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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures : European Languages and Cultures - German

Undergraduate Course: Migration in German-Language Discourse (ELCG08011)

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
SummaryLanguage matters. It does not simply reflect an existing reality but rather shapes reality in a way that makes certain actions possible and prohibits (or at least inhibits) others, in the context of given power structures. Discourse analysis is a set of theories and methodologies to trace these social phenomena. In this course, you will learn about discourse analysis and how to apply it to contemporary discourses on migration in the German-speaking countries. Sitting at the intersection between linguistics, social sciences and German studies, this course is ideally suited for students who want to develop a deeper understanding of contemporary German and Austrian society and are interested in the power of language.
Course description Migration is globally discussed as one of the major issues of our time, and it is one of the key words in public debate in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

For centuries, people have migrated into and out of German-speaking countries; 'Gastarbeiter' and the migrants arriving in Germany in the wake of the recent civil war in Syria are two well-known quite recent examples. It is equally well-known that these migration movements were and still are contested in public debates: reactions cover a broad ground, from the celebration of a climate of welcome ('Willkommenskultur') and attempts to integrate the incoming people into society, to expressions of open hostility, xenophobia and violence. So what is exactly is (and what is not) discussed when we talk about migration? How are migrants or migration movements portrayed in newspaper articles and commentaries, on social media, in political speeches, in law, in literature? And how does this portrayal contribute to a public climate that permits actions as diverse as inviting migrants to live with your family to the burning down of refugee hostels?

The course will start with a brief overview of discourse studies as method of academic enquiry, and we will gather a number of different perspectives on migration into and out of the German-speaking countries. Using suitable examples from current or recent debates on migration, we will model the tools of critical discourse analysis in a step-by-step approach, providing you with the opportunity to learn about and practice some key methods in preparation for your own projects.

The second half of the course will be dedicated to work on your project. You will work with a small group of other students in an Autonomous Learning Group (ALGs). These groups will be formed in week 1 already and will be responsible to schedule their own meetings and interactions as necessary throughout the semester. Each group will identify an event and a body of texts from the wider migration discourse for closer analysis, and you will apply the knowledge and tools you have acquired to describe and evaluate the discourses as presented in these texts. You will gather your findings in both independent and group work outside the classroom. Each group will produce a group poster to communicate the results of their project.

All learning material will be available online, via Learn. You will engage with this material through a range of activities as outlined in the weekly course schedule posted on Learn. These will include contributions to online discussion threads, individual text analyses, comments on other students¿ posts and reflections on your learning. You will receive regular feedback on your activities from both other students and teaching staff via Learn. Our weekly contact hours will provide you with opportunity to report on the progress of your individual and group work as well as to ask questions and receive further feedback.

The course is assessed through coursework only; there is no exam. The summative assessment consists of two components to be completed individually (a systematic analysis of two texts following a given template, to be submitted in week 7, and a reflection of your learning from the course, to be submitted in week 12) as well as the group poster (to be submitted in week 10).
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites Students MUST also take: German 2 Language (ELCG08008)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
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 should also take as a co-requisite German 2 Language (ELCG08008).
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2020/21, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  24
Course Start Semester 2
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) Portfolio 80%
Portfolio 1:Text Analysis.Each student individually to produce a systematic analysis of a text of their choice, following the template provided on Learn
600 words Monday week 7. 40% of portfolio

Portfolio 2: Reflection.Each student individually to produce a reflective analysis of their learning from the course, addressing key questions provided on Learn. 900 words Monday week 12. 60% of portfolio

Group poster 20%
Each group to produce a poster presenting the findings of their chosen research project. One student will submit the poster on behalf of the whole group and all group members will receive the same grade. Monday week 10.100% of group poster
Feedback Feedback on the portfolio components and poster elements will be given in seminar sessions during the second half of the course, before final submission.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Critically evaluate meaning making processes in German language discourse, and construct clear and coherent arguments about (select) migration discourses in their political and social context
  2. Assess the usefulness of discourse analytical approaches to understanding public debates on migration and select and apply tools that are appropriate for the analysis of a chosen body of texts
  3. Present the results of research undertaken individually and as part of a small group, respond judiciously to such research undertaken by others, and critically evaluate the importance of such material for an understanding of the key themes of the course
  4. Work effectively as part of a group, managing group interactions and division of tasks in pursuit of a common aim
  5. Critically reflect on their learning process
Reading List

