Fall 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 fifteen weeks (including one gap week), 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.
Society and CultureArt and LiteratureLaw and EconomicsHistory and PoliticsGerman Language

Society and Culture

Lecturer
Dr. Victoria Bishop Kendzia
Language requirements
English B2
Time
Tuesday, 12:30-3:00 pm
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 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, 9:00-11:30 am
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.
Lecturer
Dr. Mai Lin Tjoa-Bonatz
Language requirements
English B2
Time
Thursday, 12:30-3:00 pm
Course description
Berlin is a multi-cultural city with a diverse cultural life. The seminar will present this transcultural landscape connected to Asia. Starting with the fascination of collectors and travelers to Asia in the Barock period of the 18th century and the establishment of cabinets of curiosities, collections and material culture has lend contemporary relevance to ethnography, art history and anthropology. Asian collections and architecture presented in Berlin are confronted with the very colonial contexts from which substantial parts of them hail, giving contemporary relevance to the history of their origins. As issue today are questions of cultural heritage, cross-cultural methods and opening-up to non-western research, discourses, Arts and Asian communities.
Lecturer
Dr. Maria Hetzer
Language requirements
English B2
Time
Tuesday, 4:00-6:30 pm
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 analyse 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.

Art and Literature

Lecturer
Samuel Perea-Díaz
Language requirements
English B2
Time
Wednesday, 12:30-3:00 pm
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
Sally McGrane
Language requirements
English B2
Time
Wednesday, 9:00-11:30 am
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.
Lecturer
Dr. Marita Meyer
Language requirements
English B2
Time
Thursday, 9:00-11:30 am
Course description
Women have engaged in the creative process of writing in German since at least the Middle Ages. However, the conditions under which they could write and publish have changed over the centuries, as women´s place in society and as imaginations of women have changed. In this course we will look into the reasons why some women writers were well-known in their time and beyond and why others have been forgotten. We will look at the literary canon in German and discuss canonical diversification. The basis for all work in this course will be analysis and discussions of selected works of prose and poetry by women from different periods, starting with the 19th century, but focussing on the 20th and 21st centuries. Most of the chosen authors and their work are connected to Berlin, so that the course has also a special Berlin Perspective. Authors include Rahel Varnhagen, Annette von Droste-Hülshoff, Mascha Kaleko, Gabriele Tergit, Ingeborg Bachmann, Judith Schalansky and Emine Sevgi.

Law and Economics

Lecturer
Vasileios Kapetanos
Language requirements
English B2
Time
Monday, 4:00-6:30 pm
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.

History and Politics

Lecturer
Dr. Betiel Wasihun
Language requirements
English B2
Time
Thursday, 4:00-6:30 pm
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
Dr. Gert-Rüdiger Wegmarshaus
Language requirements
English B2
Time
Wednesday, 4:00-6:30 pm
Course description
After the Reunification of Germany in 1990 the city of Berlin regained its function as the Nation´s Capital, thus becoming The Centre of German Politics. The course will explore significant features of the German political system, it will highlight the dominant place of the German parliament, and it will explain 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 excursions to the Bundestag, the lower chamber of the national parliament, this will include visits and talks to elected members of parliament and staff, and it will present insights into the work of party foundations.

German Language

Lecturer
Laura Holzer
Language requirements
English B2
Time
Monday, 9:00-11:30 am / 12:30-3:00 pm
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. The course is held in German. Prior knowledge in German is not required. Grammar may be explained in English where necessary. We will work with a lot with pictures, audios, a German book and useful exercises. Everyday situations will be practiced. This course is designed for students interested in learning basic German, in communicating in everyday situations, and in preparing for the Goethe-Institut Certificate Start Deutsch A1. The certificate is not part of the course, but can be taken after the successful completion of the German course at the Goethe-Institut Berlin.