German 169. Cold War Stories: Art and Politics in the Two Germanies

Semester: 

Spring

Offered: 

2022

Top of stack of books installation at Bebelplatz, Berlin

Day/Time

W 9:45-11:45am

Instructor

Schwakopf

This course provides a survey of the history and culture of divided Germany during the Cold War. It examines the conditions leading to the foundation of two separate states, the role of the Allied Powers in East and West Germany, the ideological conflicts between them, and their different responses to dealing with a shared fascist past. Drawing on sources from literature, film, radio, theater and art, we will engage with key political debates and societal changes, such as the “economic miracle,” rearmament/the arms race, the instauration of socialism and its demise, the Berlin Wall and the erection of the inner German border, the student movement, the rise of feminism and environmentalism, pacifism and the “Peaceful Revolution” of 1989. We will look into how writers and artists interfered in, or even shaped, these debates; and we will study how specific literary and artistic genres and media helped fuel political counter-discourses and protest on both sides of the Wall.

Course Notes: Readings and discussions will be in German. Assignments must be submitted in German.