Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2016-2017 (archived)


Department: Modern Languages and Cultures (German)


Type Open Level 3 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2016/17 Module Cap 30 Location Durham


  • German Language 2A (GERM2021); OR German Language 2B (GERM3152) OR an equivalent qualification to the satisfaction of the Chairman/Chairwoman of the Board of Studies of MLAC or his/her representative.


  • German Language 4 (GERM3071) and German Language 4 (with Year Abroad) (GERM3211).

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • This module aims to introduce students to an interesting and important existential and cultural problem still insoluble for the modernist mentality: the problem of mortality in a secular culture and the compensatory role of (mainly erotic) love in relation to that problem. Students will be introduced to major authors in philosophy and literature (Aries, Dollimore, Bronfen, Novalis, Freud, T. Mann and others). They will develop a sophisticated knowledge of the religious tradition and secular modern reflection thereon, both in general terms and in terms of the particular German traditions.
  • Students will develop competence in reading and analysis of literary and theoretical discourse, also to some extent in the analysis of visual imagery.


  • A variety of verbal and visual material: both still and moving images, ranging from short texts by from Latin and Greek writers (Homer, Ovid) in translation, to lyrics and stories by German writers and thinkers from the Enlightenment to Modernism (Lessing, Schiller, Goethe, Hardenberg-Novalis, Werner, C. Brentano, Keller, Kafka and Hofmannsthal and including Stoker’s Dracula. The visual material ranges from C15 woodcuts to images by Poussin and Murnau’s Nosferatu film.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • By the end of the course students
  • will be well-informed and able critically to reflect on a major topic in modern Western and in particular German culture
  • they will be acquainted with a wide range of theoretical positions also still and moving and texts on the subject from antiquity to modernity
  • knowledge of literary and film genres
  • knowledge of literary concepts
Subject-specific Skills:
  • By reading primary and secondary texts in the target language students will enhance their comprehension skills in the language that they are learning and their ability to mediate between it and English
  • The module will also enhance their skills of critical analysis and contribute to the development of intercultural awareness, in both visual and verbal culture and in intermedial areas
Key Skills:
  • An ability to combine organised independent study with effective group work.
  • Coherent articulation of ideas and arguments, in oral and written presentation.
  • Research and time management skills
  • Digital media skills (word-processing of assignments, use of an online learning environment, use of online sources of information)

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

  • The module will be taught intensively either in Term I or in Term II on a 'short-fat 'basis.
  • Lectures (twice weekly) will deliver key information on the module; a weekly seminar with smaller groups will allow for individual presentations and active discussions.
  • This format responds to student feedback gained in SSCC and NSS responses.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 18 2 per Week 1 hour 18
Seminars 9 Weekly 1 hour 9
Preparation and Reading 173
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Commentary Component Weighting: 25%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Commentary 1 1500 words 100% No
Component: Commentary-Essay Component Weighting: 75%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Commentary-Essay 2 3500 words 100% No

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