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Gender, Race and Migration in 20th and 21st-century German Literature

Module titleGender, Race and Migration in 20th and 21st-century German Literature
Module codeMLG2019
Academic year2024/5
Module staff

Dr Ina Linge (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

How do experiences of gender, race and migration affect the ways in which we feel a sense of identity and belonging in this world? In this module you will explore concepts of gender, race and migration in German-language literature of the twentieth and twenty-first century to critically examine this and other questions. We will explore how transitions – from one gender to another, between languages, and across national borders – can have an impact on one’s sense of self and identity. By familiarising yourself with writers who lived through political, cultural and social changes in the German-speaking world, you will debate how modern literature can give us an insight into how ideologies of race, sexuality, gender, nation and class have functioned in an important period in German history, from the German Empire to contemporary Germany.

This module is suitable for all students. 

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module will introduce you to the ways in which experiences of gender, race and migration might shape an individual’s experience of the world and how writers explore these topics in twentieth- and twenty-first century autobiographical and fictional texts. By introducing you to recent research on gender, race and migration and to a range of literary works that engage with topics of gender, migration and multilingualism, as well as oppression, inequality and empowerment, the module aims to equip you to use concepts of gender, race and migration as analytical tools to understand German literature and culture in the 20th and 21st century. In doing so, you will also be able to understand Germany as a multilingual place where various identities of gender, sexuality and race intersect and you will be able to critically investigate how we might understand ‘German culture’ as an expansive as well as exclusionary term. 

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Demonstrate a solid understanding of concepts of gender, race and migration in the context of 20th and 21st-century German-language literature
  • 2. Demonstrate a good understanding of the set texts in their literary, cultural and historical contexts

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 3. With some guidance from the course tutor, evaluate and apply a range of critical approaches to the material covered
  • 4. Construct a coherent argument in the appropriate register of English, mustering a range of textual or other evidence in its support

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 5. Adopt a critical approach to the selection and organisation of material in order to produce, to a deadline, a written argument.
  • 6. Undertake defined learning activities with a measure of autonomy, asking for guidance where necessary.

Syllabus plan

The content may vary from year to year, but some or all of the following topics may be covered in this module:

  • Introduction: Gender, Race and Migration in the German Past and Present.
  • Gender and Jewishness in the German Empire. Key text: N. O. Body, Aus eines Mannes Mädchenjahren [A Man’s Maiden Years] (1907)
  • An Afro-German Life in the 20th Century. Key text: Theodor Michael’s Deutsch sein und schwarz dazu: Erinnerungen eines Afro-Deutschen [An Afro-German Life in the Twentieth Century] (2013)
  • Berlin and Istanbul in the 1960s. Key text: Emine Sevgi Özdamar, Die Brücke vom Goldenen Horn [The Bridge of the Golden Horn] (1998)
  • The Multi-lingual Subject in Contemporary Germany. Key text: Yoko Tawada, Porträt einer Zunge [Portrait of a Tongue] (2002)

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching1510 x 1 hour 30 minute seminars (some with short lectures)
Scheduled Learning and Teaching1Tutorial
Guided Independent Study132Private study and seminar preparation; research and assessment preparation
Guided Independent Study2Study group meetings to plan small-group presentation and student-led seminar activity

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Short essay500 words1-6Feedback sheet with opportunity for tutorial follow up

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay1002500 words1-6Feedback sheet with opportunity for tutorial follow up

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
EssayEssay1-6Referral/deferral period

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to submit a further assessment as necessary. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Primary reading:

*available in English translation

Core texts:

  • *N. O. Body, Aus eines Mannes Mädchenjahren. Berlin: Edition Hentrich, 1993 [1907]./A Man’s Maiden Years. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2006.
  • *Emine Sevgi Özdamar, Die Brücke vom Goldenen Horn. Cologne: KiWi, 1998./The Bridge of the Golden Horn. London: Serpent's Tail, 2007.
  • *Theodor Michael’s Deutsch sein und schwarz dazu: Erinnerungen eines Afro-Deutschen. Munich: Dtv, 2013/Black German: An Afro-German Life in the Twentieth Century. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2017.
  • *Yoko Tawada, ‘Porträt einer Zunge’ in Überseezungen: Literarische Essays. Tübingen: Konkursbuch Verlag, 2002./Portrait of a Tongue in Yoko Tawada's Portrait of a Tongue: An Experimental Translation by Chantal Wright. Ottawa, Ont.: University of Ottawa Press, 2013.

Selected secondary literature:

  • Boa, Elizabeth, ‘Özdamar's Autobiographical Fictions: TransÃ?�Ã?¢Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½National Identity and Literary Form’ 59:4 (2006).
  • Braun, Rebecca and Benedict Schofield, Transnational German Studies. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2020.
  • Florvil, Tiffany N. and Vanessa D. Plumly, Rethinking Black German Studies: Approaches, Interventions and Histories. Oxford: Peter Lang, 2018.
  • Göttsche, Dirk. ‘Self-Assertion, Intervention and Achievement: Black German Writing in Postcolonial Perspective,’ Orbis Litterarum 67:2 (2012).
  • Linge, Ina. ‘Gender and Agency between Sexualwissenschaft and Autobiography: The Case of N.O. Body’s Aus eines Mannes Mädchenjahren’, German Life and Letters, vol. 68, no. 3, 2015.
  • Whisnant, Clayton J. Queer Identities and Politics in Germany: A History 1880-1945. Harrington Park Press, 2016.
  • Yildiz, Yasemin. Beyond the Mother Tongue: The Postmonolingual Condition. Fordham UP, 2014.

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Key words search

Gender, Race, Migration, Multilingualism, Literature, 20th century, 21st century

Credit value15
Module ECTS


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