This course explores European art and architecture from the 15th to the 20th century with a particular focus on urban centers like Florence, Rome, Venice, Antwerp, Amsterdam, Paris, London, and Berlin. The aim is to analyze how the visual arts contributed through the centuries to shape local identities as well as European cultural traditions common to different countries.
The course will present iconic moments of the history of the arts in Europe by drawing a special attention to episodes of cultural exchanges and hybridization that arose from travelling artworks as well as from artists’ travels. From the role of artists like Raphael and Michelangelo in 16th-century papal Rome to the rise of genre painting in the Flanders and the Dutch Republic of the Golden Age, from the ‘painters of modern life’ in 19th-century Paris to the German Avant-garde of the 1920s, we will analyze the artworks and their authors in relation to the different historical contexts and the places of their creation. Recurrent will be the focus on the complex interplay between artists and patrons, between local traditions, individual creativity and the broader social, political and cultural contexts in which artworks and buildings were produced.
Students will gain understanding of the main art movements and relevant artists from the Renaissance to the postwar period as well as the basic concepts and terminology of art history. Visits to the outstanding collections of Berlin museums will allow the participants to study original artifacts and to learn how to look closely at works of art.
The course addresses students of any subject.
An elementary knowledge of European history is welcome but not necessary.
Regular attendance and active participation, mid-term oral presentation and final written exam.
A course reader will be provided at the orientation meeting.
The ‘thousand year Reich’ that Hitler promised when he became Chancellor of Germany in January 1933 lasted but 12 years. During this time, Hitler and his Nazi Party came to dominate Europe, terrorizing vast numbers of Germans, launching a devastating war, and orchestrating the murder of more than five million Jews. In spite of the terror and vast destruction, Hitler and the Nazi Party gained the active support and involvement of most Germans. How was this possible? What roles did seduction and terror play?
This class focuses on Hitler’s Germany and it begins with the 19th century background. Central to this session will be a discussion of the broad political currents, the agitators and petty demagogues who fueled the dissatisfaction and spread it widely. We will also examine 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. It left in its wake a shattered, humiliated, and deeply torn Germany. In this climate of uncertainty and despair, Hitler and the Nazi Party grew from a small group on the fringe of radical politics in Munich to a national force. This development is of central importance to this session. Those traits of Hitler crucial to his success, particularly his charisma, will be defined and analyzed within the broader political context of Weimar political and cultural life.
In late January 1933, Hitler gained the long desired but elusive goal: he became chancellor of Germany, the leader of a coalition government. The political intrigues leading to his appointment will be discussed. 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 did the regime solidify its control over society and political life?
A key element of Hitler’s rule was the concentration camp system, what came to be a vast network of prisons, centers of oppression and death. How this developed from the dozens of small concentration camps set up across Germany immediately following Hitler’s takeover of power in 1933 to the well-organized and highly centralized system in 1939 will be the focus of this session. During the war, the concentration camp system spread across Germany and occupied Europe.
Hitler’s ambitions, the conquest of ‘living space’ in Eastern Europe, the ruthless exploitation of these territories, and the annihilation of the Jews, motivated his foreign ambitions and led directly to World War II, the most destructive conflict in human history. We will also discuss the measures taken against the handicapped, homosexuals, Sinti and Roma.
In Germany and in occupied Europe opposition and resistance emerged and challenged Nazi rule. Opponents were motivated by a variety of reasons, some personal, some political. These too will be discussed.
Lastly, the class will examine the end of the war, the so-called ‘zero hour’, the destruction and collapse of Germany.
We will also be visiting local museums, historical sites and locations that reveal the operations of Nazi rule. These visits to sites in and near Berlin are a key element of the class and the experience of studying here.
We welcome students from all disciplines who are interested in gaining an insight into the operations and dynamics of Nazi rule in Germany and its attempt to annihilate the Jews and to dominate the continent.
Interest and curiosity.
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 (3-5 pages), and the final examination. Guidelines for the papers as well as suggested topics will be provided during the first session.
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.
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, and conflict. Next, we investigate the role and operation of law in totalitarian settings such as Nazi and Communist Germany, then consider the challenges that such legacies pose for democracy, the rule of law, and the economy in post-totalitarian societies. In this context, we examine the challenges posed by freedom of speech, the need for ‘transitional justice’, and the relationship between law and the market. Finally, we examine the role of law, lawyers, and courts in social change.
Overall, the course aims to develop skills at using theory and history to inform debates on contemporary challenges, such as multiculturalism, punishment, (illegal) downloading/
streaming/file-sharing, ‘illiberal democracy’ and authoritarianism, economic development, and social movements. 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.
This course is designed for all students with 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.
No prior knowledge of law or of social science is required; the only prerequisite is an open mind.
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 mustcomplete two short written protocols that analyze assigned readings, and write the final examination.
Readings for the course are contained in a reader that will be provided at orientation.
Regarding transnational migration, the European Union as a supranational community promotes a political reasoning between processes of consolidation and necessary conflict, between sovereignty and shared responsibility, between the right to define and delimit and the duty to negotiate. In ongoing economic crisis and facing unprecedented movements of people, the timeless normalcy of migration is often framed as crisis per se. Populist claims for cultural homogeneity and for closed borders undercut efforts for a common migration policy.
As the visibility of migration increases in various ways, migrants are often represented and imagined as a homogenous mass of ‘the other’. This leads to a problematic understanding of migration as something similar to a natural disaster that requires to be controlled and governed from a strategic top-down perspective. But the respective processes of negotiation on migration policy, within and across the outer borders of the Union, take place not only between the official institutions of nation-states, but on all scales of European populations. They also take place from a bottom-up perspective in the centres and at the margins of societies alike, where the single person contributes to the respective discourses as well: It is here, where either homogenizing images of threat are reproduced or sensible policies of individuality are practised.
Departing from diverse theories of migration (mainstream as well as critical perspectives), we will gain an overview of EU-level migration polity and recent migration- and border-management policies. We will analyse the conflicts, debates and discourses around the last years of increased immigration in Germany. Step by step we will get aware of the notion of identity politics, which can manifest in peaceful diversity, but is time and again prone to provoke social dynamics of disintegration. After analyzing the simplifying languages of exclusion in populist discourse, we will focus on the “legalization-market” of Almería/Spain, to learn about the imbrications of migration and economic calculations on one of the biggest “illegal labor markets” in the EU.
Scaling down perspective on the local level in the fieldtrips, we will engage with local authorities’ and politicians’ perspectives in Berlin. Diving deeper down we will start to change perspective: How do local activists develop and implement their own policies of welcoming migrants? What are the aims of and how do legal assessment organizations for migrants work? We will see, how refugees themselves perceive EU-migration policies and what they make themselves of their public positioning as a ‘problem’ or as a ‘burden’ to European Societies.
We will encounter migrants’ viewpoints, which reach beyond the usual framings of ‘the poor migrant’ as ‘passive victim’, as a threat or as the ‘(anti-)hero’ of globalization. We will encounter viewpoints on the EU, which will constructively criticize as well as graciously affirm the spirit of the Union. We will encounter viewpoints of hope.
This course is designed for all students having a personal, professional or political personal interest in a deeper and thus more differentiated understanding of transnational migration.
No prior knowledge is required – but the willingness to think beyond the usual framings on migration and identity.
A course reader will be provided at the first course meeting