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Semester 1

Researching Disability in German Literature and Society (ELCG08010)


European Languages and Cultures - German





Normal Year Taken


Delivery Session Year



Students should have German-language skills at CEFR level B1 or above. Entry to this course may be subject to a language test on arrival and is at the discretion of the course organiser. Visiting Students must also take German 2 Language (ELCG8008) as a co-requisite.

Course Summary

This option course introduces students to the field of Disability Studies and a selection of German fairy tales by the Brothers Grimm and the German Romantic writer E. T. A. Hoffmann. Students will study key models and concepts related to disability, impairment, normalcy, and ableism, and use these ideas as a critical framework for interpreting fairy tales. This course is suitable for students who are interested in developing analytical skills and who want to learn how to carry out Disability-Studies readings of German literary texts.

Course Description

Reading literature through the lens of Disability Studies offers a range of alternative perspectives that challenge biases and assumptions and can lead to a fundamental reconsideration of literary texts. This course comprises themed units. Students will focus on a selection of key concepts that are used when studying disability and relate them to selected German fairy tales. Students will, for example, discuss their close readings of the fairy tales, examine literary constructions of disabled characters, narrative patterns related to disability, the notion of normal, ableist strategies, and social attitudes and environmental barriers encountered by fictional disabled characters. The set secondary reading is available on Learn in the Resources List and the weekly activities are designed around active engagement with the primary and secondary texts. Students will work in small groups or independently and receive feedback on the assignments. This course aims to actively foster reflection on diversity and inclusion and raise awareness of the historical and cultural origins of exclusion, social injustice and inequalities, and negative attitudes towards disability. It also supports the idea that there should be a place in the university curriculum for literature courses that offer diverse perspectives and encourage the critical consideration of narratives about underrepresented groups. The assessment will be 100% coursework. There are two summative assignments: Essay 1 (875 words) and Essay 2 (875 words). Both will be self-designed Disability-Studies interpretations of one or two fairy tales and relate to a conceptual idea within the fields of Disability Studies studied on the course.

Assessment Information

Written Exam 0%, Coursework 100%, Practical Exam 0%

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