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GE302 German Terror and Cultural Memory

Module Code: GE302
Module Name: German Terror and Cultural Memory
Module Coordinator: Dr Antonia Hofstätter
Term 1 2022-2023
Module Credits: 15

Module Description

In recent years the topic of German terror has made a popular cultural come back and it has been a feature of numerous films and literary, historical and autobiographical texts (i.e. Der Baader-Meinhof Komplex (2008)), sparking debates about the glamorisation of terrorism (Prada Meinhof) and discussions on the place of terror in the German national narrative. This module examines the outbreak of terrorism in West Germany during the late 1960s and 1970s against this background. It explores the origins and aims of different terrorist groups which unsettled West German political and civilian life during this period and, in this way, moves beyond a focus on the Rote Armee Fraktion (raf). It aims to give students a keen understanding of key events, episodes and personalities which shaped this era and an overview of the problems of representing and remembering terror. Using a selection of cultural texts (incl. films, literature and art), it explores the experience of terror from a variety of angles, outlining why political violence resurfaced as a popular tactic at this time and the political, cultural and transgenerational effects of this strategy.

This module aims to:

  • Provide students with an overview of the history of German terror and the problems of representing and remembering terror
  • Analyse a selection of literary and filmic representations of German terror (including contemporary and post-revolutionary sources)
  • Analyse representations of German terror in other cultural media (i.e. art and exhibitions)
  • Enable students to engage critically with a variety of theoretical and critical approaches to terror, cultural media and memory
  • Develop students’ research and essay writing skills

Learning Outcomes:

By the end of this module, you should:

  • Have gained an understanding of the key episodes and events associated with German terror
  • Be able to demonstrate knowledge of the place of this period and these events in the German national narrative
  • Be able to assess, analyse and interpret how German terror and terrorists are represented in contemporary novels, films and other cultural media (i.e. museum exhibits; art etc.)
  • Be able to analyse and deploy a range of critical approaches to the problems of representing and remembering terror
  • Be able to demonstrate an ability to research primary sources related to a chosen topic from the module
  • Be able to contextualise set texts in terms of their relation to the socio-cultural and political situation

In addition, the module will provide you with the opportunity to develop further the following skills:

  • The ability to abstract and synthesise key information from sources in English and German
  • The ability to organise, present, and defend ideas within the framework of a structured and reasoned argument
  • The ability to formulate opinions with reference to established interpretations
  • The ability to analyse critically a range of materials in German and English
  • The ability to apply critical methodologies to the analysis of cultural texts; the ability to conduct independent research using library and bibliographic resources and ICT skills.

Assessment Method:

1 x Student presentation (ca. 15 minutes) [20%]

1 x Student essay (3,000 - 3,500 words, excluding footnotes and bibliography) [80%]

Mode of Delivery:

2 hour in-person mixed lecture and seminar