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Valentina Ringelmann

(University of Bamberg)

Guest lecture in the seminar 'Risky? Adventurous Narrative in Historical Change' (Dr. Susanne Schul)

An adventure is not only experienced, but it is created in a special way by being told about. As a narrative, the adventurous is represented in numerous textual forms and discourses, e.g. as a novel or as an adventure sequence in a narrative that follows completely different genre patterns, as well as an adventurous stylization in different medial contexts up to everyday forms of communication that stylize moments of risky experience. The seminar examines this diversity of the adventurous as an example and takes Hartmann von Aue's courtly novel "Iwein" as the starting point for this exploration.

The probation or "âventiure" of the courtly knight is one of the important components of the courtly novel. Both the concept and the term used for it were adopted from French at the end of the 12th century and developed into one of the central narrative elements of courtly poetry. Adventurous storytelling is always determined by coincidences. It fascinates recipients with perilous and unpredictable events, luring and binding them with the expectation of the unexpected. At the same time, it promises to integrate all the coincidences that lurk on the adventure journey into a narrative. Adventurous storytelling thus oscillates between contingency and coherence - an apparent contradiction that pervades not only medieval but also modern narratives, making them particularly exciting but also risky.

Marion Darilek

(University of Tübingen) 

Guest lecture in the seminar 'Medieval Narrative in the Media Network' (Dr. Susanne Schul)

Whether it is about Siegfried the dragon slayer but also tragic hero, the dark but also loyal Hagen or the beautiful but also vengeful Kriemhild or about King Arthur, courtly knights, the search for the Grail or dangerous journeys of probation, the reception of the great medieval myths of the "Nibelungen" and of the "Artus Court" is always determined by a media transfer, through which they are told in a "new way". In this context, the intermedial interweaving of different single media is called media compound. Compared to purely verbal narrative, this results in changed production conditions and reception attitudes as well as new literary and media practices and competencies.

The seminar is dedicated to two prominent narrative materials from the Middle Ages and compares them with forms of reception in different media (image, comic, film, internet, series, etc.). In addition to providing basic knowledge of the source narratives and exemplary analyses from various media contexts, special emphasis will be placed on narrative and media theoretical approaches.

Peter Somogyi

(University of Dresden)

Guest lecture in the seminar 'To Wonder: Encounters with the "Stranger" in Medieval Literature' (Dr. Susanne Schul)

What happens when people are astonished? Amazement can be understood as an emotional reaction associated with confusion or uncertainty, but also fascination or desire, with defense or appropriation, and is neither conceptually nor phenomenologically easy to grasp. And yet, wonder is repeatedly made the beginning and goal of narratives. The seminar is dedicated to astonishment in a field of tension between the self and the foreign and takes the Middle High German verse novel "Herzog Ernst" (around 1180) as a starting point.

Both the problematic conditions in the 'homeland', which are characterized by the competition of princes and kings, of national and central power, and the dangerous trials of the hero in the 'foreign' Orient, which refer to a multitude of literary sources, medieval knowledge from encyclopedias and ancient descriptions of the world, are characterized by multidimensional processes of negotiation. These are determined by an entanglement of different categories generating inequality. The seminar aims at analyzing the interplay of different positions of inequality in the narrative and to consider them in their entanglements and interactions.


Heldengestalten - Shaping Heroes: Medieval Literature in Explaining and Learning Video (Dr. Susanne Schul)

Explainer and learning videos are short video clips, also known as "Explainer" or "How-To-Video". These clips are used in the field of marketing as well as in the field of knowledge transfer, among other things, in the context of exhibition or TV shows as well as in a variety of teaching-learning contexts on You Tube. An explanatory and learning video presents its content in different formats (e.g. in the form of animated drawings or in the personal appearance of a teacher) and presents a subject in a simple and understandable way. Characteristic elements for this special mediation format are thus the storytelling and the multisensory. In the process, all 'unnecessary' elements are dispensed with, both in terms of form and content. The mostly one to three minute videos thus do not exhaust topics, but efficiently show the relevant points. The project seminar has turned to this teaching and learning format, investigated its potentials and developed its own learning and explanatory videos on the Middle High German "Nibelungenlied" as project work.

Explainer video by Tim Welker
Explainer video by Sabiene Bischoff
Explainer video by Hannah Malou Wagner
Explainer video by Annika Palm
Explainer video by Sina Frieling
Explainer video by Sonja Seeger-Clemen
Explainer video by Lena Sprenger
Explainer video by Jennifer Pilz
Explainer video by Florian Bitter

Workshop with Ralph Erdenberger

In the winter semester 2019/20, the seminar series "Medieval Reception" started with a focus on audio narrations. The students dealt intensively with Ralph Erdenberger's adaptations of the "Nibelungenlied" ("The Treasure of the Nibelungs") and Wolfram von Eschenbach's "Parzival" ("Parzival - the Red Knight"). On 15.01.2020 the artist came to Kassel for a four-hour workshop as part of the seminar. This started with a lecture by Mr. Erdenberger, in which he introduced himself and his fields of work and gave impulses for the creation of own audio narrations. This was worked on in the second part of the workshop: Based on the mare "Ritter Beringer" the students developed the beginnings of their own audio narrations in small groups, which were further developed in the following seminar sessions.

