Teaching

University of Bremen Stephanie Seul
University of Bremen, photo: Stephanie Seul

I have taught classes on the history of media and communication in the B.A. and M.A. programmes at the ZeMKI, Centre for Media, Communication and Information Research, University of Bremen. I am passionate about the past and seek to inspire in my students an interest in, and understanding of, historical processes and to help them develop critical thinking.

Studying history is not about learning dry facts and dates. Above all, it is about learning how to explore the past through primary source materials and to organise knowledge in precise writing. Students need to learn how to read sources and place them in their historical context. Therefore, primary sources play an essential part in my teaching. An increasing number of sources have been digitized and are easily available in the classroom. I familiarise students with the use of digitized historical newspapers and with the methods of digital history.

Moreover, I work with students to develop their presentations and writing skills in class as well as in individual meetings during my office hours. My goal is to help them think independently, to draw their own conclusions from the historical sources, and to train them to express their ideas and arguments in a clear and well-structured manner. I encourage students – in particular those writing their undergraduate (B.A.) and graduate (M.A.) dissertations – to come to my office and to discuss their writing plans before and during the writing process.

I strive to improve my teaching by learning new skills and taking into account student evaluations. Therefore, I always listen to students and seek to adapt, where necessary, my teaching plan to suit their needs. I turn up prepared for class, and I expect the same of my students.

Iowa Digital Library
Students in lecture hall, The University of Iowa, 1920s?,
Iowa Digital Library

Courses

“The Press and Antisemitism in Weimar Germany 1918-1933”, research seminar (M.A. level)

This is an introduction to the history of German Jews and antisemitism during the Weimar Republic. It introduces students to digitised sources and methods. It discusses the role of the press in spreading Jew-hatred and explores the different forms of antisemitic publicity. Moreover, it asks whether sections of the press sought to combat the spread of antismitism. A case in point is the German-Jewish press which openly campaigned against antisemitism during the Weimar era. Students also explore how the foreign press responded to Weimar antisemitism. They will work with a vast array of digitised newspaper archives, and with a substantial collection of microfilmed newspapers held at the University Library.

Student evaluations

The teacher was always ready to help.”

The assignments could be individually negotiated with the teacher.

I liked that we discussed the historical roots of a current topic. The analysis of primary sources was much more interesting than merely studying the secondary literature.

“Introduction to Media and Communication Studies 2: Media system and Media Change”, seminar (B.A. level)

This course, which complements the lecture “Introduction to Media and Communication Studies 2: Media System and Media Change”, is organised in two parts. The first part teaches academic research and writing skills. Students learn how to compile a bibliography, critically read and cite the literature, write summaries of academic texts, give presentations, and write essays. The second part offers an overview of the history of media and communication from early modern times to the 20th century. It includes an introduction to digitised sources and methods of digital history.

Student evaluations

The teacher is very competent and committed.

The seminar was well structured and the assignments clearly defined.

The teaching of academic research and writing skills was excellent.

When we were under time pressure, the teacher negotiated new deadlines with us.

Thesis Supervision

I have supervised B.A. and M.A. thesis subjects ranging from the First World War to the Nazi era. Topics include an analysis of letters and diaries written by British and German nurses on the Western Front 1914-1918 (David Vogel), and a study of Nazi sound propaganda. Simon Sax analysed the voting recommendations in the German-Jewish Press prior to the Reichstag elections of September 1930 and July 1932. He was awarded the 2017 Matthias Erzberger prize for the best BA thesis on the history of the Weimar Republic by the ‘Verein Weimarer Republik’ and the ‘Forschungsstelle Weimarer Republik’ at Friedrich Schiller University in Jena.

I welcome applications from prospective undergraduate and graduate students wishing to write their B.A. or M.A. thesis on topics relating to media and communication history, Jewish history, women’s history, the history of the Weimar Republic, and the history of the two World Wars.

Internships

In addition, I have supervised students during mandatory internships for their undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in history, politics and communication studies. Student activities during the internship included research in microfilmed and digitized newspaper archives, feeding bibliographic references into a database, researching and reading primary sources and secondary literature, and writing articles for publication under their own names.

Student evaluation

I have worked with Dr. Seul from December 2020 to May 2021 on the topic “Female War Correspondents in the First World War”, with a particular focus on Italian journalists, e.g. Matilde Serao, Flavia Steno and Stefania Türr. The teacher is really kind and helpful. She has given me a lot of educational material in order to write articles. I have published pieces about Matilde Serao, Colette, and “Wonder Woman”. Dr. Seul speaks perfectly Italian and I was able to work with her both in Italian and German. A blog post is the fruit of our international collaboration.

Camilla Giordano