Fall Term 2022

The interdisciplinary approach to a wide range of topics related to Berlin, Germany, and Europe characterize the courses. Most courses involve excursions in the city of Berlin. Students select either five courses or four courses and one German language course.

The courses last fourteen weeks, with three contact hours (45 minutes each) per week. Classes are held daily from 9:00-11:30, 12:30-15:00 and 16:00-18:30. You will find the preliminary schedule on this webpage. Class times may be subject to change.
Cultural and Migration StudiesHistoryUrban Studies and SociologyLiterature and ArtPolitical Sciences and PhilosophyGerman Language

Cultural and Migration Studies

Lecturer
Dr. Victoria BISHOP KENDZIA
Language requirements
English B2
Time
Tuesday, 12:30-15:00
Course description
Berlin’s rich museological landscape lends itself to in-depth exploration: How are the upheavals of the 20th and 21st centuries remembered and represented? How can the urban landscape be read as a myriad of dynamic sites? What do these sites, in turn, tell us about past traumas and present-day issues? This course aims to enable the students to get to know a number of Berlin museums focussing on key aspects of memory of the Second World War and Post-WWII migration, using anthropological methods. Students are encouraged to critically analyse these representations within larger theoretical frameworks of “self” and “other” constructions, exploring the role of museums in rendering such constructions visible.
Lecturer
Azakhiwe NOCANDA-HÖHLING
Language requirements
English B2
Time
Tuesday, 09:00-11:30
Course description
This course is designed to introduce students to the wide interdisciplinary perspective on diversity, politics of belonging and the status of citizenship of people within the African Diaspora in Berlin. 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. As a result, the relationship between migration, social cohesion, and national German identity has become an increasingly contentious political issue. The course will travel through the hidden geography of the so-called Afrikanisches Viertel in Berlin and focus on issues around public space, monuments, and street names from the 1960s to the present day that have anchored German colonialism. We will consider the relationship between colonialism and white supremacy in Germany, whilst examining the ongoing debate around how German (anti-)racism has been influenced by earlier colonial ideology and practice. We will turn to the resurgence of colonialism as a theme in recent literature and historiography and examine the state of play in contemporary (international) debates about the colonial past. There will be ample examples from which students can draw to develop a toolbox of critical skills and historical examples through which to understand German colonialism and how it has become a determining factor in contemporary discussions of intersectional inequalities. 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 guided excursion in Berlin, where we will address some important concepts of colonialism, decolonization, diversity, citizenship and the politics of belonging.

History

Lecturer
Carolin SIBILAK
Language requirements
English B2
Time
Thursday, 12:30-15:00
Course description
If you know where to look, you can still find traces of the Berlin Wall even today, more than 30 years after its fall and the reunification of Germany. Not only in the urban image of Berlin but in society, politics, and culture all around the globe. Hollywood Movies such as Bridge of Spies and Atomic Blonde continue to address the iconic quality of the Wall being a symbol for the cold war, while original segments of the Wall have been turned into monuments and put on display worldwide. What constitutes this continued interest? How has the Wall been interpreted in art? What was it like to live in a divided city? And what is still left of it in Berlin? The seminar will introduce books and movies portraying the Berlin Wall and include several excursions to memorials and museums, even offering a practical glimpse into the world of museum communication. We will reflect about connections between sociopolitical developments and art and discuss history as a mirror and construct of the present.
Lecturer
Stefka Wiese
Language requirements
English B2
Time
Monday, 16:00-18:30
Course description
In two World Wars Germany tried to dominate the globe in the first half of the 20th century and all major decisions had been made in the capital Berlin: Why was Germany such an aggressive power until 1945? How did Hitler manage to gain and keep power? Why were many Germans Nazis and deeply racist? How was the life of ordinary people during the war? Why did the Nazis kill millions of Jews and other innocent people in concentration camps? What were the long-term effects of World War II? What happened to the Nazis after the war? The course will provide answers to such questions via readings of texts from political science, sociology and history. The aim of the course is to introduce participants to the history of Nazi Germany. After a brief introduction to the historical and ideological backgrounds which led to the rise of the Nazi Regime we will turn to a detailed analysis of the event history which led to World War II. The course will answer the question why Germany was such an aggressive power and how the Nazi movement managed to gather broad public support within the majority of the German population until the end; while causing war and the death of millions of Jews, opponents etc. at the same time. Finally, we will discuss the effects of World War II, on world history; e.g. the Cold War, European Integration and decolonization.

