Study Abroad in Berlin, Germany

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Courses - January Term 2023

Choose one of the courses below. Suggested credit hours are in parentheses. Credits for each course are equal to U.S. credits based on one credit for a minimum of 15 classroom hours plus home study. Classes are taught Monday through Friday for a total of 45 hours. Courses have 4 ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) credits. All courses are taught in English except for “Berlin in the Winter” language course. The German language course is available at 2 levels: Elementary and Intermediate. Please note that courses are subject to change. A minimum enrollment is required for a course to run.

German 101/201 (3) | German Language - Berlin in the Winter

This course is specifically designed for those seeking instruction in the German language and is available at Elementary and Intermediate levels. The course can be combined with an English subject course and is suitable for participants who really want to discover Berlin with extra weekly cultural and social activities offered.

An online placement exam before departure determines the appropriate language level for you. German language classes are taught for 45 contact hours for 3 credits and appear on a Humboldt-Universit t zu Berlin transcript. Each course is divided into grammar, conversation, vocabulary and culture and is taught in German. There is a maximum of 15 students in each class.

History/Political Science/Sociology 312 (3) | The Berlin Wall and Cold War Era

For almost 30 years, the Berlin Wall was a symbol of the division of the city of Berlin, of Germany and of Europe during the era of the Cold War between the two superpowers, the United States of America and the Soviet Union. Consequently, the fall of the Wall in 1989 was a hugely symbolic turning point in world history. But how can we explain the building of such a dividing monument? How can we account for its fall in 1989? And how does the Wall influence our lives today? The course will provide answers to such questions via readings of texts from political science, sociology and history, while also taking the opportunity to explore the ground on which the events between 1961 and 1989 took place.

History/Cultural Studies 314 (3) | Cultural Memory - Museums in Berlin

Museums are keepers of our cultural memory. Collecting, preserving and exhibiting are their main purpose. Museums focus on different subjects and face historical and cultural differences in various ways. What is worth collecting, or how are objects labeled and in what way are they displayed? These are essential questions museums pose today.

The course examines how different museums in Berlin answer these questions. Viewing historical and cultural heritage within the context of a collection brings up the issue of how objects are (re-)animated to tell a story within an exhibition. So, visits to collections and current exhibitions such as the Jewish Museum Berlin, the German Historical Museum or the Museum der Dinge are planned. How are exhibitions made? What tools do curators use? What does hands-on mean? How are objects animated, what stories do they tell and how do they respond to questions of gender or race?

History/Political Science/Sociology 316 (3) | Nazi Germany - Rise and Fall

In two world wars Germany tried to dominate the globe and all major decisions were made in the capital Berlin.

Why was Germany such an aggressive power until 1945? How did Hitler manage to gain and keep power? Why were many Germans Nazis and deeply racist? How was the life of ordinary people during the war? Why did the Nazis kill millions of Jews and other innocent people in concentration camps? What were the long-term effects of World War II? What happened to the Nazis after the war?

The course will provide answers to such questions via readings of texts from political science, sociology and history, while also taking the opportunity to explore the locations in which the events between 1933 and 1945 took place.

After a brief introduction to the historical and ideological backgrounds which led to the rise of the Nazi Regime, we will turn to a detailed analysis of the event history which led to World War II. Finally, we will discuss the effects of World War II, on world history, e.g. the Cold War, European Integration, etc.

Law 315 (3) | Introduction to International Economic Law

Multinational companies such as Google or Apple self-evidently act on a global stage, but today even small businesses participate in international trade. The integration of national companies and the elimination of barriers of trade no longer restricts development to a solely national level. With the growing importance of international commerce, the need for an ‘International Economic Law’ arises. Common principles of Economic Law will be examined by analyzing leading decisions by international courts. A substantial part of the course will be dedicated to classroom discussion of real-life cases. Students will gain a theoretical and practical understanding of the core branches of International Economic Law, the underpinning institutional frameworks and dispute settlement mechanisms.

Only open to undergraduate law or economics students and/or students with a strong interest in the topic.

Students interested in this class will need to write a one-page motivational letter describing their interest and background in the subject matter as well as listing previous courses taken either in the field of law, religious or cultural studies, social sciences, European studies to show their experience in the matter.

Political Science/Sociology/Education 324 (3) | Global Governance: Power, Structure and Agency

An overview of how global governance works in a world of networks, diluted power, fragmented organizational structures, renewed great power competition, and exceeded planetary boundaries. Some hope Germany will take on the mantle of “leader of the free world”. While it is true that Germany has entered a phase of “new responsibility” in its foreign policy and remains strongly committed to the liberal order and global sustainability, it is becoming more and more difficult to project its influence into the global order.

