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2021/22 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

GERM2070 Behind the Headlines: Germany in the 21st Century

20 creditsClass Size: 8

Module manager: Dr Ingo Cornils

Taught: Semesters 1 & 2 (Sep to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2021/22


GERM1010German Language Awareness and Skills

This module is mutually exclusive with

GERM2071Behind the Headlines: Germany in the 21st Century

Module replaces


This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module, taught and assessed in German, sets out to introduce students to selected current political, social, economic and cultural debates in Germany with equal emphasis on the acquisition of advanced German language, media analysis, critical thinking and presentation skills. By engaging with a key issue in a collaborative project and researching a second issue of their own choice in depth, they learn to confidently analyse, and participate in, the German public sphere.


This module aims to:

- introduce students to the key debates which are shaping the identity, politics and culture in Germany today, and enable them to participate in these debates.
- engage with and produce reasoned responses to a variety of media and cultural texts and enable students to analyse and critically reflect on them in order to develop their own positions.
- engage students with key debates in present-day Germany by exploring selected case studies, identifying the ‘distinctiveness’ of German politics, society, economy and culture and their representation in the media.
- develop students’ own interpretations based on an informed, critical understanding of the issues and their independent research.
- develop the skills to research, critically reflect on, and effectively participate in the German public sphere.

Learning outcomes
At the end of the module, students should be able to:

1. Demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of the key debates which are shaping the identity, politics and culture in Germany today
2. Analyse a range of German media texts by analysing intention, content, context, subtext and rhetorical means
3. Demonstrate a critical understanding of the medial and cultural representation of key political, social, economic and cultural debates in Germany today
4. Demonstrate an ability to identify, critically engage with, and evaluate a range of different views and opinions in the media and in secondary literature
5. Present and defend their own reasoned position in German in a range of formats and contexts

Skills outcomes
• exposure to and practice of the German language
• opportunity to prepare for the Final Year Project through independent research
• development of critical thinking skills through the analysis of a broad variety of authentic media and cultural texts reflecting the key debates in present-day Germany, including government sources and political speeches, a variety of traditional and social media as well as literary and filmic representations


The module will cover key issues and debates in contemporary German politics, culture and society. The module will be structured around several learning units. Topics covered in the module will necessarily vary from year to year, which allows tutors to adjust the module to recent developments in German society.

A typical outline of learning units might look like:
1. Approaches to media analysis and the German media landscape
2. Approaches to political analysis and German political culture
3. Economic and social issues in Germany
4. Germany and the world
5. Cultural analysis and the role of culture in key debates in German society
6. Coming to terms with the past and future

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours171.00
Total Contact hours29.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Preparation for lectures and seminars through set and further reading
Completion of the video blog
Completion of the essay
Completion of formative assessments
In addition, students are expected to keep abreast of developments in Germany by following the news and public debates via recommended channels

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

• Regular feedback on performance in seminar through informal feedback; short writing tasks; short presentations in class
• Student groups will be given feedback on the proposal for, and script sample, of their video blog. Module tutors will also be on hand to help at the planning and production stage.
• Students will be given feedback on their literature review.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay2,250 words70.00
Group ProjectVideo Blog30.00
Literature Review1,000 words0.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

If a student is unable to participate in the group assignment (video blog) in Semester 1, they may submit an individual video blog by the submission date of the second assignment (essay). The formative literature review is compulsory and designed to prepare students for the self-designed essay question as well as for the Final Year Project.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 07/07/2021 11:50:07


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