Coming to terms with the tumultuous 20th century – the Nazi Era, the Holocaust, and division of Germany - is central to German literature, culture, and public debate. Just as narratives of memory drive 20th and 21st-century German literature, memory culture permeates the urban landscape of Berlin. This course explores memory narratives in the form of fiction, autobiographical texts, films, a graphic novel, and a historical reader. Topics of discussion include history, politics, literature, film, music, architecture, and the urban landscape. Field trips to the German Historical Museum, the Holocaust Memorial, The Berlin Wall Memorial, the Stasi Museum, the Memorial and Museum Sachsenhausen, and more will inform, reinforce, and broaden our understanding of the material discussed in class.
The course is open to all students who are interested in deepening their experience of Berlin’s history and culture through this topical exploration of the city. No prior knowledge is required. Students must be willing to participate actively in class discussions and field trips to museums and other sites around the city. Attendance is crucial; no unexcused absences.
Minimum language proficiency of B2 in English is required. No German is required for this course. All readings, course materials, and discussions will be in English.
For successful completion of the course, students must (1) thoroughly read and view the assigned materials in preparation for class; (2) attend the course and participate actively in class discussions and field trips; (3) write three two-page essays; (4) take a final exam in form of a take-home essay; and (5) expand their exploration of Berlin’s memory culture with a research presentation on a topic of choice.
A reader provided at orientation will contain excerpts from various additional texts. Films will be made available for viewing.
This course explores European art and architecture from the 14th 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.
This course provides an overview of the history of German literature from the 18th to the 21st century. Starting from the knowledge that the psychological sensitivities of an age are reflected in literature, and supported by reading and discussing representative texts - e.g. from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Heinrich Heine, Franz Kafka, Bertolt Brecht or Bernhard Schlink - the focus of the seminar is based on the following questions: What desires, demands and utopias can be found in the literature? How influential are the developments of the history of thought, social upheavals and technological innovations on literary expression? What interplay exists between art, music and literature? Can fiction also be seen as inspiration for social changes? And: how do the respective authors corporate literary legacies into their own works?
A valid and living impression of literary development from the classical period to the present will not only be provided through texts, but also through film clips and field trips. For instance, we will visit the Deutsches Historisches Museum and obtain deeper insight into the art of the Romantic period with a tour through the Alte Nationalgalerie.
Aside from the language requirements, participants must not exhibit any special knowledge of German literature or history. The seminar is directed toward students of various majors who are interested in German literature and its historical connections from the classic period to the modern day.
Language skills: Intermediate German B2/advanced level C1
Brief description of the B2 language level:
Able to understand the core content of complex texts on concrete and abstract themes; understands technical discussions in their own field. Able to spontaneously and fluently comprehend that a normal conversation with native speakers is easily possible with no great strain on either party. Able to clearly and precisely express themselves on a broad spectrum of subjects, express a standpoint on a topical question and provide the advantages and disadvantages of various possibilities.
Reader (will be made available at the beginning of the program).
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, the two other Nazis in his cabinet, and supporters on the streets 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.
The course will introduce students to the basic principles of the European Union and describe the processes of widening and deepening of this unique political entity. At the beginning, we will review the genesis of the world’s only supranational organization that led to cooperation between member states and a peaceful development on the continent unseen in previous centuries. As the European Union is defined and perceived largely through the prism of its institutions, we will examine their role in pushing the integration process forward. Since EU policies are the frame of its institutions, we will discuss in more detail the historical development and current state of EU policies in the fields of foreign and security affairs, immigration, climate and energy, and economy. The latter will put particular focus on the Euro regularities.
We will engage in discussions about foreign policy cases like Turkey and Syria, but also relate to the new US administration in terms of the traditional transatlantic partnership. Another policy scheme is the impact of previous (and future?) mass migration into Europe.
Furthermore, we address Europe’s response strategy to tackle the bank and state crisis in face of its threat to the social standards in Europe (e.g. Greece). We will also discuss possible findings from the aftermath of the so-called EURO and state crisis.
Moreover, we will review the European climate and energy policy and study consequences of the climate agreement from Paris for the EU member states particularly after the US withdrawal. We will also deal with the question of Europe’s energy sovereignty in contrast to market demands.
Having determined the factors contributing to the deepening of the EU through its institutions, we will discuss the criteria that have influence over the willingness of different countries to join (Ukraine, Georgia, possibly Turkey – at least in the past) but also to leave (e.g. BREXIT) the EU. Finally, we will review the EU enlargement process and assume prospects for its future development. What are challenges now and in the future? Is the EU still a role model? If yes, why? If not, why is it not anymore?
Students from different countries 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 the course success and plays an important role in grading.
The course is designed for students with different academic backgrounds and a general interest in Europe. There are no special prerequisites for the course.
A course reader will be provided.
Today we live and work in a globalized world. Organizations choose their human resources from a diverse and deep international talent pool. It is well established that diversity of perspective can shed new light on old and taken for granted products, processes and services. Since there is so much to be gained from a global talent pool, companies, and more specifically managers, must be equipped and confident enough to effectively coordinate international team members, maximizing productivity and minimizing frictions.
This presents managers with a challenge. Frictions arise because it is not always easy to manage people from different cultures, or systematize them for optimal productivity, since people’s actions and thinking are based on what things mean to them, and the meanings come from culture.
This course responds to this challenge. It introduces future (and possibly current) managers of multinational companies to innovative theories of intercultural processes and communication in relation to the needs of management. Course members will be encouraged to develop a basic level of intercultural competence leading to better management of diverse teams.
To do this we will work on understanding what culture is and how it works. We will reflect on why differing cultural worldviews can cause offense by studying the relationship between culture and identity.
We will debate cultural universals and cultural incommensurabilities (seemingly unavoidable culture clashes)—and strategies for overcoming them, or at least minimizing them. We will explore best practices for managing and facilitating productivity in intercultural workspaces. We will be attentive to the danger of killing creativity with too much tolerance, and thus to the need to generate constructive frictions (rather than destructive ones). Our ultimate goal is to design our own actionable best practices for producing synergy from difference and avoiding entropy.
In order to meet these goals, we will first study conflict and disagreement as logical and affective phenomena. We are going to discuss the factors trust, culture, language, power and authority, which have to be understood if we want to manage disagreement. Afterwards, we focus on elaborating best practices for managing intercultural teams. To this end, we read and discuss theoretical essays on culture and intercultural processes and communication from management literature, watch and discuss films dramatizing intercultural frictions in different contexts, and participate in (and later reflect on) field trips to Berlin businesses to learn about their experiences with a multinational workforce.
This course is for students interested in business and organization management in the context of globalization, particularly those who want to be able to operationalize teams that draw on human resources from different countries. The course is designed to be accessible and fruitful for both lower- and upper-division students.
Students should be competent in reading, writing, listening and expressing themselves orally in academic English.
Punctual attendance at all sessions; active participation (verbal and written) in all sessions; abstention from electronic device use in class; small team work; one team presentation on cultural constraints (15 mins); one team presentation on best practices (15 mins); one final paper.
A course reader will be provided at the first course meeting.