BA Courses: Impressions

Natalia Messmer

Shakespeare and Tragedy

(1-semester course, 3 CP)

In this course you will get a detailed look at such masterpieces as Othello, Julius Caesar or Macbeth (depending on the course outline). It is, of course, desirable to get acquainted with the plays before each session (or, for those who are planning way ahead, during a semester break); however, you can also read the play after the class and enjoy it nonetheless. What is essential is to attend classes – even if you do not manage to write everything down, active listening will do its job, too.

Final exam

First, be sure you know what is happening in the plays – a summary from Wiki might be useful, but it is not enough if a textual analysis is needed. Re-read the passages discussed during the lecture – the professor might base the exam questions on them. When I was taking this course in spring 2013, the final exam consisted of writing three short (2-3 pages) essays (on different plays), commenting selected passages. It is, therefore, useful to revise how an argumentative essay is structured (especially if you have not written one for a long time). Plan carefully and let the inspiration come!

Displacement and Differences in Postcolonial Literatures and Cultures

 (1 semester-course, 3 CP)

It starts with an exotic name and you will not be disappointed when going to the lectures.  Postcolonial Literatures and Cultures will let you get to know some of the writers from the former British colonies and countries where English has been established as a second official language. India, the Caribbean islands, Africa, Pakistan – if you are interested in their culture and contemporary literature, you are in the right place. For the sessions it is important to – as usual – listen actively (questions are encouraged) and, of course, read the novels. This might be difficult sometimes, since there are between 30 and 40 students in class and limited amount of books in the libraries (ES and ZB). I’d recommend to buy some of the books or to check the library regularly for their availability. Luckily, a reading week was included in the course program, so students had a chance to catch up with the material.

Final exam

  We had to answer some cultural questions briefly and comment on passages from the books (discussed also in lectures). My main recommendation: read the novels carefully and pay attention to characters’ development in cultural contexts.

Highlight: The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga and The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar greatly impressed me: both books were real page-turners and a breathtaking dive into completely different cultures.

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