Core Courses

IS101 Greek Civilization: Plato’s Republic and Its Interlocutors

AY/BA1/Bard1 Core Course

Coordinator: Michael Weinman

Course times: Tue 9:00 - 12:15, Thur 10:45 - 12:15 & 13:30 - 15:00 

Credits: 14 ECTS, 8 U.S. credits

Bard College Berlin's core curriculum begins with a semester-long investigation of Plato’s Republic in its cultural, political, and intellectual context. This text—in conversation with what we here figure as its “interlocutors,” the main works and movements with which it is in dialogue—offers a unique point of entry into the epochal literary, philosophical, cultural and political achievements of fifth and fourth century Athens. Republic depicts and draws us into a discussion of the kinds of values (ethical, political, aesthetic, religious, epistemic, and literary) at the heart of Bard College Berlin's approach to education, and fundamental to human life itself. Rather than a series of separate treatises, the Republic treats these values as the subject of a single investigation that transcends disciplinary boundaries as we have come to conceive of them. And while it may be said to contain a “social contract” theory, a theory of psychology, a theory of demonstration, a theology, a critique of mimetic art, a theory of education, or a typology of political regimes among other proposals, it is reducible to none of these. Simply, this text, perhaps in a manner unlike any other written before or after, sets the agenda for any set of research questions that one might wish to pursue today. In this course we shall be particularly attentive to the dialogic character of Plato’s writing, and to its exchanges with other authors, works, genres and kinds of thought in the Greek tradition. Reading Plato’s work alongside Homer’s Iliad, Hesiod’s Works and Days, Euripides’s Bacchae, Parmenides’s poem, Aristophanes’s Clouds, Herodotus’ Histories and Thucydides’ (so-called) History of the Peloponnesian War, and a selection from Euclid’s Elements, together with a lecture and seminar on the Parthenon and a visit to both the Pergamon and the Trojan collection at the Neues Museum, we will strive to better appreciate and evaluate the argument and drama of the Republic. As we read the Republic and attend to the conversations it has with its interlocutors, we aim to become informed and engaging interlocutors for Plato and for one another. 

Syllabus

IS102 Renaissance Art and Thought: Renaissance Florence

BA2 Core Course

Coordinator: Geoff Lehman

Course times: Tue 9:30 - 11:00, Thur 13:00 - 14:30 

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

In this course we examine the visual and intellectual culture of Renaissance Florence.  A sustained engagement with a number of principal monuments in Florentine painting, sculpture, and architecture provides the basis for a consideration of key values within the development of Renaissance art that also shape, more broadly, the thought, cultural practices, and everyday experiences of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. The Renaissance could be characterized as a historical period in which the visual arts played the leading role within intellectual culture. Thus the focus on works of visual art, in a sustained dialogue with literary, philosophical, and political texts of the period, opens upon a consideration of broad, trans-disciplinary problems such as the emergence of new models of subjectivity and objectivity, the relationship between religious and secular experiences, the framing of early modern political thought, and the origins of the scientific method.  The course is structured around four principal topics, each a defining value for the visual arts between the thirteenth and the sixteenth centuries that is also central to the development of Renaissance thought: naturalism and realism; perspective; harmony and grace; humanism. The direct experience, evaluation, and interpretation of individual works of art are a crucial part of the course, and with this in mind there will be frequent visits to Berlin’s museums, particularly the Gemäldegalerie and the Bode Museum, with their extensive Renaissance collections, to encounter works of art firsthand. 

Syllabus

IS311 Berlin: Experiment in Modernity

Bard in Berlin Core Course

Instructor: Florian Becker

Course times: Mon 10:45 - 12:15, Wed 10:45 - 12:15, Fri (Museum visit - off campus) 15:15 - 19:00

