Core Courses

IS104 Medieval Literature and Culture: Forms of Love

AY/BA1/Bard1 Core Course

Coordinator: Marcela Perett

Course times: Tue 9:00 - 12:15, Thur 13:30 - 16:45

Credits: 14 ECTS, 8 U.S. credits

The first year spring semester core course Medieval Literature and Culture is devoted to an exploration of the category of love in medieval European Christianity, with reference to dialogues with and divergences from Islam and Judaism. The study of the distinctive manifestations of the concept and its accompanying rituals offers a primary guide to the achievements of the medieval civilizations (between 400 and 1500 C.E.). Describing the concept of love reflected the most cherished cultural values of medieval societies. Taking our departure from the fundamental forms of love posited in Antiquity (eros and philia), by Plato in the Symposium, and by Aristotle in the Nicomachean Ethics, respectively, we examine the medieval revision of these terms in a series of different contexts (e.g., the university, the monastery, the court, the city) and genres, including the theological and philosophical treatise, autobiography, letters, romance, and lyric poetry. Principally, the course investigates how the arrival of Christianity as a state-sponsored religion in most of Europe revitalized and transformed the Greek understanding of love into new categories (such as agape, the love with which God allegedly loved his creation), ranging from the metaphysical and the erotic, to social and institutional designations. Secondly, the course will examine the interactions and conflict between different religious cultures and traditions with respect to the category of love, and show how its formulation reflects their wider convictions and norms. Emphasizing the heritage and origins of the texts which articulated these debates, we will also attend to the fact that the works of Greek Antiquity were only available to medieval writers in translation. Another concern of the course will be the ways in which authors borrowed or adapted one another’s assumptions and frameworks. Finally, we address the transformation of genre that reflection on the concept of love brought about: the connections between religious belief and a number of other cultural productions and practices.

 

IS212 History and Philosophy of Science: Early Modern Science
BA2 Core Course

Coordinator: Michael Weinman

Course times: Tue 9:30 - 12:45, Thur 13:30 - 16:45

Credits: 14 ECTS, 8 U.S. credits

The course seeks to introduce the scientific advances of the early modern period (with particular focus on the seventeenth century): the developments that defined the principles, methods and frameworks of modern natural science as it exists today.  We not only explore the philosophical basis and conclusions of this historical development, but its experimental procedures, and come to an understanding of their practical form and the meaning of their results. In the first section, we concentrate on the new understanding of space, matter and motion deriving from the cosmologies and mechanical theories of this era (the basis of modern physics). In the second, we consider the remarkable advances in the life sciences at this period (examining anatomical and medical texts), and finally, attend to the emergence of what came to be called “chemistry” out of the mystical practice of alchemy. Spread throughout the course are visits to exhibitions and collections in Berlin, which will help us to reflect on the way in which scientific practices and their discoveries have been historicized, and why we ought to enhance our critical awareness of such historicizing. 

 

IS312 Berlin: Experiment in Modernity II

Bard3 Core Course

Instructor: Florian Becker

Course times: Mon 17:00 - 18:30, Wed 15:15 - 16:45, Fri (Museum visit - off campus) 16:00 - 17:30

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 avantgarde 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. Still 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. The spring section of the course focuses on Berlin's history from World War I up to the present.

 

IS322 Modernism: Time
BA4/PY Core Course

Coordinator: Laura Scuriatti

Course times: Tue 9:30 - 12:45, Thur 13:30 - 16:45

Credits: 14 ECTS, 8 U.S. credits

At the turn into the twentieth century, a new movement arose, now primarily identified with literary and aesthetic practices, but which can be said to reach across all the most important developments in the arts and sciences. The category of ‘time’ was central to modernist experiment, whether in defining a change in the way human consciousness was conceived and represented, in the relationship between the present and the past, and the dynamics of historical transformation itself. “Newness” itself was a fundamental value of modernism, guiding the programs of artistic practice and an embrace of the microcosmically complex and the unpredictable in scientific procedure.  This core course draws upon one of the monumental works of modernist literature, Robert Musil’s The Man Without Qualities, written between 1930 and 1942, to explore the key developments in modernist epistemology and their connection to philosophical accounts of temporality. We investigate the relationship between modernism and modernity; the emergent accounts of the functioning of human consciousness (in psychoanalysis, the discipline of psychology, analytic and continental philosophy); the meaning of modernism in music and the arts, and the specific characteristics of modernist narrative. Musil’s novel accompanies the readings and topics throughout, providing a record of the main intellectual developments in its time (from politics to criminology) and embodying some of the defining features of the modernist novel: a protagonist adjacent to conventional social identity; a narrative logic which follows the associations of the mind; an open-ended structure which negates the frameworks of form; a reflection on the high-bourgeois European culture that was destroyed by the First World War.  We end with a reflection on the legacy of modernism today, and its implications for the experience and representation of everyday life and the definition of the objects and aims of art, philosophy and science.

