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Ethics of Textual Cultures (MA)

What is the degree programme about?

Ethics of Textual Cultures is an innovative degree programme which combines literary studies, linguistics, cultural history, theology and philosophy. It reflects the many interconnections between ethics, textuality and culture in the past and present, in theory and in the real world.

Ethics of Textual Cultures investigates the ethical dimension of texts from various fields and genres It also explores the linguistic dimension of ethics and the linguistic form and rhetoric of both historical and current ethical beliefs and verdicts.

In Erlangen, the following subjects are involved in the degree programme:

  • Modern German literary studies
  • German linguistics
  • Protestant theology
  • Philosophy
  • American studies
  • Political science

In Augsburg the following subjects are involved in the degree programme:

  • Modern German literary studies
  • English linguistics
  • American studies
  • European cultural history
  • Protestant theology
  • Political science
Modules and degree programme structure

Ethics of Textual Cultures has a modular structure and leads to a Master's degree after four semesters. Focus areas include 'History and theory of ethics', 'Normativity and narrativity' and 'Linguistic, communication and media aspects of the development of norms'. Students choose one of the two study locations, which are linked through workshops and lecturer exchanges.

Module 1: History and theory of ethics

  • Historical and systematic knowledge of ethical issues in philosophy and theology
  • Ethics and aesthetics
  • Discourse analysis aspects of the linguistic constitution of ethical processes.

Module 2: Hermeneutics and understanding the Other

  • Interdependency of understanding texts and cultures through encountering the Other
  • History of theological, philosophical and literary hermeneutics
  • Theories of understanding in linguistic pragmatics
  • Philosophy of alterity
  • Theories of cultural transfer and interculturality.

Module 3: Narrativity and normativity

  • Relationship between narrative (in the field of literature and theology) and ethical responsibility (narratological, historiographical and philosophical approaches)
  • The history of the narrative as a normative cultural practice (e.g. narration as a form of critique, as an imaginative counterdiscourse, as an reintegrative interdiscourse)

Module 4: Theories of canon and value formation

  • Aspects of the historical development of the values of cultural positions, exclusions and discourse formation
  • Norm and canon formation in cultural memory
  • Theories of literary value and canon formation, decanonisation and recanonisation

Module 5: Linguistic, communication and media aspects of the formation of norms

  • Cultural-historical and linguistic pragmatics of the genesis of meaning and impact strategies of texts
  • Strategies of ethical positions in communication and media contexts; performative aspects of oral communication
  • The formation of norms in times of changing media (orality/textuality)

Module 6: Rhetorics of public writing and speaking

  • Textuality of ethics in the light of rhetorical strategies; strategies for the formation of norms in the context of changing historical discourse formations
  • Rhetoricity/mediality/performativity/discursivity: theoretical and systematic justification of the terms

Module 7: Applied ethics

  • e.g. environmental ethics; sexual ethics
  • Peace and conflict research
  • Education and social policy
  • Culture and intercultural communication
Admission requirements
  • Applicants for the Elite degree programme Ethics of Textual Cultures are admitted via a qualification assessment process. Only 15 students per semester are admitted at each university (FAU and Augsburg University).
  • An outstanding grade in a Bachelor's degree (1.7 or better) or an outstanding grade in the Zwischenprüfung of a State Examination degree (1.5 or better) plus a grade of at least 1.3 in an advanced seminar in philology, European cultural history, philosophy or protestant or catholic theology. Graduates and students of other subjects may also apply if they provide good reasons.
  • Good knowledge of English is also required to enable successful participation in modules taught in English.
Degree programme start date and application deadlines

Please find more detailed information on how to apply for a Master or advanced degree programme on the following website:

The application deadline for the winter semester is 15 February, for the summer semester 01 August. Information on the application procedure can be found here: Application - Ethics of Textual Cultures (German).
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Please note: Despite careful checks, we cannot rule out errors or omissions. For this reason, all prospective students are advised to seek detailed information from FAU's Student Advice and Career Service (IBZ) before commencing their studies.

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Degree type: Master of Arts (MA)
Type of study: Master
Location: Erlangen
Standard duration of study: 4 Semester
Start date of degree programme: Summer Term, Winter Term
Language: German
Admission: Qualification Assessment process
Early entrance programme: no
Part-time study: no
Faculty: Faculty of Humanities, Social Sciences, and Theology
Elite degree programme: yes