ATS3212 - Berlin encounters: German culture, history and politics in the centre of Europe - 2019

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.



Organisational Unit

German Studies

Chief examiner(s)

Associate Professor Christiane Weller


Associate Professor Franz-Josef Deiters
Associate Professor Christiane Weller

Unit guides



  • Term 4 2019 (Flexible)


ATS3095 or ATS3096 or equivalent by permission



The study tour will immerse students in the German language, and will enable them to develop a critical understanding of significant moments in the development of German culture, history and politics, as they are evident in Berlin, Frankfurt Oder, Potsdam and Weimar (the Prussian era, the German Reich ("Kaiserzeit") from 1871 to 1918, the Weimar Republic, National Socialism and the Holocaust, East Berlin as capital of the GDR and the situation of West Berlin, the Cold War, and Berlin as the capital of unified Germany).

Since the Fall of the Wall in 1989 and German unification in 1990, Berlin has once more become one of the most significant cultural and political centres in Europe. An intensive study tour of Berlin and surroundings will present students with the opportunity to explore in-depth important historical moments and cultural movements, by immersing themselves in the language, as well as in German cultural and social life. Students will examine a wide variety of political and cultural discourses and debates (i.e. the discourse of remembrance, "Vergangenheitsbewltigung" [coming-to-terms-with-the-past], debates on unification, Germany and the EU), in order to develop their own research question/project, and their video documentary.

The unit combines semi-intensive language classes, guided visits to museums, and historical sites in Berlin and Potsdam, a seminar series on German culture and history, and exposure to German cultural and social life (i.e. visits to theatres). The Berlin visit is complemented by a two-day excursion to Weimar to develop an understanding of German cultural history at the turn from the 18th to the 19th century (Weimar Classicism, Goethe, Schiller), and a visit of the Kleist-Museum in Frankfurt Oder. , as well as the history of the Holocaust (visit to Buchenwald concentration camp).


Upon successful completion of the unit, students will be able to

  1. explain the cultural and historical significance of Berlin, Frankfurt Oder, Potsdam and Weimar within the German and European context, the complexity of German political and cultural life, and the intricacies of historical developments before and after WWII;
  2. communicate multifaceted and complex issues in German;
  3. critically examine cultural artefacts (i.e. art collections, historical collections and museums, memorials/commemorative sites), and the discursive frameworks of political and cultural discourses which accompany and frame the situations of post-unification Berlin;
  4. extrapolate critical theory approaches to broader European and global challenges, and relate these approaches to their own field of interest or discipline;
  5. deploy theoretical tools and research skills to analyse relevant case studies on topics provided or chosen for assessment;
  6. employ research and digital literacy skills to communicate research.


Within semester assessment: 100%

Workload requirements

Minimum total expected workload to achieve the learning outcomes for this unit is 144 hours per semester typically comprising a mixture of scheduled learning activities and independent study. A unit requires on average three/four hours of scheduled activities per week. Scheduled activities may include a combination of teacher directed learning, peer directed learning and online engagement.

See also Unit timetable information

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study