German

Module information for incoming Erasmus and Exchange students interested in modules in German Studies.

Language Modules for non-native speakers of German

German language modules are offered by Languages for All.

Language Modules for those originating from German-speaking countries

Advanced German Translation for Native Speakers 09 12799/800 (20 credits, Semester 1 & 2)

This module offers German native speakers the opportunity to improve their translation skills. It combines practice and training in translation both into and from German with revision of English grammar.

Learning outcomes - by the end of the module the student should be able to: demonstrate an enhanced ability to translate from German to English; show an increased awareness of general issues of translation methodology; Demonstrate an enhanced ability to write fluently and cogently in English.

Assessment - Continuous assessment

Further information: Dr Elystan Griffiths (e.griffiths@bham.ac.uk)

Provisional timetable - Thursday 16:00-17:00

Non-language modules in German Studies

First-Year Modules

Texts in Context: 20th and 19th Century 09 08857/60 (20 credits Semester 1 & 2)

The module covers a selection of texts from the twentieth and nineteenth century

Assessment - One essay of 2000 words (40%) plus one 3hr examination (60%).

Further information: Dr Nigel Harris (n.w.harris@bham.ac.uk)

Timetable: lecture Friday 13:00-14:00 (fixed); seminars provisionally either Monday 15:00-16:00, Tuesday 10:00-11:00 or Tuesday 11:00-12 noon. Attend lecture plus one seminar.

Modern Germany: History & its Images 09 27946  (20 credits Semester 1 & 2)

In Semester 1, this module offers an overview of German social and political history from the end of the Second World War up to the present and of the reflection of that history in various media (particularly film). The second semester focuses on the period from 1815 to 1945.

Assessment - One essay of 2000 words (40%) plus one 2hr examination (60%).

NB: This module is not suitable for those originating from German-speaking countries.

Further information: Dr Elystan Griffiths (e.griffiths@bham.ac.uk)

Timetable: lecture Tuesday 13:00-14:00; seminars provisionally either Thursday 10:00-11:00, 11:00-12 noon or 12 noon-13:00 (attend lecture + 1 seminar).

German Linguistics Past and Present (20 credits, Semester 1 and 2)

The module consists of two components, each taught in one semester: ‘German Linguistics Past’ and ‘German Linguistics Present’:

German Linguistics Past: This component will trace the development of the German language from its earliest Indo-European Germanic origins up to the end of the Old High German period (circa 1100 AD)

German Linguistics Present: This component introduces key concepts of modern linguistics, including corpus linguistics, and the main areas of sociolinguistics, applied to the contemporary German language.

Assessment - Two assessed essays of 2000 words – one based on each semester’s work. Essays are equally weighted (50% each).

Further information: Robert Evans (R.J.Evans.GET@bham.ac.uk)

Timetable: Monday 11:00-12:00

Second-Year Modules

Introduction to German Cinema (10 credits Semester 1)

This module will offer an overview of German cinema history. Topics covered will normally include the early flowering of German Cinema in the Weimar Republic, German cinema under National Socialism, the cinematic production of the divided Germany and contemporary German film. At each stage, films will be related to their cultural and political context as appropriate.

The course will be structured around a series of key films, but key movements in German cinema will also be discussed as appropriate. A key focus of the course will be the analysis of cinematic techniques, and students will be expected to develop their knowledge of relevant technical vocabulary.

Assessment - 2000 word essay in English (90% of module mark) plus a 300-word analysis of a film scene (10%).

Warning: Some of these films contain scenes of nudity and violence. If you think you may be offended by such material, you may not want to opt for this course!

Further information: Dr Elystan Griffiths (e.griffiths@bham.ac.uk)

Provisional timetable: EITHER Tuesday 14:00-15:00 and Wednesday 12 noon-13:00 OR Tuesday 16:00-17:00 and Wednesday 11:00-12 noon. Semester 1 only.

Wirtschaftsdeutsch 09 23921 (20 credits, both semesters)

The course provides an introduction into economic aspects of contemporary Germany and German culture. It should enable students to function appropriately in standard settings which they are likely to encounter on company visits or during internships. Students should be able to research topics in print and e-media, describe aspects of their topics both orally and in writing, listen to radio or TV broadcast and write notes, summaries, letters, e-mail, and interpret standard situations.

