Study Abroad and Exchanges



GER2012 : Contemporary Identities in the Media and Culture of the Berlin Republic, 1990-2017 (Inactive)

Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 10.0


This module will build on and advance skills developed at Stage 1, aiming to introduce students to the contemporary debates around identity, which act as a lens for viewing and understanding of the culture of the Berlin Republic and the major themes and debates governing the representation and construction of identity since reunification in 1990. The module aims to deepen students’ skills at analysing a diverse range of cultural texts; to advance technical skills of close literary reading and technical film analysis already introduced at Stage 1; to encourage comparative analysis of texts; to develop an understanding of different artistic media (e.g. film/TV, literature, popular music, photography); to broaden students’ comprehension of contemporary German in spoken and literary registers; to practise spoken German and develop presentation skills in German.

Outline Of Syllabus

Lectures will begin by exploring what identity is in contemporary Germany, introducing trends and debates in contemporary discussions of identity. They will introduce theories of performance and performativity and the importance of how identities are represented and mediated: the relationship between different means of constructing or presenting identities will be the primary focus of the rest of the course. Subsequent lectures will then set out the historical and cultural background to the texts from the Berlin Republic, introduce the topics to be covered in seminars, and provide an overview of the authors/filmmakers and texts to be covered.

Seminars will cover the following topics (with the principal primary texts to be discussed in brackets).

Semester 1:
- What is Identity post-1990? (various theoretical texts)
- The Legacy of the GDR I (Sonnenallee, dir. by Leander Haußmann (1999))
- The Legacy of the GDR II: Multimedia Life-Writing (Jana Hensel, Zonenkinder (2002))
- Identities after Nazism I (Bernhard Schlink, Der Vorleser (1995) and The Reader, dir. by Stephen Daldry (2008))
- Identities after Nazism II (Jenny Erpenbeck, Heimsuchung (2008))
- Historical TV Drama (Deutschland 83, dir. by Edward Berger and Samira Radsi (2015))

Semester 2:
- Branding and Personal Identity (Christian Kracht, Faserland (1995))
- Literature and Music (Thomas Meinecke, Tomboy (1998) and a selection of techno mixes)
- Queer Genders and Sexualities (Romeos, dir. by Sabine Bernardi (2011))
- Migration and Identity (Abbas Khider, Ohrfeige (2016))
- Journeys of Escape, Journeys of Discovery (Tschick, dir. by Fatih Akın (2016))

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion180:0080:00Oral presentation, preparing assessment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture121:0012:00N/A
Guided Independent StudySkills practice18:008:00Consolidating language skills
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching122:0024:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery11:001:00Part of feedback on formative essay
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study175:0075:00Preparatory and consolidatory reading
Jointly Taught With
Code Title
GER2112Contemporary Identities in the Media and Culture of the Berlin Republic, 1990-2017 - Part 1
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

English will be the main language of tuition, but students will prepare one oral presentation in German each, developing spoken German in academic context and building presentation skills. The wide range of films and literature being discussed will develop reading and comprehension skills in English at an advanced level and German at a range of registers, from conversational and spoken German to high literary and academic register. Students will be expected to spend adequate time on their own consolidating the German language skills raised by reading the texts to ensure they are well equipped to understand the works discussed. This independent study may include learning vocabulary and idioms as well as revising grammatical structures.

Lectures will introduce the theoretical, historical and cultural contexts, and students will develop note-taking skills but will also be actively involved in discussions as part of the lecture. Seminars will develop close reading skills and in-depth understanding of the texts and issues being discussed. Each seminar will begin with a presentation in German and discussion in English, and will incorporate group work, peer feedback and discussion.

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination902A50One commentary and one essay
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2M50Essay questions to be released at start of course; 2000-word essay to be handed in by end of semester 2
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Essay1MChosen from same list of questions published for assessed essay.
Oral Presentation2MStudents will present in German on one component of the syllabus in either semester.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Both the examination and the assessed essay will assess students’ knowledge and understanding of the debates surrounding identities of different types in contemporary Germany. They will assess knowledge of the texts, as well as the students’ skills at conducting a comparative analysis, constructing and presenting an argument, and comparing and contrasting artistic works in different media.

The examination will additionally assess students’ skills at technical analysis of a selected passage using a commentary exercise. They will have a choice of either a film or a prose passage for commentary, both of which will test knowledge of the text in question and comprehension of written German. The essay in the examination will assess their ability to compare texts and to construct an argument, as well as the skill with which they respond to the essay question. The assessed essay will additionally assess students’ presentation skills, including bibliographic and referencing skills.

The formative essay will provide a chance to practise writing and presentation skills and to gain feedback on them before submitting the summative essay.

The oral presentation will provide a chance to practise presentation skills and hone skills in spoken German, as well as allowing for other students to practise comprehension of spoken German.

Reading Lists