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

More than any other city, Berlin has been a source and a theater for the forces shaping Western modernity. Its importance and its by turns glorious and catastrophic role in European culture and history have their origins in its peculiar development. Built on a swamp, in a poor duchy surrounded by more powerful states, it was remade during the Enlightenment as a center not only of military discipline and administrative control but also of learning and innovation. Increasingly characterized in the later nineteenth century by almost uncontrolled growth, it rose to the status of capital of the German Empire and became a center of science and technology. With rapid industrialization came sharp social polarization and bitter political conflict, but also the birth of aesthetic modernism and avant-garde culture. After the clamor for imperial power and colonial expansion culminated in the cataclysm of World War I, Berlin witnessed the unprecedented artistic rebirth of the Weimar Republic. During the Nazi dictatorship the city became the point of origin of political terror, war and genocide. Reduced to little more than “a pile of rubble near Potsdam” (Bertolt Brecht), Berlin found itself on the frontline of the Cold War and remained forcibly divided for more than four decades between two radically different political and economic systems. Through a combination of historical sources, literature, philosophy, and a wide range of artifacts—from paintings to photographs to film, archival and contemporary—we shall seek to understand Berlin’s significance and its current position at the heart of Europe. And we will speculate about its possible futures as a place of gathering and experiment for a population from across the world.  

Syllabus

IS301 Bildung: Education and Formation

BA3-4/PY Core Course

Coordinator: Matthias Hurst

Course times: Tue 11:15 - 12:45, Thur 10:45 - 12:15, Fri 15:15 - 18:30 

Credits: 14 ECTS, 8 U.S. credits

This seminar is dedicated to the exploration of the ideals that guide our pursuit of knowledge and understanding. One focus will be on Bildung, a concept that has played a key role in German thought from the 18th century to today, and has become the cornerstone of German academia as well as the central preoccupation of an influential literary genre, the Bildungsroman. The term Bildung has no equivalent in English, but possible translations are “education,” “formation,” “self-cultivation” or “culture.” It describes not only a process of education, but also its result: a state of maturity and cultural refinement that is supposed to reconcile the needs of the individual with the demands of the world. Bildung seeks, claimed Wilhelm von Humboldt, “the true end of Man,” “the highest and most harmonious development of his powers to a complete and consistent whole.” As a concept of ideal education and self-cultivation fuelled by the principles of European Enlightenment, Bildung encompasses understanding, knowledge, reflection, aesthetic consciousness and competence in social judgment and political action; it addresses issues of liberation and emancipation in both individual and social perspective. The concept of Bildung has a wide variety of connotations and dimensions, not only pedagogical, but philosophical, psychological, political and cultural. The aim of the class is to build up a critical understanding of the ideals and implications of Bildung by studying some of the classic authors who helped articulate and establish it (Humboldt, Fichte, Schiller) and by discussing examples of the Bildungsroman from its beginning (Goethe’s Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship, 1795) to later variations (Musil’s The Confusions of Young Törless, 1906, and Hesse’s Demian, 1919). The novels describe and analyze the possibilities and problems of education and formation and the clash between the individual and society, between formal education and living experience. We will also take a look at the development of the concept of Bildung in the 20th century, the transformation of its ideals (in response to the crucial cultural changes of modernity) and the problems arising from the apparent disappearance of a classical canon of Bildung. A series of films supplement the discourse on education and self-cultivation and broaden our perspective and approach.

Syllabus

IS123 Research Seminar

BA4/PY Core

Instructor: Marcela Perett

Course times: Tue 9:30 - 11:00, Thu 13:30 - 15:00 

Credits: 4 ECTS, 2 U.S. credits

This seminar will serve as a thesis-writing workshop. In the first part of the course, sessions will be devoted to the practicalities of planning a project, conducting research, outlining, and writing. During this portion, we will also hear from faculty members about how they develop large research projects. In the second part of the course, each student will have the opportunity to present an early version of his or her thesis, with the goal of supportive feedback. 

Syllabus

Foundational Modules

Economics

MA120 Mathematics for Economics

Module: Mathematics

Coordinator: Martin Binder

Course times: Mon 10:45 - 12:15, Wed 10:45 - 12:15

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

This module focuses on the mathematical tools important for the study of economics: linear algebra (matrices, determinants, systems of linear equations and methods for solving them), analytical geometry, functions of a single variable, functions of two variables, complex numbers, integrals and ordinary differential equations. The module will also be of interest for any student with a general interest in mathematics, or who does not intend advanced specialization in economics, but wishes to become informed regarding the essential mathematical building blocks of economics as a discipline.

