This seminar will examine the changes Germany has undergone from the foundation of the German Empire in 1871 up to the present day: Empire, World War I, the Weimar Republic, the Third Reich, the division of Germany after World War II, reunification in 1989. The course will focus primarily on the perceptions of political, cultural, and social processes, as formulated by the writers, filmmakers, and artists of the respective periods. This will be illustrated using, among others, the example of Berlin, which is without a doubt the focal point of historical events in Germany.
Through selected texts, films, and works of art, we will examine, for example, the following questions: what possibilities of self-assertion did the individual have in a world characterized by the patriotic frenzy of empire? How did technological progress and urbanization influence culture in the 1920s? How did literature and film react to the Nazi’s rise to power and subsequent dictatorship? How did Germany’s situation in the Cold War impact its artistic production? How was literature and art affected by the reunification?
In addition, excursions to museums and historical locations will give students the opportunity to discover the current and historical development of the country firsthand, in order to strengthen and deepen their understanding and knowledge thereof.
The seminar is aimed at students from different disciplines who are interested in literature, film, art, and the history of Germany. Apart from the language requirements below, participants are not required to have any special knowledge.
Language ability: at least intermediate German (level B2); Short description of B2-level language ability: Can understand the main ideas of complex texts on both concrete and abstract topics; in your own field also including more technical topics; should be able to spontaneously interact with native speakers fluently and without stress; can produce a clear, detailed text on a wide range of topics, and explain a position in a topical discussion, giving the advantages and disadvantages of various options.
A course reader will be provided at the orientation meeting.