Skip to Content


Last modified: 22 May 2019 17:07

Course Overview

In recent decades, environmental crisis has become a global concern. In this course we examine how literary writers have engaged with issues such as pollution, nuclear disaster and climate change. If we are to prevent future environmental disaster we need more than an understanding of the scientific facts – we need to understand how attitudes towards the environment are culturally shaped, and how environmental discourse is generated, debated and circulated.

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 3
Session First Sub Session Credit Points 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits)
Campus Old Aberdeen Sustained Study No
  • Ms Tara Beaney

What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

  • Any Undergraduate Programme (Studied)
  • Programme Level 3
  • German (GM) (Studied)

What other courses must be taken with this course?


What courses cannot be taken with this course?

Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

How do environmental concerns enter public consciousness? What part do literary works have to play in helping us to reflect on some of the most pressing problems of the current age? From pollution to nuclear disaster to the impacts of climate change, the texts we examine provide insight into the impetus for and evolution of German environmentalism. While environmental crisis tends to be transnational or even global in scope, understanding cultural responses to crisis requires close attention to social and political context. Through examining two texts from the GDR of the 1980s and two from the present decade, we will develop a comparative understanding of environmental culture. The primary texts offer a range of responses to crisis – from political critique, lament and apocalyptic imagination to celebration of place, personal attachments or satirical humour. Through the study of these texts, and the issues with which they deal, participants will develop their understanding of Germany as a place that is continually undergoing social, political and environmental changes.

Primary texts: Monika Maron, Flugasche (1981); Christa Wolf, Störfall (1987); Ilija Trojanow, EisTau (2011), Karen Duve, Macht (2016).

Contact Teaching Time

Information on contact teaching time is available from the course guide.

Teaching Breakdown

More Information about Week Numbers

Details, including assessments, may be subject to change until 31 August 2023 for 1st half-session courses and 22 December 2023 for 2nd half-session courses.

Summative Assessments

1st Attempt: 2500-word essay (70%), presentation (30%)

Resit: 2-hour written examination (100%)

Formative Assessment

There are no assessments for this course.


All presentations receive grades and are discussed individually within no more than 2 weeks. Essays are marked on the basis of specific marking criteria (as outlined in the course guide) and are returned with written feedback. Additional informal feedback on performance and seminar participation is offered in seminars. Tutors have office hours at which further feedback may be sought.

Course Learning Outcomes


Compatibility Mode

We have detected that you are have compatibility mode enabled or are using an old version of Internet Explorer. You either need to switch off compatibility mode for this site or upgrade your browser.