Syllabus

EC110 Principles of Economics

Module: Principles of Economics

Coordinator: Martin Binder

Course times: Tue 13:30 - 15:00, Fri 13:30 - 15:00

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

This course is an introduction to the essential ideas of economic analysis. It elaborates the basic model of consumer and firm behavior, including demand and supply, in the context of an idealized competitive market, and examines several ways in which the real world deviates from this model, including monopoly, minimum wages and other price controls, taxes, and government regulation. The assumptions concerning human behavior that underlie economics are presented and critiqued. The module is also concerned with the aggregate behavior of modern economies: growth and measurement of the economy, unemployment, interest rates, inflation, government spending and its impact, boom and bust cycles, and international trade. A large part of the module focuses on the government tools used to influence economic growth and individuals' behavior.  

Syllabus

Ethics and Politics

PL210 Hate and Revolution

Module: Ethics and Moral Philosophy

Instructor: Ewa Atanassow

Course times: Mon 9:00 - 10:30, Wed 9:00 - 10:30

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

Why do we hate? What is hate about? How and when does it become a revolutionary force? This course will examine hate as a factor in precipitating social change and as aftermath of great political upheavals. Focusing on class relations in revolutionary France, and on race relations in the United States from the Founding to the Civil War, it will raise questions about the nature and politics of hate, and its role in social transformation. France and the United States both claim to be the first modern democratic societies. Born around the same time in the crucible of revolution, they exemplify two different understandings of democracy and track alternative paths to modernity. A comparative look at the role of hate in these two historical trajectories will shed light on the impact of culture, history and political structures on hate, and the social processes and psychological mechanisms that make hate a transformative force.

The United States and France are the subjects of Alexis de Tocqueville’s illuminating studies that combine institutional and sociological analysis with moral and psychological reflection. Extensive selections from Tocqueville’s Democracy in America and The Ancien Regime and the Revolution will serve as the key texts for our interdisciplinary investigation into hate, organizing the course around two poles, France and the US, and focusing on class and race respectively. With Tocqueville as our guide, we shall explore – through history, drama, literature, art and film – the place of hate in social change. We shall also try to think more broadly about the dynamic of social relations in democratic society, and the possibility of shaping these relations in desirable ways.

Syllabus

SO152 Humanistic Social Research: Thinking through Methods

Module: Methods in Social Studies

Instructor: Irit Dekel

Course times: Tue 13:30 - 15:00, Fri 13:30 - 15:00

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

The seminar familiarizes students with the tools that make possible the generation, collection and analysis of data in the study of social groups and practices. Students are introduced to sociology as a process of learning about the social world. They are exposed to the categories that frame sociological inquiry: the research question, model, case, context, process, and event. These categories are made accessible and meaningful through a direct encounter with the way they are used in current research, in methods like ethnography, discourse analysis, interviews, and surveys. The cornerstone of this course is the first hand  “research design” assignment, where students first devise a research question of their own, and then develop an approach to offering an empirically grounded response to this question using two or more of the methods studied. Through this experience students will also learn that sociological research is a personal, human enterprise that promises enormous discovery in the realm of the social. We also address the limitations imposed both by methodology and by practical constraints.

Syllabus

Art and Aesthetics

AR231 Representation

Module: Art Objects and Experience

Instructor: Geoff Lehman

Course times: Mon 11:10 - 12:40, Wed 10:45 - 12:15

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

This course will focus on the problem of pictorial representation in painting, drawing, and photography, considering the (material, structural) conditions that make representation possible, the relationship between pictorial representation and its “model” (whether object or experience) in the world and, perhaps most importantly, the range of experiences arising from the encounter between pictures and their viewers. All the principal topics for the course are ones that are important both within art historical discourse and as larger problems of human experience and (self-) knowledge: originality, nature, space and time, mood, materiality. The course will be guided throughout by sustained discussion of a small number of individual artworks.  Among the artists whose works we will examine are Raphael, Titian, Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Rembrandt van Rijn, Diego Velázquez, Claude Monet, Eugène Atget, Pablo Picasso, Agnes Martin, and Cindy Sherman. Readings will focus on texts in art history and theory (Pater, Wölfflin, Riegl, Barthes, Krauss, Rosand), as well as primary sources (Hesiod, Castiglione, early writings on photography and on Impressionism, selected lyric poems). Visits to Berlin museums to experience works of art firsthand are an integral part of the course.

