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Module LXG-2013:
The Divided Germany

Module Facts

Run by School of Languages, Literatures and Linguistics

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 1 & 2

Organiser: Dr Sarah Pogoda

Overall aims and purpose

  1. To introduce students to the historical background of post-war Germany, and the emergence of different ideologies and cultures in East and West.
  2. To familiarise students with the work of some of the leading names in post-war German writing.
  3. To investigate the relationship between historical events and their depiction in literary and filmic imagination.
  4. To introduce students to the close reading of texts and the critical analysis of film.
  5. To develop skills in essay writing and oral presentation.

Course content

A selection of post-1945 short stories, theater plays and novels, contemporary film material and historical documents will form the basis of this course. It will familiarize students with the emergence of a divided Germany, and examine the dominant cultural and ideological trends in both East and West following the end of the Second World War. Students will be introduced to the work of some of the leading names in post-war German writing, film and arts, and will undertake close analysis of texts, films, visuals and music in order to examine the relationship between historical events and their depiction within the sphere of fiction or representation in other arts.

Set Texts Heiner Müller: Der Lohndrücker (1957). Heinrich Böll: Billard um halb zehn (Kiepenhauer & Witsch: Köln)

Films: Ich war neunzehn, dir. by Konrad Wolf (DEFA, 1968) Deutschland im Herbst (Episodenfilm BRD 1978) Das deutsche Kettensägenmassaker, dir. by Christoph Schlingensief (Filmgalerie 451, 1990)

Recommended Reading Mary Fulbrook, The Two Germanies, 1945-1990 (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1992) or Mary Fulbrook, German National Identity after the Holocaust. The Myth of German National Identity after the Holocaust (Malden, MA: Blackwell, 1999) or Mary Fulbrook, A Concise History of Germany (Cambridge, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2004) Mary Fulbrook and Andrew I. Port (eds), Becoming East Germans: Socialist Structures and Sensibilities After Hitler (New York: Berghahn, 2013) Ulrich Mählert, Kleine Geschichte der DDR (Munich: Beck, 1999 Nick Thomas, Protest Movements in 1960s West Germany: A Social History of Dissent and Democracy (Oxford, NY: Berg, 2003)

Assessment Criteria


D- - D+: For the award of credit, students should demonstrate a satisfactory comprehension of the various topics studied, with some understanding of the correlations and interrelations highlighted.


C- - B+: For the award of higher grades, students should demonstrate a solid comprehension of the various topics studied, with clear understanding of the correlations and interrelations highlighted, having also analysed and evaluated key sources.


A- to A*: For the award of the highest grades, students should demonstrate a detailed and thorough comprehension of the various topics studied, with a nuanced understanding of the correlations and interrelations highlighted, having also analysed and evaluated key sources thoroughly

Learning outcomes

  1. Gaining an overview of key dates and events in post 1945 Germany (East and West)

  2. Display an understanding of the emergence of East and West Germany, and an awareness of their different ideologies and cultures.

  3. Demonstrate the ability to explore a range of literary and cultural interests in each of the two Germanies.

  4. Display critical reading skills and an awareness of film, literature and other arts as a cultural medium and historical text, and reflect on the nature, possibilities and limitations of a particular genre.

  5. Display the ability to reflect on the relationship between historical events and their depiction in the literary, filmic and other artistic imagination.

  6. Present arguments in presentations and essays, supported with literary and historical evidence.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
ESSAY essay S1 35
ESSAY essay S2 35

Class test on key events and dates of post 1945 Germany (East & West)


Teaching and Learning Strategy


1 hour Seminar per week for 11 weeks per semester

Private study 178

Transferable skills

  • 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
  • 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.
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Teamwork - Able to constructively cooperate with others on a common task, and/or be part of a day-to-day working team
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others

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 and think under pressure and meet deadlines. (Benchmark statement 5.15)
  • 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 work creatively and flexibly both independently and/or as part of a team. (Benchmark statement 5.15).
  • The ability and willingness to engage with and appreciate other cultures and to articulate to others (in written and verbal form) the contribution that the culture has made at a regional and global level. (Benchmark statement 5.7)
  • 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 engage in analytical, evaluative and original thinking. (Benchmark statement 5.14)
  • The ability to organise and present ideas and arguments in presentations, classroom discussions and debates. (Benchmark statement 5.14, 5.16)
  • 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 the history, political situation and culture of East and/or West Germany. (Benchmark statement 5.10)
  • 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)


Pre- and Co-requisite Modules

Courses including this module

Optional in courses: