University Homepage
DRPS Homepage
DRPS Search
DRPS Contact
DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures : European Languages and Cultures - German

Undergraduate Course: Researching Disability in German Literature and Society (ELCG08010)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 8 (Year 2 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryAs a student researcher you will learn how to carry out research using the theoretical framework of Disability Studies and examine cultural constructions and representations of disability in the German context. You will also organize and present at your own undergraduate student conference. In class, you will undertake critical analysis and discussion of German literary texts from the Romantic era that focus on disability from a range of perspectives and approaches, whilst also developing an awareness of how disability intersects with other identity markers, for example, gender, class, sexuality and race. In response to the current decolonizing the curriculum and expanding German Studies trends, this course aims to foster reflection on diversity and inclusion, raise awareness of the historical and cultural origins of exclusion, and ensure that literature about underrepresented groups is included in the degree programme.

Course description In class, we will discuss a selection of German literary texts from the Romantic era (from the 1790s to the 1820s) that focus on disability. We will examine literary constructions of the impaired body and mind, explore the notion of normal, and examine ideas, stereotypes and narrative patterns related to disability and people/characters with disabilities. As the German terms for disability had not yet acquired their modern meanings in this period, we will explore a range of ideas about individual impairments at a time when the scientific and medical discourses were increasing their influence over responses to disability. One focus will be on how the German Romantics offered alternatives to the medical and scientific discourses of the Enlightenment in relation to the impaired body and mind. We will also concentrate on the differences proposed in Disability Studies between the medical model of disability that "views disability as a bodily defect in the individual that medicine attempts to cure" (Ann Schmiesing) and the social model that sees disability as "a social construct requiring change in the body politic" (Ann Schmiesing) and "a consequence of social attitudes and policies that create barriers" (J. E. Bickenbach).

As a part of your researched-based learning, you will be developing your own research project within the general field of disability in German literature and society, i.e. not restricted to the German Romantic era. You will present this research at a student conference that you will organize as a group that will take place in the second half of the semester. The conference organization will involve, for example, deciding on a conference theme; writing a call for papers; drafting your individual conference abstracts; designing a conference flyer or poster; organizing the sub-themes/ panels and conference programme; delivering a short conference paper. There will be an option of inviting a keynote speaker.

The feedback on your conference paper acts as a feed-forward opportunity for the reflective report.

Instead of writing traditional essays, you will be assessed on your student conference paper (10 mins) and your end-of-course reflective report (2000 words). The conference paper will present your research findings and the reflective report will contextualize your research project, elaborate on your research findings and methodology, reflect on your contribution to the conference, and discuss the research skills you have acquired. Your research project can go beyond the focus on the German Romantic era, but will be within the field of disability in German literature and society. Students will be provided with a list of primary and secondary material to be discussed in class in relation to disability in the Romantic era and Disability Theory. As the course aims to develop and practise independent research skills, students will be expected to identify further sources independently and will be assessed on this.

The assessment will be 100% coursework, consisting of two elements:

1) conference paper (10 mins) = 30%
2) reflective report (2000 words) = 70%

Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites Students MUST also take: German 2 Language (ELCG08008)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs Primary Texts
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesStudents should have German-language skills at CEFR level B1 or above. Entry to this course may be subject to a language test on arrival and is at the discretion of the course organiser. Visiting Students must also take German 2 Language (ELCG8008) as a co-requisite.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2019/20, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  18
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 22, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 76 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) The assessment will be 100% coursework, consisting of two elements:
1) conference paper (10 mins) = 30%
2) reflective report (2000 words) = 70%
Feedback Students will receive a grade and written feedback on their conference paper and the end-of-course reflective report, with the option of verbal feedback on request.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. use key theories and concepts in Disability Studies to examine literary representations of disability
  2. work with research databases and contribute to the organisation of a conference
  3. reflect critically on methodology and research findings and evaluate published research in the fields of German Literature and Disability Studies
  4. orally present the results of research undertaken individually in the form of a conference paper
  5. work effectively as part of a group, managing group interactions and the division of tasks in pursuit of a common aim
Reading List
Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, Kinder-und Hausmärchen der Brüder Grimm (various editions)
E. T. A Hoffmann, 'Klein Zaches, genannt Zinnober' (1819) (Reclam) and Des Vetters 'Eckfenster' (1822) (Reclam)

Clare Barker and Stuart Murray (eds), The Cambridge Companion to Literature and Disability (2018)
Essaka Joshua (ed), Dis/Enabling Narratives, Journal of Narrative Theory, 47.3 (2017)
David Bolt, Elizabeth J. Donaldson and Julia Miele Rodas (eds), Literary Disability Studies (2016)
Michael Bradshaw (ed), Disabling Romanticism: Body, Mind, and Text (2016)
Lennard J. Davis, The Disability Studies Reader (2016)
Alice Hall, Literature and Disability (2016)
Nicole Markotic, Disability in Film and Literature (2016)
Tobin Siebers, Disability Theory (2016)
Ann Schmiesing, Disability, Deformity, and Disease in the Grimm's Fairy Tales (2014)
Sabine Eickenrodt, Blindheit. In Literatur und Ästhetik (1750-1850) (2012)
Eleoma Joshua and Michael Schillmeier (eds), Disability in German Literature, Film, and Theater, Vol 4 of the Edinburgh German Yearbook (2010)
Carol Poore, Disability in Twentieth-Century German Culture (2007)
Gary L. Albrecht, Katherine D. Seelman and Michael Bury (eds), Handbook of Disability Studies (2001)
David T. Mitchell and Sharon L. Snyder, Narrative Prosthesis: Disability and the Dependencies of Discourse (2001)
Lennard J Davis, Enforcing Normalcy: Disability, Deafness and the Body (1995)

Further Reading:
Disability Studies Quarterly
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Cognitive skills:
critical analysis; evaluation and synthesis of ideas, concepts, information and issues

convey complex information within the seminar and conference contexts; use a range of subject area library databases;

Autonomy, accountability and working with others:
exercise autonomy and initiative in some activities in the subject area; exercise managerial responsibility in relation to others; take the lead on planning in familiar or defined contexts; practise in ways that show awareness of own and others; roles, responsibilities and contributions when carrying out tasks
KeywordsDisability,German literature,Romanticism,Research-based learning,Student conference
Course organiserDr Eleoma Bodammer
Tel: (0131 6)50 3627
Course secretaryMiss Gillian Paterson
Tel: (0131 6)50 3646
Help & Information
Search DPTs and Courses
Degree Programmes
Browse DPTs
Humanities and Social Science
Science and Engineering
Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Other Information
Combined Course Timetable
Important Information