German Cultural History

What is Germany? Myth, Memory, Culture

In 2014, the British Museum opened their fascinating exhibition Germany. Memories of a Nation, a show that incited the visitor’s active participation by distilling Germany’s unique and diverse history in only one hundred objects on display, carefully chosen by curator Neil MacGregor. At first sight only vaguely interconnected, these 100 objects invoked the fragmented nature of Germany as a country—neither geographically nor historically, we can even speak of a German nation or history prior to 1871. Instead, a multitude of smaller German states with constantly shifting borders but distinct regional identities suggested over the centuries that “German” was a complex cultural instead of a geopolitical concept. This course traces this complex cultural history and identity from the Reformation to our days. Questions guiding our discussions will include: What is German? What factors define a national identity and which ones created modern German identity? What is the relationship between this historically complex identity and today’s Germany as a nation-state? A study of myths and legends, master narratives, stereotypes and images from and about Germany will help provide answers to these and other questions.

Required texts:
- Neil MacGregor, Deutschland. Erinnerungen einer Nation. München: C.H. Beck 2015
ISBN 978-3-406-67920-9.
- Autorenteam. Meilensteine deutscher Geschichte. Von der Antike bis heute. Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung. ISBN 978-3-8389-0642-3
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GRMN 6612

All Sections in Summer 2016 Language Schools, LS 6 Week Session

Summer 2016 Language Schools, LS 6 Week Session

GRMN6612A-L16 Lecture (Kossert)