Timetable information in the Course Catalogue may be subject to change.

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

Undergraduate Course: Reading Antisemitism in Modern German Literature (ELCG08012)

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
SummaryThis course explores the debate around antisemitism in German literature since 1800, asking how antisemitic stereotypes and attitudes are encoded in texts, and how readers are able to identify them. Controversies about identifying, defining and combatting antisemitism have taken on a new intensity in recent years, but public debate often lacks historical awareness of how prejudice against Jews functions, and how it is perpetuated in narratives and images. There is often a clash between perceived intention and actual effect, an unwillingness to think oneself into another person's perspective and understand their self-definition, and an inability to deal constructively with complication, uncertainty and ambiguity. Literature can help us with all of these problems.

Students will engage with texts from a specific historical and cultural juncture (the period in which debate about Jewish emancipation develops into conceptions of racial antisemitism) and will explore how persistent images and stereotypes are developed and varied in these texts. We will also explore the specifically literary nature of 'literary antisemitism', asking whether questions of form, narrative perspective and irony complicate judgments about how prejudice is encoded in texts.

Course description The aim of the course is to introduce students to some of the ways that antisemitic discourses are encoded in literary texts, and to help them develop ways of reading for them. They will also discuss ways of dealing with the ambiguity of literary texts and the difficulty of judging whether a text with antisemitic content opens up spaces for critical reflection. There will also be discussion of the function of identity-work and difference-work in the texts, in other words, what ideas are being negotiated in the texts through the creation, maintenance and/or questioning of Jewish/non-Jewish difference. Finally, the students will practise reading and evaluating secondary literature as a way of developing their own arguments.

In the first half of the course, we will critically evaluate a number of different approaches to literary antisemitism, preparing the ground for detailed work on a small number of key texts. The class will divide into ALGs, each of which puts together a group presentation that is designed to support the other students' learning, and they lead a discussion on their topic. Each ALG-led session is followed by a tutor-led session, enabling further discussion of the topic.

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-requisitesVisiting students 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 2024/25, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  0
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) Group presentation 25% (deadlines weeks 5, 8 and 10)
Essay (1250 words) 75%
Feedback Students will receive feedback from course tutor after each ALG presentation, and the class will be encouraged to provide feedback on the presentations. The tutor's feedback will be structured as feed forward advice for their essay project.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Construct clear and coherent arguments about literary representations of Jews
  2. Assess the usefulness of theoretical approaches to understanding literary antisemitism, and critique approaches that students disagree with clearly and in an appropriate style
  3. Analyse literary texts using the theoretical models discussed in class, and read with a sensitivity to literary techniques
  4. 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 chief themes of the course
  5. Work effectively as part of a group, managing group interactions and division of tasks in pursuit of a common aim
Learning Resources
Key theoretical texts:

Gelber, Mark, What is literary antisemitism?', Jewish Social Studies, 47 (1985), no. 1, 1-20.
Gilman, Sander, The Jew's Body (New York: Routledge, 1991).
Gubser, Martin, Literarischer Antisemitismus (Göttingen: Wallstein, 1998).
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Critical reading; application of theory to text; testing theory against text.
Evaluating contrasting arguments.
Making connections between close reading and broader social context.
Understanding the history of representations of minoritised social groups.
Autonomous project work; identifying problems, setting tasks; organising material.
Participating in group work; setting and organising joint tasks.
High level oral and written presentation.
KeywordsGerman literature,antisemitism
Course organiserDr Hanna Schumacher
Tel: (0131 6)50 3670
Course secretaryMr Callum Lennie
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