Subject Courses

Instructor: Dr. Jan-Henrik Meyer
Language of instruction:
English
Course type:
Subject course
Contact hours:
48 (6 per day)
Course days
: see class schedule
ECTS credits
: 4
Course fee:
€ 1,100
  • Syllabus (printable PDF incl. day-to-day schedule)

Course Description

The course will introduce the basics of the European Union and describe and explain the processes of widening and deepening of this unique political entity. This will cover an overview of European Union history, its evolution in economic and political terms as well as of its institutional structure and key policies up until today.

The focus of the course will be internally on the state of EU integration and its challenges - the need for reform and the growing difficulty to actually agree upon and implement reforms in the face of rising populism, authoritarianism and nationalism. Externally, the course explores the international role of the EU with its emphasis on multilateralism, including its self-declared role as a leader in the fight against climate change. Special emphasis will be placed on Europe’s triple crisis – the Euro crisis, the migration crisis, and Brexit.

The morning sessions consist of lectures, literature-based discussions and oral presentations from working groups. After lunch the course will visit various institutions in Germany`s political center. Students will have the chance to discuss the topics from the morning sessions with international experts from political institutions, embassies and think tanks.

Student Profile

Students from different countries, academic levels and backgrounds who are generally interested in European integration will benefit from each other in an intercultural and interdisciplinary learning process.

The course does not require special knowledge about European politics, law, history or culture, but participants should be interested in more than just their field of specialization.

In-class participation, especially in the discussions with experts, is essential for students’ learning experience and plays an important role in grading.

Prerequisites

The course is designed for students with different academic backgrounds and a general interest in Europe. There are no special prerequisites for the course.

Course Requirements

Attendance; active participation in the seminar's discussions and discussions with experts; oral and written presentation of a certain subject.

Grading

  • Participation: 40%
  • Oral presentations: 30%
  • Final paper: 30%

Reading

See course schedule. A course reader will be provided.

Instructor: Prof. Helen Hartnell
Language of instruction:
English
Course type:
Subject course
Contact hours:
48 (6 per day)
Course days
: see class schedule
ECTS credits
: 4
Course fee:
€ 1,100
  • Syllabus (printable PDF incl. day-to-day schedule)

Course Description

This course explores theoretical and historical perspectives on the intersection of law, society and politics, and aims to foster discussion of contemporary issues among students from different cultures and disciplines. After an introduction to comparative law and legal culture, we read some classical social theorists (Durkheim, Weber and Marx), and consider their relevance to contemporary debates about morality, (dis)obedience, conflict, and property. Next, we investigate the role and operation of law in totalitarian settings such as Nazi and Communist Germany. Finally, we consider the difficulties such legacies pose for democracy, the rule of law, and the economy in post-totalitarian and authoritarian societies, including the need for ‘transitional justice’, the relationship between law and the market, and the challenges posed by freedom of speech and freedom of association.

Overall, the course aims to develop skills at using theory and history to inform debates on contemporary challenges, such as multiculturalism, (illegal) downloading/streaming/file-sharing, squatting, and economic development. In addition to gaining substantive expertise in various socio- and politico-legal fields, students develop communicative competence through participatory exercises, and intercultural competence through discussion with other students.

Student Profile

This course is designed for all students having an interest in social sciences – in particular, history, sociology or political science – or in law. It is conceived as an undergraduate class, but the variety of students taking this course typically ranges from first-year students to post-graduate students. This experiential diversity provides unique opportunities for students to learn from one another.

Prerequisites

No prior knowledge of law or of social science is required; the only prerequisite is an open mind.

Course Requirements

Students are expected to attend each class; read the literature assigned for each class; and participate in class discussions and excursions. In addition, each student must complete a writing assignment (written protocol of 5-7 double-spaced pages) analyzing some of the assigned readings. Finally, each student is required to take a written final examination.

Grading

  • Class attendance and participation: 40%
  • Written protocol(s): 25%
  • Final exam: 35%

Reading

Readings for the course are contained in a reader that will be provided at orientation.

