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Subject Courses

Instructor: Dr. Ulrich Brückner
Language of instruction:
English
Course type:
Subject course
Contact hours:
48 (6 per day)
Course days
: see class schedule
ECTS credits
: 5
Course fee:
€ 1,100

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 up to today.

The focus of the course will be the state of EU integration after the pandemic both internally and externally. We will analyze economic and social developments, positive and negative examples of solidarity, Brexit, migration, forms of populism and how public opinion sees the costs and benefits of European integration. The external perspective will address how the EU responds to global challenges such as climate change, relations with the USA after elections, the rise of China, security threats and what they mean for the futureinternational role of the EU.

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.

Download Syllabus (printable PDF incl. day-to-day schedule)
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
: 5
Course fee:
€ 1,100

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.

Download Syllabus (printable PDF incl. day-to-day schedule)
Instructor: Dr. Wolfram Bergande
Language of instruction:
English
Course type:
Subject course
Contact hours:
48 (6 per day)
Course days
: see class schedule
ECTS credits
: 5
Course fee:
€ 1,100

Course Description

Modern capitalist market economy is an extremely powerful instrument to create wealth and to satisfy human demands – and to exploit, alienate and destroy the very societies it is supposed to serve. How can it be made moral?

Actually, there are quite a number of ways: for example through deliberate lawmaking, responsible research & development (e.g. technology assessment), through enlightened consumer choices and sustainable use of human and natural capital assets. But they often come at a high cost and involve more fundamental questions:

-        How can politicians and lawmakers regulate the market for the common good without suffocating it?

-        How can big corporations and tech companies continue to deliver innovative services without monopolizing the market and dominating their customers?

-        What does a fair distribution of income look like?

-        How do we assign value to natural and social goods (like clean air or low crime rates) and how do we measure sustainable welfare beyond traditional economic growth?

-        How can consumers harness their own power to make informed choices and act in accordance with their values?

-        Are digital business models based on artificial intelligence and machine learning threatening the autonomy of consumer choice?

-        What does corporate social responsibility look like in times of crisis?

These and other questions are not only of interest to economists and business people but are relevant to all economic agents (individuals, companies, state institutions, etc.).

To answer these questions, the course equips participants with key ethical approaches to economic behavior (virtue ethics, religious teachings, deontology, utilitarianism, master morality, neo-liberalism), approaches which have been or still are dominating ethical discourses on economic behavior.

These ethical approaches and ideas range from Ancient Greek philosophy to modern economic theory (Friedman, Ostrom, and Game Theory). Since religions, philosophies and social theories are major sources of ethical conduct, the course covers a wide array of these, including teachings of the Catholic Church fathers, ideas from European modern period philosophy (Kant, Mill, Nietzsche) and from modern critical sociology (Veblen, Weber, Adorno, Marcuse).

As a major learning outcome, participants develop ethical frames of reference which allow them to identify and tackle ethical dilemmas posed by today’s economy. Particularly, they will learn do adopt strategies that avoid moral hazards and self-harming or self-defeating behavior. Thus, they will be able to act ethically conscious in real life situations, be it…

-        as decision-makers in firms and investment companies allocating capital, workforce and bonuses,

-        as scientific researchers launching technologies that impact human life and the environment,

-        as customers rewarding sustainable or punishing unsustainable business models, production methods or supply chains or

-        as lawmakers or leaders of NGOs setting legal and ethical standards and fighting collusion, corruption, fraud, exploitation, overproduction & -consumption, wastefulness, obsolescence, extinction, free-riding or other forms of cost externalizing.

Participants’ learning outcomes will be put to test in a hands-on way:

- when we conduct online expert interviews e.g. on corporate compliance, digital business models, contemporary philanthropy, the EU economic policy or the ethics of artificial intelligence and

- when we play (and have fun with) a CSR (corporate social responsibility) online simulation game.

Below the line, participants will learn to analyze, interpret and transform economic behavior – first and foremost their own!

Download Syllabus (printable PDF incl. day-to-day schedule)
Instructor: Dr. Robert Teigrob
Language of instruction: English
Course type:
Subject course
Contact hours:
48 (6 per day)
Course days
: see class schedule
ECTS credits
: 5
Course fee:
€ 1,100

Course Description

Over the course of the Cold War, the city of Berlin was frequently at the centre of global tensions and a potential front line should the superpower rivalry descend into actual war.This course utilizes the city of Berlin as a laboratory in which to examine the origins, nature, and conclusion of the Cold War that defined international relations between 1945 and 1991. We analyzethe Allied occupation of the city following the Nazi defeat, the Berlin blockade and airlift that helped solidify the divisions between East and West. Next, we will examinethe workers’ uprising of 1953 that provoked a Soviet military response. Thefollowing sessions will deal with theemigration crisis of the late 1950s that led the Soviets to first threaten a military takeover of the city and eventually to construct the Berlin Wall. Finally, we will look atthe fall of the wall and the subsequent reunification of Berlin and Germany.

Field trips to important Cold War sites will permit students to gain a deeper appreciation of how the Cold War changed Berlin, and how events in Berlin influenced the wider international struggle. In order to place the interests and goals of the superpowers in context, we will also discuss the ways in which the Cold War rivalry affected Europe as a whole, as well as Asia and Latin America. Attention will be given to the role of international organizationssuch as the United Nations in world affairs, and the changes brought about by the collapse of communism in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. In this way, we will examine the roots of contemporary crises. Students will gain an understanding of the recent past, which will help equip them to evaluate the current and emerging international order.

Download Syllabus (printable PDF incl. day-to-day schedule)