Berlin Perspectives - Winter semester 2021/22

The Berlin Perspectives courses are offered by the Career Center as part of the elective program üWP. Registration for the winter semester 2021/22 takes place via Agnes and is open until 14 October 2021.

The program for the next summer semester 2022 will be available from March 2022 on this website.

Migration and Identity History Urban Culture Philosophy and Politics

Migration and Identity

Lecturer
Dr. Victoria BISHOP KENDZIA

Language requirements
English B2 
Time
Thursday 14-18 c.t.
Room: 0323-26, Hausvogteiplatz 5-7 
Course description
Berlin’s rich museological landscape lends itself to in-depth exploration of Germany’s difficult heritage: How are the upheavals of the 20th and 21st centuries, especially, remembered and represented? This course aims to enable the students to get to know a number of Berlin museums focusing on Memory and Post-WWII migration using anthropological methods and to critically analyze them within larger theoretical frameworks of “self” and “other” constructions.  To explore the role of museums in rendering such constructions visible and therefore debatable. In the digital format it will consist of online tours and explorations of sites in question, assignments based on these, and Zoom Meetings for discussion, exchange in real time, and student presentations.  In a blended format it will allow for optional museum visits for students in Berlin to replace a number of the online assignments, keeping the Zoom Meetings as above.  In a completely in person course, it will consist of seminars in the classroom and at least three site visits.  Accommodating these visits together as a group would require sessions of between 3-4 hours, so the number of sessions would then be reduced accordingly, should this become a completely in-person course.  In class discussion sessions would remain as 2 hour ct. sessions. 
Lecturer
Julia DE FREITAS SAMPAIO

Language requirements
English B2, German A1 
Time
Wednesday 14-16 c.t.
Room: 0323-26, Hausvogteiplatz 5-7 
Course description
The phrase “Germany is not a country of immigration” has been said by German officials multiple times, and yet, Germany is the second most popular destination for immigrants (just after the USA). But how has this country, which less than 100 years ago was home to one of the most racist and xenophobic regimes that have ever existed, is now home for so many immigrants? In this class we will explore the history and the laws behind it and, even more, we will hear the stories first hand from immigrants living in Berlin. As the course takes place in Berlin, the city will be our study case. From tours organized by refugees, walks in the diverse Berliner neighborhoods and interviews with immigrants, this class aims to give a more in depth, first hand insight on the condition of immigrants living in Germany. That, without forgetting to take history, law and geography into account, for a richer understanding of the processes that have transformed this city (and country) over and over again. 
Lecturer
Azakhiwe NOCANDA-HÖHLING 
Language requirements
English B2 
Time
Tuesday 12-14 c.t.
Room: 0323-26, Hausvogteiplatz 5-7 
Course description
How do our unconscious biases impact the way we view people within the African Diaspora? The course aims to explore intersectional inequalities of citizenship and the politics of Belonging and how our unconscious biases impact the way we view people within the African Diaspora. The relationship between migration, social cohesion and national German identity has become an increasingly contentious political issue. We will explore the relationship between racial and ethnocultural diversity. Historically, the settlement of migrant groups and the formation of minority ethnic groups have changed the socio-cultural, political and economic fabric of receiving societies. Thus, the African continent and the ancestral homeland must be central to any informed analysis and understanding of the dispersal of its people. Africa, in all of its cultural prosperity and diversity, remains alive in the receiving societies as the various ethnic groups created new cultures and recreated their old ways as circumstances allowed. A focus will be given to narrative and discourses, both as tools for analysis and comprehending society's othering of the Black body. Berlin will be used as a case study for themes covered, however, students are encouraged to reflect on their own identities and the expressions of various identities around the city. Class sessions will be composed of lectures, online discussions forums and an excursion through Berlin's Black History. Course materials and readings are designed to give special emphasis to the African Diaspora initiatives and perspectives. Ultimately the course provides students with a wide interdisciplinary introduction into the othering of (Black) Africans, so that students can interpret contemporary African issues with an informed historical background. This course is open to all students across all intersections of society with a strong interest in the course topic.

History

Lecturer
Dr. Michael GRASS 
Language requirements
English B2, German B2 
Time
Monday 10-12 c.t.
Room: 0323-26, Hausvogteiplatz 5-7 
Course description
Berlin is the city of East / West competition. Since the division of the city into East and West, demonstrating the power of the capitalism and socialism respectively was central to urban planning. In the beginning, the solution of obstacles to urban development proved vital. This seminar examines the dualism in urban planning between East and West Berlin chronologically. Seminar presentations and two excursions trace the diverse targets and demands of capitalist and socialist urban planning. For the analysis, we do not only consider architectural and formal aspects. The Seminar provides a closer look to strategies and models of financing and commercialization of urban planning. Cultural contexts, living and dwelling models and political strategies will be looked at as well.
Lecturer
Christian RIECK
Language requirements
English B2, German A2 
Time
Monday 16-18 c.t.
Room: 0323-26, Hausvogteiplatz 5-7 
Course description
We will follow the development of Prussia from a small duchy beyond the Eastern periphery of the Holy Roman Empire to one of the most powerful kingdoms at the center of Europe. Much of European history since the Thirty Years’ War can indeed be understood as a function of this “Prussian Expansion”, a fateful development that upended the traditional balance of power and ultimately led to the creation of a monster at the heart of Europe: Imperial Germany, hell-bent on acquiring the great power status it thought it deserved. But there is another, less tragic story that can also be told about Prussia: One of enlightened culture, of world-renowned education and universities, of state modernization and democratic rights that resonates until today. Between Königsberg, Potsdam and Berlin a particular worldview took shape that was both distinctly Prussian, German and cosmopolitan. 

