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Academic Year: Fall/Winter 2013/2014

Term: 2

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. Iris Bruce


Office: Togo Salmon Hall 502

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 24697

Office Hours: Wednesday 10:30-12:20 or by appointment

Course Objectives:

Course Description:

In the heart of the “New Europe” lies a “New Germany,” united after almost a half-century of division. But how new, and how united, is this new Germany? Literature and film provide an insight into this fascinating world. The course examines events, ideas, forces, movements, and personalities that have shaped a new mentality in a multicultural landscape. Our textbook, A New Germany in a New Europe (2001), provides a focus for our discussions within the larger global context: “What can the new Germany look like as the center of the new Europe, a Europe without boundaries and border guards, with a common currency, with a new globalized culture?”

Course Objectives: The course will trace continuities and shifts in the self-definition of West/East and contemporary, multicultural Germany. Students will explore different angles of 20th century German cultural history. They will identify common themes and motifs and analyze diverging developments in East and West Germany through literature and film.  


Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

Required Texts:
Available at Titles, the university bookstore.

Arjouni, Jakob. Happy birthday,Turk! (No Exit)

Becker, Jurek. Bronstein's Children. (Univ. of Chicago)

Hensel, Jana.  After the Wall (public affairs)

Özdamar, Emine. The Bridge of the Golden Horn (Serpent’s Tail)

Schlink, Bernhard. The Reader. (Vintage)

Rabinovici, Doron. Search for M. (Ariadne)

A New Germany in a New Europe. Eds. Todd Herzog & Sander Gilman. (Routledge)


Films will include Stephen Daldry, The Reader; Doris Doerrie, Happy birthday, Turk!, excerpt from Fritz Lang, M, and Fatih Akin, The Edge of Heaven & The Kebab Connection 

Method of Assessment:

Assignments and Evaluations: (Due Dates)


            Oral Presentation   . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15%

            Term paper (ca. 2000-2500 words) . . . 25%   (due March 21, 2014)

            Final Exam. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .30% (scheduled by Registrar’s Office)

            2 Quizzes  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  . . . . . . . .  20%   (10% each; Jan. 24 & March 7)

            Participation  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. 10%

The final exam will ask specific and detailed questions about the lectures, films, and your reading assignments. You will have to identify authors, characters, titles of texts and films, and answer questions about themes and cultural backgrounds relating to the course material. 

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

This is a self-reporting tool for undergraduate students to report absences DUE TO MINOR MEDICAL SITUATIONS that last up to 5 days and provides the ability to request accommodation for any missed academic work. Please note, this tool cannot be used during any final examination period. You may submit a maximum of 1 Academic Work Missed request per term. It is YOUR responsibility to follow up with your Instructor immediately (NORMALLY WITHIN TWO WORKING DAYS) regarding the nature of the accommodation. If you are absent for reasons other than medical reasons, for more than 5 days, or exceed 1 request per term, you MUST visit your Associate Dean's Office/Faculty Office). You may be required to provide supporting documentation. This form should be filled out immediately when you are about to return to class after your absence.

Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Dishonesty

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  2. Improper collaboration in group work.
  3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Email correspondence policy

It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student.  Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.

Modification of course outlines

The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. You can find information at If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean's office.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. Academic accommodations must be arranged for each term of study. Student Accessibility Services can be contacted by phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail For further information, consult McMaster University's Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religion and spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the Course Calendar or by their respective Faculty. In most cases, the student should contact his or her professor or academic advisor as soon as possible to arrange accommodations for classes, assignments, tests and examinations that might be affected by a religious holiday or spiritual observance.

Topics and Readings:


The discussion of certain texts/films may flow over to the following class.

January 8:  Introduction

January 10: "Introduction" by Sander Gilman in New Germany, 1-19;  Richard von Weizaecker, "Can Goethe Guide Us Through the Process of European Union?" in New Germany, 25-39; Lorenz, "Beyond Goethe: Perspectives on  Post-Unification German Literature" in New Germany, 105-13.

January 15: Schlink, The Reader

January 17:  film: The Reader

January 22: Schlink, The Reader

January 24:  Quiz 1: Reading Test on Becker, Bronstein's Children

January 29: Becker, Bronstein's Children

January 31:  Becker, Bronstein's Children

February 5: Hensel, After the Wall

February 7: Hensel, After the Wall

February 12: Andreas Glaeser, "Why Germany Remains Divided" in New Germany, 173-97.

February 14:  Özdamar, The Bridge of the Golden Horn

February 19:  NO Class; Midterm Recess (Feb. 17-22)

February 21:  NO Class: Midterm Recess (Feb. 17-22)

February 26: Özdamar, The Bridge of the Golden Horn

February 28:  film: Fatih Akin, “The Edge of Heaven

March 5: Özdamar & Fatih Akin, and "What is the Future of German Immigration Policy?" in New Germany,   43-48; Broder, "Reshuffling the Deck: Democratization  and Diversification of the Cultural Market" in New Germany, 99-104.

March 7:  Quiz 2: Reading test on Rabinovici, Search for M

March 12: Rabinovici, Search for M

March 14:  film excerpt: Fritz Lang, “M”

March 19: Rabinovici and “M”

March 21: ESSAY IS DUE; film: Happy birthday, Turke!

March 26: Arjouni, Happy birthday, Turke!

March 28: Arjouni, Happy birthday, Turke!

April 2:  Fatih Akin, The Kebab Connection


April 10-29:   Final Examination Period

Other Course Information:

Written Work and Late Submissions:

Late work will be penalized: there will be a reduction of 3% per day on essays handed in late without permission, and they will receive no extensive commentary.  


Late Assignment Policy: 

All essays are due either in class or electronically by the end of the day on the assigned date.