This module focuses on the recent history of Vienna and Berlin, the cultural capitals of the German-speaking world. Many of the key events and movements that influenced Europe over the past century are intimately linked to these two cities, from the collapse of the Habsburg Empire, the development of extremist left- and right-wing parties in the interwar period to the division and re-uniting of Europe as embodied by the Berlin Wall. Changes and continuities in the political, social and physical topography of Vienna and Berlin will be traced by studying representations of both cities in a range of texts and films from the early twentieth to the early twenty-first century. Alongside feature films and prose genres such as short stories and reportage, the module will also consider theoretical texts on the city and the contribution of urban life to modern German-language culture. Central themes are the interplay of individual and collective, urban anonymity and liberation versus alienation and uniformity, multiculturalism and migration.
One weekly two-hour joint lecture and seminar for ten weeks
Available under GE589 (Level 5) or GE590 (Level 6)
Method of assessment
• Essay (2,000 words) – 40%
• Presentation (15 minutes) – 20%
• Examination (2 hours) – 40%
Indicative Reading List
Aichinger, I, (1948), Die größere Hoffnung (extracts)
Albert, B, (1999), Nordrand
Bachmann, B, (1961), 'Unter Mördern und Irren'
Döblin, A, (1929), Berlin Alexanderplatz (extracts)
Özdamar, E.S, (2001), Der Hof im Spiegel
Roth, J, (1919/1920), Symptome der Zeit newspaper articles from 1919/20, taken from Joseph Roth, Werke I: Das journalistische Werk 1915-1923 (ed. Klaus Westermann, Cologne 1989)
Wenders, W, (1987) Himmel über Berlin
See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)
On successfully completing the module Level 6 students will be able to:
8.6 Demonstrate a systematic understanding of the relation between literary and cinematic representation and changing socio-historical conditions.
8.7 Carry out and display understanding of additional research and critical thinking in both written assessments and seminar topics that show an appreciation of the uncertainty, ambiguity and limits of knowledge.
8.8 Demonstrate independent learning skills by being able to make use of a wide range of high-level resources, including up-to-date research in peer-reviewed journals, information technology, relevant subject bibliographies and other primary and secondary sources.
8.9 Demonstrate a comprehensive appreciation of key aspects of current critical approaches and theories on representations of the city and the ability to comment upon these approaches as well as to understand the specific cultural, historical and political contexts from which they emerge.
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