B-Track Subject Courses

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

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 analyze the 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 examine the workers’ uprising of 1953 that provoked a Soviet military response. The following sessions will deal with the emigration 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 at the 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 organizations such 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.

Student Profile

Everyone is welcome to this course. It is ideal for students who have background in modern international relations history and supplements courses on the world wars or global politics/history. However, the course is designed for those without such training who have an interest in international relations. Students planning careers in diplomacy, journalism, or academia will find this course especially beneficial.

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 uses a lecture format with seminars, as well as field trips around Berlin. There is much to cover in a short period of time. Regular attendance will be essential to keep up with the volume of material and pace of the course. As participatory seminars make up a sizeable portion of the overall grade you will be expected to have completed all the readings, integrate them with lectures, and come ready to discuss the topics.

Grading

  • 30% Active participation
  • 20% One short essay
  • 50% Final exam

Reading

Scholarly readings are an essential component of any course and this will be no different. A course reader will be made available. All the seminars will involve chapters from a book by a renowned academic in the field. They will also entail the reading of primary documents on various events in the Cold War put together in an edited text. This will provide students an opportunity to be “closer” to some of the dramatic events covered in the course and be exposed to the true craft of historians.

Recommended Course Combinations (Selection)

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

Course Description

Europe encompasses the world’s largest and most complicated market. Recent events, particularly those following the ongoing economic crisis on the continent, raise profound questions about the future of Europe. This course will focus on present and future business issues facing the entire continent. Under this focus, we will examine the following questions: Should a “European” management style be developed instead of the national practices that frequently characterize companies originating in different European nations? How and under what circumstances should the European Union expand to Turkey, Ukraine and other countries in the East? What has been the impact of the Treaty of Lisbon, in effect since 2009, on European economic, political and social issues? In order to provide essential background and context for these issues, we will also review key events in modern European History.

In class, we will utilize a variety of approaches, including small-group study, lectures, and case-study analysis, to develop a comprehensive understanding of European business.On excursions to different districts of Berlin, we will study how European and German history have influenced the economic development of this magnificent international capital and we will investigate the impact Berlin has in turn had on European business management. Our visit to the DDR Museum will allow us to examine life in the former East Germany. At the Museum of Communication, we will analyse how European technology has affected the international telecommunications industry. Our trip to the European School of Management and Technology (ESMT) will put us at the heart of European business as it has evolved in the post-German-unification period. Finally, a field trip to visit a local entrepreneur in the heart of the city will allow us to see the emerging role of entrepreneurship in shaping the business landscape of the continent.

Student Profile

Students interested in how companies manage their businesses as the dynamic European economy continues its transformation from national- to European-level markets and spheres of interaction. The course also examines macro-level social, historical, and economic factors and their contribution to the contemporary European business environment.  

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

Complete reading assignments and discuss in class. Prepare a group presentation, and take two exams.

Grading

  • 20% Classroom Participation
  • 20% Group Presentation
  • 30% Mid-Term Exam
  • 30% Final Exam

Reading

A course reader will be provided.

Recommended Course Combinations (Selection)

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

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.

Internal politics and policies, for example the decision-making process, the balance of power, identity and democratic questions in this new system of governance will be discussed. Likewise in the realm of external affairs, the Common Foreign and Security Policy, relations with neighbors and with developing countries will be our concern. Particularly important aspects include the discussion on future expansion as well as the consequences of the financial crisis and the Lisbon Treaty. If students express specific interests in other topics or case studies sessions can be adjusted.

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.

Student Profile

Students from different countries, academic levels and backgrounds, who are generally interested in European integration will benefit from each other in an intercultural and interdisciplinary learning process.

Former classes consisted of regular students and practitioners such as civil servants, communication experts, young politicians and even members of parliaments.

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.

Prerequisites

The course is designed for students with different academic backgrounds and a general interest in Europe. There are no specific prerequisites for this course.

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; Active participation in the seminar's discussions and discussions with experts; Oral and written presentation of a certain subject.

Grading

  • 40% Participation
  • 30% Oral presentations
  • 30% Final paper

Reading

A course reader will be provided.