The course will take this German perspective as a starting point to try to understand the state of global governance more broadly.

Finally, the course will revolve around the question of how to make the global liberal institutionalist order (and ultimately, our planet) more resilient in the face of new authoritarian challenges – after all, this is what Germany and other countries like it are striving to do.

Religious Studies/Cultural Studies/Jewish Studies 308 (3) | Interreligious and Intercultural Tensions in Germany

Follows the complex trajectories linking interreligious and intercultural narratives in Germany today. How does the culture of memory in Germany, with its Christian frame and Jewish focus converge and diverge with more recent narratives of migration that have made Islam a visible presence in Germany? Students will interrogate this topic through dedicated lectures, workshops, and site visits to museums and other venues.

Religious Studies/Ethics/Law/International Studies 317 (3) | Human Rights Violations in Germany: Gender, Colonial Crimes and Transnational Corporations

This interdisciplinary course will give an insight into Critical Human Rights Discourse and Litigation in Germany. Using concrete human rights cases students will learn about the different bodies and instruments of human rights protection in Germany. With the understanding that strategic human rights litigation is only one of the many tools used to forward social change and justice, we talk about how these legal strategies and instruments can and should be intertwined with grassroots political awareness campaigns, the creation of associations to strengthen visibility, investments in public relations and advocacy for change and justice within social movements.

Texts of critical legal theory will be read, discussed and applied to the German context. These are interactive courses that have participants practicing the shifts of perspective proposed by the authors of the texts as acts of resistance to the premises of objectivity, neutrality, reasonableness and universality of contemporary hegemonic law. The courses will be team taught and aim to create a platform for dialogue on equal terms.

Students will be able to communicate directly with Berlin NGO’s activists and state agencies in the field of human rights and anti-discrimination.

Students interested in this class will need to write a one-page motivational letter describing their interest and background in the subject matter as well as listing previous courses taken either in the field of law, religious or cultural studies, social sciences, European studies to show their experience in the matter.

Sociology/Urban Planning/Geography 311 (3) | European City and Regional Development Planning - the Case of Berlin

Focuses on the different challenges European regions are facing, e.g., integration and migration, social exclusion, demographic change, creative milieus, economic decline, shrinking cities and ecological renewal.

How is an aging society affecting our rural and urban areas?

How are migrants integrated in European cities?

Does Berlin have a creative class, and if so, how does it affect the city?

These are only some of the questions that will be discussed in the course. The city of Berlin is a hotspot for various regional developments. As a result, several of these aspects will be explored and explained during short excursions and day trips in Berlin (e.g., ethnic businesses and the migration situation in Neuk lln, the newly developing zone Tempelhofer Feld).

Students of all relevant disciplines who are interested in different aspects of European regional development, including city and regional planning, geography, politics, social sciences and economics, are most welcome to join this course.

Sociology/Political Science/History 328 (3) | Surveillance Technologies and Cultural Transformations since 9/11

How have surveillance technologies transformed culture and identity in post- 9/11 worlds? As Jonathan Finn has stated, through digitalisation as well as public space cameras, surveillance has become a “way of seeing, a way of being” (2012). Social media users contribute by sharing their personal information in the online public domain – today’s “Funopticon” (Lewis 2017) is all about self-exposure. This course will examine the impact of surveillance technology on society by looking at the multifaceted ways technologies and societies interact. We will explore how surveillance is represented in contemporary art, literature, film and popular culture. The omnipresence of surveillance jeopardizes the hard-fought enlightened right to privacy, individuality and freedom. The course will map out important themes revolving around surveillance and its repercussions (e.g. visibility, identity, privacy and control as essential elements of today’s culture of surveillance). The course provides an overview of the interdisciplinary field of surveillance and covers the latest research in the following major areas: 1. Relationship between surveillance, power and social control; 2. The concept of privacy; 3. Surveillance in the arts and popular culture. The first unit of the course offers an introduction into the history and theory of surveillance and surveillance technology (e.g. close-circuit television (CCTV) in public and quasi-public spaces, biometrics, data mining, monitoring technologies in cyberspaces, workplaces and private spaces). The second unit investigates films, novels, art and popular culture (e.g. Reality Television and Social Networking Sites) that prominently address the subject. Readings will be drawn from the social sciences, contemporary fiction and popular media. Several films will be shown to facilitate critical inquiry.

Download PDF with full program details on all AIFS Germany programs! Offerings!

Download PDF with full program details on all AIFS Germany programs!

Download PDF with full program details on all AIFS Germany, Berlin programs!