Courses Fall 2015*

Core Courses

Foundational Modules

Advanced Modules

Electives

Language Courses

* The course list may be subject to change.

Core Courses

IS101 Greek Civilization: Plato’s Republic and Its Interlocutors

AY/BA1/Bard1 Core Course

Module: Greek Civilization

Instructors: Tracy ColonyJames HarkerDavid HayesMichael Weinman

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

Course times: Tue 10:45-12:15, Thu 9:00-10:30

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 Florence

BA2 Core Course

Module: Renaissance Art and Thought

Instructors: Geoff LehmanPeter Hajnal

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

Course times: Tue 11:00-12:30, Thu 9:00-10:30

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 arguably be characterized as a historical period in which the visual arts played the leading role in the culture as a whole. 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: self-reflexivity; 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 several visits to Berlin museums – specifically, the Gemäldegalerie and the Bode Museum, with their extensive Renaissance collections – to encounter works of art firsthand.

Syllabus

IS303 Origins of Political Economy

BA3/4 Core Course

Module: Origins of Political Economy

Instructor: Dirk Ehnts

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

Course times: Tue 9:00-10:30, Thu 11:00-12:30

The course explores the intellectual history of the contemporary disciplines of economics, political theory and sociology, by examining the origins of the discourse known as “political economy,” the philosophical study of the means and processes by which societies and populations provide for their own survival and development. It offers an introduction to the reach and implications of this endeavor, its relationship to questions of law, sovereignty and political representation as well as war and the definition of human identity. In keeping with its attention to the formative history of modern categories and disciplines of knowledge, the course also addresses the way in which economic thinking influences literary texts and cultural exchange, from the shaping of novelistic plot to the connotations of everyday language. It allows students to understand, draw upon and critique the historical formulation of contemporary problems and concerns such as inequality, the sources and circulation of wealth, and the connection (and differentiation) between the economic and political spheres.

Syllabus

IS123 Research Seminar

Module: BA Thesis

Instructor: Tracy Colony

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

Course times: Wed & Thu 13:30-15:00

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

EC110 Principles of Economics

Module: Principles of Economics

Instructor: Martin Binder

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

Course times: Mon 11:00-12:30, Wed 11:00-12:30

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 course 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, and international trade. Part of the course focuses on the government tools used to influence economic growth and individuals' behavior.

Syllabus

EC210 Microeconomics

Module: Microeconomics

Instructor: Martin Binder

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

Course times: Wed & Fri 13:30-15:00

Microeconomics is the study of how individual economic units (households and firms) interact to determine outcomes (allocation of goods and services) in a market setting. This course further develops principles and analytical methods introduced by the Principles of Economics course. The first part of the course deals with consumer behavior, market demand and the extent to which a consumer’s decisions can be modeled as rational. The second part of the course deals with the theory of the firm and the positive and normative characteristics of alternative market structures—perfect competition, monopolistic competition, oligopoly, pure monopoly, and, in resource markets, monopsony—are studied in depth. Finally, the efficiency of market outcomes is studied as well as situations (e.g. the presence of externalities) under which markets are not efficient. Part of the course is devoted to problem solving, in which students present solutions to specific case studies.

Syllabus

HI234 Topographies of Sex

Modules: Methods in Historiography, Historical Studies

Instructor: James Harker

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

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

From its 19th century reputation for licentiousness to former mayor Klaus Wowereit's famous claim in 2003 that the city is "poor but sexy," Berlin has long been closely associated with sex. This course surveys an intellectual and cultural history of sex, with Berlin as our immediate context and frequent object of study. Our primary sources will be literature, film and art often centering on Berlin. We will also explore a range of secondary sources that show the emergence of sex as an object of scientific knowledge through the development of the "modern" sciences of sexology, psychoanalysis, and sociology. We will focus in particular on the "invention" of sexual orientation, pioneering research on transsexuality, and the resulting medicalization of sexual behavior. We will also look at contemporaneous investigations of sexuality in psychoanalytic theory. We will then turn to early sociological accounts of prostitution while tracing its social and economic significance to Berlin from the early twentieth century to the present day. The course will conclude by addressing some of the cultural issues that face contemporary Berlin, including the complicated tangle of prostitution, sex trafficking and tourism, and the threat of encroaching gentrification.