Recommended Course Combinations (Selection)

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

Course Description

Regarding transnational migration, the EU 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.

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 to be controlled and governed from a top-down perspective alone. 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.

Departing from diverse theories of migration, 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.

Scaling down, we will engage with the local authorities’ perspective in Berlin. Diving deeper down we will start to change perspective: How do local activists develop and implement their own ways of welcoming migrants? Where do migrants work and how are they represented in trade unions? In an encounter with refugees in Berlin, 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. Finally, focusing on the history of migrant struggles in Berlin, 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 solidarity.

Student Profile

This course is designed for all students having a personal, professional or political 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 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: Salome Minesashvili
Language of instruction:
English
Course type:
Subject course, B-Track
Contact hours:
48 (6 per day)
Course days
: Tuesday & Friday
ECTS credits
: 4
Course fee:
€ 1,100
Can be combined with all A-Track courses
  • Syllabus (printable PDF incl. day-to-day schedule)

Course Description

This course is designed for students interested in understanding global issues and actors in a time of fast-moving political and social change. Students will learn the evolution of today’s international system as well as key issues and actors in contemporary politics. To learn how to assess these developments critically, the course will introduce the students to the main theories of International Relations (IR).

The field of IR studies the functioning of the international system and deals with the nature of the changing relations between states and with non-state actors. This course starts with discussing the classical theories of IR from Realism to contemporary attempts of theoretical bridge-building. Next, the course will deal with current political debates against the backdrop of the changing international system. Among others, topics to discuss include the role of the United Nations, the state of the world economy, and challenges to globalization. The course continues with examining the role of emerging powers such as China and Russia as well as non-state actors and key issues in contemporary IR such as terrorism or the environment; the goal is to discuss IR theories in the current political context. Finally, the course concludes with a reflection on the prospects for international politics.

In this course, students will learn political concepts and theories through lectures. To compare international political phenomena, each student has to introduce a current issue or actor in a short oral presentation. The students are expected to discuss theoretical questions about the political world in working groups making use of the current news on international politics. In addition, students will learn and practice how to voice their opinion and persuade their audience in an academic essay. Finally, the students will gain insight into daily international politics and IR research through field trips and meetings with IR scholars and international policy experts.

Student Profile

The course is designed for students with different academic backgrounds and a general interest in international politics.

Prerequisites

There are no specific prerequisites for this course.

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

All students are expected to attend and participate actively in class discussions of all readings and daily news. This means students should be prepared to a) summarize, evaluate and assess critically the significance of the readings, and b) provide information and discuss current topics of international politics.

Each student has to sign up for a short oral presentation. Presentation topics will be distributed at the first day of class.

In a final exam, students have to write a short essay in which they discuss a current issue of international politics applying a theory of IR. We will practice how to write an essay in class.

Grading

  • 40% Participation
  • 30% Oral Presentation
  • 30% Final Exam (essay)

Reading

A course reader will be provided.

Recommended Course Combinations (Selection)

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

Course Description

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 Ferdinand von Schirach - 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.

Student Profile

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.

Prerequisites

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.

Course Requirements

See Grading.

Grading

  • 30% Regular and active participation. Due to the seminar format, regular participation in the discussions is expected.
  • 25% Two brief essays (approx. 500 words = approx. 2 pages) on the various core themes of the subject.
  • 20% an oral presentation (approx. 15 minutes). The oral presentation should provide initial insight into the text in question, ask questions and formulate arguments, and stimulate discussion. The subjects will be assigned during the first week.
  • 25% a seminar paper of 6 pages.

Reading

Reader (will be made available at the beginning of the program).

Recommended Course Combinations (Selection)

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

Course Description

Urban studies and its discourse on the city draw in scholarship from fields as diverse as human geography, history, anthropology and the arts. Berlin, with its seemingly infinite possibilities for memory, imagination and creative self-fashioning, offers a rich analytical model. It is a city, which is as much a fixed place with a distinct topography as it is an imaginary that glides between remembering and forgetting. A measured understanding of the interplay of place, space and memory in Berlin’s cityscape is key for students who are eager to learn about the city’s many pasts and presents. FUBiS invites you to join us as we analyze and explore Berlin.

