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GEC2: German Text and Culture

This paper is available for the academic year 2023-24.

The C2 paper offers the opportunity to engage with advanced use of the foreign language in stimulating and intellectually challenging ways, through the analysis of texts of various types and genres under a prescribed topic as specified by the Faculty Board from time to time.  At the moment, the topic will be "Identity". Students will be expected to engage critically with relevant texts, placing them in their cultural contexts and analysing their formal features and content through written work in the foreign language. 

Aims and objectives: 

In Part II, students can combine the reading, writing and speaking skills they have acquired in their first two years with their linguistic experience during the Year Abroad and develop them at an advanced level.  The paper will explore various thematic units in the course of the year. 4 sub-topics around the central theme of identity will be discussed each year, including themes such as society, art and culture, history, language, philosophy, geography, and politics. Some of the questions students will be expected to be able to discuss are: How can national identity be defined in a European and global context? Which factors are relevant for the formation of a German identity? How has it changed over the course of time? How will German identity have to adapt to react to new geo-political circumstances?

In addition, students are expected to analyse the stylistic properties of a text and explain their function.

Teaching and learning: 

The paper will be taught fortnightly in hour-long faculty classes. Students may also have up to 4 supervisions on their written work for the paper. Students will be asked to submit up to 6 pieces of written work per year. Students read and analyse texts (including films) in advance of attending classes. In classes, we will discuss the texts and related cultural issues as well as the stylistic properties of the texts. During the Lent term there will be the opportunity for students to give an oral presentation on a topic they have become interested in and which they would like to explore further.

Learning resources:

The Moodle site for GEC2 with reading material, links to websites and film clips, as well as suggested further reading can be found here.


A two-hour examination will ask students to engage critically with an unseen text on a topic of cultural interest related to the topics discussed in classes over the course of the year. Candidates will be given a choice of two texts on which to answer in the target language. Each passage will be between 600 and 700 words in length.

Candidates will be asked to provide a written text in the target language related to the exam passage they will have selected, showing a very good understanding of the chosen passage. The exam will test their ability to comment on the text (form and content), as well as their ability to react to the text and to formulate a clear argument of their own. Candidates will be expected to show connections between texts and their cultural contexts, as they will have done in the seminar discussions. Candidates are expected to produce their answer in a register appropriate for this purpose. Grammatical accuracy, fluency and idiomatic use of the foreign language will be expected at this level.

Paper GEC2 carries 70% of a scheduled paper. The GEC1 paper also carries 70% and the oral examination carries 60%. The three examinations together weigh the same as two scheduled papers.

For all German past papers, see here. Examiners’ Reports can be found here.

Course Contacts: 
Prof Silke Mentchen