Students are required to attend a weekly one-hour class and work independently in their own time (3hrs a week), often by using aural sources on the German Canvas site or in the language labs.

Assessment: Continuous 4 assessments, weighted equally: 1 essay  in German (300-400 words), 1 class test (30 mins), 2 oral tests (20 mins each) (1 in German, 1 interpreting test) practising the oral skills acquired

NB: This module is not suitable for those originating from German-speaking countries.

Further information: Ruth Whittle (r.whittle@bham.ac.uk)

Provisional timetable: Tuesday 9:00-10:00, both semesters.

Knights, Maidens and Priests 09 23922 (Semester 1, 10 credits)

The module will study some short works from the medieval and early modern periods of German literature: Hartmann von Aue’s Der arme Heinrich, Der Stricker’s Der Pfaffe Amis, and poems or short pieces by Mechthild von Magdeburg, Oswald von Wolkenstein, and Martin Luther. These will be analysed as literary texts, but also as sources of information about and criticism of medieval culture and society. Particular emphasis will be placed on themes relating to the three social groupings named in the title; and hence the problematic but fruitful relationship between religious and secular perspectives and stereotypes will be an especially important recurring theme.

Assessment: one essay of 2500 words.

More information: Dr Nigel Harris (n.w.harris@bham.ac.uk)

Provisional timetable: EITHER Mon 11:00-12:00 and Thurs 14:00-15:00 OR Mon 16:00-17:00 and Thurs 13:00-14:00. Semester 1 only.

Representations of Women in Turn-of-the-Century German Literature (When Gender Hits You in the Face) 09 26766 (10 credits, Semester 2)

Using a range of primary texts, this course will study a selection of female writers and female protagonists in German and Austrian literature in the late 19th century.  Although it self-evidently cannot attempt to cover the totality of ideas about women, it will seek to enable students to develop an understanding of and sensitivity towards the topic. It thus aims to develop students’ appreciation of concepts relevant to the representation of women at the turn of the century. The course will also develop students’ critical understanding of the question of gender and gender theory and thus examine concepts about the space of woman (in the family, in the state, in creation) and body image. The course attempts to raise students’ awareness towards gendered concepts which in various guises still inform women’s (as well as men’s) self-image and actions today.

Assessment: one essay of 2500 words.

Further information: Dr Ruth Whittle (r.whittle@bham.ac.uk )

Provisional timetable: Tues 15:00-16:00 and Thurs 13:00-14:00. Semester 2 only.

Final-Year Modules

Medieval German Epic and Romance 09 18452/53 (20 credits, Semester 1 & 2)

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, characterization and the construction of identity, symbolism, narrative technique and questions of genre.

Assessment: 2-hour written exam in May (50%) plus an assessed seminar paper of 3000 words in English (50%).

Further information: Nigel Harris (n.w.harris@bham.ac.uk)

Provisional timetable: Thurs 10:00-12 noon.

Comparative Germanic Philology 09 12817/18 (20 credits Semester 1 & 2)

This module will explore the comparative linguistics of the earliest Germanic languages, with particular reference to the Proto-Germanic parent language and Gothic

Assessment: 3 hour written exam in May (60%) plus an assessed seminar paper of 4000 words (40%)

Further information: Robert Evans (R.J.Evans.GET@bham.ac.uk)

Provisional timetable: Mon 16:00-17:00 and Weds 10:00-11:00 

German First World War Writing (Semesters 1 and 2, 09 19491/92)

The course will explore ways in which German writers attempted to come to terms with the experience and aftermath of the First World War.

The prescribed texts present a representative range of fascinating German perspectives on this cataclysmic, defining event in twentieth-century history, which is arousing enormous renewed interest during the current centenary commemorations (2014‒18). Areas of discussion will include:

  • the literary qualities of German war writing
  • the presentation of life and death at the front
  • images and perceptions of the enemy
  • the presentation of combat and comradeship
  • the portrayal of soldiers’ views of home and the home front
  • the political and cultural significance of German war literature after 1919
  • the construction of myths surrounding war experience.