Syllabus

Ethics and Politics

PT238 Equality

Module: History of Political Thought

Instructor: Ewa Atanassow

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

Course times: Mon13:30-15:00, Wed 15:15-16:45

What are the origins of the egalitarian ideal? What does equality actually mean? Is it possible and desirable to realize it in practice? Alongside freedom, equality is among the central categories of ethical and political thought and, arguably, the defining ideal of modern society. This course will be dedicated to scrutinizing this ideal through a sustained examination of the meanings and value of equality. Our investigation will proceed in two parts: we begin by probing the historical wellsprings of equality by engaging with some of its most influential ancient, Christian and modern articulations. Against this historical and conceptual background, in part two we’ll reflect on the experience and competing interpretations of equality that inform the institutions and practices of democratic society. Taking as our guide Tocqueville’s comprehensive analysis of the American polity, and considering more recent case studies, we’ll pose questions about the effects and preconditions of actualizing the egalitarian ideal, and its status in liberal democracy.

Syllabus

PL235 Truth in Action: Ethics and Practical Reason

Module: Ethics and Moral Philosophy

Instructor: Michael Weinman

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

Course times: Tue & Thu 13:30-15:00

What action, if any, is right? How can I know? How can (and why ought) I act thus? These are the questions that theorists of ethics (often but not always moral philosophers) purport to answer by appealing to practical reason. In different ways and from different starting points, these thinkers try to persuade us that the values upon which and for the sake of which we act are, or at least can or should be, rational; either in the sense that these values can be discovered and accounted for by reason, or can be grounded in reason, or both. But for every thinker you can find ready to articulate and defend this view (for instance, the contemporary philosopher and classicist Martha Nussbaum, with whom our course begins), there stands another thinker ready to convince you there is no such "value rationality," and often also adds "nor would it be better if there were" (as, for instance, Bernard Williams argues). Our engagement with this debate chiefly focuses on Aristotle's articulation of the "practical syllogism," a hugely influential account of practical reason. We bookend this central contestant with an introductory unit on the reception of Aristotle in the current conversation, and a concluding unit that examines the path travelled from Aristotle's account up to this reception, focusing on Hume, Kant and Nietzsche.

Syllabus

SO152 Humanistic Social Research: Thinking through Methods

Module: Methods in Social Studies

Instructors: Irit Dekel, Jaroslava Gajdosova

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

Course times: Mon 13:30-15:00, Wed 15:15-16:45

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, case, context, code, 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 social, ethical, political and public concerns. We also address the limitations imposed both by methodology and by practical constraints.

Syllabus

AH312 Art and National Socialism

Module: Historical Studies; Artists, Genres, Movements

Instructor: Aya Soika (co-taught with Andrea Meyer, TU Berlin)

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

Cross-listed with Art and Aesthetics (link)

Art and Aesthetics

AR231 Representation

Module: Art Objects and Experience

Instructor: Geoff Lehman

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

Course times: Tue & Thu 13:30-15:00

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 Van Eyck, Raphael, Titian, Bruegel, Velázquez, Goya, Talbot, Monet, Atget, Picasso, Martin, Serra and Sherman. Readings will focus on texts in art history and theory (Pater, Wölfflin, Riegl, Barthes, Krauss, Rosand), as well as primary sources (Vasari, 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

FA105 Contemporary Materials and Techniques

Module: Art Objects and Experience

Instructor: John von Bergen

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

Course time: Tue 13:30-16:45

This course is a comprehensive introduction to sculpture as a medium that has evolved in many diverse directions over the last century, and is accelerating as an expansive, critical medium for art production in the 21st Century. The concentration of this course is a hands-on workshop that explores materials and techniques, supplemented by slide lectures, reading and writing assignments, and off-site classes (off-campus workshop, artist studio visit, museum visits). Workshops will allow students to learn about a large range of materials that will be explored further by individual projects, as we investigate the advantages and disadvantages of many materials that include rubber, wood, styrofoam, plaster, plastics, polymer-gypsum, polymer-webbing, wax and found objects. We also will explore basic construction, various mold-making techniques, the advantages of 3D scanning and printing in relation to traditional “hands-on” production, and the importance of maintaining health and safety standards in one's studio. Please Note: A limited supply of materials will be offered to students. Some students may need to contribute their own funds / resources for completing projects.

Syllabus

FM201 Introduction to Film Studies

Modules: Theater and Film; Approaching Arts Through Theory

Instructor: Matthias Hurst

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

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

Film is a language. Like any other language it has diverse elements of organization, 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, of similarities between film and other narrative media and deviations of visual representation and storytelling from traditional literary forms, and consequently 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 in relation to literary modes of production and interpretation, 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 film screenings.

