Study Abroad in Berlin, Germany

Study Abroad in Berlin: Courses

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European Studies Program

Recommended credits are shown in parentheses. Courses are subject to change at the discretion of Freie Universität, Berlin.

German language is mandatory. Students with no prior knowledge of German can take either the Experiential Beginning German course for a recommended 3 credits or two levels of Intensive German for a recommended 6 credits available from beginner to advanced levels. Students who do not plan to major/ minor in German typically take the Experiential Beginning German course. Students who test into a level beyond absolute beginner must take two courses of Intensive German.

Students above the absolute beginner level will take an on-line placement test prior to arrival and have an on-site interview in order to determine the appropriate level. The placement test must be completed 4-6 weeks before the program begins.

The minimum course load is 4 including German language.

German Language Courses

German 101E (3) | Experiential Beginning German

This course is designed for the beginner student who has no prior knowledge of German and does not major/minor in German. It will enable you to become familiar with the German language and to deal with everyday situations during your stay in Berlin. You will develop basic communicative competences in listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Your foremost goal is to be able to navigate through your daily activities in a German-speaking environment, such as ordering food in a restaurant, shopping at the grocery store/ supermarket, getting around in the city, and conducting simple conversations about yourself (your studies, your hobbies, and fields of interest). The textbook Studio d A1 and additional material, which is primarily dealing with everyday situations, will help you develop your individual language skills. One of the foci of the course is placed on Berlin and its surroundings. Therefore, you will work with authentic material in class and on course-related excursions.

German 101/A1 (3) | Intensive Beginner 1

This course is designed for the beginner student with no prior knowledge of German. It aims to develop your communicative competences in listening, speaking, reading, and writing. The textbook Begegnungen A1 and additional material, which primarily deals with cultural and historical aspects of German(y), will help you develop your individual language skills. One of the foci of the course is placed on Berlin and its surroundings. Therefore, you will work with authentic material in class and on course-related excursions. By the end of this course, you will be able to deal with various everyday situations in a Germanspeaking environment and to conduct simple conversations. You will have developed reading strategies that allow you to gather specific information from factual texts, newspaper and magazine articles, and short literary texts. In addition, you will learn to write and revise short texts and, by doing so, assemble metalinguistic knowledge. Finally, you will be able to understand discussions on familiar topics.

German 102/A2 (3) | Intensive Beginner 2

This course is designed for beginners with some prior knowledge of German. With the help of the textbooks Begegnungen A1 and A2 as well as additional material, which primarily deals with cultural and historical aspects of German(y), you will expand your competences in listening, speaking, reading, and writing. The course will familiarize you with the daily life and culture of German-speaking countries and enable you to talk about practical issues such as traveling, living, shopping, health, traditions, holidays and the workplace. You will be able to select the main information from simple factual texts. You will get to know more complex sentence structures and be able to express yourself in the present and one past tense.

German 201/B1 (3) | Intensive Intermediate 1

This course is designed to strengthen and expand your communicative competences in listening, speaking, reading and writing, and to deepen your understanding of German-speaking cultures in the context of Berlin. With the help of the textbook Begegnungen A2 and additional material, which is primarily dealing with cultural and historical aspects of German(y), you will develop your individual language skills. By the end of the course, you will be able to interact in most everyday situations in a German-speaking environment and to conduct simple conversations about familiar topics. You will be able to talk about the past and the future, to draw comparisons, to describe persons and things in detail, and to talk about your studies and your plans and wishes. You will have developed reading strategies that will allow you to understand newspaper and magazine articles as well as short literary texts.

German 202/B2 (3) | Intensive Intermediate 2

This course aims to systematically improve your writing and reading competences. It focuses on your acquisition of complex linguistic structures and your consistent self-correction. It will help you further develop effective reading and listening strategies by using texts and listening examples that extend beyond everyday communication. In-class discussions will be based on the weekly reading of literary and non-literary texts that will motivate you to exchange information, ideas, and opinions. In addition, these texts will provide important cultural and historical background information. Grammar revision is just one of the foci of this course; yet, you will expand and deepen your knowledge of German grammar through specific exercises.

