Masterstudiengang "Modern Languages, Literatures & Culture" (King's College London)

King's College London
Áine McMurtry

The Department of German at King’s College London is delighted to announce the launch of a new MA in Modern Languages, Literatures & Culture from September 2019. The German Department hosts one of the largest and most vibrant postgraduate communities in German Studies in the UK with 22 current PhD students. We plan to complement our thriving postgraduate research culture with a one-year taught MA programme that combines the research strengths and subject specialisms of our three Modern Languages departments: French; German; and Spanish, Portuguese & Latin American Studies.

In addition to the core dissertation and compulsory module on research methodologies and critical theory, students may choose from options on subjects from the Middle Ages to the present day. The course offers students the flexibility to focus on one or more of the cultures of the French, German, Portuguese and Spanish-speaking worlds. Situated at the heart of London, King's forms the ideal base from which to access UK institutes and centres that promote French, German, Hispanic and Lusophone cultures.

The compulsory 20-credit module on ‘Research Methodology: Reading Theory / Reading Practice’ is designed as a Master’s-level introduction to key strands of literary and critical theory. It is structured around four broad topics central to the study of Modern Languages and Cultures: (1) translating world cultures; (2) theories of history; (3) power and geopolitics; and (4) material textualities. The module is taught through seminar-based discussions of key theoretical texts on literary and cultural creation and interpretation.

The German Department will offer three co-taught modules shaped by its interdisciplinary and cross-period research strengths. These 20-credit modules are anchored in the German context and further discuss comparative international case studies; they will all be taught in bilingual mode and are accessible to those without knowledge of German. Efforts will be made to enable students to access London archive and museum resources as part of the curriculum:

I) German in the World

This module explores recent shifts away from an understanding of German Studies as a discrete national philology, and towards conceptions of national cultures as shifting constellations of transnationally networked forms and practices. An opening unit, Archival Circulations, uses hands-on research in a London archive to explore the archive’s function as a site for the production (or suppression) of memories of German-language culture’s transnational entanglements. Unit 2, Language, Translation and Transmission, explores how understandings of German culture are forged through processes of linguistic and cultural translation, transmission and reinvention. Unit 3, Networks and Connectivities explores transnational networks, and imaginary as well as material cross-cultural encounters, as part of the generative fabric of German-language cultures from their very inception. The module concludes by revisiting questions of archive and memory, examining the significance of a reassertion of German residence in contemporary archives of migration.

II) Beyond the Human

German authors from Hartmann von Aue to the present have engaged repeatedly and extensively with what it means to be human. This module centres around different ways of exploring and interrogating the limits of human subjectivity through time. With a focus on human encounters and interactions with the natural world, animals, objects and the supernatural we ask how and why German authors from the Middle Ages to the present day define, challenge and deconstruct what it means to be human. How are models of humanity and humanism challenged by non-human perspectives and theories of the non-human? To what extent is selfhood perceived to be confined within the body? In what ways have writers and thinkers imagined what lies beyond human selfhood? How is an understanding of what it means to be human conditioned by historical or social context?

III) Documenting the Camp: Testimony, Memory, Legacy

This module examines theoretical and cultural engagements with camp spaces from within and beyond the modern German context. It sets out to conceptualize the structural basis of socio-political mechanisms of exclusion and to consider the political, aesthetic and ethical dimensions of cultural responses and their modes of engagement and resistance. The theoretical framework for the module will build on work from the German context by Carl Schmitt on states of exception (‘On Dictatorship’, 1921), as well as Hannah Arendt on the political, and include such further thinkers as Michel Foucault and Giorgio Agamben. Cultural engagements with camp spaces will be chosen from the domains of literature, film, graphic novel, museum and memorial, which consider concentration camps from the National Socialist period, as well as colonial camps in Namibia of the early twentieth century, and more contemporary refugee and transit camps from within and beyond the German context. Students will be supported to select appropriate methodological approaches through which interpret the case studies and to discuss a range of cultural engagements in comparative critical terms.

For further details of the programme, including entry requirements and how to apply, please see:

Modern Languages, Literature & Culture | King’s College London
Study Modern Languages, Literature & Culture MA course at King's College London.

Enquiries about MA study are welcomed – please contact the Postgraduate Admissions Tutor, Dr Áine McMurtry:; 020 7848 2167.

Staff profiles, including research interests, can be found on our website:


Dr Áine McMurtry

Department of German
King's College London, 22 Kingsway, WC2B 6LE London, United Kingdom

Masterstudiengang "Modern Languages, Literatures & Culture" (King's College London), 16.09.2019 London, in: H-Soz-Kult, 16.04.2019, <>.
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