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HIS2307 : Germany and Central Europe in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries (Inactive)

  • Inactive for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Felix Schulz
  • Lecturer: Professor Daniel Siemens
  • Teaching Assistant: Mr Chris Law
  • Owning School: History, Classics and Archaeology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

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

Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System


This module upon the expertise of additional members of staff in such a way as to expand both the chronological and geographical scope. To include Central Europe will allow us to discuss modern German history in a wider geographical and geopolitical context. It will provide students with a better understanding of the complexities of the region and the different identities of its people(s), including those who did not fit national frameworks. At the same time, this module may include popular topics like National Socialism and the GDR and will thus serve as a useful preparation to our special subject modules in year three. It will also make a case for the importance on historiography, as we can make the students aware of the very different readings of the past, depending on the national and political positions.

The overall aim of this module is thus twofold: On the one hand, this module will provide students with key knowledge about the history of Central Europe from the time of the Napoleonic wars to the present day. On the other hand, it will also enable them to understand, analyse and challenge the different narratives that were used over the last two hundred years to write the histories of these regions/states. By doing so, it aims
1. To encourage students to examine modern German and Central European history from a variety of different perspectives,
2. To explore primary sources and to integrate them into one’s argument,
3. To encourage students to think about the contingency of history and in an interdisciplinary way,
4. To advise students to think comparatively and to draw parallels to the history of other European
empires and nations states,
5. To question some of our societal understandings of important concepts such as that of identity and
national belonging, and
6. To provide an opportunity to acquire a sound general knowledge of the subject, reading widely and
critically in the primary and secondary literature associated with it and to develop the capacity for
independent study. Students will be encouraged to think critically and to develop their own research questions.

Outline Of Syllabus

The module will be taught chronologically and thematically, beginning in the early nineteenth century with the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire and the rise of nationalism in large parts of Central Europe. It will conclude with German and European unification processes in the 1990s.

The following are possible topics included in lectures and non-synchronous materials:
- The Nature and Rise of Nationalism in the Nineteenth Century
- Ethnicity and Belonging in modern Central Europe
- The German Empire in Europe and the World
- Gender and Citizenship in Central Europe
- Industrialisation and Work
- The religious Landscape
- Mass media and culture
- National Myths and the Political Uses of the Cultural Imagination
- Urbanisation and Modern Life in interwar Central Europe
- National Socialism
- Homeland and loss of homeland in the 20th the century
- At the Heart of The Cold War Divide: Competing Visions of Modernity
- Alternatives Lifestyles: From Life Reform movements to Punk
- Migration and Labour in the 19th and 20th century

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion661:0066:00For 2 assessment components (split as needed)
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture221:0022:00Lectures (2 p/w)
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading331:0033:003 hrs reading p/w (module reading list)
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities331:0033:003 hrs prep tasks per seminar
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching111:0011:00Seminars (1 p/w)
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study351:0035:00General consolidation activities
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures will introduce topics and provide expert orientation and exposition on a broad range of themes and issues, supplemented by the module reading list. In-person lectures will provide opportunities for dialogue, while recaped lectures can be reviewed at any time across the week and revisited numerous times afterwards. In the event that on-campus sessions need to be reduced, there is the capacity to present recorded materials asynchronously and retain timetabled slots for live discussion of these materials.

Seminars will also consolidate the learning progress from lectures and weekly readings by enabling students to focus on connected issues and material in greater depth. Seminars will be student-led and facilitated by teaching staff and will hinge upon group discussion and debate about materials circulated in advance (for example, sets of evidence, scholarship, and questions). In the event that on-campus sessions need to be reduced, there is the capacity to hold live seminar discussions online and retain timetabled slots.

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination14401A7024 hrs Take-Home-Exam (2.15 hrs equivalent = max 2000 words)
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1M301500 words (incl. footnotes but not bibliography)
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
Written exercise1M500 word source commentary exercise
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Work submitted during the delivery of the module forms a means of determining the student’s progress. Summative assessment tests knowledge outcomes and develops skills in historical analysis, research, reading and the independent presentation of one's arguments.

All Erasmus students at Newcastle University are expected to do the same assessment as students registered for a degree.
Study-abroad, non-Erasmus exchange and Loyola students spending semester 1 only are required to finish their assessment while in Newcastle. This will take the form of an alternative assessment.

The formative assessment prepares students for question 1 of the take-home exam, the essay prepares students for the subsequent part of the exam. The overall word count is slightly over the tariff, but reducing the essay to 1000 words will challenge the students who have great issues with brevity.

Reading Lists