German 302/B3 (3) | Intensive Intermediate 3

This course is designed to optimize your writing and speaking competences, to enlarge your vocabulary, to increase your usage of complex grammatical structures and to make you consistently and successfully employ self-correcting strategies. You will analyze and discuss cultural, political, and historical aspects of German-speaking countries and compare them to your own cultural background. You will be able to coherently talk about a broad range of subjects and to argue for your point of view. You will be able to mostly understand authentic texts and to follow native speakers in normal conversations.

German 401/C1 (3) | Intensive Advanced 1

This course aims to deepen your competence in speaking and writing and to expand your vocabulary on a higher language level, with a focus on improving your communicative skills for increasingly academic discussions. The course material will help you acquire relevant and contemporary knowledge about the culture, politics, and history of Germany and other Germanspeaking countries. Furthermore, you will develop effective reading and listening strategies with regard to various literary genres and media. In-class discussions will be based on literary and non-literary texts, enabling you to exchange information, ideas, and opinions on an academic level.

German 402 /C2 (3) | Intensive Advanced 2

This course will enable you to approximate your competence in speaking and writing German as well as your vocabulary to the native-speaker level. This includes understanding connotations and idioms as well as using stylistically and situationally appropriate forms of communication. Special attention will be given to the improvement of your communicative skills in academic contexts. You will be able to understand lectures and presentations and to participate in academic discussions. Sophisticated authentic texts will help you gain relevant information about the culture, politics, and history of Germany and other Germanspeaking countries. At the end of this course, you will have acquired effective reading and listening strategies concerning various literary genres and media and will work with larger excerpts of German literature. In-class discussions will be based on literary and non-literary texts, enabling you to exchange information, ideas, and opinions on an academic level.

Elective Courses

All elective courses are 300 level and are taught in English unless otherwise stated.

Art 301/FU-BEST 4 (3) | Perspectives on 20th Century Art in Central Europe

This course surveys the visual arts in Central Europe from the rise of modernism around 1900 to the present after postmodernism, with a strong focus on German art. Its objectives are: to study the individual works closely and interpret them critically by analyzing their formal structure, style and technique, iconography, etc; to consider the intentions of the artists who created them; to place the works against their wider historical, political, economic, social, and cultural backgrounds as well as within the international development of the visual arts in Western Europe and - for the second half of the 20th century - the U.S. An essential approach of the course will be to work not only with slides and text sources in class but also with the originals during excursions to different museums. This can serve as an eye-opener for understanding the reasoning and the artistic procedure of the artists in their respective period.

Art History 305/FU-BEST 12 (3) | Architecture in Berlin from the 19th Century to Today

This course provides an overview of the development of public and private architecture in Berlin during the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. Following an introduction to architectural terms and an examination of 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 sessions on the 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. The architecture of the Nazi period will be examined, followed by the developments in East and West Berlin after the Second World War. As a complement to the lectures, formal field-trips to historically significant buildings and sites constitute an integral component of the course and will give you the possibility to discover the city in a unique way.

Art/History/Politics 319/FU-BEST 19 (3) | Art and Dictatorship

This course provides an introduction to art and politics in the context of dictatorship, focused on the examples of Hitler’s Germany, Stalin’s USSR, Mussolini’s Italy, and Franco’s Spain. Students will gain an understanding of art in a democratic society by analyzing the art and architecture of the Weimar Republic in Germany. Official art and architecture in Germany, Italy, and the Soviet Union will then be examined, focusing on the works of Albert Speer, Giuseppe Terragni, Arno Breker, and Leni Riefenstahl. Modernist and Jewish artists were persecuted, forced into emigration or deported to concentration camps. Art has also served as a medium to commemorate the Holocaust: the memorials at Buchenwald concentration camp or the Holocaust memorial in Berlin are prominent examples.

Cinema 301/FU-BEST 5 (3) fall only | German Cinema to 1945

This course offers an overview of the development of film in Germany from its origins in the German Empire of the late 19th century through the end of the National Socialist period. While this course centers on close readings of works that belong to the canon of German film, it also includes examples of popular, experimental and documentary filmmaking. The course hopes to achieve three interrelated aims:

  • to introduce students to fundamental elements of film and film analysis;
  • to foster a critical understanding of how film functions both as entertainment and as an art form;
  • to explore the developments within German film in light of specific historical and cultural frameworks; but also to make students aware of the complicated issues involved in defining any unified national cinema, specifically, the pitfalls inherent in ready conceptions of German cinema.

This course assumes no prior knowledge of German, German films, or film theory in general. It is taught in English and all films have English subtitles.