Instructor: Dr. Sven Rücker
Language of instruction:
English
Course type:
Subject course
Contact hours:
48 (6 per day)
Course days
: see class schedule
ECTS credits
: 4
Course fee:
€ 1,100
  • Syllabus (printable PDF incl. day-to-day schedule)

Course Descriptionn

There are many reasons for the global success of football. The game fulfils our longing for triumph and endorses our knowledge of failure. It produces heroes and losers, demonstrates that we have to fight to reach our aims, but also shows the importance of cooperating and interacting. Thus football acts as a theatre of existence, in which life can both mirror and transcend itself.

The class will take a look behind the scenes and identify the mechanisms that make football so popular. They lie partly in the game’s structure itself, partly in its connection to other cultural fields, like religion, or war.

Because football is a game that is always “more than just a game”, it is an appropriate subject for philosophy and cultural studies. At first sight, of course, this relation seems to be counterintuitive. Traditionally, particularly philosophy was defined as a purely mental activity while football in reverse was reduced to a physical combat game. But we will see that one of the characteristics of modern philosophy is to involve the body in the process of thinking, while football urges a specific intelligence from its players. Thus, the class will explore the cultural and philosophical references of football and vice versa, the ludic and bodily aspects of philosophy. By this, we will gain a new perspective on football as well as on philosophy. In addition to that, the focusing on the specific subject “football” can show the different approaches as well as the overlaps between the individual sciences.

Student Profile

Students from all faculties interested in the subject.

Prerequisites

None.

Course Requirements

Active participation and two short essays (approx. 3-5 pages)

Grading

  • Active Participation: 30%
  • First essay: 35%
  • Second essay: 35%

Reading

A reader will be provided at the beginning of the class.

Instructor: Dr. Robert Waite
Language of instruction:
English
Course type:
Subject course
Contact hours:
48 (6 per day)
Course days
: see class schedule
ECTS credits
: 4
Course fee:
€ 1,100
  • Syllabus (printable PDF incl. day-to-day schedule)

Course Description

The ‘thousand year Reich’ that Hitler promised when he became Chancellor of Germany in January 1933 lasted but 12 years. During this time, however, Hitler and his Nazi Party came to dominate European and even world affairs, terrorizing vast numbers of Germans, launching a devastating war, and orchestrating the murder of more than five million Jews. Yet Hitler and the Nazi Party gained the active support and involvement of most Germans. How was this possible?

This class focuses on Hitler’s Germany and it begins with the essential 19th century background. How did political anti-Semitism grow there? What shaped the social and political life? Central to this session will be a discussion of the broad political currents and the popular literature that Hitler and many of his supporters read and absorbed.

Crucial to understanding the lure of Hitler and the Nazi Party was Germany’s experience in the First World War, a conflict that decimated a generation and destroyed Europe as it was known. Germany became a democratic state, but was torn by political divisions and dissatisfaction. In this climate of uncertainty and despair, Hitler and the Nazi Party grew from a small group on the radical fringe in Munich to a national force. How did this happen? Those traits of Hitler crucial to his success, particularly his charisma, will be defined and analyzed within the broader political context of Weimar political life.

In late January 1933 Hitler gained the long desired but elusive goal: he became chancellor of Germany, the leader of a coalition government. Much attention will be paid in this session to how Hitler, his cabinet, and supporters were able to consolidate the control over the state and society within a matter of months. This came at the cost of political liberties, through the growing use of terror, oppression, and intimidation. Yet, Hitler gained supporters as he seemingly offered economic stability and a new unity to the German people. How the regime solidified its control over society and political life will be examined and discussed at length in this session.

A key element of Hitler’s rule was the concentration camp system, what came to be a vast chain of prisons and centers of oppression and death. How this developed will be examined and analyzed.

Hitler’s ambitions, the conquest of ‘living space’ in Eastern Europe and the annihilation of the Jews, motivated his foreign ambitions and led directly to World War II, the most destructive conflict in human history. A central element of the war was the Holocaust, the all-out program to destroy the Jews of Europe. The session will examine closely these developments, the nature of the war, how the Holocaust was implemented, and the role that terror played in sustaining Nazi rule. We will also discuss the measures taken against the handicapped, homosexuals, Sinti and Roma.

In Germany and later in occupied Europe opposition and resistance emerged and challenged Nazi rule. Opponents were motivated by a variety of reasons, some personal, some political, and these too will be discussed.

