GERMAN 291 : Central Europe and the South Pacific


2024 Semester One (1243) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

A study of the German connection with New Zealand, with special reference to the arts and sciences, German-speaking settlements in the nineteenth century, and German and Austrian refugees in the twentieth century.

Course Overview

 The South Pacific is where Central European fantasies and reality collide. This course examines the ever-changing relationship between the German-speaking nations of Central Europe and their connection with the South Pacific, including Aotearoa, Sāmoa and Tonga.  This course will be broken down into two key sections: 

1) German Colonialism in the South Pacific situated in the broader context of German Colonialism and settler colonialism. We will consider the impact of Germany in the South Pacific through colonial photography and read the colonial and travel writing of two women about their experiences in Aotearoa and Sāmoa before and after the First World War. 

Central European art, films, and fiction set in the South Pacific has been influential in forming the understanding of the "Other". We will read and analyse the works from the early 20th Century and compare them with contemporary revisionings. Christian Kracht's award winning Imperium (2012/2015), for example, retraces the footsteps of August Engelhardt, a disillusioned German, who left Germany for the South Pacific in the early 20th Century in order to form a "coconut cult". How has Central Europe's understanding of the South Pacific shifted in over a century?

2) The South Pacific in Central Europe- reframed and reclaimed? From the Peoples Shows in the 19th Century to contemporary theatre, film, and art; this section will look at how the South Pacific has claimed their space in Central Europe. Excerpts from From Samoa with Love? Samoan Travellers in Germany 1895-1911: Retracing the Footsteps (2014) will allow us to consider the legacy of the Völkerschauen/People's Shows alongside the controversial Humboldt Forum and the current debates surrounding museums and museum repatriation. The analysis of South Pacific contemporary art, poetry, film, and guest lectures will allow us to fully consider the ongoing dynamics of the Central Europe and South Pacific connection.

Course Requirements

Prerequisite: 45 points in German Restriction: GERMAN 391

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: People and Place
Capability 2: Sustainability
Capability 3: Knowledge and Practice
Capability 4: Critical Thinking
Capability 5: Solution Seeking
Capability 6: Communication
Capability 7: Collaboration
Capability 8: Ethics and Professionalism
Graduate Profile: Bachelor of Arts

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate the ability to to research scholarly information and communicate effectively on the relationship between Central Europe and the South Pacific in a historical and contemporary context. (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8)
  2. Develop empathy and global citizenship through understanding the dynamics of German colonialism in the South Pacific (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8)
  3. Understand and critically evaluate a range of literary genres, artworks, historical texts, and film in colonial and postcolonial contexts (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Coursework 100% Group & Individual Coursework

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15 point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15 point course that they are enrolled in.

For this course, you can expect 2 hours of lectures, a 1 hour tutorial, up to 2 hours of reading, viewing and thinking about the content and roughly 2 hours of work on assignments in an average week.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience or Online

This course is offered in two delivery modes:

Campus Experience for students based at Waipapa Taumata Rau

Attendance is expected at scheduled activities including tutorials to receive credit for components of the course.
Lectures will be available as recordings. Other learning activities including tutorials will not be available as recordings.
The course will not include live online events.
The activities for the course are scheduled as a standard weekly timetable.


Engagement with course material is expected to complete and receive credit for components of the course.
The course will not include live online events including tutorials.
Where possible, study material will be available at course commencement and/or be released progressively throughout the course.
This course runs to the University semester and all the associated completion dates and deadlines will apply.

This course is available for delivery to students studying remotely outside NZ in 2024.

Learning Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

Student Feedback

At the end of every semester students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback and respond with summaries and actions.

Your feedback helps teachers to improve the course and its delivery for future students.

Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the department and faculty staff-student consultative committees.

Significant work has been put into the course to make it accessible and user friendly.

Other Information

If you do have interest in this course but do not meet the prerequisites, do not hesitate to contact Nicole Perry to discuss. Materials will be offered in both English and German. 

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed for potential plagiarism or other forms of academic misconduct, using computerised detection mechanisms.

Class Representatives

Class representatives are students tasked with representing student issues to departments, faculties, and the wider university. If you have a complaint about this course, please contact your class rep who will know how to raise it in the right channels. See your departmental noticeboard for contact details for your class reps.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website

Well-being always comes first
We all go through tough times during the semester, or see our friends struggling. There is lots of help out there - for more information, look at this Canvas page, which has links to various support services in the University and the wider community.

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption, we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and course assessment continues to meet the principles of the University’s assessment policy. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator/director, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the university website for information about how to proceed.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course students may be asked to submit coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. In exceptional circumstances changes to elements of this course may be necessary at short notice. Students enrolled in this course will be informed of any such changes and the reasons for them, as soon as possible, through Canvas.

Published on 06/11/2023 04:09 p.m.