Cinema 303/FU-BEST 13 (3) spring only | Contemporary Cinema in Germany and Europe

This course invites students to explore and critically reflect upon the current state of German cinema in a European context. It falls into three parts: the first part will introduce students to historical, cultural, and critical paradigms pertaining to the current situation of European cinema. The second part will discuss a selection of German and European films screened at the Berlin International Film Festival (Berlinale) during the semester in which the course is offered. The third part will then focus on films (co-)produced in Germany and distributed across several European countries. Film screenings and in-class discussions with invited guest speakers will be part of the course.

Cinema/Music 324/FU-BEST 28 (3) spring only | Film Music - Listening Outside the Frame

Film is often understood as a primarily visual art form, with the development of novel visual technologies, such as 3D, being heavily advertised and well known to mainstream international audiences. In this course, we will uncover an equally important, yet often overlooked, component of film: music. Over the course of the semester we will examine how music has contributed to the success and evolution of films throughout the history of the film industry in North America and Europe. As is the case for all of the arts, Berlin is an ideal location in which to study music and film. Thus, we will explore this cultural landscape with specific encounters that will complement our conversations and readings. For example, we will visit a theater that ho

Economics 305/FU-BEST 24 (3) | Europe in the Global Economy

Fall semester course description:

The European Communities were conceived as a union of democratic nations shaping the world’s economic and social model. Is the permanent enlargement process that made the EU big paying off? In a changing global economy, what is Europe’s comparative advantage?

“One market – one money” was what Europeans believed in. In a crisis not coming to an end the common currency is seen more and more as liability. Is an ill-designed Euro going to blow up the Eurozone?

With Russia as a major energy partner Europe’s energy independence is high on the agenda. Is the energy hunger of China, Brazil, etc. a threat to the EU? We will discuss the cost of global warming and climate challenge Europe is expected to bear.

Lastly, a “look in the crystal ball” is supposed to give an idea of the EU in the world 30 years from now: still vibrant, or ageing and decaying.

Economics/Environmental Studies 315/FU-BEST 33 (3) | Green Business: German and European Sustainable Entrepreneurship

This course begins by exploring key concepts for a green and sustainable economy in the German and European policy contexts and then looks at the development that has taken place both at the political level and in the economy in recent time. We then focus on the micro-level, i.e. the businesses themselves: motivating forces to commit to environmental sustainability, their roles and strategies and different ways to engage in environmental protection. The goal of the course is to provide students with a theoretical foundation in the development of green and sustainable solutions within the economic context of Germany and Europe and to develop an understanding of how sustainable entrepreneurship is unfolding creative potential and opportunities for environmental improvements using core business activities. The course also aims at equipping students with more practical tools and processes for developing their own business ideas for the green economy.

Economics/Marketing 310/FU-BEST 11 (3) | European Business Cultures: Management and Marketing in Cross-National Perspective

This course offers a combined exploration of the ways in which companies function in Europe and the reasons for and characteristics of intercultural management issues across the continent. The objectives of the course are to enhance the students’ understanding of the high variety of European business cultures and to learn about the corresponding variety of management styles. The course provides an interconnected focus on the state of the European Union, its social economies, business ethics and the standards of corporate social responsibility with corporate cultures, their marketing pressures and aspects of multicultural team development.

Environmental Studies 330/FU-BEST 30 (3) | Energizing Europe: 21st Century Renewable and Fossil Transformations

Today, the EU is a world leader in alternative energy efforts, most notably Germany’s Energiewende, which aims to replace coal and nuclear with wind and solar electricity. However, the EU is also interconnecting member-state gas, electrical and transport systems and unifying its energy markets aided by its new European Energy Union (EEU) — whose formation was spurred by the Ukraine crisis and Europe’s heavy dependence on Russian gas. In Energizing Europe, we investigate how these transitions impact EU carbon emissions, resources, economy, society, and geopolitical security. We begin by surveying the EU’s energy resources and infrastructure as compared to that of the U.S. We then study Europe´s energy transitions from medieval times through its 20th-century energy crises and wars. With this preparation, we begin a study of Europe’s intended 21st-century energy transitions. Topics include: (i.) Germany’s Energiewende, its technical, economic, and social challenges and its impact on EU neighbors; (ii.) problems of oil dependence and traffic congestion in the German and EU transport sectors; (iii.) EU natural gas policy – external issues including dependence on Russia and pipelines through Ukraine, attempts to diversify with Norwegian, North African and Caspian gas and with US liquefied natural gas (LNG); and internal issues such as market unification, interconnection of pipelines, anti-monopoly efforts, fracking, and competition from cheap carbon-intensive coal; (iv.) finally, we examine German rejection of nuclear energy in light of risks and promises of next-generation reactors. Throughout, students follow current German, EU and related global energy affairs. This course should be of interest to students of both social and natural sciences.

