Literature Studies and Didactics

Research and teaching of literature studies and didactics of literature at Leuphana university are mainly cultural sciences oriented.

The section of literature studies is concerned with the history of German literature between the 17th and the 21st century, considering comparative and aesthetic aspects as well as cultural theory. It connects the traditional science of specific philology with cultural and discourse analytical methods. Within this framework transdisciplinary perspectives are being stressed which are concerned with questions of linguistic-artistic form, social and cultural relevance as well as the historical context of literary texts.

The section of didactics of literature offers a fruitful perspective of literature studies on relevant topics of cultural sciences, like "memory", "space", "time", "gender", "migration" for a reflection on goals and methods in literature classes in schools. In addition to contemporary children's and youth literature, texts from the literary canon will be examined again under such thematic aspects. Furthermore, the thematic focus of teaching is the scientific reflection of processes of literary aesthetic socialization from early childhood to adolescence as well as the study of forms of literary learning.

  • Final Theses (Bachelor/Master) in the Field of Literature Studies and the Didactics of Literature
  • Lüneburg Reading List

Final Theses (Bachelor/Master) in the Field of Literature Studies and the Didactics of Literature

General Information

If you would like to write a final thesis (Bachelor/Master) in the fields of German literature studies/the didactics of German literature, you should contact your teachers at an early stage. Often the conception of a question is obvious, which in its scientific basis (theories, methods, research objects) builds on seminars already attended. Please refer to our compilation of primary texts recommended for reading in the "Lüneburg Reading List". Of course, we are also open to other well-founded topics on recent or historical literature.  

In a literary-scientifically oriented work, we usually deal with a subject-specific question concerning one or more literary works.  
In a literary-didactically oriented work, literature is examined with a view to its mediation in the field of reference of subject, pupil and learning objective orientation. In this case, the work also pursues a scientific question.

With your bachelor/master thesis you prove that you are able to conceive a scientific question and to work on it within a given period of time. This includes, among other things, the scientific elaboration of central terms, theories and methods that are relevant to the processing of your research question and - in connection with this - the research and evaluation of relevant research literature. The formulation of a scientific question is therefore a central part of your thesis. It should be developed independently by you in consultation with the first and second examiners.

In the case of a master's thesis, the master's colloquium you attend will offer you the opportunity to discuss the content and methodological aspects of your thesis in a scientific forum.

Application for admission/submission of an exposé

The application for admission to the Bachelor's/Master's thesis has to be addressed to the examination board and submitted to the student services. It contains the concrete wording of the title of your thesis as well as the confirmation of the topic signed by the first and second examiners. This confirmation requires that the examiners have an exposé of your question, which is considered by both examiners to be a scientifically sound basis for the written preparation of your final paper.

In your exposé, you should provide information on both the theoretical-conceptual and methodological aspects of working on the topic of your thesis. The preparation of an exposé therefore not only serves as a basis for the discussion of your project with the examiners, but should also help you to clarify the following questions:
a) Presentation of the research question and the methodological basis: What is my interest in knowledge? Which question do I pursue and to what extent can my question be assigned to specific sub-areas of the subject science/specialist didactics? To what extent does my question tie in with already existing research discussions and corresponding research literature? Which methodological approaches can I use in the context of my research?
b) Draft structure: Which (in its systematics comprehensible) structure of the work results from the treatment of the questions discussed under a)?
c) Bibliography of the research literature and presentation in a bibliography which may be systematically structured: Which texts of the research literature (be it on fundamental terms, theoretical discussions, methods, or on concrete primary texts and research questions) are of particular relevance to my question?

Scope/Time Frame and Schedule

Information on formalities (wording of the declaration of autonomy etc.) is provided by the current framework examination regulations (RPO) including the subject-specific appendices (FSAn) and the information sheets of the Student Services.
College - Exams
Graduate School - Exams
General Examination Regulations, forms and discipline-related appendices are available only in German and are legally binding only in this form.

