HIST 327
A History of the German Democratic Republic Spring 2022
Division II

Class Details

This seminar is a cultural history of the German Democratic Republic that focuses on the lives and experiences of East Germans between 1949 and 1990. The course relies heavily on primary sources, including films, works of literature and art, ego documents such as memoirs, diaries, and letters, as well as the documentary, The Children of Golzow, that covers the lives of a handful of East Germans from 1960 to 2007. To access continuities and changes in the history of East Germany, the course will pay particular attention to the experience of the three generations of Germans whose lives shaped and were shaped by the German Democratic Republic: the generation born just before World War I that founded the GDR; the generation born during the Weimar Republic that built Socialism in East Germany; and the generation born at the beginning of the GDR that became disillusioned and either failed to support or actively turned against the Communist regime. Proceeding chronologically, the course will consider the emergence of the GDR out of the Second World War and the Third Reich between 1945 and 1950; the GDR during the 1950s, including the workers’ uprising and the brief liberalization that occurred in its aftermath; the GDR in the shadow of the Wall during the 1960s; the GDR during the 1970s under Erich Honecker with its emphasis on consumerism; the GDR during the last decade of its existence during the 1980s with increasing economic stagnation, environmental degradation, popular disillusionment, and the ascendance of the Stasi state; and, finally, the collapse of the GDR and the subsequent experience of its former citizen in the Federal Republic of Germany after 1989.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 25
Expected: 25
Class#: 3662
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: The course will be taught in a discussion format. Evaluation will be based upon participation in class discussion, two interpretative essays, each of approximately 5-6 pages, and a final eight-page paper due at the end of the semester.
Prerequisites: None
Enrollment Preferences: History majors, seniors, and then juniors
Distributions: Division II
Attributes: HIST Group C Electives - Europe and Russia

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