Karakayali, Serhat and Vollmer, Bastian, ¿The Volatility of the Discourse on Refugees in Germany¿, Journal of Immigrant & Refugee Studies 16, no. 1-2, 2018, pp. 118-39. (Online access via library.)

Van Leeuwen, Theo, 'The Visual Representation of Social Actors', in Theo Van Leeuwen (ed.), Discourse and Practice: New Tools for Critical Analysis. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008, pp. 137-148. (Online access via library.)

Wodak, Ruth and Meyer, Michael, Methods of Critical Discourse Studies, 3rd ed. London, California: SAGE, 2016 (Multiple copies available in main library, HUB and standard loan; extract from chapter 1 ¿ pages 2-12 ¿ also provided on Learn )


Angermuller, Johannes, Maingeueneau, Dominique and Wodak, Ruth, 'The Discourse Studies Reader. An introduction', in Johannes Angermuller, Dominique Maingeueneau, Ruth Wodak (eds.), The Discourse Studies Reader. Main currents in theory and analysis. Amsterdam, Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 2014, pp. 1-14 (Online access via library.)

Bendel Larcher, Sylvia, Linguistische Diskursanalyse: Ein Lehr- und Arbeitsbuch, Tübingen: Narr Francke Attempo, 2015 (Online access via library.)

Hoerder, Dirk, ¿Migration and Cultural Interaction across the Centuries: German History in a European Perspective¿, German Politics & Society, 26:2, 2008, pp. 1-23 (Online access via library.)

Keller, Reiner, Doing Discourse Research: An Introduction for Social Scientists, Los Angeles: SAGE, 2013. (Online access via library.)

Rheindorf, Markus and Ruth Wodak, ¿Borders, Fences, and Limits-Protecting Austria From Refugees: Metadiscursive Negotiation of Meaning in the Current Refugee Crisis¿, Journal of Immigrant & Refugee Studies 16, no. 1-2, 2018, pp. 15-38. (Online access via library.)

Wodak, Ruth, 'Language, power and identity', Language Teaching 45:2 (2012), pp. 215-233 (Online access via library.)

Further Reading

Arendt, Hannah, Wir Flüchtlinge. Stuttgart: Reclam, 1986 (Main Library, no online access)

Czollek, Max, Desintegriert Euch! Munich: Hanser, 2018 (Main Library, no online access)

Gatrell, Peter, The Unsetlling of Europe: the Great Migration, 1945 to the Present. UK: Allen Lane, 2019 (Main Library, no online access)

Hoerder, Dirk, Geschichte der deutschen Migration. Vom Mittelalter bis heute. München: C.H.Beck, 2010 (Main Library; no online access)

Münkler, Herfried and Münkler, Marina, Die neuen Deutschen. Ein Land vor seiner Zukunft. Reinbek bei Hamburg: Rowohlt, 2017 (Main Library, no online access)
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills During this course, students will further develop graduate attributes, personal and professional skills in the following areas:

Research and enquiry: Problem solving; analytical thinking; critical thinking; knowledge integration and application; handling complexity and ambiguity.
Personal and intellectual autonomy: Self-awareness and reflection; independent learning and development; creative and inventive thinking.
Personal effectiveness: Planning, organising and time management; team working; assertiveness and confidence; flexibility.
Communication: Interpersonal skills, verbal and written communication, presentation, IT skills.
KeywordsGerman,migration,language,discourse analysis
Course organiserDr Sabine Rolle
Tel: (0131 6)50 3670
Course secretaryMs Ashley Stein
Tel: (0131 6)50 4465
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