B-Track Subject Courses

Instructor: Dr. Stefano de Bosio
Language of instruction:
English
Course type:
Subject course, B-Track
Course days
: Tuesday & Friday
ECTS credits
: 6
Course fee:
€ 1,650
Can be combined with all A-Track courses
  • Syllabus (printable PDF incl. day-to-day schedule)

Course Description

This course explores European art 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 and transcultural, global networks.

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 in Europe and beyond. 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.

Student Profile

The course addresses students of any subject.

Prerequisites

An elementary knowledge of European history is welcome but not necessary.

Required Language Skills

The language of instruction is English. Language proficiency on an advanced Intermediate level (Mittelstufe II) is a prerequisite for participation. For orientation purposes, you can assess your language skills here (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).

Course Requirements

Regular attendance and active participation, mid-term oral presentation and final written exam.

Grading

  • 30% Attendance & participation
  • 30% Mid-term presentation (oral presentation of a work in Berlin museums)
  • 40% Final Exam

Reading

A course reader will be provided at the orientation meeting.

Recommended Course Combinations (Selection)

Instructor: Dr. Robert G. Waite
Language of instruction:
English
Course type:
Subject course, B-Track
Course days
: Tuesday & Friday
ECTS credits
: 6
Course fee:
€ 1,650
Can be combined with all A-Track courses
  • 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, 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.

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 and its attempt to annihilate the Jews and to dominate the continent.

Prerequisites           

Interest and curiosity.

Required Language Skills

The language of instruction is English. Language proficiency on an advanced Intermediate level (Mittelstufe II) is a prerequisite for participation. For orientation purposes, you can assess your language skills here (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).

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 (3-5 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.

Recommended Course Combinations (Selection):

Instructor: Dr. Lauren van Vuuren
Language of instruction:
English
Course type:
Subject course, B-Track
Course days
: Tuesday & Friday
ECTS credits
: 6
Course fee:
€ 1,650
Can be combined with all A-Track courses
  • Syllabus (printable PDF incl. day-to-day schedule)

Course Description

This course is about Berlin, and the story of its tumultuous and epoch defining twentieth century. We examine this history through various lenses: the biographies of individuals, the words of writers who bore witness to the vertiginous social, political and physical changes the city underwent, and buildings and monuments whose physical construction, destruction and reconstruction reflected the ideological turmoil and conflict of twentieth century Berlin.

Famous Berliners we will meet include the murdered Communist leader Rosa Luxemburg, the artist Käthe Kollwitz, the actress Marlene Dietrich, the Nazi filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl, the adopted Berliner David Bowie and the famous East German dissident musician Wolf Biermann. The contextualized stories of these individuals will offer us unique perspectives politically, artistically and socially into the tumult and struggle that marked their times in the city. These figures occupy a range of different position(s) as Berliners, as radicals, as artists of resistance to or collaboration with Nazism, and Communism, as drifters and exiles whose stories reflect Berlin’s unique position in the twentieth century as ‘no man’s land, frontier, a city adrift in the sands of Central Europe.’

In a similar way, we will examine the words of writers who bore witness to the extremism and societal upheaval that marked twentieth century Berlin. From the witnessing of Roth and Isherwood to life in Weimar and Nazi Berlin, to the social and political commentary by Christa Wolf on the moral struggles of life lived on different sides of the Berlin Wall, we will assess their writings in their historical contexts. We will assess their words as evocations of Berlin, but also as potential or overt acts of resistance to the extremism they lived under, that attempted to maintain a solidarity with the idea of Berlin as a place of artistic and social freedom and permissiveness.

Finally, we will discover the story of places in Berlin whose physical building, destruction and rebuilding can be situated in the wider systems of ideology, power and social relations that so cataclysmically defined the physical landscape of Berlin after 1933. In this, we will focus on the story of Potsdamer Platz, the Palace of the People and as an opposite postscript to Berlin’s twentieth century, the Holocaust Memorial in Mitte.

This course does not seek to provide a ‘grand narrative’ of Berlin’s twentieth century history. Instead, it follows a thread that weaves through the history: the thread left behind by those who bore witness to their times. By tracing the stories of contemporary witnesses, left for us in books, films and songs, and in the physical construction of the city, we open up a human dimension that enriches and challenges our understanding of Berlin’s traumatic recent history.

Structured largely chronologically, the course will work with films and novels whilst building on a clear historiographical base provided in class seminars. The teaching will be augmented by physical excursions into Berlin to trace the stories we encounter and class discussions will form the basis for a seminar paper that students will be required to submit at the end of the course. This history course approaches the story of Berlin through the reflections and refractions of individual humans’ lives who struggled upon the immense stage of a city at the very symbolic and literal heart of the catastrophes of the twentieth century.