Syllabus

FA104 Drawing and Conceptual Practice

Module: Art Objects and Experience

Instructor: Claire Lehmann

Course times: Mon 9:00 - 10:30, Wed 9:00 - 10:30

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

This studio course will train students' perceptual ability, but will also consider drawing as a versatile tool—as a means for visual thinking, an exploratory device, and an end in itself. This class will alternate between the practical acquisition of technical skills and the expansion of students' theoretical background through presentations, readings, and discussions. Students will develop their facility with line, value, and texture, but also with various modes of drawing: figuration, abstraction, observation, and imagination. A final project, to be chosen by each student, will be required; in-class group critiques and weekly assignments will also be an integral part of the course.

Syllabus

TH239 Dance Lab: Approaches and Practice

Module: Approaching Arts Through Theory

Instructor: Eva Burghardt

Course time: Thu 15:15 - 18:15

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

This is course is designed as an ongoing training in contemporary dance and improvisation technique as well as providing space to explore theories and techniques of body-based performance work in a broader sense. The course includes the possibility of individual projects in accordance with prior preparation. In the first half of the semester we will focus on movement and dance-based training, drawing from contemporary dance techniques and bodyworks, such as Release Technique and Body Mind Centering. The practice of presence and body awareness will be the core focus. Adding to this foundational work, we will explore dance improvisation technique, developing and expanding movement vocabulary. Rather than prescribing a specific aesthetic, the aim is to give a framework for individual exploration and expression. Solo and group improvisations will lead to “Instant Compositions,” the spontaneous creation of short pieces of dance. The second half of the semester will shift the focus to composing and choreography. Different layers of composition such as use of space, timing, rhythm, atmosphere, dramaturgy and story will be explored. Students will be encouraged to bring in their own ideas, texts, music etc. and find different performative formats. Students can choose whether they would like to choreograph, or perform, or both. A final presentation of the resulting pieces will be shown at the end of the semester. Throughout, we learn to analyze various aspects of dance and performance. An introduction to dance history, as well as Excursions to dance performances in Berlin, including discussions and a written reflection/essay afterwards, will be an integral part of the course.

Syllabus

AH112 Sculpture and Philosophy

Module: Approaching Arts Through Theory

Instructor: Peter Hajnal

Course times: Mon 17:00 - 18:30, Thu 15:15 - 16:45

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

Sculpture clearly finishes as second in the famous Renaissance Paragone, the discussion of whether painting or sculpture is the superior art. The reason may lie in sculpture’s inability to define its own nature. While painting explains itself (whether rightly or wrongly) as an illusion seen through a virtual window (Alberti), sculpture has no similarly obvious legitimation strategy. Its obstructive spatial presence merely serves to leave its essence open to question. A painter might dream of entering her picture and reappear as a raisonneur inviting contemplation. Sculptors – like Pygmalion – dream of embracing their creation as real. Sculpture’s very physicality seems to deny the intellectual distance necessary for reflexive thought, leaving no option of relating to it but the “erotic,” the sacral, or the decorative. Despite this apparent philosophical disadvantage, sculpture has a way of taking a representative role ahead of painting at major turning points in the history of Western art. Accordingly, philosophical aesthetics in the European tradition has often turned to sculpture in its efforts to define the essence of art, and to derive general norms from the allegedly inferior instance. This paradox will serve as the starting point for our inquiry concerning the nature and essence of Western sculpture, and the philosophical issues associated with it. Besides instances of classical sculpture, we will be discussing in detail works by a number of artists such as Ghiberti, Donatello, Michelangelo, Canova, Rodin, Warhol and Kapoor. Authors read will include Plato, Alberti, Vasari, Lessing, Herder, Hegel, Rilke, Panofsky, Baxandall, Gombrich, Gross, and Danto.

