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

Undergraduate Course: German Colonialism: History, Memory, Controversy (ELCG08014)

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 examines the history and legacy of German colonialism using literary texts, historical sources and coverage of public debates from the late 19th century to the present day. The course prepares students for Honours-level study by familiarising them with the use of critical theory and training them to carry out research into public discourse.
Course description In order to consider the ongoing impact of colonialism on German society, this course draws on excerpts of literary texts, political speeches and mass media including advertising and film from the late 19th and early 20th century. Using these artefacts, we will consider the historical relationship between imperialism and white nationalism in Europe, and reflect on the legacy of earlier colonial ideology and practice on phenomena such as National Socialism, immigration policy, representation and contemporary white supremacy. In particular, we will focus on the debate about the history and legacy of German colonialism and how this has developed in Germany in the post-war period, focusing on issues around public space, statues and street names from the 1960s to the present day. Finally, we will turn to the resurgence of colonialism as a theme in recent literature and historiography and examine the state of play in contemporary (international) debates about the colonial past. The course¿s range of primary and theoretical texts will provide a wealth of examples upon which you will draw to develop a toolbox of critical frameworks through which to understand German colonialism both as a historical event and as determining factor in contemporary discussions of race and social justice. Weekly tasks will reinforce what you have learned and provide opportunities to ask questions.
In addition to producing an individual close reading of (an excerpt of) a literary text, which will provide a testing ground for your analytical skills and theoretical learning, this course will develop your abilities at independent research, synthesising information, collaborative working and writing for a non-academic audience. You will each join an ALG (Autonomous Learning Group) of 4-5 students, who will work together throughout the course to support one another and discuss reading between our sessions. You will produce reports based on these meetings that summarise what you have discovered and discussed. In the second half of the course, your ALG will use the research they have done to produce an informational poster suitable for non-expert audiences on the basis of one of their ALG reports. You will be collectively responsible for assembling relevant materials - which may include interviews, pictures, primary historical documents or information from social media - and judging how best to present it to your audience in an engaging way. Examples of work done by previous students will be provided for all assessment tasks.
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 above introductory level 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 ( Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 98 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 100% Coursework
ALG Group-written reports 40% (3 x 500 words)
Individual close reading exercise 40% (1000 words)
ALG Group project 20% (poster + rationale)
Feedback Students will receive feedback on their group project and extended essay prior to submission.
Students will participate in peer feedback prior to submission of assessment.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Summarise and explain key issues related to German colonialism and European overseas imperialism, National Socialism, anti-imperialist protest, public space and commemoration.
  2. Offer a confident and well-supported analysis of historical and cultural dimensions of German imperialism on the basis of primary sources.
  3. Analyse literary texts using critical theory and present this analysis in a high-quality academic essay using appropriate style, register and structure.
  4. Present key information and independent research in formats appropriate for a non-expert, non-academic audience.
  5. Independently plan and execute a group research project in accordance with a specific brief, reflecting critically on its effectiveness.
Reading List
Christian Kracht's Imperium (2012)
'Sex' by Reyhan ¿ahin (2019)
Akala Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire (2018)

Various excerpts from other literary texts; online sources taken from newspapers, advertising, museums, protest movements.

Monika Albrecht, 'Post-Colonialism and Migration in Germany's Colonial Past', German Life and Letters, July 2012, Vol.65(3), pp.363-377.
David Ciarlo, 'Mass- Marketing the Empire: Colonial Fantasies and Advertising Visions', in Bradley Naranch, Geoff Eley (eds.) German Colonialism in a Global Age, Duke University Press, 2014.
Dirk Göttsche, Remembering Africa: The Rediscovery of Colonialism in Contemporary German Literature, London, Camden House, 2013.
Birthe Kundrus, 'Colonialism, Imperialism, National Socialism: How Imperial Was the Third Reich?' in Bradley Naranch, Geoff Eley (eds.) German Colonialism in a Global Age, Duke University Press, 2014.
Dörte Lerp, 'Farmers to the Frontier: Settler Colonialism in the East Prussian Provinces and German Southwest Africa', The Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, 01 November 2013, Vol.41(4), p.567-583
Liesbeth Minnaard, 'Transnational Contact-Narratives: Dutch Postcoloniality from a Turkish-German Viewpoint' in Elleke Boehmer (Ed.) The Post-Colonial Low Countries: Literature, Colonialism and Multi-Culturalism, Lexington Books, 2012.
Robert L. Nelson 'The Baltics as Colonial Playground: Germany in the East 1914-18', Journal of Baltic Studies, Vol. 42, No. 1, 2011, pp. 9-19
Michael Perraudin (Ed.), German Colonialism and National Identity, London, Routledge, 2010.
Edward Said, Orientalism (1978), London, Penguin, 2003.
Britta Schilling, 'Imperial Heirlooms: The Private Memory of Colonialism in Germany', The Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, Volume 41, 2013 - Issue 4: German Colonialism, pp. 663-682
Tharoor, Shashi, 'Imperial amnesia: The messy afterlife of colonialism'. Griffith REVIEW, No. 59, 2018: 62-67.
Gloria Wekker, White Innocence: Paradoxes of Colonialism and Race, Durham, Duke University Press, 2016.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills During this course, students will further develop graduate attributes and personal and professional skills in the following areas:

Research and enquiry: analytical thinking; social criticism; knowledge integration and application; understanding critical theory; handling complexity and ambiguity; discourse analysis; critical close reading of literary texts; independent research skills including evaluating sources.

Personal and intellectual autonomy: self-awareness and reflection; independent learning and development; creative and inventive thinking; engagement with contemporary debates beyond academia.

Personal effectiveness: planning, organising and time management; team working; project management; assertiveness and confidence; flexibility.

Communication: interpersonal skills; verbal and written communication; translation; presentation of information to non-expert audience; IT skills including designing printed material and engaging with social media; editing and proofreading skills; peer feedback.

Feedback: Students will receive feedback on their group project and on their essay plans in advance of their submission.
Keywordscolonialism,memory,race,ideology,literature,history,public discourse,media,commemoration,museums
Course organiserDr Jennifer Watson
Tel: (0131 6)50 8980
Course secretaryMiss Hope Hamilton
Tel: (0131 6)50 4167
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