20 August 2016
Urban Places and Spaces: Analyzing and Exploring Berlin
Urban studies and its discourse on the city combine scholarship in fields as diverse as human geography, history, and the arts. Berlin, with its seemingly infinite possibilities for creative societal- and self-fashioning, provides an excellent socio-cultural analytical model. It is at once a fixed “place” with a distinct topography and an interactive “space” comprised of residents and visitors of multifarious social groups.
A balanced appreciation of the interplay of place and space in Berlin’s cityscape is key for students eager to learn about the city’s past and present. In turn, one requires a sound historical overview of Berlin’s spatial and social makeup in order to comprehend contemporary Berlin fully.
FUBiS invites you to join us as we analyze and explore places/spaces in Germany’s ultimate “urban text”, Berlin. In-class analysis and discussion of academic and literary texts about Berlin will prepare you for our course excursions. We begin at the Brandenburg Gate, Berlin’s most important site that functions as place and space. Here you will learn more about this landmark and its meaning in Berlin’s social imaginary, linking temporal layers of past and present in Berlin.
In the seven sessions that follow, we continue our temporal-topographical inquiry, meeting with experts at other places/spaces in Berlin (including the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin, the Jewish Museum, and the Berlin Wall Memorial). We will conduct on-site discussions of these unique places/spaces in historical, spatial, social, and even literary terms. Upon completing the course, students will have compiled a portfolio of short essays reflecting their critical reception of Berlin’s place/spaces.
In this manner, our course not only teaches you how places/spaces fuse Berlin’s past and present and shape contemporary Berlin: it also enables you to create a uniquely personal connection to Berlin.
Dr. David James Prickett
Ideal for students of cultural, political, and social sciences, this seminar seeks to bring to the foreground connections between Berlin's topography, its history, and its current functions as a political and cultural space.
After attending this seminar, students will
understand the topographical, social, and symbolic organization of place/space in an urban setting and in Berlin in particular;
gain insight into the meaning of place/space in their own culture by means of a critical comparison with place/space in their hometown and Berlin;
be well familiar with Berlin’s key historical places/spaces and how these continue to shape contemporary Berlin and the social imaginary
Active Participation: 35%
Course Blog: 35% (4 posts à 500 words per post. Evaluation based on content, style, and quality of analysis)
EUR 900: Tuition
EUR 250: Program fee