Syllabus

Literature and Rhetoric

LT245 Writing the Self: Autobiography and/as Fiction?

Module: Theories and Kinds of Narrative

Instructor: Laura Scuriatti

Course times: Mon 10:45 - 12:15, Wed 10:45 - 12:15

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

What do we read when we read autobiographies, and why would we want to read them? The course focuses on the literary genre of the autobiography, exploring the way in which the self is constructed in literature and narrative form, asking questions about the relationship between truth and fiction in narrative, reflecting on problems specific to the genre, such as the working of memory and the tension between invention and disclosure. Starting from early examples of self-narrative, students will examine canonical texts, such as Saint-Augustine's Confessions, Dante's Vita Nuova and Divine Comedy, Rousseau's Confessions, Montaigne's Essays, Wordsworth’s Prelude, and modernist and contemporary autobiographies--including texts in which the boundary between autobiography and fiction is hard to draw--and will also reflect on the relationship between the texts and the historical moment in which they were produced.

Syllabus

TH234 Acting and Directing: Realism

Module: Theater and Film

Instructor: David Levine

Course time: Mon 17:00 - 20:00

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

This is a studio performance class. Students will examine techniques of acting and directing in the psychological realist mode, as well as the transformations, uses, and assumptions these techniques have incorporated since their codification by Stanislavski. What does it mean to be "in character?" What does it take for a performance to be "realistic," and does this realism resemble, at all, the world as we experience it? The course will include extensive scene work on two plays (one classic, one contemporary), movie screenings, presentations, and visits to Berlin theaters.

Syllabus

Advanced Modules

Ethics and Politics

HI310 Islam and the West: Historical and Contemporary Dimensions

Modules: Historical Studies (Humanities BA) / Methods in Historiography (Economics and Politics BA)

Instructor: Marcela Perett

Course times: Mon 11:10 - 12:40, Wed 10:45 - 12:15

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

This course introduces students to the long and complicated relationship between Islam and the West, with an emphasis on their mutual dialogue, coexistence and competition. The readings will underscore the fact that there have been many “Islams” and many “Wests” and show the varied nature of their relationship over the centuries.  After a brief introduction to the sacred texts, key customs and sectarian developments of both religious traditions, we will spend each week studying a different moment in the interaction between Christians and Muslims through the lens of a particular set of sources. We begin in the medieval era, by discussing Muslim conquests in the Mediterranean, Christian crusades and the struggle for power and domination in the Middle East, before moving onto the Renaissance and the debate about modernity (with its rationalism, secularism and individualism) that has been at the core of the tensions in the Muslim world’s relationship with the West. The latter part of the course will examine nineteenth-century questions of colonialism and fundamentalism and we shall conclude by discussing the events of  “9/11” and the recent military attempts to resolve the perceived danger posed by the spread of Islam. The course is designed around primary sources (presented in translation) and focuses on teaching students the skills of reading, interpreting and critiquing different kinds of historical sources (both written and visual) in the context of Christian-Muslim debates whose outcome has made the Western world what it is today.

Syllabus

PL310 Schelling and the Vicissitudes of Freedom in German Idealism

Module: Movements and Thinkers

Instructor: Jan Völker

Course times: Tue 13:30- 15:00, Fri 13:30 - 15:00

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling was not only one of the main proponents of German Idealism; along with Fichte, Hegel and Hölderlin he was also one of the first and most stringent critics of the philosophy of Immanuel Kant and his “subjective Idealism.” He has been read as a precursor to Marx, on the grounds that he sought a systematic means of overturning Idealism itself. Schelling's thought therefore straddles the boundary between idealism and materialism. This course will follow the main stages of Schelling's philosophical development, and trace the ways in which the concept of freedom in particular compels him to re-articulate and revise his system. To this end, we will read not only Schelling's famous treatise on human freedom, but his late Berlin lectures on positive philosophy. In addition, we consider contemporary readings of his work, from Manfred Frank, Dieter Henrich, Slavoj Žižek and others, to illuminate the breathtaking abysses that one may face when thinking the notion of freedom.

