epic and Romance

Dr Nigel Harris
20 credits - optional module

This course explores in detail four of the most important and fascinating works of the High Middle Ages. Aspects of Middle High German language will be considered, but the primary focus of the course will be on a variety of literary aspects of the set texts. These will include social and religious themes, characterisation and the construction of identity, symbolism, narrative technique and questions of genre.

Assessment: coursework essay and end-of-year exam

German-Language Cinema since 1960: Images of a Nation?

Dr Elystan Griffiths
20 credits - optional module

The first semester is spent analysing the cinema of the divided Germany from 1960-1990. Topics studied will inlcude the legacy of the National Socialist era, the division of Germany, terrorism and the feminist movement in Germany. In West German cinema, we look at issues such as the development of the New German Cinema, a movement associated with younger directors concerned to criticise - amongst other things - the conservatism and oppression of West German society. We’ll also look at some key films from the East German cinema, and examine how the communist authorities shaped the filmmaking landscape in the German Democratic Republic.

The second semester focuses on post-1990 cinema in Germany and Austria. We will look at the question of whether contemporary directors retain the same focus on political concerns. We will consider how the national past has been represented in more recent productions such as Der Untergang. Films will include examples from the vibrant Turkish-German filmmaking scene and from the critically acclaimed Austrian auteur cinema of recent years.

Assessment: coursework essay and end-of-year exam

German Literature and Society, 1770-1815: Order, Social Change and Revolution

Dr Elystan Griffiths
20 credits - optional module

This course will give you an overview of the development of German literature in what is often described as one of its most fertile and exciting periods. The age of Enlightenment had led many thinkers to question the current arrangement of society and to wonder about the possibility of achieving progress in human affairs. The same impulses led many to question establish social structures, including class and generational boundaries and the roles of men and women. Social structures were challenged most visibly by the outbreak of the French Revolution in 1789 and the ensuing wars that raged across Europe until 1815. In German literature, an age of instability and rebellion left its mark in the extraordinary drama of the Sturm und Drang and the drama and prose of Kleist. The course will be based on the close study of poetry, dramas and prose texts by writers including Lessing, Lenz, Goethe, Hölderlin and Kleist. We will use them to examine how German writers reflected on the conflict between social norms and individual authenticity, which will allow us to change how ideas of social class, gender and national identity changed over this period.

Assessment: coursework essay and end-of-year exam

Oppositional Writing in Nazi Germany

Professor Bill Dodd, Professor John Klapper, Dr Joanne Sayner, Dr Nicholas Martin
20 credits - optional module

Was public opposition and dissent possible in the so-called totalitarian Nazi state? Somewhat surprisingly, there is quite a large body of texts suggesting that it was. This module explores oppositional discourses in private writings and “between the lines” in published texts in the Nazi era. You are given introductory lectures on the political and social background of the period, cultural policy between 1933 and 1945, and the problems faced by oppositional writers during this period, and on the problematic concept of “inner emigration” in the critical literature since 1945. After a guided session reading “between the lines”, you are introduced to a range of individual authors, their biographies and their works, and relevant secondary literature, to explore the methods by which dissent was placed in the public sphere.

Assessment: coursework essay and end-of-year exam

German First World War Writing

Dr Nicholas Martin
20 credits - optional module

The course explores the various ways in which German writers attempted to come to terms with the experience and aftermath of the First World War. Areas of discussion include the literary qualities of German war writing, the presentation of life and death at the front, the depiction of broader aspects of the conflict, military and civilian perceptions of the war, as well as the political and cultural significance of German literature on the First World War in the period 1918-1933.

Assessment: coursework essay and end-of-year exam

Nietzsche

Dr Nicholas Martin
20 credits - optional module

The core elements of the module (two hours per week) will be, first, a consideration of Friedrich Nietzsche’s ideas in their German and European cultural contexts and, second, the study of aspects of the reception of these ideas. Areas of discussion will include Nietzsche’s appropriation of antiquity in his campaign against ‘decadent’ modernity, his theories of art and culture, his modes of expression, and his critique of late nineteenth-century German values. The second part of the module will concentrate on the use and abuse of Nietzsche’s thought in intellectual and political life, focusing primarily on Germany in the first half of the twentieth century. Trends in Nietzsche reception since 1945 will also be discussed.

Assessment: coursework essay and end-of-year exam

Emancipating Women in the Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Century

Dr Ruth Whittle
20 credits - optional module

This seminar explores the terms ‘emancipation’ and ‘radical’ in respect of women’s writings between the first German unification in 1871 and World War I. It examines the relationship between aspirations and biographies as well as the ways in which some of the most significant women of the time expressed themselves. To this end selected texts by women from different genres will be discussed.
The course is intended to help you gain a historical perspective as to what was socially and artistically the most diverse German ‘women’s movement’ including working-class activists and bourgeois participants. Particular attention will be paid to the ways in which these authors negotiated increasing tensions between ideals and reality (industrialisation, nationalism, growing antisemitism; Körperfeindlichkeit).

Assessment: coursework essay and end-of-year exam