Module Catalogue 2023/24

GER4016 : 1989 and all that: Transformations in German Culture and Society since the Fall of the Wall (Inactive)

GER4016 : 1989 and all that: Transformations in German Culture and Society since the Fall of the Wall (Inactive)

  • Inactive for Year: 2023/24
  • Module Leader(s): Professor Bernhard Malkmus
  • Owning School: Modern Languages
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System

Modules you must have done previously to study this module

Pre Requisite Comment



Modules you need to take at the same time

Code Title
GER4081Level D (HE Further Advanced) German: Advanced Writing Skills
Co Requisite Comment

Level D German or equivalent


This module investigates central transformations in German culture and society since the fall of the Berlin Wall. It focuses on paradigmatic shifts and how these changes shape Germans' perception of the future. We will investigate how concepts of the future have changed in the light of the fall of the Berlin Wall and its geopolitical consequences, the digital revolution, and the global ecological crisis, and how these changes have shaped Germans' perception of and engagement with the present and the future.
We will engage with a selection of contemporary literature, film and visual arts, see below for examples; we are reading major essayistic interventions on these topice by historians, sociologists, engineers, psychologists, philosophers.
On the basis of these engagements, we are aiming to gain in-depth knowledge of major transformations of Grmany since 1989; develop skills to articulate these transformations and their impact on Germany in particular and Europe in general; an awareness of pressing issues for the future and potential cultural resources for tackling them.

Outline Of Syllabus

I. The Fall of the Wall and Reunification
Understanding the ramifications of this seminal event through historical documents and literary and artistic reflections, e.g., the film "Yella" by Christian Petzold and the novel "Heimsuchung" by Jenny Erpenbeck.

II. Cold War, the EU, and Europe in a Multilateral World
Understanding the opportunities and challenges of a new world order after the cold war through studying political essays and literary texts, e.g., the play "Die Physiker" by Friedrich Dürrenmatt, essays by Jean-Luc Dupuy, Ulrich Beck, Juli Zeh.

III. Digitisation and the Internet
Reflecting on the social, political, and psychological impacts brought about by the internet, digitisation, and artificial intelligence. Sources include E.T.A. Hoffmann's novelly "Der Sandmann", Werner Herzog's documentary film "Wovon das Internet träumt", short stories, essays by Siegmund Freud, Shoshanna Zuboff, Byung-Chul Han, Thomas Ramge.

IV.The Anthropocene
Engaging with seminal theories on humanity in an age of planetary ecological crisis.
Sources include Ilya Trojanow's novella "EisTau", the documentary film "Alpi" by Armin Linke, art installations by various artists, essays by Robert MAcfarlane, Amitav Ghosh and Jonathan Frantzen.

V. The Future: Between Utopia and Dystopia
Understanding how the German historical experience of recent decades has shaped a particular perception of the future; engaging with how that perception differs from and has commonalities with the British experience and perception of the future.

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

- Detailed knowledge about how concepts of time and space have changed in Germany since 1989
- Awareness of the fact that these paradigmatic changes have national, Europen and global dimensions
- Familiarity with German-language aesthetic and philosophical reflections of this development
- Familiarity with the contemporary debate about the future
- Awareness of the importance of developments in Germany for understanding decisice issues of the modern world pre- and post 1989 -- and their roots in the history of modernity
- Sensibility for the ethical ramifications of the Anthropocene

Intended Skill Outcomes

- Ability to follow German lectures in German and to take notes on lectures
- Ability to read a variety of longer 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 an 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 ActivitiesLecture101:0010:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching102:0020:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery31:003:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1167:00167:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The mixture of lectures and seminars will provide the opportunity for students to (1) acquire lecture-based in-depth knowledge of the significance of key characteristics of the sources and materials studied, and (2) to use this knowledge as a basis for classroom discussions of the key sources and the issues raised in the scholarship, thereby encouraging students to apply the general critical abilities and contextual knowledge they acquired to the specific examples on the syllabus. Lectures will provide students with an introduction to the main issues covered by the module. Seminars will be used for student-active discussions, thus enabling students to develop their interpersonal skills and to practise their ability to articulate ideas.

We will also explore new collaborative learning formats among small groups of students (2-3 individuals). Part of this format will be the preparation of a non-assessed oral presentation on a subject of their choice relating to the issues explored in the module. This will develop students’ oral presentation skills and, additionally, enable them to practise constructing coherent and reasoned arguments.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination601A30set exam in English (end of Semester 1)
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1M70A 2500 word essay to be written in English or in German German and submitted at the end of Semester 2
Formative Assessments

Formative Assessment is an assessment which develops your skills in being assessed, allows for you to receive feedback, and prepares you for being assessed. However, it does not count to your final mark.

Description Semester When Set Comment
Essay1MPractice essay of about 1000 words, set around weeks 4-6
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

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 independent critical 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 a comprehensive and contextually embedded understanding of the knowledge acquired throughout the semester, an ability to structure and interconnect information to produce coherent arguments in writing, and versatility in applying it to specific new contexts.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


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