A Cultural Studies
The four compulsory cultural studies modules
will impart knowledge about cultural concepts via examples from literary, social, political and gender-related contexts. Students will learn to analyse and depict collective and culture-specific standardisations as well as environments relevant to both past and present times. Courses will be offered primarily by the Faculty of Humanities (FHW), in particular by the Chair of Anglophone Cultural and Literary Studies. German studies, philosophy, history, political and social science seminars may also be eligible.
The compulsory lecture „Introduction to Cultural Studies“ will provide an overview of the basic concepts of culture as well as cultural studies’ essential theories and methodology. The introductory lecture will always take place during the winter semester and can be completed by taking a 90-minute written exam (6 CP). Concomitant seminars (4 CP) will be devoted to questions of identity (e.g. ethnicity, gender, class, nation, etc.) and the construction, interpretation, depiction, and contemplation of the self in various forms of representation. The course offer includes, for instance, seminars on “Inventing the Self”, “Australian Identity in Film”, “Race and Identity in the World of Harry Potter” or “Gender and Commercials”. It is recommended to complete PM 1 in the first two semesters.
Departing from Aleida Assmann’s impartial understanding of culture as a geographic and political conglomeration whose unity is characterised by certain languages, mentalities, forms of art, and ways of life, PM 2 is concerned with objects of collective memory and other individual forms of memory culture. Basic and complex concepts and approaches to memory culture are structured along the question of how we experience the past in the present. Central aspects include, for instance, cultural heritage, sites of memory, material culture or the history of censorship. Two courses will have to be completed with students being able to choose from a variety of offers such as “Media and Memory Culture”, “Exhibition Culture”, “Narratives of the First World War”, or “Holocaust in Fiction”. It is recommended to complete PM 2 prior to the fifth semester.
Two additional courses will have to be selected from the offer in PM 3. This module is concerned with the fundamental physical dimensions of human existence and their role in literature and society, as they determine our society’s operational framework and the scope of our individual development. Aside from literary and linguistic landscapes, the focus will be on discourses of urban environments, e.g. in seminars on “Transforming Cities”, “Mapping Britain”, or “The English Garden as Intercultural Space”. Courses on time will take up, for example, issues of historiography in historiographic metafiction or historical fiction. The completion of PM 3 prior to the fifth semester is recommended.
PM 4 aims at teaching the multi-layered possibilities of interaction between society and environment, addressing the destructive as well as the constructive forms of interlacing in concepts of sustainability but also their evaluation in literary and cinematic texts and other cultural artefacts. At the centre of interest are, thus, the depiction and contemplation of nature-culture conflicts in different media. Courses include seminars on “Eco-Critical Disaster Narratives”, “Dystopian Film and Fiction”, or “Why Look at Animals? Exploring” Magdeburg Zoo”. As this module in particular is concerned with problems at the intersection of humanities, social and natural sciences and engineering, enrolment in PM 4 courses is recommended for students in their sixth semester.