History/Politics/Sociology 321/FU-BEST 1 (3) | Contemporary Germany in European Perspective

By placing Germany in a broader European context, this course provides an opportunity to develop a comparative perspective on political and socioeconomic features and trends in the Federal Republic. The course begins with a brief historical review, and then shifts to a consideration of such topics and issues as German society, the political system (including institutions, parties, and elections), welfare state features, and socioeconomic policies, with accompanying consideration of characteristics and developments in neighboring European countries. Special attention will also be given to the consequences of Germany’s reunification in 1990.

History /Politics 325/FU-BEST 8 (3) | Modern German History in European Context: A Thematic Approach

Today there is no more talk of a “German problem,” but no one doubts that Germany had a profound and paradoxical impact on the trajectories of European history. In the big picture, modern German history is a useful vantage point for exploring European developments during the 20th century, not only because of Germany’s central and pivotal political role, but even more so because of its fragmented character and inherent contradictions. This course aims at fostering a critical understanding of the ruptures and continuities of the “extreme” 20th century with a cross-analysis of German and European political, social, and cultural history. Major themes will be the contest between democracy and dictatorship and the related tension between freedom and security in changing times under different political regimes. Film screenings and in-class discussions with invited guest speakers will be part of the course.

History/Politics 328/FU-BEST 23 (3) | History of Modern European Diplomacy

This course surveys European international history and the culture of European diplomacy during the 19th and 20th centuries. It aims to introduce students to core events of international history and the multi-faceted outlook of European diplomats. A key aim of the course is to activate the participants’ interests through an interactive approach and trigger them to work, develop, and present arguments independently or as team. Aside from in-class study groups, we will ‘re-experience’ diplomacy through selected re-enactments of international conferences or mock courts. Students will acquire basic tools to process academic texts and develop independent and evidence-based argumentations.

History/Geography/Sociology 335/FU-BEST 7 (3) | Berlin: History, Memory, Literature

This course will explore representations and topographies of Berlin between the first German unification and the second, focusing on the major events and conflicts that have left their mark on this urban landscape: the rise of the modern metropolis, economic depression and social unrest, the two World Wars, Nazism and the Holocaust, and the Cold War and its aftermath — in short the most disruptive and defining events of the twentieth century. Thus in addition to discussing the regular reading assignments, we will devote some time to discussing the complex relations between space, text, history, and memory. Schedule permitting, we will watch relevant films and organize city excursions outside of regular class times.

History/Philosophy/Literature/Religion 338/FU-BEST 32 (3) | The Reformation Heritage in Germany and Europe

This course explores the legacy of the Protestant Reformation on Germany and Europe in light of its upcoming 500th commemoration. The course begins with a historical, theological, and literary overview of the 16th century and an exploration of the historical roots of Reformation ideas in England and Bohemia. Luther´s main theses are presented as well as the connections between the Humanist movement, the Renaissance, and the Reformation. The course then explores several aspects of Reformation ideas and asks in five thematic sessions, whether or where the long-term impact of the historical transformation wrought or ignited by the Reformation becomes visible. Each session gives an overview of Reformation-related literature, provides the historical setting, and presents the main theses of modern thinkers, such as Max Weber, Thomas Luckmann or Peter Berger.

Law/History 329/FU-BEST 17 (3) | European Legal Traditions

This course provides an overview of European legal traditions and developments. Its coverage ranges from the law of the Roman Empire to the attempts to create a common European legal framework with the establishment of the European Union and the Council of Europe. Special emphasis will be placed on the broader lines of legal tradition and development that have shaped the conceptualizations of law in contemporary Europe. Throughout the course, we will keep a comparative eye on the legal system of the U.S. This will allow us to identify similarities and differences. The course is designed not only for future law students but also for students who are interested in European legal traditions and who wish to gain an understanding of law as a decisive factor that shapes transatlantic, international, and European affairs today.