A rough guideline of 30 pages, plus cover sheet, possible appendices and bibliography, is considered an adequate volume for a Bachelor thesis. A rough guideline of 60-80 pages, plus cover sheet, possible appendices and bibliography, is considered an adequate volume for a Master's thesis. Please coordinate the detailed questions regarding the scope and formalities with your first examiner in good time.

The subject-specific appendices of the respective degree programmes provide information on the processing times for Bachelor and Master theses. After examination of your application for admission you will receive written admission to the Bachelor's/Master's thesis with the exact date of submission.

You should take into account that the time information in the application only refers to the time needed for the concrete written work after the work has been registered. Since central considerations regarding the scientific conception of your thesis should be made before you apply for admission (clarification of the research question, literature research, reading of primary and research literature, preparation of an exposé), you should allow for a considerably longer time frame for the preparation of your Bachelor's/Master's thesis. An initial rough discussion of the topic with the first examiner is usually followed by an intensive conception, research and reading phase in which the concrete question is formulated and an exposé is prepared. Between an initial 'idea' and the preparation of a viable exposé, a period of several months is the rule. In addition, after the written work has been submitted in due time, about 4-6 weeks should be allowed for the evaluation and for administrational processing. The Student Service will inform you about deadlines that apply when changing from Bachelor to Master studies.

Lüneburg Reading List

A canon orientation prescribed by the curriculum in schools, as it was still valid in educational traditions up to the 1960s, exists only to a very limited extent today. However, precisely because there is no longer a bindingly defined literary canon in schools and universities, it is important for teachers of German literature to become acquainted with the historical and intertextual dimensions of literature independently in the course of their teacher training, i.e. by reading as broadly as possible, independent of seminars. The 'Lüneburger Leseliste' would like to offer an orienting guide to this.

Those who begin to deal with literature more intensively will soon realise that every text bears the traces of other texts. Or, as the literary scholar Julia Kristeva put it: "Every text builds itself up as a mosaic of quotations, each text is the absorption and transformation of another text." Intertextual relations exist not only between texts of different times and epochs, but also between literary texts of different language areas. The texts of the German-language canon are thus also in dialogue with the literary canons of other languages.

Without an awareness of the history of these references of texts to other texts, the qualities of an individual literary work can often hardly take shape. This is all the more true when literary texts turn out to be deliberate reworkings or adaptations of literary material or violate historically existing rules and writing conventions. Anyone who is not familiar with the texts of the German-language literary canon that was formed in the 18th and 19th centuries will also lack fundamental possibilities for assessing 'non-canonical' or canon-critical works of the recent present.

At the same time, literature has always functioned as a place for articulating and negotiating central references to existence (love, death, justice, etc.). But only a corpus of texts that can be assumed to be read and generally known will be able to become the object of conversation and discussion in this way. A cultural memory that we no longer remember is no longer a cultural memory.

Justified cause for criticism of normative canon specifications is given by the fact that women and minorities are largely excluded as authors in many areas from the traditional, 'Western' European literary canons. The dominant discursive order within which German-language literature has been created and handed down since early modern times can, however, in our opinion, neither be reversed by a selection of canons based on literary historical criteria nor should it be concealed by a canon that is, as it were, 'embellished'. Against this background, however, the proposed selection, deliberately formulated in historical terms, also provides a basis for critically addressing the social processes of inclusion and exclusion in processes of cultural tradition-building.

We recommend the following texts of recent German literature, which we consider fundamental, to all students of German for academic self-study. The year numbers indicate the publication date of the work. In exceptional cases, such as texts published posthumously, the dates of origin are also given, and in the case of dramas, the dates of the first performance (UA). In order to acquire an elementary literary historical coordinate system, future teachers of German should have read a selection of at least 30 texts intensively as part of their studies. In addition, a more in-depth study of one or more of the texts mentioned is recommended as part of a bachelor's or master's thesis.

download reading list in German

Thomas Gann for the literature department of the IDD