Module Catalogue 2016/17

HIS2126 : The difficult Fatherland: Germany's Past (Inactive)

  • Inactive for Year: 2016/17
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Felix Schulz
  • Owning School: History, Classics and Archaeology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Pre Requisite Comment


Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment



Wars of liberation, revolution, rapid industrialisation, unification through 'blood and iron', the launching of and defeat in two world wars, the rise of the Nazis, responsibility for war crimes and genocide on an unparalleled scale, foreign occupation and re-education, and political division for four decades have made German history, and the ways in which Germans have remembered it, contentious and of broad public concern. In few countries have visions of the nation's history been so varied and contested, and few peoples have created and faced such challenges when confronting their 'transient' or 'shattered' pasts. This course explores this history through representations of German pasts including memorials, films, artworks, exhibitions, etc.

This course will examine German historical memory during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, with the general aim to provide an opportunity of investigating in some depth selected problems, including the appraisal of selected source material and the critical examination of current historiography.

There are three more specific aims:

To enable students to develop a sound grasp of the main strands of recent German history and some of the most contentious and disputed aspects of that history;
To offer students the opportunity to consider the relationship between histories as experienced and histories as presented publicly; and,
To allow students to apply and test ideas about 'heritage', 'sites of memory' and 'coming to terms with the past' (Vergangenheitsbewältigung) in the most challenging of contexts.

Outline Of Syllabus

Topics may include:
1 - History, Memory, and the Problems of remembering German History
2 - Historical Memories and Monuments of the German Empire.
3 - Remembering Germany's First World War; War Memorials, Cemeteries and the Unknown Soldier.
4 - Nazi Visions of the German Past.
5 - Remembering the German Dead of the Second World War; Private and Public Memories.
6 - Remembering Nazi Dictatorship.
7 - Remembering the Holocaust.
8 - Official Anti-Fascism: East German historical Memories.
9 - Remembering Revolt and Violence: 1968 and the Autumn of 1977.
10 - Non-Germans remember the German past.
11 - Remembering the GDR.
12 - Coming to terms with the past

In this module the three film screenings are compulsory.

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

After completing this course students will
•       possess knowledge of the main strands of nineteenth- and twentieth-century German history, which prepares them for the German special subjects at Stage 3;
•       have developed a detailed understanding of the changing ways in which Germans have presented and regarded their recent past;
•       have engaged with the recent approaches to and literature about 'sites of memory' and be able to relate these to the course of modern German history. This will also mean that students will possess a better grasp of how historical memories have been constructed in the modern period as a whole.

Intended Skill Outcomes

Development of associated skills in research, critical reading and reasoning, sustained discussion and appropriate presentation of the results.
This course builds on the skills gained at stage 1, but deepens some skills, namely intellectual skills (interpretation and research) and professional skills (communication, cooperation, and analysis). This will prepare students for the skills and knowledge needed to undertake special subjects and their dissertation in the final year. In addition the engagement with non-textual sources will facilitate the broadening engagement with different interrogative and interpretational skills.

Graduate Skills Framework

Graduate Skills Framework Applicable: Yes
  • Cognitive/Intellectual Skills
    • Critical Thinking : Assessed
    • Active Learning : Present
    • Literacy : Assessed
    • Information Literacy
      • Source Materials : Assessed
      • Synthesise And Present Materials : Assessed
  • Self Management
    • Self Awareness And Reflection : Present
    • Planning and Organisation
      • Goal Setting And Action Planning : Assessed
      • Decision Making : Present
    • Personal Enterprise
      • Innovation And Creativity : Assessed
      • Initiative : Assessed
      • Independence : Present
      • Problem Solving : Assessed
      • Adaptability : Present
  • Interaction
    • Communication
      • Oral : Present
      • Interpersonal : Present
      • Written Other : Assessed
    • Team Working
      • Collaboration : Present
      • Relationship Building : Present
      • Negotiation : Present

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion631:0063:0040% of guided independent study
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture241:0024:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading631:0063:0040% of guided independent study
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching32:006:00Film screenings
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching121:0012:00Seminars
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study321:0032:0020% of guided independent study
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures impart core knowledge and an outline of knowledge that students are expected to acquire; they stimulate development of listening and note-taking skills.
Seminars encourage independent study and promote improvements in oral communication, problem-solving skills and adaptibility. After the introduction of the material/problems in the lecture, they will offer a deep and close engagement and interpretation of the set reading and a mixture of group and individual work.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1352A7048 Hour take home exam
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2M10500 word commentary
Essay2M201,500 word essays (including footnotes but excluding bibliography).
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Work submitted during the delivery of the module forms also a means of determining student progress. The 48 hour take-away exam tests the broader acquisition of general knowledge of the subject, the documentary component tests the ability to research and analyse primary source material and the exam component examines the ability to think and analyse a problem within a fixed timeframe, both in terms of applying general knowledge and detailed knowledge gained throughout the module. Like all exams this format also tests problem-solving skills, adaptability, the ability to work unaided, and to write clearly, concisely, and to do so within a clear word count limit.

Submitted work tests intended knowledge and skills outcomes, develops key skills in research, reading and writing.

All exchange students at Newcastle University including Erasmus, study-abroad, exchange proper and Loyola are warmly encouraged to do the same assessment as the domestic students unless they have compelling reasons not to do so. If this is the case, they are offered the option of writing one 3,000 word essay to be handed in by 12.00 p.m. of the Friday of the first week of the assessment period. This will replace all assessment work required of domestic students. If they wish to take up this option, students need to discuss it with their module leader, having checked with their home university that the new assessment will be accepted by them.

Students who opt for the alternative assessment because they will have to leave Newcastle University before the assessment period (excluding Erasmus students, who are contractually obliged to be at Newcastle until the end of the semester) should hand in their 3000-word essays before they go away. If this is not possible, they should tell the School exchange coordinator that they are going to submit their essays in absentia, then submit their essays through Blackboard and email copies of the essays to the School Office ( Any essay received after the deadline will be considered as a late submission.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2016/17 academic year. In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described. Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2017/18 entry will be published here in early-April 2017. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.