Literature /History 310/FU-BEST 25 (3) | Jewish Life in Central Europe

With the beginning of the Enlightenment in the 18th century, the Jews of Central Europe were faced with the ambiguities of modernity. Whereas equality was one of the main demands of the time, it was granted to the Jewish minorities in Central Europe only after long struggles. And even this political achievement did not last long. Yet since the late 18th century and its emancipation movement, one of the most influential and versatile cultural legacies in Central Europe was created by Germanspeaking Jews. This course will introduce and discuss canonic texts by European- Jewish authors from Moses Mendelssohn to Paul Celan. It thus gives an extensive overview of German-Jewish culture since the late 18th century. Every class session starts off with a contextualization of the historic circumstances in which each text was created. Literary readings constitute the core interest of each session, this course being situated in the field of cultural studies. All readings are available in English, but most of them are originally in German and thus may also be read in German.

Media/Politics 322/FU-BEST 22 (3) | Media Politics Structures and Case-Studies in Germany and Europe

This course introduces its participants to mass media systems and structures in Germany and Europe and provides them with the analytical tools and background knowledge to assess the ways in which the mass media and politics interact and thus shape each other. We will start with an overview of the different structures of mass media (public/private) in Germany and selected European countries, including how they have historically developed and particularly which political ideas have shaped the frameworks in which media institutions and individuals operate. At the same time, we will take a critical look at how the media in turn have shaped and are still shaping the ways in which the political process works and presents itself to the public.

Music 302/FU-BEST 3 (3) | Exploring Classical Music: Baroque to Contemporary

This course covers the history of Western art music in Central Europe, with a focus on countries with German language and culture. Musical examples from different periods between the 18th and 20th centuries give a historical overview and introduce musically relevant topics. Musical terminology, notation, (historical) performance practice, musical instruments, orchestration, musical forms, prominent composers, music as a work of art, and aesthetics are among the subjects of discussion.

Music/Sociology 310/FU-BEST 29 (3) fall only | Music in the Digital Age

From virtual instruments to illegal downloads, recent decades have seen the landmark effects of digital technology on the production and dissemination of musical content. In this course, we will examine the nature of these shifts and sample salient and productive intersections of music and technology in transatlantic contexts. Through specific case studies, we will tackle the following questions: How have these technologies encouraged unprecedented modes of hearing and acquiring music? In what ways has digital music technology enabled personal and communal experiences with musical content and style? And how do we reconcile the long-established connections between music and place in an era when music seems to exist largely in “the cloud?”

Philosophy 302/FU-BEST 9a (3) fall only | The Promise of German Philosophy: Kant to Hegel

Philosophy has constituted a central element in the development of modern German culture. In the late eighteenth century, German philosophy participated in the broader European Enlightenment culture, which was in turn connected to the development of modern empirical science. This course, offered during the fall semester follows 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 limitations.

Philosophy 304/FU-BEST 9b (3) spring only | Tragedy and New Beginnings in German Philosophy: From Marx and Nietzsche to Habermas

This course, discusses the later development of German philosophy in the 19th century and its historical tragedy in the 20th century. This will include a discussion of the links between Marx and Marxism, between Nietzsche and the German political/ideological right-wing, between the ‘Vienna circle’ and the scientific revolution of the early twentieth century, as well as between German academic philosophy and Nazism. Post-World War II developments in the field will be studied as pathways out of the destructive turn philosophy in Germany took in the first half of the 20th century.

Politics 309/FU-BEST 2 (3) | Integration, Conflict, and Security in Europe

This course surveys and examines a variety of aspects of international politics in Europe, with particular focus on the Cold War and post-Cold War eras. We will review the postwar history of international politics in Europe, followed by an in-depth study of European integration in general and the European Union in particular, the role played by security organizations (especially NATO and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe), U.S. and Soviet/Russian policy toward Europe, the eruption of ethno-political conflict (especially in the Balkans), the international impact of Germany’s recent reunification, and the quest for order, security, and stability in a region that is no longer divided by the Iron Curtain but in which international politics continues to be shaped and affected by East-West as well as North-South contrasts.

