Study Abroad in Berlin, Germany

Courses - January Term 2019

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." The German language course is available at 2 levels: Elementary and Intermediate. Please note that courses are subject to change.

History/Politics/Social Science 312 (3 credits) | 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 credits) | 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, 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 credits) | 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 credits) | 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.

Politics/Social Science 309 (3 credits) | Germany and the New World Order

This course will try to understand the position a reunified Germany has sought to define for itself in the New World Order that has arisen since the end of the Cold War. Today, a quarter-century after reunification, the contours of a new German foreign policy are becoming visible, which we might dub "middle power politics." New German self-images and ambitions, a changed geopolitical environment, new global tasks and platforms, stronger interdependence with the rest of the world and a growing set of foreign policy instruments amid stagnating resources, all define the character and the reach of German foreign policy today. This course aims to give students a thorough understanding of German foreign policy since reunification, its bases, ideas, instruments and potentials. It will reflect upon present trends in international relations and global governance and ponder how Germany (or any other Western power) can hope to wield power effectively in this New World Order. This is interdisciplinary and will approach the concept of "middle power politics" from different perspectives, including those of the political sciences, law and regional studies, as well as from those of international relations and German history.

Religion/Culture 308 (3 credits) | Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue in Germany

This course aims to examine convergences, divergences and parallel tracks, interrogating tensions evident between Jewish narrative within the culture of memory in Germany (Erinnerungskultur) and endeavors to represent migration today.

The focus will be on museum- and exhibit-oriented institutions, with three to four field trips to relevant sites in Berlin. The trips will be preceded in class by an overview of a theoretical framework on the issues of the construction of "Self" and "Other" and followed by discussions of the field sites in a workshop atmosphere.

Religion/Ethics/Law 317 (3 credits) | Human Rights in Germany: Gender, Racism and Social Justice

Can human rights be universal? What exclusions and injustices are inherent in law that treats everyone “equal” in unequal societies? How is it that some human rights have been finally recognized, whereas others are continuously dismissed? Which actors are involved and why? What role do power and knowledge play? Who ‘wrote’ ‘the’ history of human rights? Who was excluded from this process? Departing from an interdisciplinary perspective the coursel will give an insight into Critical Human Rights Discourse and Litigation in Germany. On the basis of concrete human rights cases students will learn about the different bodies and instruments of human rights protection in Germany, their practical advantages, challenges and inherent exclusions. By focusing on specific sectors (Gender, Racism and Social Equality) and their intersectional effects students are taught to see the canon of rights protected within the legal system as constructed and thus embedded in social and political processes of deliberations on different levels. 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. Studies concerning the impact of Strategic Public Litigation will be used in the discussion, potentially with representatives from NGOs involved in some of the relevant Public Interest Litigations.

Representative fundamental 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. Class sessions will usually open with lecture and/or discussant presentation, case-oriented inquiry, theoretical exploration and class discussion of the topic/theme for the session.

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.

Social Science/City Planning/Geography 311 (3 credits) | Urban Neighborhoods in Transition - The Case of Berlin

The aim of this course is to understand and learn about 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 Neukölln, 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.

German 101/201 (3 credits) | 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 above and is suitable for participants who really want to discover Berlin with weekly extra cultural and social activities offered.

An online placement exam before departure determines appropriate level. German language classes are taught for 45 contact hours for 3 credits and appear on a Humboldt-Universität 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.