 

Concentration Seminars

PT236 Democracy Ancient and Modern 
Ethics and Politics Concentration Seminar

Instructor: Ewa Atanassow

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

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

In this course we shall examine democracy as a political and social system, and as an ethical ideal. Focusing on two paradigmatic polities – the ancient Athenian and the modern American – as seen through the lens of classic ancient and modern accounts of democracy, our investigation will proceed along two tracks: historical and conceptual. As we survey the origins and institutions of two historical exemplars, and familiarize ourselves with key actors and events, we’ll seek to raise theoretical questions about the nature of democracy, its social and psychical underpinnings as well as the relation of democratic political institutions with society’s ethos and way of life. Readings include: Thucydides’ History, Aristotle’s Politics, Pseudo Xenophon’s Constitution of Athens, Plutarch’s Greek Lives, Montesquieu’s Spirit of the Laws, Rousseau’s Social Contract, American Founding documents, Tocqueville’s Democracy in America

 

AR231 Representation 
Art and Aesthetics Concentration Seminar

Instructor: Geoff Lehman

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

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, including: originality (original versus copy), nature, space and time (perspective), mood, and materiality (medium). 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, Giorgione, Diego Velázquez, Eugène Atget, Pablo Picasso, and Cindy Sherman, and readings will focus on texts in art history and in philosophical aesthetics.  Visits to Berlin museums to experience works of art firsthand are an integral part of the course.

 

LT246 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 
Literature and Rhetoric Concentration Seminar

Instructor: Frank Ruda

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

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

In the twentieth century, a new practice and theory, known as “psychoanalysis” gained a powerful cultural significance. Both a therapeutic method and a theory of human subjectivity—which had, and sometimes still entertains, ambitions of aligning itself with biology and neuroscience—it became particularly important in the field of literary and visual interpretation. The course will first follow the formation of psychoanalytic techniques in Freud’s early works and his later ambitious commentaries on human nature and civilization, before addressing selected writings by the most important follower of Freud: Jacques Lacan.  Most crucially, we will pursue the question ‘what is an interpretation?´ with attention to the fact that in psychoanalytic method, interpretation is always a process that reflects on itself, considers its own preconceptions, divergences, and frameworks. The course will explore the affinities of psychoanalysis with literary texts in particular, and its uses as a resource for exploring the ways in which desire propels interpretative engagements.

 

Electives

PL220 The Philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche

Instructor: Tracy Colony

Concentration: Ethics and Politics

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

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

The influence of Nietzsche’s work upon later continental philosophy is perhaps of unparalleled importance. In this course we will read selections from his major works in order to trace the central themes of his philosophy. Special attention will also be given to the history of the reception of his work. All texts will be read in translation, however, parallel readings in the original German will be supported and encouraged.

 

PL208 Existentialism

Instructor: Tracy Colony

Concentration: Ethics and Politic

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

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

One of the most important philosophical movements of the 20th century is unquestionably Existentialism. The philosophy of existence developed by Jean-Paul Sartre can be seen as the clearest expression of this movement. In this course we will read selections from Sartre and other core representatives of French Existentialism. However, this reading will be prepared for by tracing important philosophical lines of influence that the existentialists often acknowledged in the works of Kierkegaard, Nietzsche and Heidegger. All texts will be read in translation, however, parallel readings in the original French or German will be supported and encouraged. 

 

FM219 German Cinema: Weimar Republic and Third Reich

Instructor: Matthias Hurst

Concentration: Art and Aesthetics

Course times: Wed 13:30 - 15:00, Thurs (Film screening) 19:30 - 21:00, Fri 13:30 - 15:00

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

The history of Germany and the development of German society in the 20th century are reflected in the history and development of German cinema. Film figures both as a popular and artistic mirror of the Zeitgeist, and a critical journey through cinema history is thus a confrontation with and exploration of the cultural, social and political history of Germany. From the expressionistic silent “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” (1920) to Leni Riefenstahl’s infamous documentary/propaganda film “Triumph of the Will” (1935), from artistic innovation and pluralism, social insecurity and economic crisis to fascism and Gleichschaltung (enforced conformity, ideological synchronization) the medium displays the mentality or specific feelings of the German people in the light of extreme social and political experiences. This elective course presents the variety of important themes, trends and films that emerged during the Weimar period and the Third Reich. Kracauer’s seminal socio-psychological understanding of the films in the Weimar Republic (From Caligari to Hitler, 1947) and Eisner’s popular reading of the specific aesthetics of German expressionism (The Haunted Screen, 1952) as well as revisions of these classical approaches and more recent interpretations guide the presentations and discussions of landmark films of early German cinema by directors like Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau, Fritz Lang and Georg Wilhelm Pabst. Evening film screenings will be a required part of the course. 

