GERM233: Becoming German: Post-War German Language, Culture and Identities

Year 2

What has it meant to be German since the country was left in ruins at the end of World War II? Introducing students to key debates about the country's fascist past, East-West relations, and the changing understanding of gender roles from the 1950s to the present, this module is designed to help deepen students’ understanding of the contemporary German-speaking world while systematically enhancing their skills of cultural analysis in diverse media. The module will introduce students to the prose fiction of two highly controversial Nobel laureates, Günter Grass and Elfriede Jelinek, as well as exploring ways of analysing newspaper texts, popular ballads, short stories, and film. The texts we will study are united by their common concern with the identity issues raised by the fast-changing society in which they are set, and they use a fascinating array of techniques to provoke, challenge, and entertain. The main aim of the module is twofold: to build students’ reading knowledge of German while giving them a flavour of the rich cultural output that has defined the German-speaking realm over the past sixty years.