Spring Term 2023

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 three, four, or five courses, depending on the number of ECTS credit points they wish to receive.

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.
Migration Studies and SociologyUrban and Cultural StudiesLaw and EconomicsHistory and PoliticsGerman Language

Migration Studies and Sociology

Lecturer
Dr. Victoria BISHOP KENDZIA
Language requirements
English B2
Time
Thursday, 16:00-18:30
Course description
Berlin’s rich museological landscape lends itself to in-depth exploration: How are the upheavals of the 20th and 1st 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 focusing on key aspects of memory of the Second World War and Post-WWII migration, using anthropological methods. Students are encouraged to critically analyze these representations within larger theoretical frameworks of “self” and “other” constructions, exploring the role of museums in rendering such constructions visible.
Lecturer
Azakhiwe NOCANDA
Language requirements
English B2
Time
Tuesday, 16:00-18:30
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.

Urban and Cultural Studies

Lecturer
Dr. Maria HETZER
Language requirements
English B2
Time
Tuesday, 12:30-15:00
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 à la Smart City, political activism and 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 contemporary urban discourses and 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 B2
Time
Wednesday, 16:00-18:30
Course description
This seminar proposes a reflection on perspectives of curating and making exhibitions in Berlin. The course involves site visits to Berlin’s museums, galleries, and project spaces. The seminar provides conversations with Berlin based curators and artists. It allows students to explore and understand the contemporary curatorial practice of the city by visiting and analyzing different institutions, reading theoretical texts, and developing a practical case study. The topics focus on urban culture, contemporary arts, and queer studies. The course is ideal for future researchers and cultural workers who want to explore the work of curatorial research and exhibition-making. The work performed by the students includes readings, group discussions, and curatorial writing strategies, and it concludes with a conceptualization of making an exhibition proposal as a final project in a group.
Lecturer
Shelley ETKIN
Language requirements
English B2
Time
Wednesday, 12:30-15:00
Course description
This course situates questions of planetary change through the city of Berlin as a diverse complex ecosystem, focusing on several urban gardens. Asking “what can a garden be?” the course proposes ecological thinking to engage with multiple disciplines informing the field of ecology, including environmental, economic, social, political, artistic and spiritual perspectives, to study relations between human and nonhuman communities that compose each garden. Sites will be introduced through tours created in collaboration with local organizers from each of the projects, elaborating on their practices and contextualized with multi-media materials. Students will be supported to work autonomously and collaboratively in creative, critical, and reflective ways, embracing transdisciplinarity, concluding the course by designing a speculative garden.

Law and Economics

Lecturer
Vasileios KAPETANOS
Language requirements
English B2
Time
Monday, 9:00-11:30
Course description
Multinational companies like Google or Apple self-evidently act on a global stage. But even small businesses participate in international trade today. The integration of national economies and the elimination of barriers of trade no longer allow a solely national view on this development. With the growing importance of international commerce, the need for an "International Economic Law" arises. Numerous regulations and agreements concern international trade and investment, but the legal framework of international economy remains indefinite. The rise of international commerce necessitates furthermore, the need for an international effective judicial protection, which goes beyond the traditional national barriers of civil and commercial litigation. International litigation and arbitration play an important role in the realization of rights and judicial protection of companies and consumers alike. In this course, common principles of International Economic Law will be examined by analyzing leading decisions by international courts. Furthermore international and domestic legal statutes in all aspects of economic law will be examined and discussed. Therefore, a substantial part of the course will be dedicated to the discussion of cases, legal statutes and reading materials.
Lecturer
Stefka WIESE
Language requirements
English B2
Time
Monday, 12:30-15:00
Course description
Can Germany be considered a front runner in the fields of ecological transition and climate policy? Former Chancellor Angela Merkel has been described as “climate chancellor”, and several countries were following in Germany’s footsteps by adopting instruments of the German “Energiewende” (energy transition) such as feed-in tariffs as a blue print. Having a closer look at the scene, the picture is a bit more complex. The course will shed a light on the political and economical aspects of the ecological transition of Germany's industries and its energy sector. What were the most important policy changes that happened over time? Which policy drivers can be identified? The important role of corporatist structures within the traditional model of the German Social Market Economy will be discussed. What influence do these structures have on the socio-ecological transition, and to what extent does this differ from the situation in other countries?

History and Politics

Lecturer
Dr. Betiel WASIHUN
Language requirements
English B2
Time
Thursday, 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
David NONHOFF | Dorian ALT
Language requirements
English B2
Time
Wednesday, 9:00-11:30
Course description
In 2017 for the first time since World War II, a right-wing populist party entered the German Bundestag. What came as a massive shock to many political observers in Germany, was merely the expression of a trend stretching across industrialised countries for a couple of decades now: the return of the illiberal right. This course tries to find explanations for the success of right-wing movements or parties, with a specific focus on Germany and the East-West divide that less than 35 years ago still cut Europe and Germany in two halves. In this course we look for answers to questions such as: Why do people vote for right-wing populist parties? What lesson can the history of right-wing extremism offer for contemporary politics? Can the experience of forceful and rapid change among citizens of formerly Communist states explain the prominence of Illiberalism in Eastern Germany and, potentially, beyond? Studying in Berlin, students will gather first-hand experience of the city’s tumultuous history in the recent past. Being the capital to five different German states in the last 150 years, Berlin offers deep insights into the history of Illiberalism in Germany. Through various excursions, students will be able to directly experience the effects of Illiberalism in contemporary German society and politics.

German Language

Lecturer
Laura HOLZER
Language requirements
English B2
Time
Thursday, 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.
Lecturer
Laura HOLZER
Language requirements
German A1
Time
Tuesday, 9:00-11:30
Course description
At this level, you’ll already be familiar with the most important words and grammar rules. However, you may feel that in many everyday situations you still lack the vocabulary or grammar. In this course you will continue to practice making appointments and requests. In this way, you will be able to broaden your knowledge regarding various everyday situations. Main themes of this course will expand on topics relating to leisure, holidays, city life, and opinions/wishes. You will tackle everyday life issues and experiences in order to expand your vocabulary. Furthermore, you will focus on how to make plans for the future!