This seminar brings to the fore connections between Berlin's distinct topography, its radical histories, and its current trajectories as a political and cultural space. That cities are a complex assemblage – at best multiple constellations existing simultaneously – is enabled through perspectives on migration, queerness and religion for instance. In-class analysis and discussion of academic and literary texts about Berlin will prepare participants for course excursions. Our temporal-topographical inquiry will take us to a diverse set of historical sites, cultural places and neighborhoods in the city (such as the Berlin Wall Memorial, Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, Schwules Museum, Sonnenallee).

We will conduct on-site discussions of these places/spaces in historical, spatial, social, and literary terms and record the urban with methodical observations, mapping and sound walks. Upon completing the course, students will have compiled a portfolio of short essays reflecting their critical reception of Berlin’s places/spaces as well as their gendered and embodied engagements, observations and memories of the city. The course not only enables an appreciation of how places/spaces are living archives of Berlin’s past and present, it also invites participants to create their own personal record of Berlin.

Learning Objectives:

After attending this seminar, students will

  • understand the topographical, social, and symbolic organization of place/space in an urban setting, Berlin in particular;
  • gain insight into the character of cities as multiple, contested and always-in-the making constellations
  • be able to reflect how access to the city is always subjective and contingent because it is primarily gendered, embodied, classed and racialized.
  • be familiar with how the city’s history continues to shape contemporary Berlin and its social imaginaries.

Student profile

Ideal for students of humanities and the arts, cultural, political, and social sciences.

Prerequisites

There are no prerequisites for this course.

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

  • Active Participation
  • Seminar Times and Fieldwork
  • Presentation
  • Course Blod

Grading

  • 35% Active Participation
  • 30% Presentation
  • 35% Course Blod

Reading

A reader will be provided at the orientation meeting.

Recommended Course Combinations (Selection)

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

Course Description

In many ways, Berlin is a center for contemporary electronic music. This is primarily due to the strong connection between technological and aesthetic developments. Nightclubs, such as the Berghain, have a worldwide reputation for their sound systems, which allow a specific acoustic experience and encourage nightlong dancing and partying. Berlin-based companies such as Ableton and Native Instruments are global leaders in their music software, especially in the context of techno, electronica and electronic dance music. Many DJs and musicians´ market themselves or their tracks via blogs and streaming services. Particularly in the context of sound art, there are fairly strong parallels with media art.

Due to the key 'digital' aspects of such phenomena, we often speak of a 'Digital Age' in which Berlin plays a particular role in the field of music. However, the 'analog' phenomena are constantly growing, so that there is some debate over the beginning of a 'post-digital age'. This corresponds with an increasing focus both on the virtual and haptic dimension. Among other things, software companies have made strong efforts over the past years to develop their own hardware controllers for their computer programs in order to be able to better design musical processes manually.

Based on such phenomena, the course will explore the relationship between aesthetic trends and technological developments with the focus on the cultural and economic conditions in Berlin. Particular emphasis will be made on the past and present of techno, (experimental) electronica and electronic dance music. What makes Berlin a magnet not only for thrill-seeking club-goers, but also for DJs, musicians, producers and developers? How does this relate to the recent past of Berlin since the fall of the Berlin Wall, especially given the gentrification processes? To what extent is Berlin's creative scene at the same time internationally networked and can its conditions only be understood in a global context?

Beyond the Berlin perspective, the course examines the current conditions of production and consumption as well as the performance and distribution of music. How do legal/illegal file sharing and streaming services affect listening to music? What is changing in music culture through sampling, remixing, mashup and approaches to interactive music in video games? What opposing trends are out there?

In addition to the joint discussion of texts and film excerpts, excursions also provide an opportunity for an exchange with proven experts in the course subject areas.    

At the end of the course, the participants can elaborate on and present a topic (either alone or in a group) of their choice in the context of the general list of topics on the course.

