2nd degree (Master)
Cont. German Studies:politics, Soc.&Cult
Dr. Tobias Ebbrecht-Hartmann
Coordinator Office Hours:
Dr. Tobias Ebbrecht Hartmann
The course "German Social History" provides an introduction into the society and culture of Germany in the 20th century. The focus is on post-war German history that is reviewed from a comparative perspective as asymmetrical development between East and West Germany. Methodologically and thematically the course is adopting the concepts of 'modernity' and 'crisis'. Topics that should be discussed are, among other things, political and social protest movements, dealing with the past and the European and international framework of the German development. The course gives an overview of the history of the Weimar Republic until unification in the 1990s and will deal intensively with the two post-war societies in East and West. In addition to political and social issues also cultural phenomena and particulary the cinematic reflection of the socio-historical development will be examined.
The course gives an insight into different aspects of German social history. Furthermore it provides methodological approaches in order to perceive the post-war development in Germany both in comparative perspective (comparative, asymmetric historiography) as well as with regard to various phenomena (society, culture, politics). The course intends to present a complex and wide-ranging picture of Germany. The students will thus be offered a basis for subsequent detailed studies in various subject areas. At the same time they will become familiar with different historiographical concepts of social and cultural history.
The course will be held partly online.
Learning outcomes - On successful completion of this module, students should be able to:
- orient themselves within the course of German 20th century history,
- communicate their knowledge about German society and culture,
- apply methodological and theoretical concepts (asymmetrical history, crisis as concept of history, transnational historiography) to particular research topics,
- understand the specific social and political composition of the contemporary German society on the basis of its history and development
- to get a reflective view on Germany’s politics and culture of memory and on the impact of the national-Socialist past.
Teaching arrangement and method of instruction:
The teaching is organized as a thematically arranged chronological overview of the German social history of the 20th century. Main sessions are concerned with the conceptual and methodological question of how this history can be explored and narrated. All sessions are based on corresponding texts, which must be read for each session. The lessons are based on both the input of the lecturer and the joint discussion of texts as well as on group work and students’ presentations during class. The course will be partly taught online.
The general theoretical framework of the course will be the concept of social history as ‘crisis history’.
13/10/2021 Introduction: German Social History – Society, History & Crisis (online)
20/10/2021 Crisis of Modernity – The Ambivalences of Weimar (online)
27/10/2021 The Salaried Masses – A Socio-political Survey (online)
03/11/2021 Total Integration – The Principle of German Volksgemeinschaft (in class)
10/11/2021 Reactionary Modernism – the political Culture of the Third Reich (online)
17/11/2021 A Society in Ruins – “Zero Hour” and the Question of Guilt (online)
24/11/2021 Restart, Continuity and Crisis – Developing Society, Culture and Identity in East and West Germany (online)
01/12/2021 Between Stability and Conflict – Social Protests, Gender and Youth Movements (+ student presentation, in class)
08/12/2021 Conflicting Past(s) - The two Germanys and the Holocaust (+ student presentation, in class)
15/12/2021 1968 - From Protest to Terror (+ student presentation, in class)
22/12/2021 German ‘Alltag’: Youth, Culture and Everyday Life in the two Germanys (+ student presentation, in class)
29/12/2021 New Germans: Foreign Workers, Migration, Multiculturalism (+ student presentation, in class)
05/01/2022 The Road to Unification: A German Revolution? (online)
12/01/2022 From Hoyerswerda to Halle: Germany's Remnants of Nationalist Authoritarianism (online)
• Reinhart Koselleck, Some Questions Regarding the Conceptual History of “Crisis”. In: The practice of conceptual history. Timing history, spacing concepts. Stanford: Stanford University Press 2002, pp. 236-247.
• Axel Schildt and Arnold Sywottek, “Reconstruction” and “Modernization”: West German Social History during the 1950s. In: Robert G. Moeller (ed), West Germany under Construction. Politics, Society and Culture in the Adenauer Era, Ann Arbor 1997, pp. 413-443.
• Jürgen Kocka, Toward a Social History of the German Democratic Republic. In: Civil Society and Dictatorship in Modern Germany, Hanover, NH 2010, pp. 33-66.
• Hans-Jürgen Schröder. "From division to Unity: The History of the Federal Republic of Germany." The New Germany: History, Economy, Policies. Ed. Reimund Seidelmann. Baden-Baden: Nomos, 2011. 13-64.
• Lindenberger, Thomas. "Everyday History: New Approaches to the History of the Post-War Germanys." The Divided Past: Rewriting Post-War German History. Ed. Christoph Klessmann. Oxford: Berg, 2001. 43-67.
A full reading list will be provided at the beginning of the seminar.
Additional Reading Material:
A full reading list will be provided at the beginning of the course.
End of year written/oral examination 0 %
Presentation 25 %
Participation in Tutorials 0 %
Project work 0 %
Assignments 0 %
Reports 15 %
Research project 60 %
Quizzes 0 %
Other 0 %
1. Active participation
2. Oral presentation (15 Minutes) - 20%
3. Written version of the oral presentation (5 Pages, 12 pt., Double space) – submission deadline: 6 January 2022 – 20%
4. • Final paper (10 Pages, 12 pt., Double space) – submission deadline: 3 March 2022 – 60%
In addition, it is possible to write a seminar paper in the course:
a) choose topic related to the course by: 5 January 2022,
b) submit written seminar paper (25 pages) by: 30 September 2022.