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Summer in Berlin 2020

Submitted by Michael Neininger on January 22, 2020 - 11:40am
Summer in Berlin
New program: Summer in Berlin

City of the Past and Future: Film, Media and Diversity

No German required   

The Department of Germanics' Summer in Berlin provides students with an immersive way to experience the German language and culture in the diverse and exciting metropolis Berlin. Utilizing the city as our classroom, we will explore the culture, politics and history of Berlin from WWI to the present day. Students will receive a broad overview of Berlin's socio-historical landscape, develop critical thinking abilities, deepen their cultural knowledge of Germany and improve their German language skills. Students will also gain insight into issues of diversity and the influences of migration on the city from the past to the present day. A unit on start ups in Berlin and their impact on diversity will connect students to cutting edge businesses and help them to network for future internships or career opportunities. Berlin is a repository of cultural and historical memory and an essential destination for students interested in Germany. In Book of Clouds , Chloe Aridjis observes of this city: "Everything here is shifting and shifting but you can't forget it all forms part of one long continuum" (Aridjis 97), and she references sites that still "...creaked under the burden of their past" (125). This time spent in Germany's capital will give students first-hand access to the complexity of Berlin's past. Through group and individual projects and interactive visits to places such as the Wannsee House, the Holocaust Memorial, the Museum Insel and the Reichstag, students can examine how issues of the past still manifest themselves in the present and explore how to use their understanding of history to shape the future.

UW Credits: 12    

Estimated Program Fee: $ 5,200 

Term: 06/21/2020-07/25/2020   

Application Deadline: 01/31/2020

There are no prerequisites for this program. 

Summer in Berlin Courses:

German 101, 102, 103, 201, 202, 203, 301, 302 or 303  (dependent on placement exam) (5 credits) VLPA 

Students will take language classes from a highly rated language school in Berlin, GLS. Classes begin every Monday and are offered for all levels including complete beginners. There are 20 lessons at 45 minutes per week and classes run from 9 AM - 12.30 PM. The language school emphasizes an immersive, student centered environment with small groups of 6 to max. 12 students. Each classroom features interactive smart boards and there is access to additional teaching materials online. All courses build on the 4 fundamentals: listening, writing, reading and speaking. Free class discussions, role-playing and conversation help develop verbal expression, vocabulary and good sentence structure. Grammar is not studied in isolation; it is embedded in informative and stimulating texts that provide valuable cultural, political and historical background. Some topics covered include: relationships, social life, jobs and labour, history of Berlin, cultural identity.

German 322:  Introduction to German Cultural Studies  (5 credits)  VLPA

What defines and characterizes the city of Berlin of the past, present and future? Who are some of the most compelling figures of German cultural history throughout the centuries? What are some of the most important events and how are they remembered today? What is so troubling about memory politics and German identity post Wende? How are issues such as gender, sexuality, nationalism and popular culture depicted in art and literature? What is Berlin's role in an increasingly global world? How can these explorations inform our understanding of Berlin and Germany and help us to shape its future? Questions such as these will be posed in this course and students will actively work through answers in individual and team projects. The course introduces students to significant aspects of German literature, visual media and culture from the Kaiserzeit to the present via texts by major writers and intellectuals, architecture, film and visual media and topics such as the environment and social responsibility. We will visit museums, exhibitions, concerts, memorials, and other cultural events and sites and explore many of these topics on field trips. This course utilizes the city as the classroom and as a setting for the academic learning experience; it relies upon the students' active engagement with their urban surroundings, both as individuals, as teams, and in the whole group. Working chronologically, we will trace important literary, cultural and historical moments in Berlin's timeline through an exploration of literature, film, art and theory in conjunction with related site visits. For example, the module on the Kaiserzeit will examine issues of architecture, the rise of urban space and memory.

German 399: Foreign Studies in German Culture  (2 credits)  VLPA

Since the 17th century Berlin has been a city of inclusivity, embracing the influence of diverse cultures and offering a haven for persecuted people. In the twenty-first century, Berlin continues to demonstrate this same spirit of openness, welcoming refugees from war torn countries. This course seeks to examine the Berlin of the late nineteenth century to the present and the role of diversity in its social and cultural history. In these years, Berlin has served as a crucial locus for dynamic change, innovation as well as drastic social, cultural, and political upheaval. Berlin's status as a major metropolis and urban center has attracted diverse populations, providing a milieu in which to flourish and thrive. At the same time the anonymity and vastness of the city created conditions of poverty, inequity and persecution. In tandem with our exploration of Berlin we will examine theories of urban space and why the city and human diversity are so intrinsically linked. In the past 100 years, Berlin has transitioned from an imperial city to the center of the golden twenties, to the government seat of the Nazis to a city of total ruin, to a divided city and now to a city of refuge. As we uncover these various layers of history, we will investigate manifestations of diversity through a comparative analysis of literature, poetry, memoirs, film and other visual arts. Students will explore prevalent themes of diversity such as gender and sexuality, socio-economic disparity, ethnic, racial and national identity, assimilation and migration and their relation to the city. Each of the five class meetings will focus on a different aspect of diversity in Berlin, including Jewish, Russian, Turkish and Asian Berlin with a special section on start ups and their connection to diversity.