HS3SCW-Cold War Berlin: Politics and Culture in a Divided City, 1945-89

Module Provider: History
Number of credits: 40 [20 ECTS credits]
Level:6
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring term module
Pre-requisites:
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Co-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2019/0

Module Convenor: Prof Patrick Major

Email: p.major@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

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 its fall in 1989. Besides 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. Popular opinion from below will be furnished through situation reports collected by the western military governments and the East German party and Stasi. We also touch on the student movement in West Berlin in the sixties, and the birth of terrorism in the seventies. The module will, moreover, consider the cultural representation of division through propaganda films and literature, including the spy thrillers of Ian Fleming, John le Carré and Philip Kerr, who described Cold War Berlin as ‘perhaps the most atmospheric city on earth’.


Aims:

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:




  • Undertake detailed textual analysis and comment on the texts.

  • 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.


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 its fall in 1989. Besides 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. Popular opinion from below will be furnished through situation reports collected by the western military governments and the East German party and Stasi. We also touch on the student movement in West Berlin in the sixties, and the birth of terrorism in the seventies. The module will, moreover, consider the cultural representation of division through propaganda films and literature, including the spy thrillers of Ian Fleming, John le Carré and Philip Kerr, who described Cold War Berlin as ‘perhaps the most atmospheric city on earth’.


Brief description of teaching and learning methods:


  • The teaching for this module 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 will be required to prepare for seminars through reading from both the primary sources and the secondary literature.

  • 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 22 22
Tutorials 2
Guided independent study: 176 178
       
Total hours by term 198 202
       
Total hours for module 400

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 40
Written assignment including essay 60

Summative assessment- Examinations:

A two-hour paper involving detailed commentary on extracts from the sources studied.


Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Students will write two essays (each constituting 30% of the overall mark for the module) to be submitted electronically, the first by 12 noon on the Monday of Week 1 in the spring term, the second by 12 noon on the Wednesday of Week 11 in the spring term. Each essay shall not exceed 3,000 words, excluding footnotes and bibliography. Essays which exceed the word limit by more than 5% will incur a penalty of five marks. Candidates will be rewarded for making appropriate use of the prescribed texts.


Formative assessment methods:

Formative work, for instance seminar presentations, book reviews, posters, practice source commentaries, will be required for this Special Subject over the two terms.



Practice commentaries on the sources will be required for formative assessment.


Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convener will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day[1] (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.

    Assessment requirements for a pass:

    A mark of 40% overall.


    Reassessment arrangements:

    Re-assessment will be by the same method as the module’s original requirement, subject to variation by the Examination Board where appropriate.


    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

    Last updated: 2 October 2019

    THE INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THIS MODULE DESCRIPTION DOES NOT FORM ANY PART OF A STUDENT'S CONTRACT.

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