Syllabus

Art and Aesthetics

AH310 Art and the First World War (co-taught with the TU Berlin)

Modules: Artists, Genres, Movements; Historical Studies

Instructor: Aya Soika, Andrea Meyer (TU Berlin)

Course times: block seminar from 14:00 - 18:00 on 15 Oct; 5 Nov; 12 Nov; 19 Nov; 26 Nov; 3 Dec; 10 Dec

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

The inaugural catastrophic event of the twentieth century, causing destruction and loss of life on an unprecedented scale, the First World War (1914-1918) altered almost every aspect of existence in Europe.  It also had a dramatic impact on the lives, working practices and forms created by visual artists, who underwent a decisive rupture with their previous experience and commitments. The works created by artists who went through the disaster of the war also decisively influenced the ways in which the war was perceived later, and not only in intellectual or artistic circles. In this course, manifestos and visual and literary works by European artists active during and after the war will be analyzed and placed in a wider cultural and socio-historical context. This will allow us to ask questions about the relationship between art and politics, but also about early twentieth-century society, and the role of nationalism, education, religion and medical science in cultural life and artistic production. The legacy of the war and its effects on the avant-garde from 1919 onwards will be studied by looking at movements such as Dada and Surrealism. The course will include visits to exhibitions in Berlin marking the hundredth anniversary of the outbreak of the war.

Syllabus

FA310 Sculpture in Expanded Fields

Module: Media, Practices, Techniques

Instructor: David Levine

Course time: Wed 13:30 - 16:30

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

What role does the spectator's experience play in the perception of a work of art? And can the artist treat this experience as sculptural material? This is a studio art class that builds on approaches to sculpture since the mid-1960s, exploring physical and social space as artistic materials, and the means for working with them. Instruction in working with audio, video and lighting is combined with regular critiques of student work, presentations, museum visits, and studio visits and guest critiques with Berlin-based artists.

Syllabus

PL311 Kant’s Critical Aesthetics

Module: Aesthetics and Art Theory

Instructor: Katalin Makkai

Course times: Tue 13:30 - 15:00, Fri 13:30 - 15:00

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

This course is centered upon a close reading of Immanuel Kant’s “Critique of Aesthetic Judgment”, the first part of his Critique of Judgment. Our focus is his theorization of the experience and judgment of artistic beauty. For Kant, the “free” beauty of an artwork is independent of any meaning or message (ethical, religious, social-political, or otherwise) that it might convey. Nor is its point the arousal of some emotional response. As an object of “pure” aesthetic judgment, art is to be valued “disinterestedly” and for its own sake. Furthermore, the appreciation of beauty, in art as in nature, is no merely subjective matter. Far from being a function of personal taste, its reach is universal and necessary. We prepare to explore such thoughts by identifying some of the main views to which Kant’s work is responding, enlisting writings by David Hume, the third Earl of Shaftesbury, and A. G. Baumgarten. We follow—and reflect upon—our reading of Kant with a look at one strand of his remarkable influence upon art theory and art criticism, as well as art production itself. We consider the “formalist” views of Roger Fry and Clement Greenberg, twentieth-century inheritors of Kantianism who were directly inspired by contemporary art practice and (especially in the case of Greenberg) directly affected it. We close with the opposing voice of sociologist Pierre Bourdieu, whose “social critique of the judgment of taste” calls into question the principal dimensions of Kantian aesthetics that we have been tracing.

Syllabus

SO310 Transformation of Public Space in Berlin After 1989 (co-taught with the TU Berlin)

Module: Exhibition Culture and Public Space

Instructors: Irit Dekel, Dominik Bartmanski (TU)

Course times: blockseminar from 16:00-19:00 on 16 Oct, 30 Oct, 6 Nov, 20 Nov, 27 Nov, 13 Dec

Credits: 4 ECTS, 2 U.S. credits

Is Berlin “new”? How does the capital marketing campaign ‘be Berlin’ since 2008 reflect larger issues of urban renewal, commercialization of the public sphere, the creative classes, segregation and gentrification? What does this campaign and other related projects reveal and what they conceal? This course will focus on urban change, design and activism in Berlin after the Fall of the Wall in 1989. The theoretical focus will be on the construction of social and political meaning and their material manifestation in urban spaces.  We will read literature of a general kind (Simmel, Foucault, de Certeau, Auge, Zukin, Latour, to name a few), in conjunction with some specialized texts by experts (Ladd, Löw, Till, Novy, Colomb, and others) which will allow to apply the concepts discussed to specific contemporary cases of urban change. The special emphasis will be on Berlin and some comparative regional perspectives. Students will have the opportunity to engage in hands-on qualitative research project for their assignments, which will add a training element in social scientific research methods.

