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2017/18 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

GERM3170 German Utopian Thought in Fiction and Film

20 creditsClass Size: 15

Module manager: Dr Ingo Cornils

Taught: Semesters 1 & 2 View Timetable

Year running 2017/18

Pre-requisite qualifications

Successful completion of GERM 2030 or equivalent plus successful completion of a period of residence in a German-speaking country (module is taught and assessed in German).


GERM2030German Core Language 2
GERM2031German Core Language 2

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

The dream of a better world is as old as mankind. However, there is no agreement as to what that world should look like and where it may be found. This module explores the rich German tradition of romantic, utopian, dystopian and fantastic imaginings of alternative worlds in fiction and film. You will gain an overview of 20th / 21st century German utopian literature and film, and explore the relationship between socio-cultural critique in Germany and its reflection in artistic production. Through individual research, group discussions and presentations, you will develop the ability to think, read, speak and write confidently about one of the most challenging questions facing us today: what kind of world do we want to live in? The module is taught and assessed in German.


On completion of this module students should be able to:
- demonstrate their knowledge of German utopian and fantastic literature and film;
- analyse these texts and films using theoretical approaches taken from the fields of historiography, literary analysis, visual culture and politics;
- read/view and analyse long and complex texts and films in the German language;
- analyse the relationship between utopian critique in Germany and its reflection in artistic production;
- situate their understanding of this genre in German debates about an ideal society.

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module, students should be able to:
- demonstrate a deepening of their knowledge, gained at Level 2, of concepts and approaches to the study of German literature and film in a historical and socio-political context;
- locate and form independent judgments on scholarly texts;
- appropriately use analytical vocabulary to respond to those texts;
- formulate their own research question in response to the set texts and films.

Skills outcomes
- Reading skills – set texts and some of the secondary literature in German
- Writing skills – Presentations, Essay and Exam in German
- Listening skills – Seminar discussion and Films in German
- Speaking skills – Presentations and discussions in German


Semester 1 / texts studied will vary, but could include:
Die utopische Tradition: J.G. Schnabel, Die Insel Felsenburg (1731, exerpts)
Kurd Lasswitz, Auf zwei Planeten (1897, exerpts)
Fritz Lang / Thea von Harbou, Metropolis / Die Frau im Mond (1927/1929, Film)
Hermann Hesse, Das Glasperlenspiel (1943, exerpts)
Raumpatrouille (1966, Fernsehserie)

Semester 2 / texts studied will vary, but could include:
Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Welt am Draht (1973, Fernsehfilm)
Carl Amery, Der Untergang der Stadt Passau (1975)
Andreas Eschbach, Die Haarteppichknüpfer (1995)
Christian Kracht, Ich werde hier sein im Sonnenschein und im Schatten (2008)
Bidzina Kanchaveli, 1000 Könige (2012, Film)

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Class tests, exams and assessment191.0019.00
Private study hours160.00
Total Contact hours40.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Students will have regular set reading and research tasks and will be responsible for including and critically reflecting on selected secondary literature in their group presentations. They will also use extensive online resources (via the VLE) and library resources to prepare their presentation and research their individual essay.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

The group presentations and position papers required of students and subsequent feedback meetings will ensure that progress is monitored. The presentation of ideas to the group and the individual sessions with the tutor during the planning stages of the Semester 1 essay will also ensure that key questions are properly identified and that approach and methodology have been adequately addressed.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay2,000 words in German30.00
PresentationOne oral presentation, in pairs, of 20 mins length20.00
ReportPosition Paper based on the presentation0.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)50.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc)2 hr 00 mins50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)50.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 02/03/2018 17:22:51


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