 

FA101 Fundamentals of Drawing and Collage

Instructor: John Kleckner

Concentration: Art and Aesthetics

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

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

This course is an introduction to the principles and techniques of drawing and collage, with an emphasis on the work of the Berlin Dada movement. Students will gain an understanding of technical fundamentals (line, shape, perspective, composition, color, etc.) and experience working with a variety of materials (graphite, ink, charcoal, paint, printed matter, etc.) on paper. Through visits to museums and consultations with contemporary artists, the class also provides an insight into the history, development, and impact of collage in modern and contemporary art. The ideal student for this course is one with little or no prior artistic training, but a strong interest in art and art history. The majority of class time will be hands-on studio work. Assigned projects will cultivate and exercise each student’s skills in visual thinking, with the aim of improving fluency in visual expression.

 

AH222 Nations’ Buildings

Instructor: Prof. Dr. Kerstin Wittmann-Englert (Technische Universität Berlin)

Concentration: Art and Aesthetics

Course times: Important - please note that this course will take place on our campus and TU Berlin between 8 April - 15 July 2013

Our campus:

Mon 17:00 - 18:30 on 8.4.2013 / 15.4.2013 / 22.4.2013 / 29.4.2013

Technische Universität Berlin (Straße des 17. Juni 150/152, 10623 Berlin, Raum A 060):

Wed 12:15 - 13:45 from 15 April – 15 July 2013

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

The transfer of the federal government and parliament from Bonn to Berlin following German unification was an opportunity for the representatives of all nations to establish a presence in the new centre of Germany. A number of countries sought out to win the services of prestigious architects and make a mark on the landscape of Berlin. The architectural spectrum of these efforts ranges from spectacular new buildings to reconverted, extended and for the most part legally protected old buildings. In contrast stand the former embassies of the GDR, which are all patterned according to the same type. This seminar examines the embassy building as ambassadorial representation, as a mode of expression and meaning that carries information in its very structure. Through selected on-site examples, we distill specific architectural details, as well as characteristics particular to historical context and to the cityscape of Berlin.  We will concentrate on three specific locations: Pankow, and the typical embassies of the GDR (the buildings of our campus); Pariser Platz, an historic location and showcase for reaction against the principles of the so-called “critical reconstruction” school of architecture; selected examples from the embassy quarter in Tiergarten.  The seminar is a cooperation between Bard College Berlin and the Technical University Berlin.  The segment of the seminar at Bard College Berlin will concentrate on embassy architecture in Berlin; the segment at TU (conducted in German), will examine Berlin embassy architecture in comparative international context.

 

FM201 Introduction to Film Studies

Instructor: Matthias Hurst

Concentration: Literature and Rhetoric; Art and Aesthetics

Course times: Mon 15:15 - 16:45, Mon (Film screening) 19:30 - 21:00, Wed 17:00 - 18:30

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

Film is a language. Like any other language it has diverse elements of organisation, different accents and different levels of meaning, and it underwent structural and lexical development since its invention in the late 19th century. Understanding the language of film implies the awareness of film history and aesthetics and the ability to recognize and analyze structures of filmic narration. This course is an introduction to Film Studies and provides an insight into the basic knowledge of film history and theory, film aesthetics and cinematic language. Central topics are modes and styles of filmic presentation, film analysis and different approaches to film interpretation, classical films, popular film genres and film directors. We explore and discuss the meaning of film as an art form, the elements of narration in fiction film and the representative function of film in our (post-)modern world and society, i.e. the ability of film to address important social and/or philosophical issues. The course consists of both lectures/seminars and evening film screenings.

 

MA150 Understanding Politics Through Statistics

Instructor: Till Weber

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

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

The world of politics bristles with statistical information. Every day we are overwhelmed with the latest poll results, unemployment rates, election forecasts, and so on. But how reliable are these numbers, and what do they tell us in the first place? What does it mean if “budget cuts have slowed down economic growth across industrial countries” or “the governing coalition has fallen out of favor with many voters over a corruption scandal”? The seminar aims to equip students with the means to scrutinize statistical claims made in the realm of politics and the media. At the same time we will learn how to use statistics to uncover regularities behind the mist of day-to-day politics. Students are welcome to bring their own questions to class. No previous knowledge in statistics is required.

