HS3S32-Cold War Berlin: Politics and Culture in a Divided City, 1945-65, A

Module Provider: History
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Co-requisites: HS3S82 Cold War Berlin: Politics and Culture in a Divided City, 1945-65, B
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2016/7

Module Convenor: Prof Patrick Major

Email: p.major@reading.ac.uk

Summary module description:

Specials aim to provide 'hands-on' experience of the historian's task through close examination and evaluation of primary sources and the light they shed on issues and problems.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of the module it is expected that the student will be able to:
achieve a detailed command of the themes, events and eras studied
locate and assemble information on the subject by independent research
organise material and articulate arguments effectively in writing
recognise and interpret a wide range of different primary materials
undertake detailed textual analysis and comment on the texts

Additional outcomes:
This module also aims to encourage the development of oral communication skills and the student's effectiveness in group situations. Students will also develop their IT skills by use of relevant web resources.

Outline content:
This Special Subject uses recently declassified documents made available since the end of the Cold War to explore the politics of liberation in 1945, the Berlin Blockade of 1948-49, the 17 June 1953 insurrection in East Germany, as well as the mass exodus of the 1950s which ultimately led to the building of the Berlin Wall in August 1961. As well as superpower politics and intelligence operations - Berlin was after all 'spy city' - the module will cover everyday life in extraordinary circumstances, including the problem of mass rapes, the black market, reconstruction and denazification. It will also consider the cultural representation of division through propaganda films and literature, including the spy thrillers of Ian Fleming, John le Carre and Len Deighton, as well as the 'shopwindow politics' of rival socio-economic systems competing across an open border before the Wall. Popular opinion from below will be furnished through situation reports collected by the western military governments and the East German party and Stasi.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
The teaching for this module and for HS3S82 together involves weekly two-hour discussion seminars. Students will gain 'hands-on' experience of the historian's task through the detailed evaluations of key texts, and the light they shed on the issues and problems being investigated. Students are expected to carry out self-directed revision in the Summer term. Staff will be available for consultation as necessary.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Seminars 11 11
Project Supervision 1
Guided independent study 88 89
Total hours by term 99.00 101.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 100

Other information on summative assessment:

Formative assessment methods:
Between two and four pieces of formative written work, for instance essays, seminar presentations, book reviews, posters, will normally be required for this Special Subject over the two terms.

Students will be required to prepare for seminars through reading from both the primary sources and the secondary literature. Practice commentaries on the sources will be required for formative assessment.

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.

  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:
    A three-hour paper involving detailed commentary on extracts from the sources studied.

    Requirements for a pass:
    A mark of 40% overall

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Students who fail Part Three are permitted one further attempt at a resit in each module they have failed. Students who fail Part Three will no longer be eligible for an Honours Degree, but, assuming the necessary threshold after the resit (normally an overall average of 35% or above) is achieved, students will obtain a Pass Degree. Re-examination in August, where students are permitted to re-sit this module.

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

    Last updated: 21 December 2016

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