Skip to Content


Last modified: 25 Mar 2016 11:39

Course Overview

Why are we endlessly fascinated with murder and violence? The more peaceful the society, the greater the fascination - so it seems. This course will examine some highlights of German crime fiction, and attempt to answer the question of how and why this is such a successful genre.

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
  • Dr Gundula-Maria Sharman

Qualification Prerequisites


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

  • Either European Studies (EU) (Studied) or German (GM) (Studied)
  • Any Undergraduate Programme (Studied)
  • Programme Level 3

What other courses must be taken with this course?


Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

Course Aims

This course aims to introduce students to canonical German texts, ranging from Schiller's 18th century narrative about how individuals turn to crime to contemporary crime novels, and to engage critically with the social and ethical commentary of these texts in the context of the changing attitudes to values, justice and self-reflection.

Main Learning Outcomes

Students will gain knowledge and understanding of a particular thread of German writing from the 18th century to the present.
Students will have improved their knowledge of the German language and German history.
Students will have developed analytical and conceptual approaches to a variety of literary texts.
Students will assemble a coherent argument for presentation in oral or written work.
Students will have the opportunity to choose this topic for further research in form of their dissertation.


Solving the riddle? The wish for justice? Fascination with the human mind? Why are we so intrigued by crime fiction? And what do we gain from it?
Focusing primarily on German crime fiction, this module examines the necessary drivers , which make a good crime story, including the narrative genres and devices, the psychological profile of killer victim and the detective, and socio-historical conditions of the scene. This module includes texts by authors such as Friedrich Schiller, E.T. A Hoffmann, and Friedrich Duerrenmatt.

Further Information & Notes

The course may not be included as part of a graduating curriculum with the Level 4 courses Means and Motives - German Crime Fiction B or D.

Degree Programmes for which this Course is Prescribed


Contact Teaching Time

22 hours

This is the total time spent in lectures, tutorials and other class teaching.

Teaching Breakdown


1st Attempt

One 2-hour written examination (100%).


One 2-hour written exam (100%).

Formative Assessment

Discussion in class; individual guidance on choosing essay titles and structuring an argument.


All essays and presentations are discussed individually within no more than 2 weeks of submission. All assignments receive CGS marks, which the Course Guide links to specific marking criteria, and written or verbal feedback in the form of tutors' comments is also given. Additional informal feedback on performance and tutorial participation is offered in tutorials. Tutors have office hours at which further feedback may be sought.

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.