From Gutenberg to Facebook:How Technology and Media Shaped German History - GRMN5530

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Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2024 to 2025.


This module provides a unique perspective on German cultural history alongside key developments in technology and media. It draws on cutting-edge research in German studies as well as history, philosophy and media theory. Topics span from the 1400s to the present day and include: 1) How the invention of the printing press enabled the Protestant Reformation; 2) How German literature was born from the culture of letter writing in the Eighteenth Century; 3) The pivotal role of newspapers for a German national conscience in the 1900s; 4) How the radio paved the way for Nazi dictatorship; 5) The effects of television in overcoming German post-war division; 6) Social Media's impact on the emergence of right-wing populism.

Students will engage with a range of historical documents, literary texts, audio as well as visual media, and analyse their impact on German culture and politics. There will be the opportunity for students to present their work in both traditional and innovative forms of assessment (short videos, podcasts and blogs). Besides a deep analytical engagement with the culturally transformative effects of technology and media, students will gain practical skills in the expression and presentation of their ideas, using a variety of conventional as well as digital means.


Contact hours

Total Contact Hours: 20
Private Study Hours: 130
Total Study Hours: 150

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods
Essay (2,000 words) – 50%
Blog Post (500 words) – 25%
Podcast or Videocast (15 Minutes) – 25%

Reassessment methods
Reassessment Instrument: 100% Coursework

Indicative reading

The University is committed to ensuring that core reading materials are in accessible electronic format in line with the Kent Inclusive Practices. The most up to date reading list for each module can be found on the university's reading list pages:

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

8. The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

8.1 Demonstrate critical knowledge and understanding of key episodes in German history and the impact that developments in technology and media have had on it;
8.2 Demonstrate competence in applying this knowledge within new and differing contexts (e.g. as regards cultural and political impacts of technological innovation, the significance of the relationship between technology and media for developments and transformations of the public sphere);
8.3 Critically analyse a range of relevant primary sources, including historic documents, literature, visual materials, films and multimedia;
8.4 Understand and critically engage with historiographical as well as political debates relating to the impact of technology and media on German culture.

9. The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

9.1 Carry out independent research, including critical responses to the primary reading;
9.2 Evaluate information critically, interpreting a variety of evidence in a critical manner;
9.3 Synthesise information from a number of sources in order to gain a coherent understanding of the subject;
9.4 Devise and sustain arguments and solved problems by engaging with recent critical ideas and approaches;
9.5 Express complex ideas and arguments in writing, but also in audio-visual and digital form;
9.6 Demonstrate enhanced information technology skills.


  1. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  2. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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