Student profile

This course is intended for students of any disciplines. No prior music and technology background is required. The course aims to provide an insight into the relationship between aesthetic, social and technical developments regarding the topic 'Berlin and the Digital Music Age'. It also examines the conditions of the current production methods of electronic music, but does not teach the specific programming or composing of music.

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

  • Active Participation
  • Course schedule and excursions
  • Presentation with handouts
  • Course Presentation

Grading

  • Active participation: 40%
  • Presentation or a text (lecture with handout): 25%
  • Presentation of a chosen topic with a written summary at the end of the course: 35%

Reading

The list of references will be made available in a reader at the introductory lecture.

Recommended Course Combinations (Selection)

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

Course Description

Philosophy has constituted a central element in the emergence of modern German culture. In the late 18th century, German philosophy participated in the broader European Enlightenment culture, which was in turn connected to the development of modern empirical science. Under the impression of the historical changes brought about by the French Revolution and by the ‘Industrial Revolution’ in Great Britain, a special constellation of German philosophy emerged at the end of the 18th century, which has deeply left its mark on subsequent philosophical thinking far beyond Germany.

This philosophy course addresses the historical reality of this ‘German moment of philosophy’ in two subsequent phases: In the first part, we follow the emergence and full deployment of German philosophy from its Kantian beginnings to Hegel’s grand but fragile synthesis, trying to understand its richness as well as its fragility. In a second part, we discuss the later renewal of German philosophy in the late 19th century and its historical tragedy in the 20th century. This will include a discussion of the new beginnings of philosophy since the mid-19th century, from Marx, and Nietzsche, via Frege to Husserl and Wittgenstein, who have been reacting to the scientific and political revolutions of the late 19th and early 20th century. Martin Heidegger as an established pro-Nazi philosopher and Max Horkheimer as the leading philosopher of the “Frankfurt School” driven into exile are studied as philosophers immersed into the Night of the 20th century.

Finally, post-World War II developments in philosophy (as exemplified by Jürgen Habermas) will be looked at as pathways out of the self-destructive turn the ‘German moment of philosophy’ in Germany had taken in the first decades of the 20th century, and as passages into an emerging world philosophy.

The course will be based upon contemporary attempts at rethinking a global philosophical perspective. The focus is on the tension between the Enlightenment heritage of a universalizing human philosophy and a national culture project, as well as on the tension between classicist rationalism and romantic emotionalism in its construction as a series of philosophical projects. From the perspective of a German version of the dialectics of the Enlightenment, the German philosophers of the 19th and 20th centuries will be studied in context - combining the reading of key texts with a reconstruction of their historical contexts and their interaction.

Student Profile

This course is open for students from all disciplines having a deep interest in Philosophy. Prior exposure to the field of philosophy will be helpful.

Prerequisites

Students should be able to speak and read English at the upper intermediate level (B2), preferably even higher. Prior experience with reading philosophical texts will be helpful.

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

Active Participation, Course Presentation, Midterm exam, Essay Paper

Grading

  • 20% Active Participation  
  • 25% Course Presentation
  • 25% Midterm Exam 
  • 30% Essay Paper

Reading

A course reader will be provided at the orientation meeting.

Recommended Course Combinations (Selection)

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

Course Description

This course is meant to show Berlin as both, a setting of popular culture practices and phenomena as well as a protagonist and source of inspiration thereof. We will consider the many facets and dimensions of popular culture, including its history and various modes of ideology within. We will then see how these are intertwined with the cultural history of the city and its urban, social and political developments.

The course will cover a whole range of pop culture representations related to the city in different ways: film, television, comic books, fiction, music, paintings, street art etc. and will discuss their significance within the historical frame of reference as well as their international impact. We will also look at how these popular culture representations on one hand reflect the city and on the other contribute to the way Berlin is being imagined, perceived and remembered.

Studying the history of popular culture, students will be able to see various cultural disciplines and practices as interlinked and as having a mutual influence on one another. Providing theoretical as well as practical approaches, the course aims at developing critical thinking and embracing popular culture representations in the context of a given time period and political setting. It shows artistic and cultural practices as related to one another in time and space and therefore also allows for a comparative and interdisciplinary perspective.    