Syllabus

PL256 Philosophy and Painting

Module: Approaching Arts Through Theory

Instructor: Peter Hajnal

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

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

Why do philosophers look at paintings, what happens when they do, and what can we learn from these encounters? In this course we will be studying classic examples of such philosophical readings, but we will also be looking at the paintings that these arguments invoke, and thinking about what it means to read them philosophically. Not only will this activity help us to understand better art-historians’ invocation (or rejection, as the case may be) of philosophical arguments, it will also lead us to think in interesting ways about what philosophical problems are in general. In turn, these multiple perspectives will enable us to think about the relationships between the aesthetic, critical, and historical modes of evaluation. But the most important aim of the course is to develop a practical understanding of what it means to look at a painting philosophically, and thereby to enrich our ability to engage with the artworks themselves.

Syllabus

Literature and Rhetoric

LT229 Making the Novel

Module: History and Theory of Narrative

Instructor: Laura Scuriatti

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

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

In recent literary history, in the movement known as “postmodernism,” the claim was often made that contemporary literary narrative (and contemporary culture more generally) “breaks up” linear storytelling, introducing digression, collage, fragmentation. However, these features were already apparent at the beginning of the novel as a genre in the eighteenth century. One of the most influential of earlier novels, Laurence Sterne’s Tristram Shandy (1770-1767) is still a storehouse of techniques and references for present-day writers, who have raided its stylistic strategies to create their own radical experiments in form. We will look at why this text stands at the origins of the history of the novel: what were its influences and purposes, and its relationship to competing models of the genre? Secondly, what was its relationship to contemporary philosophy—to epistemology and to theories of sentiment and sociability? Lastly, our task will be to trace the line from Sterne to the contemporary, and look at how he reappears in our own moment. Above all, the course gets to grips with the question of what a novel is: the form that is perhaps the best known and most important in modern literature, and yet remains notoriously difficult to define.

Syllabus

LT237 The Odyssey

Module: History and Theory of Narrative

Instructor: David Hayes

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

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

A close reading of Homer’s epic poem. We will pay attention throughout to the multifaceted and ambiguous character of the poem’s main hero, and to his own and the poet’s efforts to mark meaningful differences when it is not always easy to do so, such as: the difference between maturation and rebellion; between eating and devouring; between love and sex; between heroes and ordinary people; men and women; human beings and monsters; human beings and gods; between reconciliation, justice, and revenge; responsibility and luck; luck and fate; poetry as lies and poetry as truth; intelligence and self-identity; compassion and weakness; hospitality and betrayal; pride, modesty, and debasement; and between travelling for its own sake and trying to go home again.

Syllabus

FM201 Introduction to Film Studies

Cross-listed with Art and Aesthetics

Advanced Modules

Economics

EC310 Global Economics

Module: Global Economic Systems

Coordinator: Zeynep M. Nettekoven

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

Course times: Mon 13:30-15:00, Tue 15:15-16:45

This module deals with advanced topics of macroeconomics, such as trade and international aspects of economic systems. It covers real flows of goods in international trade as well as the flow of money in international finance. Main theories of trade and the rationales for it are discussed and evaluated as well as the role that money and banking play within modern economies. The module also looks at economic systems and the organization of economic life within these systems: What are the key features of capitalism or communism and how are they distinguished? How viable are these systems and what sorts of institutions do they give rise to?

Syllabus

Ethics and Politics

HI234 Topographies of Sex

Cross-listed with Economics

SO311 The Sociology of Culture

Module: Social Theory

Instructor: Irit Dekel

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

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

This course begins with the most fundamental question one can ask concerning culture: What is culture? We then move on to ask how society and culture are related to one another. We will critically explore the ways in which the term “culture” is used by social scientists as well as the general public through an examination of a broad range of activities and objects by which culture as a concept and an experience is conveyed. The second part of the seminar will focus on particular problems addressed in the sociological and anthropological study of culture such as power and authority, social action, race, ethnicity, class and gender within complex institutional structures which construct and transform the bases of legitimacy of education, art, science, popular culture, media and other shared meanings. We will specifically ask how cognitive categories, distinctions and classifications are created, maintained and transgressed through a look at questions of choice and interpretation in everyday life. Students will read Bourdieu, Simmel, Weber, Geertz, Alexander, Griswold, Illouz, Swidler, Goffman, Dimaggio, Berger and Luckmann, Lamount, Douglas, and Hannerz.

Syllabus

PT227 Liberalism, Fascism, Socialism

Module: Movements and Thinkers

Instructor: Ewa Atanassow

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

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

This course will be dedicated to a comparative study of the three political creeds that have shaped the global order and the social and ideological landscape in which we live. While offering competing political and moral visions of modern society, its structure and destiny, these three ideological movements also share common roots. All three took their bearings from the sense of radical novelty and irreversible change born of the French Revolution, and were elaborated as alternative reactions to that sense of inevitable transformation. From this shared point of departure, liberal, fascist, and socialist worldviews developed in critical response to one another, and as polemical interpretations of the character and meaning of the modern age. Drawing on philosophical, political and propagandist writings, as well as literary and cinematic works, we shall study the fundamental values that characterize these ideological currents and the visions of society they propose. 