Urban Culture

Lecturer
Dr. Maria HETZER 
Language requirements
English B2 
Time
Wednesday 12-14 c.t.
Room: 0323-26, Hausvogteiplatz 5-7 
Course description
With the advent of the Covid pandemic, scholars have identified a transformative moment in the history of tourism, arguing for a rare opportunity to ecape the unsustainable global tourism path. The industry is forced to develop new touristic concepts based on post-pandemic parameters. In this course, we explore the contemporary utilisation of typical Berlin discourses in the context of tourism and city marketing. Together, we will discuss the commodification of economic developments, political activism and environmental concerns. In an application of our seminar findings, we will go on self-developed and themed tours of Berlin addressing contemporary urban discourses centring on smart city, participation, touristification and urban activism. By testing different approaches to experiencing and sensing the city,we critically examine the basis of diverse ways of "knowing Berlin".

Lecturer
Samuel PEREA-DÍAZ 
Language requirements
English B1 
Time
Wednesday 10-12 c.t.
Room: 0323-26, Hausvogteiplatz 5-7 
Course description
The course focuses on mapping and listening to acoustic territories in Berlin.  It allows academic research for exploring and understanding the city by sensing aural environments. Structured in theory and practice, the central questions of the course are: which sonic elements can we encounter in navigating historical and contemporary maps? Which methods of research and practices exist in the act of mapping with sound? How can we generate sound maps? From a transdisciplinary approach, the course reflects the city‘s cultural, social, and political dimensions through analyzing and creating maps by listening. It aims to allow students to explore auditory territories, gain strength, and develop knowledge and individual perspective on cultural studies and urban studies. The mapping methods are practice-based on field recordings, soundwalk, and sound diagramming exercises. The academic readings and discussions will introduce the student to the field of sound studies. 
Lecturer
Dr. Stefanie RINKE 
Language requirements
English B1, German B2 
Time
Thursday 10-12 c.t.
Room: 0323-26, Hausvogteiplatz 5-7 
Course description
Berlin is called the most sexually open capital of Europe today. In clubs, bars, workshops and festivals, a broad range and mix of sexual orientations are created in different and also crossing scenes and sex-positive spaces. Homosexual, transgender, tantric, polyamory, sex-positive and BDSM-oriented persons meet and celebrate and create new sexual techniques and lifestyles in so-called sex-positive spaces. The government of Berlin has already recognized the economic dimension of the liberal sexual culture. What does liberal sexual culture exactly mean? What kind of historical roots are important to analyze, e.g. the anonymity of the big city, the homosexual movement and the golden twenties? What was and is avant-garde and when does it turn into commerce? Four subitems will structure the seminar: Sex-positive spaces, LGBTQI+ and Gender-Fluidity, Kink and Tantra, alternative porn films and literature. Excursions and interviews with experts will be part of the seminar. We will work with texts and films, and students will develop their own research question and project.

Philosophy and Politics

Lecturer
Dr. Betiel WASIHUN 
Language requirements
English B2
Time
Tuesday, 14-16 c.t.
Room: 0323-26, Hausvogteiplatz 5-7 
Course description
What does it mean to live in a surveillance society? How does the digital age challenge questions regarding privacy, individuality and freedom? When does surveillance as care tip over into surveillance as control? And how does the Stasi system of vigilance prefigure contemporary surveillance culture? This course will on the one hand examine the impact of surveillance on society by looking at the multifaceted ways technologies, societies and the arts interact; and on the other hand, reflect on surveillance in a totalitarian context while comparing observation techniques in the GDR with contemporary surveillance methods. We will also explore how surveillance is represented in contemporary literature, film and popular culture. The course will map out important themes with regards to surveillance and its repercussions (e.g., visibility, identity, privacy and control). The course provides an overview of the interdisciplinary field of surveillance and covers the latest research in the following major areas: 1. Relationship between surveillance, power and social control; 2. Histories of Surveillance: GDR and the Stasi (especially in the context of Berlin) 2. The concept of privacy; 3. Surveillance in the arts and popular culture. 
Lecturer
Benjamin WILCK

Language requirements
English B2, German A2 
Time
Monday 14-16 c.t.
Room: 0323-26, Hausvogteiplatz 5-7 
Course description
This course explores philosophical reflections on the structure and purpose of the university and the role of philosophy within that institution as put forward by German philosophers in the 19th century, while also providing a critical perspective on the subsequent history of the university through the 20th century until today. The University of Berlin was founded in 1809/10 following a series of philosophical university reform writings: it was the first research university in history. Wilhelm von Humboldt in particular had the idea to create a new kind of university in which teaching and research would form a unity, in which science would be independent of political interests, and in which students would receive a universal education. By reading key texts by philosophers such as Kant, Schelling, Fichte, von Humboldt, Schleiermacher, Hegel, Marx, Heine, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, and Heidegger, we trace how ideas relating to university reform changed and were implemented in the course of the last two centuries, also in light of the most recent European university reform: the Bologna Process in 1999.