Module Identifier GEM0930  
Academic Year 2007/2008  
Co-ordinator Dr Jane Wilkinson  
Semester Semester 1  
Pre-Requisite Normally a 2,1 degree in German  
Co-Requisite Key Moments in German Culture 1, Key Moments in German Culture 2  
Mutually Exclusive GEM0830 The Contemporary Literary Landscape of Germany  
Course delivery Lecture   4  
  Seminars / Tutorials   16 seminars  
  Workload Breakdown   (Every 10 credits carries a notional student workload of 100 hours.) Formal tuition: 20 hours; preparation specifically for classes: 40 hours; assessment (preparation and writing) 80 hours; private study: 160 hours.  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Assessment 1 x 4,000 word essay75%
Semester Assessment Lead 2 seminars25%
Supplementary Assessment Essay to be resubmitted if failed100%

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:
1. demonstrate a critical understanding of Germanic attitudes to nature since the Romantic era.

2. identify parallels and differences between Romantic and contemporary attitudes to nature in German-speaking culture.

3. demonstrate a critical understanding of the Germanic concept of 'Heimat' as shaped by particular perceptions and constructions of the natural environment.

4. analyse and discuss the cultural case studies within the wider framework of Germanic attitudes to nature.

5. apply their knowledge of Germanic attitudes to nature to other case studies.

6. demonstrate that they have acquired advanced skills as critical readers of culture.

7. demonstrate that they have acquired sophisticated analytical skills.

8. use secondary literature critically.

9. express themselves clearly, coherently and in a logical fashion, both orally and in writing.

10. demonstrate that they have a solid foundation for further postgraduate research.

Brief description

Representations of nature have featured prominently in Germanic culture since the Romantic era. In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, the German Romantics reacted against the rationalising tendencies of the Enlightenment and the increasing urbanisation and industrialisation of Europe by 'rediscovering' nature and the countryside as subjects for their artistic, literary and musical production. This foregrounding and celebration of nature by the Romantics has influenced much subsequent cultural production in the German-speaking world, both positively (e.g. 'Heimatliteratur' and 'Heimatfilme') and negatively (e.g. in the 'Antiheimatliteratur' movement). Furthermore, the use of particular images of the natural landscape constitutes an important and often contentious aspect of identity and 'Heimat' construction in the German-speaking world. In this course students will, therefore, be introduced to the peculiarly Germanic attitudes to nature and the natural landscape through a selection of case studies from literature and film and they will have the opportunity to conduct independent research into Germanic attitudes to nature through the selection of their own case studies.


This module is designed to be an option module in the current MA in Twentieth Century German Cultural Studies, and from 2008-9 in the new MA in Modern European Cultural Studies scheme. It is intended to complement the sociolinguistic options modules already available and to offer students the chance to deepen their knowledge of German culture through thematic study of literature and film.


1. A history of nature perception in Germanic culture (1 hr lecture, 1 hr seminar)
2. The Romantics (2 hr seminar)
3. The 'Heimat' movement (1 hr lecture, 1 hr seminar)
4. 'Heimatfilme' (2 hr seminar)
5. The 'Anti-Heimat' movement (1 hr lecture, 1 hr seminar)
6. _In den Alpen
, Elfriede Jelinek (2 hr seminar)
7. The environmental movement (1 hr lecture, 1 hr seminar)
8. _Fitzcarraldo
, Werner Herzog (2 hr seminar)
9. _Die Wolke
, Gudrun Pausewang (2 hr seminar)
10. Presentation and discussion of students' own case studies.

Module Skills

Problem solving Selection of reating material, answering questions posed by written assessment, seminar work.  
Research skills Researching for essay and for seminars.  
Communication Participating in seminars and writing of essay will require students to express their ideas clearly, cogently and coherently.  
Improving own Learning and Performance Independent preparation for essay and seminars, independent research for essay and seminars.  
Team work This will apply in the seminars.  
Information Technology Students will be required to access bibliographical information and to submit word processed essays. They will also be expected to use web resources for research on German environmentalism. (Indirectly assessed)  
Application of Number n/a  
Personal Development and Career planning Students will be expected to show an ability to manage their own time effectively and to engage in independent lines of research in preparing their essays. (Indirectly assessed)  
Subject Specific Skills Students will be required to read material in German in order to prepare for seminars and/or essays. (Indirectly assessed)  


This module is at CQFW Level 7