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GERM3017 Renaissance of German-Jewish Literature after the Holocaust

Module Overview

Since Emancipation in the 18th and 19th centuries German and Austrian Jews have not only contributed to but also shaped literature in German. Despite expulsion or destruction of the majority of Jews in the Holocaust, German cities such as Frankfurt, Munich and more recently Berlin are attracting Jews from all over the world, and Jewish culture is once again thriving in the two German-speaking countries. The so-called Waldheim Affair in Austria (1986) and reunification of Germany (1990) have been identified as the watershed events leading to a renaissance of German-Jewish literature. Although Jews are still a relatively small minority in both countries, the number of writers among them that have emerged in Germany and Austria over the past quarter century is surprisingly large. Today, Jewish writers once again contribute significantly to the diversity and vibrancy of German-language literature. Translations and events such as the London Jewish Book Week, which regularly features Jewish authors who write in German, demonstrate the interest in their work beyond the borders of the German-speaking lands. This module will allow you to read and discuss literary texts that are being produced now. Through designing your own research project and presenting it together with other members of the group you will develop critical thinking, intellectual independence and team-working skills.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

The aims of this module are to: - Problematize the notion of a ‘Jewish’ text - Introduce you to selected German and Austrian Jewish writers of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries - Address questions of why these texts started to emerge half a century after the end of the Holocaust; - Enquire about how Jewish writers perceive what the historian Dan Diner (1988) has called the ‘negative symbiosis’ between Jews and Germans after the Holocaust.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • Some key recent texts of Jewish literature written in German
  • Themes and issues identified by German Jewish writers as relevant for their work
  • How literature relates to the expression of the self and signal relationship to ‘the other’
Cognitive Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Make connections between literature and wider social and historical issues
  • Apply theoretical concepts to inform the interpretation of a text
  • Articulate an informed response to questions of literary interpretation, in both discussion and writing
  • Enquire about the characteristics of transnational writers
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Understand theoretical approaches and apply them to selected material
  • Further develop strategies of independent research and learning
  • Carry out close analysis of cultural artefacts and reflect on the relationship between cultural context and the content and form of the works studied
  • Organize relevant material in written and oral discussion in order to communicate clearly and effectively
  • Carry out library research, construct a bibliography and produce accurate and consistent referencing in your work
  • Participate in and lead group discussion
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Develop your own analysis of literary texts
  • Discuss in written and oral form theoretical approaches introduced in the module and apply them to texts studied

Syllabus

-Differences in post-war cultural and political reconstruction between Austria and Germany - Developments since the nineteen eighties (Waldheim affair in Austria; reunification of Germany; immigration of Jews from former Soviet Union) - Discussion of selected texts (and some films) of current Jewish writers in Germany and Austria, to include: Ruth Beckermann (Zorro’s Bar MitzvaI, film [Zorros Bar Mitzwa]); Barbara Honigmann (Love made out of nothing [Eine Liebe aus nichts], Sahora’s Journey [Sahora’s Reise]); Robert Menasse (Wings of Stone [], Don Juan de la Mancha); Anna Mitgutsch (Love Traitor. A Jerusalem Story [Abschied von Jerusalem], House of Childhood [Haus der Kindheit]; Doron Rabinovici (The search for M [Suche nach M]); Julya Rabinowich (Splithead [Spaltkopf]).

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include: - Lectures - Seminar discussion - Group presentations and tasks Learning methods include: - Independent reading and study - Group presentations and discussion - Written work

TypeHours
Teaching24
Independent Study126
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Hahn, Barbara (2005). The Jewess Pallas Athena : this too a theory of modernity. 

Schlant, Ernestine (1999). The language of silence: West German literature and the Holocaust. 

Gelbin, Cathy S. (2010). The golem returns: from German Romantic literature to global Jewish culture, 1808-2008. 

Gilman, Sander L. (1995). Jews in today's German culture. 

Herzog, Hillary Hope et al. (eds.) (2008). Rebirth of a culture : Jewish identity and Jewish writing in Germany and Austria today. 

Gilman, Sander L. and Karen Remmler (eds.) (1994). Reemerging Jewish culture in Germany: life and literature since 1989. 

Gilman, Sander L. and Jack Zipes (eds.) (1997). Yale companion to Jewish writing and thought in German culture, 1096-1996. 

Broder, Henryk M. (2004). A Jew in the new Germany. 

Feldman, Linda E. (1998). Evolving Jewish identities in German culture : borders and crossings. 

Assessment

Summative

MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (3000 words) 60%
Group presentation 40%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Linked modules

A module created by CQA

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