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German Surveillance States: Nazi Germany & East Germany in Film & Literature

HNRS 2013 Sec. 02 - Spring 2020

Instructor Michael Dettinger Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures

M W 11:30 AM - 12:30 PM
218 French House

NOTE: Enrollment in this course requires participation in the LSU/Honors Spring Break in Berlin excursion.

As part of the LSU/Honors Spring Break in Berlin program, this course will introduce students to the surveillance states of Germany during the National Socialist period as well as during the years of former East Germany. Students will more closely examine the concept of these totalitarian (“Big Brother”) societies as they are portrayed in the films The Lives of Others (von Donnersmarck, 2007) and Triumph of the Will (Riefenstahl, 1935). Moreover, students will also analyze multiple scholarly writings on each topic as well as the text 1984 by George Orwell, which represents a fictional interpretation of these surveillance/“Big Brother” states.

Students learn about Germany’s history during the Nazi and East German periods, through scholarly articles, texts, and films. After studying the role of totalitarian control and surveillance in Germany, the class will visit Berlin during spring break to gain first hand experiences with the ways the German government implemented total control, as well as how citizens reacted and, in some cases, resisted. Site visits will include: Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp, Hohenschönhausen Prison Memorial, the German Historical Museum and DDR Museum, the Topography of Terror, the Berlin Wall, and more. The spring break excursion will provide experiences that deepen students’ understanding of the historical and cultural contexts studied in the course.

Fulfills General Education:

English Composition
Social Sciences