Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2008-2009 (archived)


Department: Modern Language and Cultures (German)


Type Open Level 3 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2008/09 Module Cap 30 Location Durham


  • German Language 2 (GERM2021) or German Language 2 and Year Abroad (GERM2111) OR an equivalent qualification to the satisfaction of the Chairman/woman of the Board of Studies of MLAC or his/her representative.


  • Modern European Languages, Combined Arts and all Joint and 'with' programmes: German Language 4 (GERM3071). Others: see Chairman/woman of the Board of Studies of MLAC or his/her representative.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To widen students' familiarity with the various meanings of the term 'image' and with the ways that images function within or in conjunction with verbal texts, be it as metaphor, ekphrasis, or photographic material.
  • It will thus: enhance their understanding of some of the key issues of text-image relations that are of central importance to advanced study in the humanities.
  • broaden students' reading and information base in German cultural history.
  • provide them with the wherewithal to analyse different kinds of images, some of which have traditionally been the province of literary studies (metaphor and, to an extent, ekphrasis), and some of which fall within the more contemporary purview of visual culture studies (photography).
  • The module assumes no prior knowledge of literature and visual culture, and will introduce students to the necessary theoretical background and analytic techniques.
  • At the same time, the module offers those students who took modules in cultural history at Level 2 (notably Heroes and Myths of German History and Sex and Identity) the opportunity to pursue their areas of interest, and to deepen and expand their knowledge of the literary and visual culture of the German-speaking countries.


  • In any given year, two of the following topic-areas will be offered: Literature and Photography - Texts to be studied will typically include theoretical works by Walter Benjamin, and 'phototexts by Kurt Tucholsky, Bertolt Brecht, Rolf Dieter Brinkmann, Stefan Wackwitz, W.G.
  • Sebald and Volker Braun.
  • Metaphor - Texts to be studied will typically include the poetry of Heinrich Heine and (theoretical sources? Any other writers?).
  • Ekphrasis in the Nineteenth Century - Texts and images to be studied will typically include works by Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, Friedrich von Hardenberg, Philipp Otto Runge, Caspar David Friedrich, Heinrich von Kleist, Jean Jacques Andre le Veau, Jean Baptiste Greuze and Adalbert Stifter.
  • This module is taught and examined in German.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • By the end of the course students will:
  • be familiar with the theoretical issues raised by the image in the text, whether it be in terms of metaphor, ekphrasis, or the text-photo combination,
  • be acquainted with an important body of canonical literary texts covering c. two centuries of German literary history, as well as with relevant secondary and theoretical sources,
  • acquire some of the critical skills that facilitate the analysis and interpretation of images in a variety of narrative and poetic works.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • By reading and discussing texts in German, they will also gain enhanced knowledge of and fluency in the target language.
Key Skills:
  • Written argumentation and presentation.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • The course will consist of plenary sessions, seminars and tutorials.
  • Plenary sessions will be based on student presentations.
  • By preparing for plenary sessions, students will develop skills in independent learning, rapid critical reading, synthesis, analytic thinking, and presentation, all of which will be further promoted by preparation for seminars on a weekly basis, and by guided discussion in the seminars themselves.
  • The course will be taught mainly in German and assessed wholly in German.
  • Through participation in classes, students will thus also increase their proficiency in both oral and written German.
  • Students will produce two summatively assessed essays over the course of the year which will train them to construct coherent, lucid arguments in syntactically and grammatically sound German.
  • Feedback on summative assignments will be given.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Seminars 2 Weekly 1 hour 21
Plenary Sessions 10 Fortnightly 1 hour 10
Practicals 2 Termly 1 hour 4
Preparation and Reading 165
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Essay 1 Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 2,500 words 100%
Component: Essay 2 Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 2,500 words 100%

Formative Assessment:


Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University