 

SO150 Past in the Present: Collective Memory, Politics and Culture

Instructor: Irit Dekel

Course Times: Mon 13:30 - 15:00, Wed 10:45 - 12:15

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

This course examines the interrelations between the ways the past is represented and acted upon, or the culture and politics of this process. The focus will be on civil society initiatives rather than on state-orchestrated commemoration. We will draw on cases from modern European (specifically German) memory politics after WWII,  and on examples from Israel and Palestine. The central question the course addresses is how collective memory is a social phenomenon that enacts the past but is always embedded in present politics and culture. We will then look into the different ‘sites’ of studying collective memory, from social agency, identity construction and cosmopolitanism, to sites of memory, their aesthetics and architecture, and to the phenomena of tourism and consumption. We will proceed by focusing on specific sites of remembrance such as memorials, ruins, museums, trials, testimony and oral history. In class and in assignments we will discuss theoretical texts as well as memorial sites, exhibitions, works of art and archival materials. We will conclude by examining three recently created sites of remembrance that combine in their history as well as in their form and utilization various modes of memory work: The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin, and its relations to the newly opened Sinti and Roma Memorial and the Memorial to Homosexual victims of National Socialism, all in the center of Berlin.In our reading we will discuss social and personal experience and performance of social memory through the writing of Halbwachs, Connerton, Durkheim, Freud, Alexander, Olick and others.

 

IS312 Berlin: Experiment in Modernity II

Instructor: Florian Becker

Course times: Mon 17:00 - 18:30, Wed 15:15 - 16:45, Fri (Museum visit - off campus) 16:00 - 17:30

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 avantgarde 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. Still 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. The spring section of the course focuses on Berlin's history from World War I up to the present. 

 

IS332 Berlin Institutions: Values in Practice (Internship Seminar)

Instructor: Agata Lisiak

Course times: Wed 9:00 - 10:30

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

This course constitutes the academic counterpart to student internships in diverse business, cultural, civic and government-sector organizations across Berlin. Along with creating space for structured reflection on the individual internships, the course provides for a rigorous academic engagement with questions about the internal and external operations of institutions, the importance of values in the creation of organizational cultures, the interplay between “culture,” civil society and public policy, and specific historical and other contexts surrounding organizations in which students are placed. The Fall of the Wall and the subsequent move of the Federal Republic of Germany's capital from Bonn to Berlin had a tremendous effect on Berlin's for-profit and non-profit organizations--we will talk about how certain organizations managed to succeed in the new environment while others dissolved. Drawing on the assigned readings in Organizational Studies as well as their own experiences, students will discuss various types of organizational structures and cultures, interactions within organizations (with focus on the use of new media), and consider how these interactions reflect institutional engagement. We will look at how institutions communicate their values internally and externally, how they influence their environment, and how personal values can be externalized in the context of organizations. Civic engagement inside and outside organizations will be discussed in relation to different types of citizenship (city, national, EU, etc.) with particular focus on the role of cities in the formation and development of civil society. Some of the institutions we will use as examples in our discussions include local start-up companies, Berlin’s art scene (as part of a larger, international network), the Foundation Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, philharmonic orchestras and urban activist organizations.

Language Courses

GM101 German Beginner A1

Course times: Mon 10:45 - 12:15, Tue 17:00 - 18:30, Fri 10:45 - 12:15

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

GM151 German Beginner A2

Course times: Mon 10:50 - 12:20, Tue 17:10 - 18:40, Fri 10:50 - 12:20

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

GM201 German Intermediate B1

Course times: Mon 9:00 - 10:30, Tue 13:30 - 15:00, Thur 10:50 - 12:20

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

GM301 German Advanced C1

Course times: Tue 15:20 - 16:50, Thu 9:00 - 10:30, Fri 9:00 - 10:30

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

FR151 French Beginner A2

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

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

FR301 French Advanced C1

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

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

SP151 Spanish Beginner A2

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

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

 

All 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. 
D. Deichfuß, E. Gerelyes, D. Perucha

Beginner German, French, Spanish A2
Continued emphasis on listening comprehension and routine communication. Students read and write short, simple texts. 
D. Deichfuß, E. Gerelyes, D. 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. 
D. Deichfuß, E. Gerelyes, D. 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. 
D. Deichfuß, E. Gerelyes, D. 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. 
D. Deichfuß, E. Gerelyes, D. 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. 
D. Deichfuß, E. Gerelyes, D. Perucha

Typically three levels of language instruction are offered: beginning, intermediate and advanced. Placement tests determine each student’s enrolment level.