Politics/Sociology 315/FU-BEST 10 (3) | Islam and Europe: Historical and Contemporary Dimensions

This course provides an overview of the history and present condition of Muslims and Islam in non-Muslim majority settings in Western Europe. It will introduce students to basic theoretical concepts, necessary for studying Muslims from a sociological perspective as well as the recipient societies in which they have settled in Europe. The first part of the course is devoted to the analysis of key terms and concepts that will serve as the foundation for the remaining parts of the course. Different concepts such as “Islam”, “Islamism”, “Shari’a”, and “Secularism” will be discussed in their historical context. In the second section, the institutionalization of Islam in Europe will be examined in its complex and highly nation-specific relationship to religious state policies, especially in France, Germany, and Great Britain.

Politics/Sociology 334/FU-BEST 34 (3) | Migration: Dynamics and Controversies in Europe and Berlin

In this course, we will focus on the often problematic and conflictual triangle of migration, ethnicity, and religion and ground our exploration of relevant theory in a discussion of empirical case-studies on the wider European as well as on the local Berlin levels. We will especially examine more closely the public debates, which take place mostly around the categories of ethnicity and religion. Based on constructivist approaches drawn from cultural and social anthropology, we will establish the basics of transnational migration theory, focusing especially on the fields of critical migration and mobility research, postcolonial studies, globalization theory, the anthropology of the state, of religion and of multimedia representation. We will question different forms of mobility, while being aware of their historical contexts in the rise of the (European) nation-state, and will think about the consequences of the contemporary politics of fear and identity, played out along the lines of the production and reproduction of fixed cultural boundaries, which thereby foster xenophobic worldviews. A final objective of the course will be to explore ways to think beyond the conventional framings of identity.

Politics/Economics/Sociology 320/FU-BEST 16 (3) | Themes and Issues in Transatlantic Relations

This course surveys and analyzes the interaction between Europe and America since 1945 in the fields of politics, economics, and culture. Special emphasis will be placed on the roles of the United States, Germany, and the European Union. The first part will have a time-line approach, discussing cooperation and divergence of interests before, during, and after the Cold War and after 9/11. During the second part, we will focus on issues of common concern for the U.S. and Europe today and on challenges facing the transatlantic partnership during the era of globalization with its challenges to the common values of the “West”. Current events will be discussed whenever they become relevant. The course includes a guest speaker and a visit to the German Foreign Ministry for a talk on German-American relations.

Politics/ Environmental Studies 318/FU-BEST 18 (3) | Environmental Politics and Policy in Europe

This course provides an introduction to the EU and its policy on environmental protection and natural resources. After a brief recap of the basics of policy-making in the EU, students will learn about the guiding principles and developments within the EU’s environmental policy. Subsequently, the course will cover the major environmental challenges we are facing currently. We will discuss the functioning of the European Union to be able to better understand the factors influencing European environmental policy and politics. The second part of the course will be devoted to different forms of pollution, such as air, noise, water and soil pollution, as well as humanity’s impact on biodiversity loss. In this part of the course we will also discuss the main prerequisites for making the European transport sector more sustainable and European cities greener and smarter.

Psychology/History 312/FU-BEST 6 (3) | The Human Condition and the Totalitarian Experience

This course starts with the classical concept of the totalitarian state, as developed by Hannah Arendt and others, taking Hitler and Stalin as their models. We will then cover some subsequent modifications and debates regarding the theory of totalitarianism, as a result of historical changes and developments, especially in the Soviet Empire. Here are some of the questions we will be dealing with: What popular attitudes and psychological reactions exist towards totalitarian atrocities such as the Holocaust? Under what psychological conditions are individuals capable of offering resistance, as did the “rescuers” of Jews under Nazi domination? While these phenomena may now appear to be bygones of merely historical interest, the psychological aspects of “totalitarian situations” remain acutely important, even in present-day democratic societies.

Sociology 304/FU-BEST 20 (3) | Pop Culture: European-American Trends

“Roll over Beethoven and tell Tchaikovsky the news” roared Chuck Berry in 1956 with the drummer banging out an unforgiving backbeat, the pianist playing a chaotic boogie, and the double bassist adding buoyancy with a forceful walking bass line. The song became a mantra for a global youth culture which positioned pop culture in opposition to what then was considered musical high culture and the classics. In this seminar we will familiarize ourselves with the frameworks for studying popular culture and investigate case studies in painting, photography, music, film, radio, video, television, and digital media. This seminar will unlock doors to the analysis of popular culture by placing a special focus on European-American trends. At the center will be developments in films from Metropolis to Independence Day, from the jazz age via the British rock invasion to the outlaw figure in Hip-Hop performances, American founding myths between Shane, Old Shatterhand and Spaghetti Westerns, or the state of exception in post-apocalyptic scenarios in a transnational perspective.

