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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - bologna.lab - Neue Lehre. Neues Lernen

Autobiographical Perspectives on GDR History

Taught by Martina Berner

Monday, 16:00 - 18:00, Hausvogteiplatz 5-7, Room 0323-26

Language requirements: min. English B2, German A2, as some material will be in German

Syllabus

 

Course Description

The public memory of the GDR is, more than twenty-five years after Germany´s reunification, still contested. In regular intervals it is for example discussed whether the GDR can be described as an „Unrechtsstaat“ (illegitimate state). And while the public interest to learn about the  surveillance apparatus of the Stasi is still growing, it is often criticized that the focus on control and oppression does not coincide with the everyday experiences of many GDR citizens. In this seminar we will read mostly autobiographical texts that deal with the system of oppression in the GDR and questions of individual conformity or resistance as well as with everyday experiences. We will discuss these individual memories in order to enable students to contextualize and interpret various memory discourses.

 

Further Information

  • Please purchase Ash, Timothy: The File: A Personal History (Atlantic Books, 2009) as soon as possible. All other literature will be available on moodle once the seminar has started.
  • We will go on three field trips, as listed in the schedule below. On the respective dates we will meet at the museums / memorial sites.
  • Schedule: Mondays (starting 19 October, 2015) 16:00-18:00 ct (ct stands for cum tempore (with time) meaning the class starts at 16:15 and ends at 17:45), address: Hausvogteiplatz 5-7, room 0323-26 (on the 3rd floor)

 

 

Course requirements, 5 ECTS

  • Active participation in class discussions and field trips.
  • Doing the readings in advance of the respective classes and preparing 1-2 discussion    questions or short (critical) comments on each reading. I collect them in the beginning      of each session. (20% of final grade)
  • Oral presentation (summary of the text and a moderation of the    discussion) or being an             “expert” for a German text (help other students to understand the text, e.g. via close     reading, vocab training). (30% of final grade)
  • Written assignment: You are asked to hand in two response papers to topics or texts discussed in class. Each response paper should have approx. 900 words (double          spaced, MLA-style citation) and must be handed in within two weeks after the session          that it refers to. Response papers can be submitted in English or German. Please send    them to me via email. (50% of final grade)
  • Attendance Policy: You may not miss more than two sessions. Contact me if you have   to be absent more than twice to arrange a make-up task. Please also let me know if you           cannot take part in one of the field trips, because the number of participants affects the          tour fee (sometimes only free for more than ten people).
  • Plagiarism Policy: The penalty for plagiarism is failure of the course.

 

Language requirements

This seminar is suitable for students with a high academic proficiency in English (at least B2-level), who are at the Beginner’s stage of learning German (A1/A2).

The seminar will be bilingual (English/German), with English being our primary working language, as well as opportunities to explore the German language and expand your German skills. Though most texts will be provided in English, there are some autobiographical sources that will be read in German (with support, e.g. close reading of short paragraphs in class, vocab training, with the help of an “expert”). 

 

