Berlin Perspectives - Winter semester 2022/23

The Berlin Perspectives courses are offered by the Career Center as part of the elective program üWP.

Registration takes place via Agnes and is open until 11 October 2022.

History and Politics Migration and Identity Literature and Journalism Urban Culture and Society

History and Politics

Lecturer
Christian RIECK, Dr. Isabella FRANCHINI
Language requirements
English B2
German A2
Time
Monday, 10-12 c.t.
Room: 0323-26, Hausvogteiplatz 5-7  
Course description
In no other city did the Cold War materialize itself more concretely than in Berlin. Set in the emblematic capital, this course offers students a glimpse of the Cold War, understood as both a stable bipolar system of spheres of influence in the European theater, and a dynamic, largely unstable, environment of power struggle (and resistance) in the so-called 'Third World'. Particularly in the Global South, superpower interference facilitated, exacerbated, and fueled internal conflicts, often leading to bloody proxy wars – which nevertheless allowed local actors to internationalize their greed and grievances. These conflicts might have seemed far away from Berlin – the quintessential 'frontier city' –, but the block confrontation had important consequences here as well. The Cold War’s lingering effects make its study essential to understanding the present. From the perspective of a free and reunited Berlin, students will have the unique opportunity of both studying and experiencing the past under the Iron Curtain, which divided the world, the country, and the city – and made, back then, Humboldt University the scientific center of the GDR, with its extensive networks to the Soviet world, only a mile away from the Berlin Wall.
Lecturer
Dr. Betiel WASIHUN
Language requirements
English B2
Time
Thursday, 16-18 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
Dr. Victoria BISHOP KENDZIA
Language requirements
English B2
Time
Thursday, 12-16 c.t. 
There will be eight four-hour sessions (20 October; 3, 10, 17, and 24 November; 8 and 15 December 2022; and one Sunday session on 13 November/to be confirmed)
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. The aim is to explore the role of museums in rendering such constructions visible and therefore debatable. In addition to visiting the sites, there are scholarly readings and in-class discussions.  The discussions will be based on the museum visits and the students’ questions on the readings.

Migration and Identity

Lecturer
Ying Sze PEK, PhD
Language requirements
English B2
Time
Monday, 12-14 c.t.
Room: 0323-26, Hausvogteiplatz 5-7  
Course description
Exploring recent exhibitions and artworks in the mediums of film, video, photography, and sculpture, this course investigates how artists have produced works that reflect and construct Germany as a postmigrant society. Through a consideration of recent cultural studies and art historical approaches to migration, cultural memory, and postcolonialism, students gain an insight into how artists today navigate the history of German colonialism, questions of identity and identification, the themes of commemoration and care, as well as institutional and personal archives. The course studies artworks and films by artists including Kader Attia, Jean-Ulrick Désert, Candida Höfer, Natasha A. Kelly, and Hito Steyerl. The course facilitates students’ in-person study of artworks in Berlin museums and brings students in direct dialogue with local cultural producers. 
Lecturer
Azakhiwe NOCANDA
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 (Black) Africans and people within the African Diaspora. The relationship between migration, social cohesion and national German identity has become an increasingly contentious political issue. 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. We will explore the relationship between racial and ethnocultural diversity. Students are encouraged to the intentional notion of undoing – unlearning and dismantling unjust practices, assumptions, and institutions – as well as persistent action to create and build alternative spaces and ways of knowing, particularly concerning the Black (African) Diaspora. 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 of shaping their own history. 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.
Lecturer
Julia DE FREITAS SAMPAIO
Language requirements
English B2
German A1
Time
Tuesday, 16-18 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.

Literature and Journalism

Lecturer
Dr. Marita MEYER
Language requirements
German B2  
English B2
This course is taught in German, including the readings. For the understanding of the texts and the discussions in class, language B2 is required. There are some options in English. So it is possible to write the final essay in English and parts of the reading can be done in English. 
Time
Tuesday, 14-16 c.t.
Room: 0323-26, Hausvogteiplatz 5-7  
Course description
From the Enlightment up to the present Berlin has been a preferred home for poets, novelists, playwrights, journalists and creative writers of any kind. Their stories and visions not also represented but also shaped the idea of the city. This course includes selected works of literature (and some works of visual art as well) written in different periods in Berlin. The works are contextualized to the dynamic and multilayered history of the city and are connected to the urban spaces of today. Enhanced as well through excursions our readings and discussions help students gain insight into the rich cultural history and the current discourses in and about Berlin.
Lecturer
Sally McGRANE
Language requirements
English B2
Time
Wednesday, 12-14 c.t.
Room: 0323-26, Hausvogteiplatz 5-7  
Course description
“Artists from Abroad in Berlin: A Journalistic Exploration” is a hands-on course that invites students to discover and engage with artists who have come to Berlin from abroad. Berlin’s thriving and dynamic arts scene has long drawn theater-makers, writers, actors, poets, musicians and visual artists from all over the world. In this course, we want to critically examine the experience of displacement and dislocation, the challenges of mobility and the demands of integration, but also the positive aspects of finding oneself in a new place and making it one‘s own, establishing a life and finding a community here. In addition to this theory-driven component, students will also learn and apply basic journalistic skills as part of a hands-on exploration of the worlds created by these artists from abroad, in Berlin. Finally, students will have a chance to meet and speak with artist guest speakers from a range of fields, in addition to doing a deep dive on the life and work of one artist from abroad, who they will profile for their final project.

Urban Culture and Society

Lecturer
Dr. Maria HETZER
Language requirements
English B2
Time
Tuesday, 10-12 c.t.
Room: 0323-26, Hausvogteiplatz 5-7  
Course description
In this course, we explore the contemporary utilisation of typical Berlin discourses in the context of tourism and city marketing, such as Berlin-specific subcultures, economic developments, the smart city model, modes of political and cultural activism as well as environmental concerns for tourism. By testing different approaches to experiencing and sensing the city, we critically examine the basis of diverse ways of “knowing Berlin”. We will ask: what makes the tourist perspective so intriguing and specific? Who profits from this way of experiencing a city? How is cultural diversity and complexity practically channelled into profitable tourism sites and activities? In small groups and workshop-based, we will develop and analyze contents and methods of explorative walking performances based on specific contemporary Berlin discourses and urban projects. In an application of our seminar findings and self-produced material, we will go on tours of Berlin addressing contemporary urban discourses centring on smart city, participation, touristification and urban activism.
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? The course reflects the city’s cultural, social, and political dimensions from a transdisciplinary approach through analyzing and creating maps by listening. It allows students to explore auditory territories, gain strength, and develop knowledge and individual perspectives on cultural 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
German B2
English B1
This course is taught in German.
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. This course is taught in German.