Lastly, the class will examine the end of the war, the so-called ‘zero hour’ in Germany, the destruction and collapse of Germany, and then how this nation has dealt with the legacy of Hitler and Nazi rule.

We will be visiting local museums, historical sites and locations that reveal the operations of Nazi rule. These visits are a key element of the class and the experience of studying in Berlin.

Student Profile        

We welcome students from all disciplines who are interested in gaining an insight into the operations and dynamics of Nazi rule in Germany, its attempt to annihilate the Jews and to dominate the continent.

Prerequisites           

Interest and curiosity

Course Requirements        

Attendance in class, the careful reading of the assigned course materials, participation in the field trips, the discussion of the material in class, the completion of two short research papers (2-4 pages), and the final examination. Guidelines for the papers as well as suggested topics will be provided during the first session.

Grading       

  • 20% Class participation
  • 40% Two short papers
  • 40% Final exam

Reading        

A course reader will be provided at the first meeting of the class. This includes a recent monograph on Nazi Germany, a selection of articles offering the newest research and insights, excerpts from original documents (in translation), a weekly schedule of the readings and a series of questions as a guide through each of the texts

Instructor: Kim Feser
Language of instruction:
English
Course type:
Subject course
Contact hours:
48 (6 per day)
Course days
: see class schedule
ECTS credits
: 4
Course fee:
€ 1,100
  • Syllabus (printable PDF incl. day-to-day schedule)

Course Description

In many ways, Berlin is a center for contemporary electronic music. This is primarily due to the strong connection between technological and aesthetic developments. Nightclubs, such as the Berghain, have a worldwide reputation for their sound systems, which allow a specific acoustic experience and encourage nightlong dancing and partying. Berlin-based companies such as Ableton and Native Instruments are global leaders in their music software, especially in the context of techno, electronica and electronic dance music. Many DJs and musicians´ market themselves or their tracks via blogs and streaming services. Particularly in the context of sound art, there are fairly strong parallels with media art.

Due to the key 'digital' aspects of such phenomena, we often speak of a 'Digital Age' in which Berlin plays a particular role in the field of music. However, the 'analog' phenomena are constantly growing, so that there is some debate over the beginning of a 'post-digital age'. This corresponds with an increasing focus both on the virtual and haptic dimension. Among other things, software companies have made strong efforts over the past years to develop their own hardware controllers for their computer programs in order to be able to better design musical processes manually.

Based on such phenomena, the course will explore the relationship between aesthetic trends and technological developments with the focus on the cultural and economic conditions in Berlin. Particular emphasis will be made on the past and present of techno, (experimental) electronica and electronic dance music. What makes Berlin a magnet not only for thrill-seeking club-goers, but also for DJs, musicians, producers and developers? How does this relate to the recent past of Berlin since the fall of the Berlin Wall, especially given the gentrification processes? To what extent is Berlin's creative scene at the same time internationally networked and can its conditions only be understood in a global context?

Beyond the Berlin perspective, the course examines the current conditions of production and consumption as well as the performance and distribution of music. How do legal/illegal file sharing and streaming services affect listening to music? What is changing in music culture through sampling, remixing, mashup and approaches to interactive music in video games? What opposing trends are out there?

In addition to the joint discussion of texts and film excerpts, excursions also provide an opportunity for an exchange with proven experts in the course subject areas.    

At the end of the course, the participants can elaborate on and present a topic (either alone or in a group) of their choice in the context of the general list of topics on the course.

Student Profile

This course is intended for students of any disciplines. No prior music and technology background is required. The course aims to provide an insight into the relationship between aesthetic, social and technical developments regarding the topic 'Berlin and the Digital Music Age'. It also examines the conditions of the current production methods of electronic music, but does not teach the specific programming or composing of music. 

Prerequisites

None

Course requirements        

  • Active participation
  • Course schedule and excursions
  • Presentation with handouts
  • Course presentation

Grading                                

  • Active participation: 40%
  • Presentation of a text (lecture with handout): 25%
  • Presentation of a chosen topic with a written summary at the end of the course: 35%

Reading

A course reader will be provided.