Literature

  • Ash, Timothy: The File: A Personal History (Atlantic Books, 2009).
  • Beattie, Andrew H.: The Politics of Remembering the GDR: Official and State-Mandated Memory since 1990. In: David Clarke / Ute Wölfel (eds): Remembering the German Democratic Republic: Divided Memory in a United Germany (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), pp. 23-34.
  • Bickford, Andrew: Red Radiation: East German Army Officers in Post-Unification Germany.  In: David Clarke / Ute Wölfel (eds): Remembering the German Democratic Republic: Divided Memory in a United Germany (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), pp. 169-181.
  • Clarke, David / Wölfel, Ute: Remembering the German Democratic Republic in a United Germany. In: David Clarke / Ute Wölfel (eds): Remembering the German Democratic Republic: Divided Memory in a United Germany (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), pp. 3-22.
  • Clarke, David / Wölfel, Ute (eds): Remembering the German Democratic Republic: Divided Memory in a United Germany (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011).
  • Furian, Gilbert: Mehl aus Mielkes Mühlen: Politische Häftlinge und ihre Verfolger - Erlebnisse, Briefe, Dokumente (Berlin: zba.buch, 2012).
  • Furian, Gilbert / Becker, Nikolaus: „Auch im Osten trägt man Westen.“ Punks in der DDR – und was aus ihnen geworden ist (Berlin: Archiv der Jugendkulturen, 2012).
  • Grafe, Roman: Das Schweigen der Mehrheit. In: Ders. (Hrsg.): Die Schuld der Mitläufer. Anpassen oder Widerstehen in der DDR (München: Pantheon, 2009), S. 9-12.
  • Grafe, Roman (Hrsg.): Die Schuld der Mitläufer. Anpassen oder Widerstehen in der DDR (München: Pantheon, 2009).
  • Hyland, Claire: 'Ostalgie doesn't fit!': Individual Interpretations of and Interactions with Ostalgie. In:  Saunders, Anna / Pinfold, Debbie (eds): Remembering and Rethinking the GDR: Multiple Perspectives and Plural Authenticities (Basingstoke [et al.] : Palgrave Macmillan, 2013), pp. 101-115.
  • Jahn, Roland: Wir Angepassten. Überleben in der DDR (München / Zürich: Piper, 2014).
  • Jarausch, Konrad H.: Beyond Uniformity: The Challenge of Historicizing the GDR. In: Konrad H. Jarausch (ed.): Dictatorship as Experience: Towards a Socio-Cultural History of the GDR (New York [et al.] : Berghahn Books, 1999), pp. 47-69.
  • Jarausch, Konrad H.: Care and Coercion: The GDR as a Welfare Dictatorship. In: Konrad H. Jarausch (ed.): Dictatorship as Experience: Towards a Socio-Cultural History of the GDR (New York [et al.] : Berghahn Books, 1999), pp. 47-69.
  • Jarausch, Konrad (ed.): Dictatorship as Experience: Towards a Socio-Cultural History of the GDR (New York [et al.] : Berghahn Books, 1999).
  • Jоnes, Sara: At Home with the Stasi: Gedenkstätte Hohenschönhausen as Historic House. In: David Clarke / Ute Wölfel (eds): Remembering the German Democratic Republic: Divided Memory in a United Germany (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), pp. 211-222.
  • Krawczyk, Stephan: Bei den Grundsätzen. Von Mitgehern, Mitläufern und Mittätern. In: Grafe, Roman (Hrsg.): Die Schuld  der Mitläufer. Anpassen oder Widerstehen in der DDR (München: Pantheon, 2009), S.133-139.
  • Ludwig, Andreas: Representations of the Everyday and the Making of Memory: GDR History and Museums. In: David Clarke / Ute Wölfel (eds): Remembering the German Democratic Republic: Divided Memory in a United Germany (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), pp. 37-53.
  • Raeder, Walburga: Erst später begann ich mich zu wehren. Ja sagen und nein sagen. In: Grafe, Roman (Hrsg.): Die Schuld der Mitläufer. Anpassen oder Widerstehen in der DDR (München: Pantheon, 2009), S. 101-106.
  • Rathenow, Lutz: Warum kam ich an die Grenze? Weil ich dorthin wollte. In: Grafe, Roman (Hrsg.): Die Schuld der Mitläufer. Anpassen oder Widerstehen in der DDR (München: Pantheon, 2009), S. 74-79.
  • Richter, Karl Heinz: The "Moskau-Paris-Express" to Freedom. An Escape from East to West (Stiftung Aufarbeitung, Gelebte Geschichte Bd. 1, 2003).
  • Saunders, Anna / Pinfold, Debbie (eds): Remembering and Rethinking the GDR: Multiple Perspectives and Plural Authenticities (Basingstoke [et al.] : Palgrave Macmillan, 2013).
  • Torpey, John C.: Intellectuals, Socialism, and Dissent: The East German Opposition and its Legacy (Minneapolis, Minn. [et al.] : University of Minnesota Press, 1995).