Urban Studies and Sociology

Lecturer
Ceren KULKUL
Language requirements
English B2
Time
Monday, 09:00-11:30
Course description
For many decades, urban and community studies have analyzed the relevance of space for social diversity and integration. What does social diversity induce (in terms of social networks, belonging, everyday life practices)? How can we understand the role of public places (space) in creating new opportunities of meeting (un-)familiar others? How can we approach space as an active participant of sociability as well as community building? In order to answer these questions, an influential tool was introduced to literature in 1980s and it is still valued by many sociologists to understand social mix and appropriation of space: ‘third place’. The concept has been firstly conceptualized as a mechanism of sociability between home and work. Its initial definition suggested that it is a public place which is less identifiable by the outsiders while being actively used and appropriated by its inhabitants on a daily basis. It is possible (and necessary) to expand the definition of third place in between home and work. Today, we talk about how third places open space for women, LGBTI+, immigrants, ethnic minorities, and subculture groups. Instead of investigating German Biergartens, French Cafés or English Pubs, today we also have book clubs, parks, skateparks, mosques, shisha bars etc. In this course, we will use the concept of third places to address urban complexities in community construction while learning how to do research on these sites. Students will develop their own research project and work on it during the course, for example answering questions about the role of their selected third places on the ways in which people develop a sense of belonging to a group, share, help and seek support from its inhabitants. Overall, they would ask how place itself has a direct impact on their daily practices and networks. We will go on excursion to study and understand how we would use third places to find innovative ways of doing research on social integration or community construction. Additionally, we experience and understand Berlin as a sum of various third places.
Lecturer
Sylvana JAHRE / Janina DOBRUSSKIN
Language requirements
English B2
Time
Thursday, 9:00-11:30
Course description
In this course, we will deal with current feminist urban struggles in Berlin, put them into a greater theoretical, historical and societal context and use concrete case studies for a better and more comprehensive understanding. The course covers topics such as the care & feminist city, housing, marginalized neighbourhoods, solidarity, and postcolonial thoughts on the city. Therefore, students should have a general interest in feminist readings and urban theory. The classical classroom formats are largely replaced by more interactive and innovative formats in combination with field trips. The final assignment is a podcast about one or a combination of topics of the course. During the field trips, students gather audio material so that the podcast serves not only as an engagement with the encountered urban issues but also as a reflection.

Literature and Art

Lecturer
Dr. Susann Neuenfeldt
Language requirements
English B2
Time
Wednesday, 16:00-18:30
Course description
In this course we will focus on contemporary theatre in Berlin. We will read and analyze dramatic texts and discuss different theories on theatre and performance studies. We will also experience real Berlin theatre and visit e.g. the Berliner Ensemble, the Maxim Gorki Theater and the Deutsches Theater, among others. This course offers an academic insight into the diverse Berlin theatre scene, its protagonists, cultural practices and audience structure. The course enables international students to learn about and explore current trends, formats and discourses of Berlin theatre on a deeper academic and performative level. The course will be taught by a director practicing theatre in Berlin.

Political Sciences and Philosophy

Lecturer
Dr. Betiel WASIHUN
Language requirements
English B2
Time
Wednesday, 12:30-15:00
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. The course further encourages students to critically engage with the representation of surveillance in contemporary literature, film and popular culture and maps out important themes with regards to surveillance and its repercussions (e.g. visibility, identity, privacy and control). Furthermore, the course provides an overview of the interdisciplinary field of surveillance studies 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); 3. The concept of privacy; 4. Surveillance in the arts and popular culture.
Lecturer
Prof. Dr. Gert-Rüdiger Wegmarshaus
Language requirements
English B2
Time
Thursday, 16:00-18:30
Course description
After Re-Unification of Germany in 1990 Berlin became the national centre of politics. The course will explore significant features of the German political system, it will highlight the dominant place of the German parliament, the role of political parties and the function of the federal government. The class will address main political actors, interests, and cleavages. We will discuss and learn about: Why is Germany a Federal State? What are the reasons for its administrative set-up? What makes German domestic politics so difficult? What is the German outlook on European Union integration? What about Germany´s approach to international climate change policies? The class work will be supplemented by an excursion to the Bundestag, lower chamber of the national parliament, and it will present insights into the work of party foundations.

German Language

Lecturer
Laura HOLZER
Language requirements
German A0
Time
Wednesday, 9:00-11:30
Course description
In this course, the basics of grammar and German vocabulary are conveyed and practiced to enable students to communicate in everyday situations in the German language successfully. The basics of the conjugation of verbs and the usage of articles in the German language are the subject of this course at A1 level. You will learn to introduce yourself and to form simple sentence constructions. A focus is placed on oral language skills, which are developed through interactive working methods. Topics related to German regional studies are also integrated into the course.