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

Undergraduate Course: Vulnerability and the City: German Literary Cartographies of Danger and Refuge (ELCG10036)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course uses a framework of spatial humanities to envisage the city as a space of differentiated risk, vulnerability and danger. The course builds on pre-honours training in literary analysis and critical theory to familiarise students with digital humanities approaches to visualising literary space, and contemporary discourse around space, social justice and urban community-building. The three core texts for the course either focus on Germany, or were originally written in German. No prior knowledge of German is required, as all texts will be available in English.
Course description This course examines representations of the city in German literary texts as a route into theories of space and positionality. Unlike many other courses on literature and the city, this course moves away from traditional ideas of urban space as one of liberty, modernity and flâneurie to look at the differentiated experience of the city brought about by intersections of gender, race, wealth and legal status. Built around themes including political oppression, racialisation, poverty, precarity, visibility and violence, the course looks at texts that represent the city from varying perspectives and which present urban environments in terms of danger and refuge, as well as self-discovery.

In the first two weeks, the course will introduce key concepts and invite students to reflect on experiences of space, including their own. The three main literary texts will then be used as the basis to look at the differentiated vulnerability of people in the historical and contemporary city, thinking in particular about zones of danger that often go unnoticed by dominant populations, such as public transport, parks, residential streets and institutional settings. Historical and sociological literature, newspaper articles and excerpts from key literary and political texts will complement the analysis of works focusing on the experiences of racialized subjects, sex workers, and undocumented refugees. A hands-on workshop on visualisation of literary texts will take place in Week 5 of the course, exploring options for representing real and imagined space using digital and artistic methods. This workshop will provide an introduction to methodologies necessary for producing the visualisation that will accompany your final critical essay.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2024/25, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  0
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 22, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 174 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 100% coursework

70% Final Critical Essay (2000 words + visualisation)

30% Group Project (poster)
Feedback Feedback will be given on all learning outcomes prior to the submission of the final individual assessments, at two moments.

1. Upon the completion of the group project (digital humanities methods, group working, presenting information).

2. Upon the submission of an essay plan and/or draft visualisation.

Students are also encouraged to make use of drop-in office hours both individually and in groups (see my staff profile for details).
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Describe and summarise a range of theories and approaches to spatial humanities.
  2. Apply spatial humanities methodologies and independent research skills to produce a creative and insightful analysis of space in literary texts.
  3. Employ skills in digital humanities to assist in the visualisation of space.
  4. Present information and analysis to peers accurately and clearly.
Reading List

Hans J. Massaquoi, Destined to Witness. Growing up Black in Nazi Germany (New York: Harper Collins, 2001)

Christiane F., Zoo Station: The Story of Christiane F., Translated by Christina Cartwright (San Francisco: Zest, 2019)

Yoko Tawada, The Naked Eye, Translated by Susan Bernofsky (New York: New Directions, 2009)

N.B. For those able to read the German language, the original texts are as follows:

Christiane F., Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo (Hamburg: Carlsen, 2009)

Yoko Tawada, Das nackte Auge (Tübingen: konkurs, 2004)

*Hans Massaquoi¿s book was originally published in English, although a German translation has been published should you wish to read it.

Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills This course aims to orientate students in contemporary discourses around marginalisation and vulnerability, drawing strongly from traditions of anti-racist and decolonial thought. In focusing on topics such as positionality and mutual responsibility, the course aims to develop their ability to identify and describe structural violence. The course is designed to assist students in their life-long journey to become engaged members of society, and build their confidence in bringing their academic knowledge and critical skills to bear on their personal and ethical lives.
KeywordsSpace,spatial humanities,literature,cities in literature,inequality,public safety,town planni
Course organiserDr Jennifer Watson
Tel: (0131 6)50 8980
Course secretaryMiss Kara McCormack
Tel: (0131 6)50 3030
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