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Douglas Biow, Director MEZ 3.126, Mailcode A1800, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-232-3470

Spring 2008

EUS 361 • Reconstructing German Memory

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
36513 MWF
3:00 PM-4:00 PM
MEZ 1.120
Broadbent, P

Course Description

This course will examine the literature and film of the German speaking countries from 1945 to the present. As an introduction to the broad literary, social, and political movements that influenced Germany in the second half of the twentieth century, we will pay particular attention to periods of rupture and social and political unrest in Germany. The post-war period is remarkably complex and this course will address, among other events, the postwar reconstruction of Germany as portrayed in film and literature, and the concomitant themes of guilt and a perceived obligation to historical memory. More specifically, we will examine how the political and moral collapse of Germany in 1945 is reflected in postwar German literature and in what way literary texts reveal a societal oscillation between willed amnesia and mnemonic reconstruction.

In the 1960s, West German society witnessed its first major challenge to the social hegemony since the collapse of National Socialism. The period is marked by a deliberate move by younger writers and artists to break away from the 'parent' generation and their silence in respect to the National Socialist period. This course examines the student revolt of the 1960s and the so-called political literature of this period, namely the German Beat writers, and the growing political terrorism of the RAF and its influence on the arts. In tandem with an analysis of West Germanys political climate, we will also address East German literature, representations of the GDR and the realities of the Socialist experiment as portrayed in film and text. The course will conclude with literary and filmic representations of the fall of the Berlin Wall, Reunification and its critics, as well as the rebuilding of Berlin in the late 1990s.

Grading Policy

Student participation: 20% Three film summary analyses. Each summary should be two pages in length, double-spaced and use 12pt. font. 20% Oral presentations: 20% Final essay. Students should consult with me beforehand. Evidence of wider reading is expected. The essay should be 12 pages in length (double-spaced) and will be marked for content and scholarly presentation. 40%


Heinrich Böll, Billiard at Half-Past Nine Ulrich Plenzdorf, The New Sufferings of Young W Peter Schneider, The Wall Jumper Thomas Brussig, Heroes like Us


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