Student Profile

This course is for university level students with open minds and incurable curiosity about the world around them.

Prerequisites

Interest in Berlin, and its extraordinary recent past.

Required Language Skills

The language of instruction is English. Language proficiency on an advanced Intermediate level (Mittelstufe II) is a prerequisite for participation. For orientation purposes, you can assess your language skills here (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).

Course Requirements

Attendance in class and the careful reading of the assigned course materials are most important. The reading pack will be divided into compulsory and supplementary readings. Furthermore, the course will require participation in the field trips, engaged discussion of the material in class that shows you have completed the required reading, and the completion of a final paper on a topic related to the course but decided by yourself in discussion with the lecturer. Guidelines for the papers as well as suggested topics will be distributed during the first session. The instructor will be available for student consultations should any further guidance be required.

Grading

  • Class participation: 20%
  • Short presentation: 20%
  • Research paper: 60%

‘Class Participation’ will include participation in field trips and engagement in discussion in class. ‘Short Presentation’ will be a brief presentation whereby students will describe the topic they have chosen for their research paper, and link their choice to themes in the course that they have found interesting. It will provide a useful chance for feedback and discussion within the group as a whole.

Reading

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

Recommended Course Combinations (Selection)

Instructor: Dr. Anika Keinz
Language of instruction:
English
Course type:
Subject course, B-Track
Contact hours:
72 (6 per day)
Course days
: Tuesday & Friday
ECTS credits
: 6
Course fee:
€ 1,650
Can be combined with all A-Track courses
  • Syllabus (printable PDF incl. day-to-day schedule)

Course Description

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.

Student Profile

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.

Prerequisites

No prior knowledge is required – but the willingness to think beyond the usual framings on migration and identity.

Required Language Skills

The language of instruction is English. Language proficiency on an advanced Intermediate level (Mittelstufe II) is a prerequisite for participation. For orientation purposes, you can assess your language skills here (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).

Course Requirements

  • The basic conditions for the course are regular attendance, participation in discussions and a close reading of the literature provided.
  • In one page of continuous text, every course-day’s core discussions and conclusions are to be summarized and questions regarding the texts formulated, in preparation for the next sessions.
  • Each student (together with fellow students) is required one time to prepare an input-presentation of a text in class (max. 10 min. each person).
  • The final examination (90 min.) will consist of answering 2-3 leading questions regarding the contents of the seminar in continuous text.

Grading

  • 40% Participation & Day's summaries and questions
  • 30% Text Presentation
  • 30% Final Examination  

Reading

A course reader will be provided at the first course meeting

Recommended Course Combinations (Selection)

Instructor: Prof. Dr. Volker Nitsch
Language of instruction:
English
Course type:
Subject course, B-Track
Contact hours:
72 (6 per day)
Course days
: Tuesday & Friday
ECTS credits
: 6
Course fee:
€ 1,650
Can be combined with all A-Track courses
  • Syllabus (printable PDF incl. day-to-day schedule)

Course Description

What is today’s role of the European Union? After decades towards greater integration, economic relationships have recently become more fragile. Examples of the rise of disintegration include tendencies of secession and the exit of countries from international institutional arrangements. In view of strong interdependencies between economic actors (global supply chains), these disruptions seem to be particularly costly and may require appropriate policy responses.

This course introduces the main economic aspects of the current development of the European Union (EU) and its policies. The basic idea is to discuss general issues in economic integration with a strong emphasis on experiences in Europe. After reviewing the institutional, political and historical background of European integration, the main focus is on the economic analysis of the policies and prospects for the European Union and its economic impacts on individuals, firms and regions.

Some recent developments in the international policy agenda like sovereign debt crises, Brexit and the euro crisis will also be covered.

This course provides an introduction to economic tools and concepts useful for the analysis of European integration. More generally, students learn to apply economic theory to real-world problems.

Student Profile

The course is open to students from all disciplines.

Prerequisites

Elementary knowledge of economics and statistics is desirable.

Required Language Skills

The language of instruction is English. Language proficiency on an advanced Intermediate level (Mittelstufe II) is a prerequisite for participation. For orientation purposes, you can assess your language skills here (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).

Course Requirements

Regular attendance and active participation, short research paper and final written exam.

Grading

  • 20% Class participation
  • 30% Short Paper (3-5 pages)
  • 50% Final exam

Reading

A reader will be provided at the orientation meeting.

Recommended Course Combinations (Selection)