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School of History

HST6750 – Berlin in the Twentieth Century

Module code: HST6750

Credits: 30
Semester: YEAR

Module Convenor: Dr Jane Freeland

At the turn of the nineteenth century, musician Victor Noack described going out one evening in Berlin. Among the crowds of horse-drawn carriages, lorries, buses, trams and thousands of people, Noack was "overcome with the awareness of feeling terribly lost; like a drop in the ocean I would be torn apart, tossed and turned." This course will examine the transformation of this bustling city into the capital of the Third Reich, the site where the "final solution" was devised, the frontline of the Cold War, and finally into the multicultural capital city of a reunified Germany. Drawing from social and cultural history, it will explore the tension between the history of Berlin as a centre of avant-garde cultural expression and its history of war, mass violence and authoritarianism. We will examine issues of gender, sexuality, race and memory, investigating how Berliners negotiated these in their everyday lives. Alongside discussing the historiography of Berlin, we will also engage with primary sources, in particular films, diaries, novels and paintings. Studying these topics, the course will delve into themes of continuity and change, belonging and identity, the intersections of marginalization, and social progress and change. Possible dissertation topics include: representations of everyday life in East German cinema; the politics of memory in reunified Germany; the New Woman and Weimar art; and student politics of the 1960s.

This module MUST be taken in conjunction with HST6700 History Research Dissertation.

Assessment: Source Analysis (1,000 words) [12.5%], Literature Review and Annotated Bibliography (3,000 words) [37.5%], Essay (2,000 words) [25%], Comparative Source Analysis (2,000 words) [25%]
Level: 6