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German Literature and Culture in Eastern Europe (MA)

Taught in German

Students cannot be admitted to this course of study anymore.


Double Degree:

Duration of studies

4 semesters - 120 credit points (CP)


Accredited August 18th, 2009 by AQAS

Subject area

The Master`s degree course German Literature and Culture in Eastern Europe is centred on cultural studies and examines and analyses the changes in political and cultural geography in Europe since the end of the Cold War.
The central point of interest is the literature and the language in which it is written as well as its effect on society, its function in areas such as identification and cultural memory and the way it can be politically instrumentalised. It is not only current literature which is considered but particularly also the long historical sequence involving literary, linguistic and cultural liaisons in Eastern European areas with German-speaking cultural circles. Also numbered among German language and culture in broader terms  are cultural statements in Yiddish (which mainly developed out of Middle High German) and the situation of the ethnically German or Yiddish-speaking Jews in Eastern Europe. Within Eastern Europe the focus lies on Poland, not least because this country has had a very close and volatile relationship with Germany because of its numerous divisions during the historical period. We will not be looking at Poland exclusively, however, but as an example and always in comparison to other countries in Eastern Europe.
In the third semester of studies the course has an obligatory semester abroad in Łódź (Poland), where a complementary course of study is offered. In return, the students from this course will be studying at Giessen in their first semester.
Despite its heavy concentration on possible fields to work in, the Master`s course is basically one which is research-oriented and trying to stress the social importance and practical applicability of cultural research. It is also intended to contribute to the opening up of interdisciplinary, transnational and innovative fields for research, which develop through cooperation with the partner institution.

Commencement of studies

Only possible in the winter semester

Composition of degree programme

The Master`s course includes an obligatory sequence of seven modules in the area Literature and Culture in Eastern Europe plus a thesis module and three modules in a second subject: Eastern European history or Slavic languages and culture with the focal point on Polish.

Obligatory modules:

  • Theory/Methodology of literature (10 CP)
  • History of German literature in Eastern Europe (10 CP)
  • Medieval German literature and language (6 CP)
  • Cultural practice (10 CP)
  • Polish language practice (10 CP)
  • Yiddish language and literature (4 CP)
  • Eastern European studies (10 CP)
  • Thesis (30 CP)
Second subject option 1: Eastern European history (30 CP):
  • Basics of cultural history of Eastern Europe (10 CP)
  • National, regional and transnational aspects of the history of Eastern Europe (10 CP)   
  • Continuity and change in Eastern Europe (10 CP)
Second subject option 2: Slavic languages – main subject Polish (30 CP):
  • Linguistics and the Polish language (10 CP)
  • Cultural science and the Polish language  (10 CP)
  • Literature and the Polish language (10 CP)
Students who have neither knowledge of Polish nor select Polish as a second subject are firmly advised to attend the basic Polish course in the first semester (winter semester).

In the first semester students in Giessen must take the two portal modules: "Theory/methodology of literature" and "History of German literature in Eastern Europe". In the case of the latter the lecture is intended to deal with the contrast between the entire body of literature and individual literatures within German literature, whereas the seminar is concerned with deeper study of the special case of "Eastern Europe". In the first year students also have to take the module "Medieval German literature and language", which forms the basis for the later introduction to the Yiddish language.
In Giessen in the second semester there are two 2-semester modules which are continued in the third semester in Łódź: "Cultural Practice" (with a theoretical introduction by a lecture and a seminar in Giessen and a practical phase in Łódź) and "Language Practice Polish". In the third semester, which is taught in Lodz, a one semester course module "Yiddish language and literature" and the module "Eastern European studies" must be completed. The latter emphasises the embedding of German literature in Eastern European literature, history and politics, especially those of the recent times.
In this way, up to the level of the thesis module (which can be taken in Łódź, if this is wished), a deeper knowledge of the German language and Yiddish literature and culture in Eastern Europe in various epochs and in different social and political contexts is acquired, combined with direct insights into cultural and scientific activities in Poland and experience in cultural practice. Additionally, the minor subject allows the student to set his/her own emphasis in a choice between a scientific or a practical direction in the philological or the historical-political area.

Further information

Subject advisor

Dr. Sascha Feuchert
Institut für Germanistik
Otto-Behaghel-Str. 10, house B, room 133
Phone: 0641 - 99-29072