Student Seminar - "Old Norse

The seminar "Old Norse" was launched in the winter semester 2019/20 by two students from Kassel German Studies. The reason for this was that although the University of Kassel offers a number of opportunities to study ancient languages - including Middle High German, Gothic, Latin, and Ancient Greek - until then there had been no course dedicated to the ancient languages and medieval literature of Scandinavia. The course therefore aimed to provide an overview of literary and linguistic aspects of Old Norse.
In the linguistic part, led by Marcel Linnenkohl, grammatical phenomena were examined on the basis of textual examples, in addition to smaller translation exercises.

In the meantime, Old Icelandic was repeatedly located within the Indo-European language family by identifying similarities and differences to, for example, Latin, Gothic or Middle High German. The focus was on phonetic developments, inflectional classes, and the various ablaut series of strong verbs.
The textual basis of the literary part, led by Annika Palm, was the Prose and Song Edda. On the basis of the texts contained therein, the students approached the Old Norse mythology and repeatedly thematized literary-historical peculiarities as well as built bridges to modern reception. The spectrum of topics ranged from mythological explanations of the beginning and end of the world to the gods and the Norse Saga of the Nibelungs. As a special highlight, even Thor paid a visit to the seminar.

In the final session, it was finally the students' turn to present their academic achievements. Out came many great projects that creatively dealt with  the topics covered in the seminar: Drawings and paintings of Norse deities and mythological beings, rune stones, self-authored texts, videos with elements of contemporary reception, and various sculptures.
In the summer semester of 2020, a continuation of "Old Norse" will take place, in which new texts will be translated, even more grammatical phenomena will be discussed, and further literary and reception-historical topics of Old Norse mythology will be taken up.

Study performance: Nadja Vieweger
Study performance: Patric Schneid, Wilrun Schmidt, Antonia Schirmer, Birk Magnussen


Medieval Learning Paths - Concepts of a Didactics of Older Language and Literature for the Teaching of German(March 2 and 3, 2018, University of Kassel).

The learning paths of students are diverse, often convoluted, and sometimes lead to dead ends. For example, the paths that lead children and adolescents to a knowledge of the Middle Ages are often shaped by popular cultural ideas. Thus, students already have some prior knowledge about and interest in the Middle Ages. Both of these can open up enormous motivational potential for German lessons, which must be exploited. The topic of the Middle Ages provides access to extracurricular places of learning, such as castles, museums and churches, in a particularly productive way and thus allows for lessons that appeal to and involve all the senses. Learning on walking days and field trips allows students to literally re-travel, step out and deepen their learning paths.

In recent years, various didacticists have shown that medievalist topics are skill-building for students at both the linguistic and content levels. In this respect, the change from content-centered curricula to competency-based core curricula represents both an opportunity and a challenge for teachers, because while competency-based curricula fundamentally enable students to engage with medieval language and literature, they do not make it compulsory. Therefore, it is often the teachers and their access to teaching materials, student editions, and the didactic preparation of topics that decide what is covered in class. The range of medieval language and literature, however, is sparsely represented in textbooks. Yet the topics of the Middle Ages offer numerous points of contact for interdisciplinary instruction with subjects such as history, religion, science education, art, etc. In addition, the experiences of alterity that learners make with foreign thought patterns, language levels and literary genres have a high potential for reflection in relation to foreignness, language acquisition and language change. And so, despite various initiatives in recent years for the professional and didactic preparation of teaching materials, the development of the topic of the Middle Ages for the teaching of German is still a desideratum.

This is exactly where we would like to start with our conference and exchange ideas about current didactical projects and their potential for German lessons. The topic has emerged from two subject-specific and subject-didactic cooperation seminars with a subsequent excursion, in which the students developed their own didactic concepts and corresponding teaching materials. The students contribute conceptually and organizationally to the conference and would like to enter into a disciplinary exchange with fellow students, teachers and experts about didactic concepts, the testing of teaching and learning materials, as well as the discussion about the opportunities and limitations of medieval themes and literature in the teaching of German.



[1] Karg 2011, p. 103; Heiser 2012, p. 271; Mendes 2012, p. 12; Miedema/Sieber 2013, pp. 7; 8; Küenzlen et al. 2014, p. 10. 

[2] See Krohn/Wunderlich 1983, p. 9; Hofmeister 2006, p. 159; Hinterholzer 2007, p. 42; Bärnthaler 2010, p. 29; Pfeiffer 2010, pp. 60-61; Wichert 2010, p. 51; Mendes 2012, pp. 12-14; Hamm 2013, p. 144; Miedema/Sieber 2013, p. 8; Schwinghammer 2015, pp. 158; 160.


Date: March 2 and 3, 2018

Location: University of Kassel

Kurt-Wolters-Str. 5, Room -1029

Organization: Johanna Kahlmeyer and Annegret Montag