Sites of Memory in E. Germany
Run by School of Languages, Literatures, Linguistics and Media
30 Credits or 15 ECTS Credits
Organiser: Prof Anna Saunders
Overall aims and purpose
- To develop an understanding of various theories of collective memory (e.g. M. Halbwachs, J.& A. Assmann), and the relationship between history and memory.
- To develop an in-depth knowledge and understanding of ongoing debates concerning the GDR legacy and its role in identity formation in contemporary German society.
- To investigate a variety of media concerned with memory/remembrance of the GDR (e.g. autobiography, monuments, museums, films, music), and the possibilities and limitations of different forms of representation.
- To develop independent study skills and the presentation of arguments in essays supported by evidence from literary, audio-visual and documentary material.
During this module students will be introduced to a number of ongoing debates relating to memory of the GDR and the place of the socialist legacy in forming contemporary identities in eastern Germany. The module will begin by considering theoretical understandings of collective memory, before applying these to examples of GDR remembrance in the public sphere. This will allow for a focused and in-depth understanding of the cultural fabric of eastern German society, examining the relevance of issues and concepts such as Vergangenheitsbewältigung, Ostalgie, Alltag, victimhood, political repression and responsibility. Through the examination of autobiography, museum exhibitions, film, monuments, architecture and music, students will critically engage with a variety of media, thus developing a variety of analytical skills, as well as an awareness of the limits and possibilities presented by different forms of representation.
Arnold-de Simine, Silke, Mediating Memory in the Museum: Trauma, Empathy, Nostalgia (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013) Cooke, Paul, Representing East Germany Since Unification (Oxford: Berg, 2005) Hodgin, Nick and Caroline Pearce (eds), The GDR Remembered: Representations of the East German State since 1989 (Rochester, N.Y.: Camden House, 2011) Niven, Bill and Chloe Paver (eds), Memorialization in Germany since 1945 (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010) Ross, Cory, The East German Dictatorship (London: Arnold, 2002) Sabrow, Martin (ed.), Erinnerungsorte der DDR (Munich: Beck, 2009) Saunders, Anna and Debbie Pinfold (eds), Remembering and Rethinking the GDR: Multiple Perspectives and Plural Authenticities (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013)
thresholdC- - C+: For the award of credit, students should demonstrate a satisfactory comprehension of the various themes and debates studied, showing a basic understanding of the correlations and interrelations within eastern German society, and a limited ability to analyse and evaluate literary, audio-visual and documentary sources, and apply some theoretical understanding of memory. Students will also show an awareness of accepted academic conventions.
goodB- - B+: For the award of higher grades, students should demonstrate a solid comprehension of the various themes and debates studied, showing a clear understanding of the correlations and interrelations within eastern German society, and the ability to analyse and evaluate literary, audio-visual and documentary sources, and apply a theoretical understanding of memory . Students will also show familiarity with accepted academic conventions.
excellentA- - A*: For the award of the highest grade, students should demonstrate a detailed comprehension of the various themes and debates studied, with a nuanced understanding of the correlations and interrelations within eastern German society, and the ability to analyse and evaluate literary, audio-visual and documentary sources thoroughly, and apply a solid theoretical understanding of memory . Students will also demonstrate originality in their work, as well as full competence concerning accepted academic conventions.
- Display an understanding of theoretical writings on collective memory and its relationship to history.
- Demonstrate the ability to engage in ongoing debates concerning the nature and importance of the GDR legacy in contemporary Germany.
- Display the ability to analyse and assess a variety of media (e.g. autobiography, monuments, museums, films, music), and to draw wider conclusions relating to specific demands produced by different forms of representation.
- Display a mastery of advanced study skills, such as the presentation of complex arguments in essays and oral presentations, and the ability to draw independent conclusions from a variety of literary, audio-visual and documentary material.
Teaching and Learning Strategy
6 x 2 hour tutorial, fortnightly
- Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
- Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
- Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
- Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
- Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
- Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
- Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
Subject specific skills
- Extract and synthesise key information from written and/or spoken sources in English / Welsh and/or the target language. (Benchmark statement 5.14)
- The ability to organise and present ideas within the framework of a structured and reasoned argument in written and/or oral assignments and class discussions. (Benchmark statement 5.14)
- Critical skills in the close reading, description, reasoning and analysis of primary and secondary sources in the target language and/or English or Welsh (incl. filmic, literary and other sources). (Benchmark statement 5.13, 5.14, 5.15)
- Competence in the planning and execution of essays, presentations and other written and project work; bibliographic skills, including the accurate citation of sources and consistent use of conventions and appropriate style in the presentation of scholarly work. (Benchmark statement 5.10, 5.14, 5.15)
- The ability to gather information, analyse, interpret and discuss different viewpoints and to place these in a wider socio-cultural and/or geo-historical and political and/or socio-linguistic context and to revise and re-evaluate judgements in light of those of the course leader, certain individuals or groups studied and/or fellow students. (Benchmark statement 5.13, 5.15 and 5.16)
- The ability to write effective notes and access and manage course materials including electronic resources / information provided on online learning platforms and library resources. (Benchmark statement 5.15, 5.16)
- The ability to grasp and discuss how films reflect objective or subjective positions in their treatment of their subject matter. (Benchmark statement 5.7 and 5.10)
- The ability to comprehend, critically engage with and apply relevant theoretical concepts to materials being studied. (Benchmark statement 5.10)
- The ability to engage in analytical, evaluative and original thinking. (Benchmark statement 5.14)
- Develop reading and audio-visual comprehension skills in the target language through the study of primary sources in the target language. (Benchmark statement 5.3, 5.4)
- The ability to develop and manage an independent research project in English/Welsh. (Benchmark statement 5.10, 5.15, 5.16)
- Skills in the critical reading and analysis of literary and/or musical and/or filmic texts. (Benchmark statement 5.10)
- The ability to comprehend and apply cultural idioms by studying primary and secondary materials in the target language. (Benchmark statement 5.3, 5.4)
- The ability to analyse German-language texts (incl. films, visual materials and ideas) and place them in a wider historical-political and socio-cultural context. (Benchmark statement 5.4, 5.7, and 5.11)
- The ability to comprehend, critically engage with and apply information from a variety of theoreticians to German case studies. (Benchmark statement 5.11)
- The ability to critically understand contemporary German memory debates and how they have impacted upon Germany. (Benchmark statement 5.7)
- The ability to critically understand how Germany has tried to come to terms with its past(s). (Benchmark statement 5.7)
- The ability to critically understand the history, political situation and culture of East and/or West Germany. (Benchmark statement 5.10)
Courses including this module
Optional in courses:
- R9AB: MA European Studies year 1 (MA/EURSTUD)