Syllabus

Literature and Rhetoric

LT310 Enlightenment Media and the Rise of Berlin’s Haskalah

Module: Literary Movements and Forms

Instructor: Ulrike Wagner

Course times: Mon 9:00 - 10:30, Wed 9:00 - 10:30

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

This course examines the age of Enlightenment and its articulations in Berlin’s Haskalah (or Jewish Enlightenment) movement by a study of its media. Drawing on philosophical, literary, religious, and historical texts as well as addresses, letters and records of Berlin’s salon culture, we will investigate concepts of Enlightenment thinking and notions of selfhood as shaped by the rise of the book. The rapidly growing market for the book’s publication, translation, and circulation had a significant impact on how figures such as Lessing, Varnhagen, Herder, Kant or Mendelssohn would conceive of questions of human equality, tolerance, reason, and religious truth. Interestingly, such questions became closely linked to specific technologies of processing, reworking, circulating and communicating texts. The course’s objective is to deepen and broaden students’ understanding of the Enlightenment and its manifestations in the Haskalah through the lens of media studies.

Syllabus

IS311 Berlin: Experiment in Modernity

Module: Literary Analysis and Cultural Production

Instructor: Florian Becker

Course times: Mon 10:45 - 12:15, Wed 10:45 - 12:15, Fri (Museum visit - off campus) 15:15 - 19:00

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

More than any other city, Berlin has been a source and a theater for the forces shaping Western modernity. Its importance and its by turns glorious and catastrophic role in European culture and history have their origins in its peculiar development. Built on a swamp, in a poor duchy surrounded by more powerful states, it was remade during the Enlightenment as a center not only of military discipline and administrative control but also of learning and innovation. Increasingly characterized in the later nineteenth century by almost uncontrolled growth, it rose to the status of capital of the German Empire and became a center of science and technology. With rapid industrialization came sharp social polarization and bitter political conflict, but also the birth of aesthetic modernism and avant-garde culture. After the clamor for imperial power and colonial expansion culminated in the cataclysm of World War I, Berlin witnessed the unprecedented artistic rebirth of the Weimar Republic. During the Nazi dictatorship the city became the point of origin of political terror, war and genocide. Reduced to little more than “a pile of rubble near Potsdam” (Bertolt Brecht), Berlin found itself on the frontline of the Cold War and remained forcibly divided for more than four decades between two radically different political and economic systems. Through a combination of historical sources, literature, philosophy, and a wide range of artifacts—from paintings to photographs to film, archival and contemporary—we shall seek to understand Berlin’s significance and its current position at the heart of Europe. And we will speculate about its possible futures as a place of gathering and experiment for a population from across the world. 

Syllabus

IS331 Berlin Institutions: Internship Seminar

Instructor: Agata Lisiak

Course time: Mon 13:30 - 15:00

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits (in combination with an internship)

This course accompanies students' undertaking of an internship or period of practical training, and addresses such issues as: the successful functioning of institutions, the role of guiding principles and values in determining the direction and structure of projects and initiatives, and the relationship between the various spheres of society (the state, the market, individual or collective agency) in influencing the way institutions operate. Particular focus will be on Berlin and its unusually diverse combination of political, artistic and citizen-activist organizations.

