Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2016-2017 (archived)


Department: Modern Languages and Cultures (German)


Type Open Level 2 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2016/17 Module Cap 45 Location Durham


  • German Language 1A (GERM1011) or German Langauge 1B (GERM1112) 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 Honours and all Joint and 'with' programmes: German Language 2A (GERM2021) or German Langauge 2B (GERM2152). Others: see Chairman/woman of the Board of Studies of MLAC or his/her representative.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To prepare students for more specialised study in final year optional seminars by building strategically on knowledge and skills already mediated through GERM1081 Identity & Politics in the German-Speaking Countries / GERM1091 Reading German Culture / GERM1101 Picturing the Past of the German-Speaking Countries.
  • To focus on the multi-faceted topic of violence, which is exemplified in a wide range of texts, films, visual arts and mainstream traditions from various periods.
  • To broaden students' reading and knowledge of German cultural history and to develop their understanding of the decisive role of art in society.


  • This module explores how individual and collective notions of violence are shaped and redefined by literature, film, and visual art over several periods of German cultural history.
  • The module will focus on such topics as warfare, terrorism, familial power structures, domestic abuse, violence and the issue of corporeality in modernity, traumatic experience, memory and commemoration of conflict and aggression as part of a broader consideration of violence and aesthetics.
  • Treatment of the theme will include analyses of aesthetic representations of violence and will explore past and present theories of violence.
  • Areas covered may include the Age of the French Revolution, Modernity, Representations of the Holocaust, German and Austrian Cinema, Postcolonial Studies. These will be explored in a range of media (prose and lyric writing, visual art, and film).
  • This module is taught and examined in English and in German.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Familiarity with a wide range of representative works in word and image which treat the problem of violence and its various interpretations over several periods of German cultural history.
  • Knowledge of the methodologies appropriate to the analysis of works in these different genres.
  • Enhanced knowledge of the specialised language required to talk and write about the problem of violence in both English and German.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Analysing the means by which relevant works construct, reflect on and criticise notions of violence
  • Applying appropriate methodologies in order to perform this analysis and interpretation.
  • Independent research skills, developed through close reading, critical analysis of aesthetic and theoretical material, as well as through presenting a structured argument in both oral and written form.
  • Enhanced comprehension skills in German, and enhanced range and fluency of expression in English and German.
  • Students will increase their proficiency in written argumentation in English, as well as presentation in the target language.
Key Skills:
  • Enhanced skills in independent learning, rapid critical reading, synthesis, and analytic thinking.
  • The coherent formulation of arguments and their presentation in written and oral form.

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

  • The module will consist of plenary sessions, seminars and tutorials.
  • Plenary sessions will be based on both lectures and student presentations.
  • Lectures will familiarise students with the relevant socio-historical context and introduce the key theoretical and critical issues raised by the texts under consideration.
  • By preparing for presentations, students will develop skills in independent learning, rapid critical reading, synthesis and analytic thinking, all of which will be further promoted by preparation for seminars, and by guided discussion in the seminars themselves.
  • The module will be taught in both German and English.
  • Through presentations in classes, students will thus also increase their oral proficiency in the target language.
  • Students will produce two summatively assessed essays over the course of the year which will train them to construct coherent, lucid arguments.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 21 Weekly 1 hour 21
Seminars 10 Fortnightly 1 hour 10
Preparation and Reading 169
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Guided Commentary in English 1 Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Guided Commentary in English 1 2,000 words 100% Yes
Component: Guided Commentary in English 2 Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Guided Commentary in English 2 2,000 words 100% Yes

Formative Assessment:

10 minute presentation in German

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