Syllabus

PL314 Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit

Module: Movements and Thinkers

Instructor: Jan Völker

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

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

Hegel’s Phenomenology presents no less than the coming-of-age-story of knowledge itself. Not the knowledge of something, but knowledge in general: in itself and for itself, as Hegel will say. From its very first beginnings, in which knowledge is still entangled in naïve sense-certainty, to the general question of perception and the development of force and understanding, consciousness comes to question the knowledge of itself as self-consciousness. The struggle for life and death that self-consciousness then has to undergo is what Hegel famously described as the dialectic of the master and the slave. From here, self-conscious knowledge, as reason, brings about the emergence of spirit, religion, and finally absolute knowledge. Every step of this trajectory has provoked considerable commentary in modern philosophy, most prominently of course Marx’s adaptation of the master-slave dialectic, not to speak of the contributions of Kojève, Derrida, and Žižek among others. Aufhebung (‘sublation’) as one of the work’s essential concepts may be used to describe one of the central aims of the Phenomenology: To sublate metaphysics into modern philosophy –meaning to overcome, to preserve, and to integrate it into a higher form of knowledge. This idea has been object of diverse kinds of criticism, most notably in the view that Hegel presents history as a confident onward march. But as we will see, the Spirit stumbles. In this class, we will be reading central passages from Hegel’s Phenomenology, focusing mainly on the intricate text itself, but with references to introductory and helpful secondary literature.

Syllabus

Art and Aesthetics

AR310 Phenomenology and Art

Module: Aesthetics and Art Theory

Instructor: Katalin Makkai

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

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

The philosophical movement dubbed “phenomenology”, launched in the first half of the twentieth century, grounds itself upon Husserl’s call to return to the “things themselves”—to the “phenomena” of lived experience. Phenomenologists have commonly devoted considerable attention to art and aesthetics. This is no accident. Not merely has phenomenology been found to be a particularly fruitful approach to thinking about art—thinking about art has been found to be central to doing phenomenology, hence central to doing philosophy. This course aims to explore the intersections of phenomenology and art in the writings of Heidegger, Sartre and Merleau-Ponty, who—together with Husserl—were the movement’s central founders. Works of art discussed include painting, literature, poetry, and film.

Syllabus

AH312 Art and National Socialism

Module: Artists, Genres, Movements; Historical Studies

Instructor: Aya Soika (co-taught with Andrea Meyer, TU Berlin)

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

Course time: Tue 14:00-18:00 starting 13 October 2015

The agenda of the Nazi regime of 1933-1845 impinged on every realm of activity in Germany, including the art world and artistic production. This is evident not only in the importance of propaganda and a general “aestheticization of politics” to the imposition of the aims of the regime. Nor is the imprint of Nazi ideology solely apparent in the works of those who enjoyed direct political patronage, for example the painter Adolf Ziegler, the sculptor Arno Breker, the architect Albert Speer, or the filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl. Yet other artists—for example the Expressionist Emil Nolde—avidly sought but signally failed to obtain such patronage, with complex consequences for their careers. Central to the course will be the study of the evolution of a Nazi aesthetic, especially a Nazi idea of what should constitute the “new” in German art—a viewpoint that both competed with and adapted aspects of existing Modernist techniques. We will look at the institutions that upheld and enforced this viewpoint, such as the Reich Chamber of the Fine Arts and Goebbels’ Ministry of Popular Enlightenment and Propaganda, as well as the pillorying of modern art branded “degenerate” in the infamous exhibition under that heading in 1937. The course examines the role of theft and destruction in the propagation of Nazi aesthetics, looking at case studies of the fate of art collections owned by Jewish proprietors. We address the ongoing legacy of violence and misappropriation in the legal controversies of ownership and authenticity affecting public and private museum and gallery collections in Germany – and elsewhere – today.

