Module Catalogue 2019/20

GER2013 : Nature and Ecology in German Culture

  • Offered for Year: 2019/20
  • Module Leader(s): Professor Bernhard Malkmus
  • Owning School: Modern Languages
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semesters
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Pre Requisite Comment

N/A

Co Requisites
Code Title
GER2061Level C (HE Advanced) German
Co Requisite Comment

Level C German or equivalent

Aims

This module looks at the various historical tributaries to contemporary green culture in the German-speaking world. It engages with perennial traditions such as Romanticism, the concern with Heimat and outdoor culture as well as more recent political and social movements such as nature preservation, anti-nuclear power protests and the large-scale energy transition. By engaging with aesthetic, scientific and political documents we seek to deliver a “thick description” of the contribution German-language cultures have made to our reflections on the relation between humans and their natural environments under the condition of western modernity. Through close readings, discussion platforms and writing exercises students will sharpen their awareness for the relevance of these traditions for understanding and coping with the challenges of the current global ecological crisis and the human condition in the Anthropocene.

Outline Of Syllabus

- Framing the discussion: Erich Fromm: "To Have or To Be"
- Discussion platforms:
- Self-restraint or technological solutions?
- Nuclear power, renewable energy and energy transition
- Environmental issues as an ethical challenge
- The post-war environmental movement
- The Green party
- Gudrun Pausewang, "Die Wolke" (short novel)
- Werner Herzog, "Grizzly Man" (film)
- Proto-ecological thinkers (A. von Humboldt, Goethe)
- The science of ecology (Haeckel, von Uexküll, Markl)
- Romanticism: painting, poetry
- Alternative lifestyle movements around 1900
- Hermann Hesse, "Siddhartha" (novella)
- The concept of ‘Heimat’
- Nature in 20th-century German art and photography
- Environmental philosophy (Jonas, Hösle, Welzer)
- Thomas Riedelsheimer, "Rivers and Tides" (film)
- The Anthropocene Project (Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin)

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

- In-depth knowledge about the complex historical roots of green thinking in German-language cultures
- Familiarity with key texts and essayistic writings that contribute to this tradition
- Familiarity with key reflections on nature and the environment in the visual arts and film
- Basic knowledge about the early history of ecology as a science and its social impact
- Familiarity with the complexity of environmental issues and their central role in our understanding of future challenges
- Sensibility with regard to how human self-reflection changed in the light of ecological sciences and environmental thinking

Intended Skill Outcomes

- Ability to follow lectures in German and to take notes on lectures
- Ability to read a variety of shorter German text genres
- Ability to formulate independent ideas about these materials
- Ability to conduct group work and participate actively in classroom discussions
- Improvement of German reading comprehension
- Improvement of German listening comprehension
- Improvement of English and German writing skills
- Ability to give a brief oral presentation in German
- Ability to question and problematize ideas

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture121:0012:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion221:0042:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching122:0024:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1122:00122:00N/A
Total200:00
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures will provide students with an introduction to the main issues covered by the module. Seminars will be used for student-active discussion of the issues, in order to enable students to develop their interpersonal skills and to practise their ability to articulate ideas. Students will also be expected to prepare a short non-assessed presentation on a subject of their choice relating to the texts and issues explored in the module. This will develop their oral presentation skills and, additionally, enable them to practise constructing coherent and reasoned arguments.

The assessed essay will allow students to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the module’s main topics, and to produce a reasoned and coherent argument in writing. The essay will be based on individual study and encourages students to carry out individual research. In addition, the essay will enable students to show evidence of the following skills: bibliographical work, word-processing, footnoting and referencing. The exam will allow students to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the second half of the module, an ability to retain information and apply it to specific contexts without textual support, to produce coherent arguments in writing.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

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

Exams
Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination901A50Unseen; in English
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1M50A 2,000 word essay to be written in German and submitted at the end of semester 1.
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Essay1MA practice essay, set in week 3, to be submitted in week 5. Length: 750-1,000 words.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The assessed essay will allow students to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of a specific area of study within the module, and to produce a reasoned and coherent argument in writing. The essay will be based on individual study and encourages students to carry out individual research. In addition, the essay will enable students to show evidence of the following skills: bibliographical work, word-processing, footnoting and referencing. The exam will allow students to demonstrate breadth of knowledge and understanding of the general aspects of the module, an ability to retain information and apply it to specific contexts without textual support, to produce coherent arguments in writing.

Timetable

Past Exam Papers

General Notes

N/A

Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2019/20 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 2020/21 entry will be published here in early-April 2019. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.