Syllabus

Language Courses

GM101 German Beginner A1 (Group A)

Instructor: Ulrike Harnisch

Course times: Mon 13:30 - 15:00, Thu 9:00 - 10:30, Fri 10:45 - 12:15

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

Syllabus

GM101 German Beginner A1 (Group B)

Instructor: Ulrike Harnisch

Course times: Mon 15:15 - 16:45, Tue 15:15 - 16:45, Fri 9:00 - 10:30

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

Syllabus

GM101 German Beginner A1 (Group C)

Instructor: Ariane Faber

Course times: Mon 15:15 - 16:45, Tue 15:15 - 16:45, Fri 9:00 - 10:30

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

Syllabus

GM151 German Beginner A2

Instructor: Ulrike Wagner

Course times: Mon 13:30 - 15:00, Thu 9:00 - 10:30, Fri 10:45 - 12:15

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

Syllabus

GM201 German Intermediate B1

Instructor: Silke Hilgers

Course times: Mon 13:30 - 15:00, Thu 9:00 - 10:30, Fri 10:45 - 12:15

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

Syllabus

GM251 German Intermediate B2

Instructor: Silke Hilgers

Course times: Mon 15:15 - 16:45, Tue 15:15 - 16:45, Fri 9:00 - 10:30

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

Syllabus

GM301 German Advanced C1

Instructor: Ulrike Harnisch

Course times: Tue 17:00 - 18:30, Wed 13:30 - 15:00, Thu 15:15 - 16:45

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

Syllabus

GM351 German Advanced C2

Instructor: Silke Hilgers

Course times: Mon 9:00 - 10:30, Wed 9:00 - 10:30, Thu 15:15 - 16:45

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

Syllabus

FR101 French Beginner A1

Instructor: Edit Gerelyes

Course times: Mon 13:30 - 15:00, Wed 9:00 - 10:30, Fri 9:00 - 10:30

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

Syllabus

FR201 French Intermediate B1

Instructor: Edit Gerelyes

Course times: Mon 10:45 - 12:15, Wed 10:45 - 12:15, Fri 10:45 - 12:15

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

Syllabus

SP101 Spanish Beginner A1

Instructor: David Perucha

Course times: Mon 13:30 - 15:00, Tue 13:30 - 15:00, Thu 9:00 - 10:30

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

All Bard College Berlin language courses address the development of skills in reading and listening comprehension, conversation and writing within the context of the European Framework of Languages from level A1 through C2.

Beginner German, French, Spanish A1
Emphasis on familiar vocabulary building, listening comprehension and speaking with gradual introduction to grammar and writing skills. 
Ulrike Wagner, Ulrike Harnisch, Silke Hilgers, Ariane Faber, Edit Gerelyes, David Martinez Perucha

Beginner German, French, Spanish A2
Continued emphasis on listening comprehension and routine communication. Students read and write short, simple texts. 
Ulrike Harnisch, Ulrike Wagner, Silke Hilgers, Edit Gerelyes, David Martinez Perucha

Intermediate German, French, Spanish B1 
Emphasis on communication skills including comprehension of standard speech and descriptive reading passages, topical conversation and simple, descriptive composition. 
Ulrike Harnisch, Ulrike Wagner, Silke Hilgers, Edit Gerelyes, David Martinez Perucha

Intermediate German, French, Spanish B2 
Continued emphasis on communication skills including comprehension of extended speeches and lectures, reading of newspapers and general periodicals, spontaneous conversational interaction with native speakers and writing clear, detailed text on a wide range of subjects. 
Ulrike Harnisch, Ulrike Wagner, Silke Hilgers, Edit Gerelyes, David Martinez Perucha

Advanced German Language, French, Spanish C1
Development of listening and reading comprehension levels to include extended speech and some literary texts. Emphasis on conversational and writing skills to express ideas and opinions and present detailed descriptions expressing points of view. 
Ulrike Harnisch, Ulrike Wagner, Silke Hilgers, Edit Gerelyes, David Martinez Perucha

Advanced German Language, French, Spanish C2 
Development of comprehension skills to allow for understanding of all forms of spoken language and written texts. Emphasis on communication skills for the fluent expression of ideas and argument both orally and in written form. 
Ulrike Harnisch, Ulrike Wagner, Silke Hilgers, Edit Gerelyes, David Martinez Perucha

Bard College Berlin typically offers students three levels of language instruction, beginning, intermediate and advanced. Placement tests determine each student’s enrolment level.