Berlin Perspectives - Summer semester 2021

This semester, all classes start in a digital format. If the pandemic development allows it, the courses can use a seminar room for on-site meetings later during the semester.

Please register online through Agnes for the courses before the semester starts: Agnes course registration

Registration period: until 7 April 2021

Migration and Identity Urban Development and Urban Culture Philosophy and Politics

Migration and Identity

Lecturer
Dr. Victoria BISHOP KENDZIA
Language requirements
English B2
Time
Thursday 14-16 c.t.
Course description
Berlin’s rich museological landscape lends itself to in-depth exploration: 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 analyse them within larger theoretical frameworks of “self” and “other” constructions.  To explore the role of museums in rendering such constructions visible and therefore debatable.

Lecturer
Dr. Deniz Günes YARDIMCI
Language requirements
English B2, German A1
Time
Monday 16-18 c.t.
Course description
The labor migration from Turkey to Germany had an important socio-economic and socio-cultural impact on both countries and influenced their film cultures. Berlin (especially Kreuzberg) has always been one of the favorite settings in migration movies. This interdisciplinary course crosses the academic fields of migration studies, film studies, and cultural studies. Students will gain knowledge about film analysis, writing a screenplay, German immigration history, and theoretical concepts dealing with migration, diaspora, stereotype, culture, and identity.

Lecturer
Azakhiwe HÖHLING
Language requirements
English B2
Time
Tuesday 12-14 c.t.
Course description
This interdisciplinary course introduces students to the status and experience of the pre- and postcolonial African Diaspora in Berlin. We will endeavor to understand how Africans are perceived in Berlin. This course is designed to provide students with both a specific and a general view of the status in citizenship, sense of belonging, and experiences of Black people in Berlin. We will explore the role these debates play within the African diaspora’s sense of belonging, as well as how different forms of citizenship are experienced and negotiated on an everyday basis in Berlin.
Lecturer
Dr. Russell ALT-HAAKER
Language requirements
English B2
Time
Tuesday 10-12 c.t.
Course description
Over the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, Berlin has been home to a heterogeneous Jewish community, from “assimilated” German Jews during the Wilhelmine era, Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe during the Weimar Republic, and people of Jewish heritage who suffered under and sought to flee from the Nazi regime to a small post-war Jewish enclave in a divided Berlin and a vibrant Jewish community after reunification that now draws thousands of others from around the world to the city as their elective home. Through selected essays, satire, newspaper reports, memoirs, poems, photographs and graphic memoirs, we will discuss how Jewish identity has been negotiated against the backdrop of Berlin’s ever-changing socio-political landscape.

Urban Development and Urban Culture

Lecturer
Shelley ETKIN
Language requirements
English B2
Time
Monday 10-12 c.t.
Course description
This course situates questions of planetary change through the study of Berlin as a diverse and complex ecosystem, focusing on several urban gardens. Asking “what can a garden be?” we will study relations between the many human and nonhuman communities that compose each garden. The course proposes ecological thinking as a frame for engagement with the multiple disciplines that inform the field of ecology ranging from environmental and economic, to social and political, artistic and spiritual.

Lecturer
Banu TÜLÜ
Language requirements
English B2, German A1
Time
Wednesday 14-16 c.t.
Course description
Berlin is considered a multi-layered urban lab with a contradictory landscape: luxury housing, big urban development projects next to squats, small urban garden projects, urban parks and green areas, etc. Over the course of the 1990s and 2000s till today, over 50 percent of the city’s public housing stock has been sold to private investors and the city has become a highly desirable destination for international property investment. The lack of affordable housing and a rise in the speculative real-estate market spur new discussions about gentrification. Meanwhile, inhabitants and newcomers fight for their rights in the city. The focal point of this course is an examination of the changes associated with urban development in Berlin and “counter actions” as urban social movements. This interdisciplinary course explores Berlin through urban activism with several lenses, including: housing, urban environmental activism, community gardening and political power relations in the city. In addition to that this course offers an analysis of the right to the city, participation, social justice, urban resistance, grassroots organizing, and urban development policy. Within the broad theme of “urban activism”, the course focuses on the ways in which neighborhood/inhabitant experiences and citizens’ collide to produce different forms of resistance within Berlin’s political sphere. The course offers the participants to learn, discuss and use urban activist practices and tools in their everyday life. 
Lecturer
Samuel PEREA-DÍAZ, Banu TÜLÜ
Language requirements
English B1
Time
Wednesday 10-12 c.t.
Course description
This weekly course explores Berlin’s sonic perspectives with an approach to architecture, urban planning, human and social sciences as well as art in our everyday life. In everyday life, our vision merges to our listening actions and therefore we continuously follow a rhythm which is created by our own actions and our surroundings. As an intuitive, non-cognitive and unconscious act, listening helps us to understand our environment. The listener creates individual and subjective images because of the fact that any acoustic format is visual. From the urban sonic perspective, every city and every urban space has a particular sonic identity for every individual. Central questions in the course are: What is the sound of Berlin? Which sonic elements in architecture, urban planning, art and cultural events have shaped berlin? How these projects are in relation to Berlin’s socio-political processes? In this course, we respond to these questions through the interdisciplinary collective listening exercises with recordings, readings and discussions. We will examine cultural projects and develop, discover, analyze the urban environment with an approach that focuses on hearing and sound. We will draw a research line for exploring the city and understanding the current urban complexities with a specific methodology that considers the aural environment, acoustic ecologies and listening. 
Lecturer
Dr. Stefanie RINKE
Language requirements
German B2, English B1
Time
Thursday 10-12 c.t.
Course description
Berlin is called the most sexually open capital of Europe today. Berlin is open to develop a personal sexual orientation and identity. In clubs, bars, workshops and festivals a broad range and mix of sexual orientations are created in different and also crossing scenes. Homosexual, transgender, tantric, polyamorous, sex-positive and BDSM-oriented persons meet and celebrate and create new sexual techniques and lifestyles. 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? We will discuss all these issues by visiting central places in Berlin in field trips (if the situation allows it), by reading texts and watching films. Students will develop and work on their own research question and project. The language in class will be mainly German. English will be lingua franca (bilingual seminar).

Philosophy and Politics

Lecturer
Dr. Betiel WASIHUN
Language requirements
English B2
Time
Tuesday 14-16 c.t.
Course description
What does it mean to live in a surveillance society? How does the digital age challenge questions revolving around 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 2. The concept of privacy; 3. Surveillance in the arts and popular culture.
Lecturer
Benjamin WILCK
Language requirements
English B2, German A1
Time
Monday 14-16 c.t.
Course description
This course explores philosophical reflections on the structure and purpose of the university. The idea of academic freedom is the primary concern of the university reform writings put forward by German, mostly Berlin-based philosophers in the early 19th century, which eventually led to the establishing of the University of Berlin in 1809/10. Following Kant, philosophers such as Schelling, Fichte, von Humboldt, and Schleiermacher had the idea to create a new kind of university in which science would be independent of political and economic interests, and in which the faculty of philosophy plays a central role. The University of Berlin thus became the paradigm of a new era of teaching and research. By reading key texts by the aforementioned philosophers, as well as by Hegel, Marx, Heine, Schopenhauer, and Heidegger, we will trace how ideas relating to academic freedom and 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. Apart from the impact of philosophy on the history of European universities and education policies, this course also considers its impact on literature, visual arts, and architecture in Berlin past and present. All required readings are available in the German original and in English translations. This course is taught in English. German contributions are welcome.