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PL20757: Die DDR: Geschichte, Politik. Gesellschaft, Kultur

Follow this link for further information on academic years Academic Year: 2014/5
Further information on owning departmentsOwning Department/School: Department of Politics, Languages and International Studies
Further information on credits Credits: 6
Further information on unit levels Level: Intermediate (FHEQ level 5)
Further information on teaching periods Period: Semester 1
Further information on unit assessment Assessment Summary: CW 33%, ES 67%
Further information on unit assessment Assessment Detail:
  • Coursework (CW 33%)
  • Essay (ES 67%)
Further information on supplementary assessment Supplementary Assessment: Like-for-like reassessment (where allowed by programme regulations)
Further information on requisites Requisites:
Further information on descriptions Description: Aims:
For 40 years, the German Democratic Republic was the Federal Republic of Germany's rival in the east. Throughout the Cold War, the GDR’s rulers claimed that it was the 'better Germany', yet they denied their citizens political freedom, built a wall to keep them inside the country and set up an enormous network of secret police informers to spy on them. Nevertheless, many GDR citizens identified with their state and significant numbers - including prominent writers, artists and intellectuals - hoped to preserve it after the Berlin Wall fell in 1989. Today, the GDR remains controversial: for some it was an inhuman totalitarian dictatorship, for others an attempt to create a more just society under difficult historical circumstances. This unit provides students with an opportunity to assess the meaning of the GDR and to understand why the debates about it are still relevant to understanding the identity of contemporary Germany.

Learning Outcomes:
Students who complete the unit will be able to:
* understand the history of the GDR, its development as a state and the causes of its failure;
* understand the role of the SED as the ruling party in the GDR and its influence on GDR society;
* understand the significance of key historical events in the history of the GDR, such as 17 June 1953 and the building of the Berlin Wall;
* analyse the economic, social and political problems that the GDR faced;
* understand the role of the Ministry for State Security in the GDR;
* analyse the competing memory discourses on the GDR, including the phenomenon of 'Ostalgie' and the claims of victims of the GDR regime;
* understand the role of intellectuals, writers and artists in the GDR.

Skills in critical analysis, conceptual thinking, precision in the use of written and spoken language, exercise of independent judgement, reasoned argument, effective communication in the target language, teamwork and the planning/conduct/reporting of non-quantitative research are developed and assessed in this unit.

Students will examine the creation of the German Democratic Republic, the role of the SED as its ruling party, the structure and function of the GDR’s Ministry for State Security, key crises in the development of the GDR, and the economic and social problems which contributed to the state's demise. The role of critical intellectuals in the GDR will also be examined, as will post-unification reassessments of the GDR. Further, students will discuss the play Die Leiden des jungen W. (1972) and the films Denk bloß nicht, ich heule (1965) and Das Leben der Anderen (2006). The unit is taught in German.
Further information on programme availabilityProgramme availability:

PL20757 is Compulsory on the following programmes:

Department of Politics, Languages and International Studies
  • UHPL-AYB12 : BA(Hons) German and Politics with Year Abroad (Year 2)
  • UHPL-AYB05 : BA(Hons) Modern Languages and European Studies (French and German) with Year Abroad (Year 2)
  • UHPL-AYB06 : BA(Hons) Modern Languages and European Studies (German and ab initio Italian) with Year Abroad (Year 2)
  • UHPL-AYB07 : BA(Hons) Modern Languages and European Studies (German and ab initio Russian) with Year Abroad (Year 2)
  • UHPL-AYB02 : BA(Hons) Modern Languages and European Studies (German and Italian) with Year Abroad (Year 2)
  • UHPL-AYB23 : BA(Hons) Modern Languages and European Studies (German and Spanish) with Year Abroad (Year 2)

* This unit catalogue is applicable for the 2014/15 academic year only. Students continuing their studies into 2015/16 and beyond should not assume that this unit will be available in future years in the format displayed here for 2014/15.
* Programmes and units are subject to change at any time, in accordance with normal University procedures.
* Availability of units will be subject to constraints such as staff availability, minimum and maximum group sizes, and timetabling factors as well as a student's ability to meet any pre-requisite rules.