Sociology 305/FU-BEST 21 (3) | European Traditions in Sociology

Sociology as new science, concerned with the impact of the industrial revolution on traditional forms of communal life, beliefs, and authorities, emerged in late nineteenth-century Europe. The pioneers of sociology like Emile Durkheim and Leonard Hobhouse managed to establish the young discipline at the universities in France, Germany and Great Britain. Today sociology is offered at universities all over the world – with some significant regional specializations. While American sociology is best known for its strong empirical orientation (‘social research’), sociology in Europe has developed further the theoretical traditions of the classics (‘social theory’). Some paradigmatic questions from Weber to Simmel seem still relevant: Why have essential elements of modern societies – from the rise of modern capitalism, to individualism, urban culture, and democracy – occurred first in the West? The aim of the course will be to portray prominent European sociologists and apply their ideas to the challenges of our time.

Women’s Studies/Sociology 325/FU-BEST 27 (3) | Women’s and Gender Studies in Transatlantic Context

The sex/gender system, like many social systems of categorization, serves to group individuals. It represents an act of dividing, i.e. categorizing individuals as male or female; yet it also, paradoxically and simultaneously, connects individuals through shared membership in a category. This course on gender and women’s studies in a transatlantic context focuses on the boundary—that which both divides and unites. We investigate sexed and gendered boundaries between bodies, communities, cultures, classes, races, ethnicities, religions, sexualities, and nations.

By the end of the semester, students will be able to:

  1. Discuss gender and gender roles in a nuanced manner.
  2. Formulate academic theses about some of the major social, medical, and political concerns facing women in North America and Europe.

GermanPLUS+ Program

Recommended credits are shown in parentheses.

Courses are subject to change at the discretion of Freie Universität, Berlin.

GermanPLUS+ Language Courses

Depending on their German level at the start of the program, students will take German C2 (Advanced 2) or DaF unterrichten (Teaching German as a Foreign Language) during the first half of the semester, and Wissenschaftliches Schreiben auf Deutsch (Academic Writing in German) during the second half. Language courses take place in the morning, Monday through Thursday.

GermanPLUS+ Language Courses

German 402 /C2 (5) taught in German | Intensive Advanced 2

This course will enable you to approximate your competence in speaking and writing German as well as your vocabulary to the native-speaker level. This includes understanding connotations and idioms as well as using stylistically and situationally appropriate forms of communication. Special attention will be given to the improvement of your communicative skills in academic contexts. You will be able to understand lectures and presentations and to participate in academic discussions. Sophisticated authentic texts will help you gain relevant information about the culture, politics, and history of Germany and other German-speaking countries. At the end of this course, you will have acquired effective reading and listening strategies concerning various literary genres and media and will work with larger excerpts of German literature. In-class discussions will be based on literary and non-literary texts, enabling you to exchange information, ideas, and opinions on an academic level.

German 415 (5) taught in German | Teaching German as a Foreign Language (Deutsch-ALS-Fremdsprache (DAF) Unterrichten – Eine Einführung)

This course introduces students to teaching German as a Foreign Language (“Deutsch als Fremdsprache”, DaF). Participants will be familiarized with theories of (foreign) language acquisition and linguistics and get to know tools, methods, and strategies with which to design, implement, evaluate, and optimize DaF lessons. Observations in DaF classes and their critical reflection convey to students the import of the teacher’s personality. One goal of the course is to enable its participants to create a short teaching unit on the Beginner level, present specific elements of it in class and then assess those with their instructor and peers. This course is designed for advanced students of German who consider teaching German classes as part of their future career.

German 420 (4) taught in German | Academic Writing in German (Wissenschaftliches Schreiben Auf Deutsch)

In this course, students will be familiarized with the structure and style of different academic text forms and create texts themselves. We will prepare for these text productions through exercises dealing with, among others, verbalizing tables, diagrams and charts; with creating theses and definitions; and with the construction and elaboration of an argument. Added to this are exercises on the level of word/phrase/text which will help you use contemporary German appropriately, especially regarding stylistic features and techniques. We will also work on the expansion of your general vocabulary so that at the end of the course, you will be able to create academic texts that are at once logically structured and comprehensible as well as fascinating.