Core Primary Texts

  • Erich Maria Remarque, Im Westen nichts Neues [1929] (Cologne: Kiepenheuer & Witsch, 2008).
  • Walter Flex, Der Wanderer zwischen beiden Welten [1916] (Kiel: Orion-Heimreiter-Verlag, 1997).
  • Ernst Jünger, In Stahlgewittern [1920] (Stuttgart: Klett-Cotta, 2001). ISBN 360895208X
  • Ernst Johannsen, Vier von der Infanterie. Ihre letzen Tage an der Westfront 1918 (Hamburg: Fackelreiter-Verlag, 1929).
  • Franz Schauwecker, Aufbruch der Nation (Berlin: Frundsberg-Verlag, 1929) - extracts
  • Edlef Köppen, Heeresbericht [1930] (Berlin: List Taschenbuch, 2005) ISBN 354860577X

You must buy the editions listed here and not any others. They are available through amazon and other online booksellers. Search for cheaper, second-hand copies.

Assessment: 3,000-word assessed essay (worth 50% of the final mark) and 2-hour examination (worth 50% of the final mark).

Further information: Nicholas Martin (n.c.martin@bham.ac.uk)

Provisional timetable: Mon 14:00-16:00 

Governance and Political Culture (Semesters 1 and 2, 09 20861 & 09 20862)

Germany 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. To what extent has Germany’s unique political culture shaped the country’s governance and its political institutions and in turn, what impact do those structures and processes have on the political culture? Germany’s numerous regime changes in a relatively short time including the unification between two entirely different regimes in 1990 make the country particularly valid for testing the concept of political culture. Whilst the emphasis is firmly on post war Germany, regular chronological and thematic excursions into German history will be made reaching back to the first German parliament of the Frankfurt Paul’s church in 1848 and the post war existence of two German states. Germany’s long and continuing journey from a strong state tradition (Staatskultur) to a model resembling more that of a civic culture (Zivilgesellschaft) will be traced. The country’s unique development (Sonderweg) will be studied by means of comparisons with other democracies.

The role, function, changes and key developments of institutions within Germany’ polity will be comprehensively scrutinized within the context of an increasingly changing world. The governmental and non-governmental bodies that make the political fabric of Germany will be examined by linking the concepts of governance and political culture. The German idea of consensus democracy will be analysed and challenged whilst the merits of alternative systems of government are debated. Governance in a globalized world has become more complex and offers new opportunities as well as threats and their implications for Germany will be assessed.

Whilst the focus lies in structures, processes and procedures they cannot be detached from policies and there will be sufficient room and scope for current affairs and topical discussions as events unfold. The list of previous papers gives an indication of the wide spectrum of interests that can be catered for. The course is suitable for all those who want to find out what "makes Germany's politics tick" by delving well below the surface.

Assessment: 2 hour written exam in May / June (50%) plus a 3000 word essay, normally based on a seminar paper delivered in semester 2 (50%).

Further information: Dr Dietmar Wozniak (d.wozniak@bham.ac.uk)

Provisional timetable: Tues 13:00-14:00 and Fri 10:00-11:00 

Oral Presentation and Debating (Semesters 1 and 2, 09 22593)

Kursziel des ganzen Jahres ist die Verbesserung Ihrer mündlichen Ausdrucksfähigkeit in einer Reihe von unterschiedlichen Situationen, in denen Sie eine Rolle spielen müssen. Diese Veranstaltung hilft Ihnen dabei, sich selbst zu beobachten, und wie Sie sich überzeugend ‚rüberbringen‘, sei das nun für Ihr Assessment oder aber bei einem potentiellen Arbeitgeber!

Assessment: 20-minute presentation in German (50%) and a contribution to a chaired debate (50%)

NB: This module is not suitable for those originating from German-speaking countries. Participants will need advanced level German (equivalent of at least C1 on the Common European Framework).

Further information: Dr Ruth Whittle (r.whittle@bham.ac.uk)

Provisional timetable: Thurs 11:00-12 noon. 

NB: Timetable information is given as a guide, but module timetable will not be confirmed until the beginning of Semester 1 in September 2015.