Student Profile

This course is open to all students interested in the critical study of popular culture with a special focus on Berlin. No previous experience with (pop) cultural studies is necessary.

Prerequisites

Students have to be fluent in English at an at least advanced intermediate level.

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

  • Consistent preparation, regular attendance, and active participation in all course activities including field trips: the more you contribute, the better the class is going to be.
  • An in-class presentation of appx. 10-15 minutes including questions to guide the session’s reading.
  • Final paper on a topic related to the course.

Grading

  • 30% Participation
  • 30% Oral presentations
  • 40% Final Paper

Reading

A course reader will be provided at the first course meeting.

Recommended Course Combinations (Selection)

Instructor: Steffen Krämer
Language of instruction:
English
Course type:
Subject course, B-Track
Contact hours:
48 (6 per day)
Course days
: Tuesday & 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 notions of ‘media’, ‘medium’, ‘mediation’, ‘medialization’ or ‘mediatization’ have occupied authors in the humanities for decades and have led to the emergence of new university programs as much as they initiated debates about the boundaries of already existing disciplines. Whereas some celebrated the plurality of models and concepts in the new program of media studies, others called for more distinction or mapped the different positions within the field. For example, differences were found between German media theory and Anglo-American medium theory, and some authors would even refer of a ‘Berlin brand of media theory’.

In this course, we will collectively scrutinize this labelling and widen the frame by discussing different historical and contemporary examples of research about media and communication in Berlin and Germany. We will focus on the period from the 1920s onwards and increasingly move towards the present. As we go along, we will build bridges between historical positions and contemporary ones, providing a sense for continuities and discontinuities in media theoretical positions and formats of media critique. Through the collective experience and critical discussion of texts, films and field trips, students will gain a wide understanding of the problems and objects of media-theoretical inquiry and of its historical and geographical context.

The overarching questions this course seeks to answer are: "What are common themes and issues in media theory and media critique?", "How did they develop in or refer to the particular context of Berlin?"

Altogether, this course has four intents: It serves as an introduction to problems in media studies for newcomers; it particularly focuses on media studies in Germany and Berlin for those already more familiar with questions in the field; it enquires about Berlin as both production site and object of media research; and it seeks to attenuate the labelling of a Berlin brand of media studies.

Student profile

This course is suitable for everyone who is interested in cultural, social, and philosophical theories about media and communication. For those who already have a background in media studies or related disciplines, the course might provide additional information about the German and Berlin context of the discipline. For all others, the course might serve as a general albeit selective introduction into repeating themes of media studies. The course is interdisciplinary in nature and particularly suited for undergraduate students from the fields of cultural studies, communication studies, comparative literature, and art history.

Prerequisites

A general openness towards the engagement with conceptual abstractions and artistic practices is expected, but no prior knowledge is required.

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

You are required to attend and actively participate during the sessions, to introduce into one of the readings and organize its discussion, and to write an essay at the end of the course.

Grading

  • Attendance and participation: 20%
  • Text presentation and moderation: 40%
  • Final course paper: 40%

Reading

A course reader will be provided at the orientation meeting.

Recommended Course Combinations (Selection)

Instructor: Dr. Stefano de Bosio
Language of instruction:
English
Course type:
Subject course, B-Track
Contact hours:
48 (6 per day)
Course days
: Tuesday & Friday
ECTS credits
: 4
Course fee:
€ 1,100
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 the travels of artists between urban centers like Florence, Rome, Venice, Antwerp, Amsterdam, Paris, London, and Berlin. The aim is to analyze how mobility contributed through the centuries to shape local identities as well as European visual cultural traditions and styles 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 impact of Flemish art in 15th century Italy, to the stays of artists like Raphael and Michelangelo in the early 16th-century papal Rome; from the rise of genre painting in the Flanders and the Dutch Republic during the Age of Explorations, to the ‘painters of modern life’ in 19th-century Paris, and the European network of the Avant-gardes in the 1910s-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 and the special role played by travels in giving shape to a European cultural space. 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)