GermanPLUS+ Subject Courses

All GermanPLUS+ students will be enrolled in the following subject courses, which meet once a week for 2.5 hours in the afternoon.

These courses are part of the GermanPLUS+ package. Students not choosing the whole package but interested in taking any of these courses will be placed on a waiting list and notified of any available space after the application deadline, according to the ranking of the course provided here and the date of receipt of their application. Please note the language prerequisites for participation carefully (Intermediate 3 and above).

GermanPLUS+ Subject Courses

Theater 315/FU-BEST 14 (2) taught in German | Theater Metropolis Berlin: Past and Present (Theatermetropole Berlin: Vergangenheit und Gegenwart)

Berlin is one of the most lively theater capitals in the world and has historically been celebrated as a center for new developments in theater. Today, the Berlin theater scene remains one of the most outstandingly young, dynamic and prolific in the world. Berlin’s ever-changing history of theater ranges from the German National Theater classical Goethe to the politically provocative theater of the Weimar Republic Brecht, to the high “postmodern” plays and productions of artists such as Pollesch. In this course we will analyze classic plays and modern performance pieces, repeated themes, critical receptions, the influence of the political climate in a multicultural society, the role of theater in the breaking of taboos and more. Through visits to the respected stages of Berlin (such as Deutsches Theater, Berliner Ensemble, Maxim Gorki Theater, Schaubühne und Volksbühne) we will also discover the dramatic differences between the play as a written text and a live production. The course also offers students the opportunity to expand their capabilities in giving presentations, participating in discussions and composing essays in German (academic writing) under the guidance of the teachers.

Art 325/FU-BEST 15 (2) taught in German | Germany and its Art - a Nation in Pictures (Deutschland un seine Kunst - ein Nation in Bildern)

This course offers an overview of fine arts in Germany from the start of the modern era in 1800 to the present. We will look at art and its creation not only from a purely art historical perspective, but also consider it as a reflection of (group) identity, since time and again throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, the formation of a German nation and the difficult notion of a national German identity was closely tied to the concept of a “German style” and a special (German) form of art. Over the course of the semester we will examine and analyze various examples of German art, with a focus on famous national icons, along with their historical, philosophical, political, societal and cultural contexts, both nationally and internationally, to discover how German art was produced and received. We will take advantage of Berlin as one of the most fascinating collections of art in the world, by visiting exhibitions at places such as the Gemälde Gallery, the Old and New National Gallery, the Hamburger Bahnhof, the Kupferstichkabinett (Graphics Exhibit), the Brücke-Museum and the Berlin Gallery, as well as looking at the city’s “alternative” and “street art” scenes. By the end of the course students should be familiar with methods and terminology, and be able to discuss the style of famous works, the technique used, interpretation, the significance within the political and cultural environment, and notable facts about their production and reception.

History/Sociology 331/FU-BEST 31 (2) taught in German | German, German, Germany: Identity(ies), History, Politics (Deutsch, Deutscher, Deutschland: Identität(en), Geschichte, Politik)

What is “German” and who is “German”? Who defines this and who decides—politicians, scientists, groups, every individual? How does it feel “to be German”? What makes someone “German” and why do some perhaps seem more “German” than others? What and where is Germany, and since when does Germany exist, and is there still one Germany or now several? What do others think of “the Germans”? These are some of the questions this course will seek to answer, from various cultural and other perspectives (historical, sociological, political, etc.). En-route to the answer of who and what a “typical German” is, we will theorize the origins of self-imposed and foreign stereotypes and identities. We will follow the historical unfolding of a national German identity and what roles self-images have played in achieving this cultural and/or political identity in the world (even to today). Finally, we will discuss whether such national identities still have meaning (or should have meaning) in the 21st century for postmodern individuals who self-identify with multiple categories or other groups. Lots of people in Germany today identify themselves by their regional home, their language, their ancestry or a belonging to a specific (sub)cultural group. So, is the “typical German” a cliché nowadays, or do we still talk of people and things being “typically” or “really” German? By the end of the course, students will have learned of Germany’s development and dominant societal themes since the late 19th century and should be able to critically discuss foreign and self-identities, theorize about stereotype origins and compare and contrast existing identities in Germany with historical and political German clichés.