GER10150 German History on Screen

Academic Year 2023/2024

This is an introductory module for students interested in German culture, history and film. It focuses on a number of key events and figures in German history of the twentieth century, exploring how they have been portrayed in recent popular German-language films. Films will be in German with English subtitles.

From the Holocaust to the fall of the Soviet Union and its satellite states, Germany was at the epicentre of global historical events throughout the twentieth century. Cultural memory plays an important role both in how a nation imagines itself and how others see it, and the legacies of various events, figures and regimes have been fiercely debated in Germany and beyond. It is clear that since the beginnings of early newsreel and the first moving pictures, films have been crucial not only in recording but also in shaping collective memories and the transmission of history. As the distance to historical events widens and witnesses die out, we become increasingly reliant upon archive materials and fictionalized representations of the past. This means that even though we may not have experienced an event at first hand, we may be very familiar with its sights and sounds. As scholars have argued, this reminds us that ‘history is a construction not a reflection’ (Rosenstone, 1995).

In this module, students will learn about historical events, figures and debates by carrying out independent research and listening to short expert talks, they will be introduced to theories of cultural memory and postmemory and they will acquire basic tools for film analysis.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

By the end of this module students will:
• demonstrate sound knowledge of the historical events and figures covered in the module
• show a basic understanding of concepts such as cultural memory, postmemory and history as narrative construct
• demonstrate a basic understanding of key techniques in filmic narrative
• show an ability to critically analyse film treatments of historical events and figures, in English of an appropriate standard, both
orally and in writing
• show a basic awareness of ethical issues in representing historical events and people in fictional forms

Indicative Module Content:

This module will focus on selected German-language films (with English-language subtitles) covering historical figures and events including Hitler and the Third Reich, left-wing terrorism of the 1970s, East Germany and German unification, post-war cultural diversity and second and third-generation guest-workers.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Autonomous Student Learning




Seminar (or Webinar)




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
In-class learning will be facilitated by interactive lectures, plenary and small-group discussions.
Group learning outside the classroom will involve collaborating in the planning, researching and writing of an e-poster.
Autonomous learning activities will include viewing films, listening to podcasts, researching background information).

Contact hours will be taught in person on campus, depending on UCD and Government health guidelines. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Essay: Short essay ca. 1,500 words. Coursework (End of Trimester) n/a Graded No


Assignment: Analysis of a short film clip Week 5 n/a Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Autumn No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, on an activity or draft prior to summative assessment
• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Group/class feedback, post-assessment
• Online automated feedback
• Peer review activities

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Students will receive automatic feedback on short content quizzes taken online throughout the module: this will help them to self-assess their understanding of key texts and historical information. As they prepare e-posters, students will have the opportunity for feedback prior to final submission. This will include peer feedback activities, class and individual feedback. Students will receive individual feedback on e-posters following submission in week 8. Individual feedback will be available to students on final essays submitted at the end of the module.

Name Role
Dr Siobhan Donovan Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Helga Muellneritsch Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Assoc Professor Gillian Pye Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Joseph Twist Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33 Fri 14:00 - 14:50
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33 Thurs 13:00 - 13:50