A-Track Subject Courses

Instructor: Dr. Gernot Weckherlin
Language of instruction:
English
Course type:
Subject course, A-Track
Contact hours:
48 (6 per day)
Course days
: Monday & Thursday
ECTS credits
: 4
Course fee:
€ 1,100
Can be combined with all B-Track courses
  • Syllabus (printable PDF incl. day-to-day schedule)

Course Description

This course gives a wide overview of the development of public and private architecture in Berlin during the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. Following an introduction to the urban development and architectural history of the Modern era, the Neo-Classical period will be surveyed with special reference to the works of Schinkel. This will be followed by classes on architecture of the German Reich after 1871, which was characterized by both modern and conservative tendencies and the manifold activities during the time of the Weimar Republic in the 1920s such as the Housing Revolution. The architecture of the Nazi period will be examined, followed by the developments in East and West Berlin after the Second World War. The course concludes with a detailed review of the city’s more recent and current architectural profiles, including an analysis of the conflicts concerning the re-design of Berlin after the Cold War and the German reunification.

Seven walking tours to historically significant buildings and sites are included (Unter den Linden, Gendarmenmarkt, New Housing Estates, Chancellory, Potsdamer Platz, Holocaust Memorial etc.). The course aims to offer a deeper understanding of the interdependence of Berlin’s architecture and the city’s social and political structures. It considers Berlin as a model for the highways and by-ways of a European capital in modern times.

Student Profile

The course addresses students of any subject, especially History of Art, Architecture and related subjects, such as History, Design or Fine Arts. An elementary knowledge of architecture and architectural history is welcome but not necessary. More advanced students or those interested in a particular field can - on request - be given special assistance and further material for self-study.

Prerequisites

None

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 and active participation, Midterm exam, Final exam

Grading

  • 30% Attendance and participation
  • 30% Midterm exam
  • 40% Final exam

Reading

A course reader will be provided.

Recommended Course Combinations (Selection)

Instructor: Dr. Marcus Funck
Language of instruction:
English
Course type:
Subject course, A-Track
Contact hours:
48 (6 per day)
Course days
: Monday & Thursday
ECTS credits
: 4
Course fee:
€ 1,100
Can be combined with all B-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, 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 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

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 (2-4 pages), and the final examination. Guidelines for the papers as well as suggested topics will be provided during the first session.

Grading

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

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: Prof. Helen E. Hartnell, J.D.
Language of instruction:
English
Course type:
Subject course, A-Track
Contact hours:
48 (6 per day)
Course days
: Monday & Thursday
ECTS credits
: 4
Course fee:
€ 1,100
Can be combined with all B-Track courses
  • 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 that such legacies pose for democracy, the rule of law, and the economy in post-totalitarian societies. In this context, we examine the need for ‘transitional justice’, the relationship between law and the market, and the challenges posed by freedom of speech.

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, 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 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.

Prerequisites

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

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

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

The grade for this course will be based on:

  • 40 % Class attendance and participation     
  • 25 % Written protocol       
  • 35 % Final exam 

Reading

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

Recommended Course Combinations (Selection)

Instructor: Dr. Lauren van Vuuren
Language of instruction:
English
Course type:
Subject course, A-Track
Contact hours:
48 (6 per day)
Course days
: Monday & Thursday
ECTS credits
: 4
Course fee:
€ 1,100
Can be combined with all B-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

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

‘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

A course reader will be provided at the orientation meeting.

Recommended Course Combinations (Selection)

Instructor: Dr. Andrzej Ancygier
Language of instruction:
English
Course type:
Subject course, A-Track
Contact hours:
48 (6 per day)
Course days
: Monday & Thursday
ECTS credits
: 4
Course fee:
€ 1,100
Can be combined with all B-Track courses
  • Syllabus (printable PDF incl. day-to-day schedule)

Course Description

The course introduces students to the politics, governance and ethics of sustainability. The key challenges of our time are global by nature. However, the current system of global governance based on sovereign states (often in competition with each other) is ill equipped to face global challenges such as poverty, climate change, environmental degradation and availability of resources. While states struggle to provide a sustainable future for their citizens, they are increasingly forced into a logic of sustainability for all people and responsibility for the global commons. This new logic is based on the concept of interconnectedness and the impact of our actions on the generations to come.

The course examines major current global challenges divided into economic, political and environmental issues. Climate change is only one of many environmental issues facing our planet, but due to its importance and overwhelming impact, it will be given the main focus of this course. We will not only look at the science behind and consequences of global warming, but will also study the two pillars of the global climate governance: the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) and the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change). The analysis of the UNFCCC process will further lead us to review the Paris Agreement from 2015. We will discuss how effective it can be in dealing with one of the biggest threats of the 21st century and whether it can still achieve its goal of limiting global warming to “well below 2°C/1.5°C”.

A special session will be devoted to technological, political, social and economic solutions to environmental issues. Do we – as purported by some – need to replace capitalism and stop economic growth in order to prevent further environmental destruction? Or is there a way to move towards a “green growth”, and utilize the benefits of the free market to increase environmental protection? This will lead us to the question of what the future will look like. Will we continue to cross planetary boundaries and endanger the capability of different ecosystems? Or will the 21st century witness a major shift away from fossil fuels and environmental destruction to a more sustainable economy?

The discussions in the class will be complemented by at least two field trips and possibly a visit of a guest speaker.  

Student Profile

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

Prerequisites

None

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

1.) Attendance and class participation

2.) Test

3.) Presentation

Grading

  • 40% Attendance and class participation
  • 30% Test
  • 30% Presentation

Reading

A course reader will be provided.

Recommended Course Combinations (Selection)

Instructor: Dr. Burcin Col
Language of instruction:
English
Course type:
Subject course, A-Track
Contact hours:
48 (6 per day)
Course days
: Monday & Thursday
ECTS credits
: 4
Course fee:
€ 1,100
Can be combined with all B-Track courses
  • Syllabus (printable PDF incl. day-to-day schedule)

Course Description

This course is designed to introduce students to the global financial environment with a special focus on Europe and Eurozone issues. The course aims to provide the analytical tools needed to understand international financial markets as well as the institutional and economic forces affecting them. To this goal, we will cover a number of topics related to the international environment that deal with financial institutions and economic concepts such as exchange rates, their determination and the relationship with interest rates and inflation rates. We will relate the fundamental topics to current debates on Eurozone crisis, the potential economic impact of Brexit and the future of crypto currencies.

The class will include lectures, small group studies, case-study analysis, group presentations and field trips. Course readings from the financial press (i.e. Financial Times, The Economist) will be timely provided. The nature of the class will be interactive as students are expected to read the material prior to class and to contribute to the class discussions or engage in formal debates. The field trips to various European economic research institutes and policy centers, foreign exchange departments of leading financial institutions and Fintech startups in Berlin will help complement and enrich the classroom material.

Student Profile

Students interested in macroeconomic policies and factors that impact international financial markets and firms operating in a global environment. A prior knowledge in economics or finance would serve as an advantage but is not required.

Prerequisites

None

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

This course will employ a mixture of in-class assignments and quizzes, class discussions, a group project presentation, a midterm and a final exam.

Grading

  • 20 % Classroom Participation             
  • 20% Group Project Presentation                          
  • 10% Assignments and Quizzes                                
  • 25% Midterm Exam                                             
  • 25% Final Exam                                                   

Reading

A course reader will be provided.

In addition, the instructor will assign articles from the financial and economic press. They will be discussed in class and student discussions will be graded. Based on the articles, at times, students will form arguments and engage in formal debates on current issues.

Recommended Course Combinations (Selection)