Cross-listed with Ethics and Politics (link)

Syllabus

FM311 Dreadful Pleasures: Horror Films

Module: Artists, Genres, Movements

Instructor: Matthias Hurst

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

Course times: Tue 15:15-16:45, Fri 11:00-12:30

It is both confusing and fascinating to see how many people seem to cherish terror and horror in films. Since the rise of the gothic novel in the 18th century, horror fiction found a growing number of trembling and jittering consumers. Today the genre of horror is one of the most successful film genres in our popular culture, attracting crowds (especially adolescent viewers) and provoking debates about the significance of horror fiction as part of social and cultural discourses. Classic horror films – like The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920; dir. Robert Wiene), Nosferatu (1922; dir. Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau), Dracula (1931; dir. Tod Browning) or Frankenstein (1931; dir. James Whale) – have become esteemed works of art and part of the international canon of cinema, whereas recent (and more extreme) films of the genre are usually met with reservations, or are rejected as the cheap trash and misanthropic excesses of a commercial culture industry. It seems that “in Europe as in America” horror films are “part of a great historical dialogue between Enlightenment and Irrationalism” (S. S. Prawer: Caligari’s Children. The Film as Tale of Terror. Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press 1980). What is the attraction of nightmarish stories, creepy scenes and shocking images? What do monsters, vampires, zombies represent, and what kind of pleasure do they provide? In this course students explore and discuss central topics and elements of the horror genre, the aesthetics of the macabre, classic examples of cinematic tales of terror and different kinds of (cultural, sociological, psychological) meaning in the specific art form of horror. The course consists of both seminars and evening film screenings.

Syllabus

TH311 Performances and Practices of Postdramatic Theatre in Germany

Module: Media, Practices, Techniques

Instructor: Julia Hart

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

Course time: Mon 15:15-18:30

What happens in the theater when the text is no longer the central aspect of a theater production? The term “postdramatic theater” became widely known in Germany in 1999 through theater scholar Hans Thies-Lehmann and his book by that name. This course first explores the development of this performance aesthetic in Germany by discussing the theories of German theater scholars like Hans Thies-Lehmann, Andrzej Wirth, and Erika Fischer-Lichte. After analyzing the practices of German postdramatic work from artists such as Pina Bausch, Heiner Goebbels, Frank Castorf, Rene Pollesch, and Christoph Schlingensief, students will ultimately create their own postdramatic theater pieces as actors and directors in a laboratory setting. We are also going to examine the postdramatic use of new electronic and social media in current Berlin theater productions and study the influence of the postdramatic aesthetic on the current Berlin theater scene.

Syllabus

Literature and Rhetoric

LT313 Writing and Gender: Virginia Woolf

Module: Author and Influence

Instructor: Laura Scuriatti

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

Course times: Tue 15:15-16:45, Fri 11:00-12:30

Theories of language and of the writing process have played a decisive part in dismantling traditional notions of gender identity and subjectivity. The works of Virginia Woolf have been a powerful source in this exploration. A woman writer who contributed to the male-dominated realm of arts and letters through public engagement (publishing, lecturing, and mentorship) as well as writing, Woolf experimented in her fiction with transformations of sex and sexual desire. Her challenge to regimes of identity and their politics coincided with a challenge to the whole realm of representation itself, through new ways of portraying experience, consciousness, and time. Her methods were corroboration for her audacious claim that, in the modern era, human "character" had itself changed. We will read Woolf's works in conjunction with a range of theorists of language, gender, and sexuality, concentrating on the ways in which her work bequeaths an aesthetic, and a political and a theoretical legacy to artists and philosophers today.

Syllabus

LT314 Global Cold War Literatures

Module: Literary Analysis and Cultural Production

Instructor: Kerry Bystrom

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

Course times: Mon 13:30-15:00, Wed 15:15-16:45

The Cold War is often remembered as a conflict between two superpowers, the United States and the Soviet Union, and its quintessential genre (at least in the West) is seen as the spy thriller. This course explores the literature of the Cold War from a broader perspective, looking at networks of political and cultural influence that developed between “First,” “Second” and “Third” worlds, and the different genres or textual objects through which links of solidarity were fashioned.  Looking at fiction, poetry and essays, along with some photography and film, we will consider cases of “socialist friendship” including East Germany’s support for liberation movements such as the African National Congress and the Cuban presence in Angola, as well as the circulation of Western “national security doctrine” and the pariah state diplomacy between Latin American and African dictatorships it inspired. We will also explore the legacy of the Cold War in these diverse geographical locations, thinking about how this history continues to shape the present and about how cultural objects and theories outlive the moment of their production. Authors to be considered include Graham Greene, Bertolt Brecht, Pablo Neruda, Frantz Fanon, Ryszard Kapuscinski, Nadine Gordimer, Mark Behr, and Ondjaki.

Syllabus

IS311 Berlin: Experiment in Modernity

Module: Literary Movements and Forms 

Bard in Berlin Program course

Instructor: Florian Becker

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

Course times: Mon & Wed 11:00-12:30, 

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.

Electives

IS331 Berlin Internship Seminar: Working Cultures, Urban Cultures

Bard in Berlin Program Course

Instructor: Agata Lisiak

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

Course time: Mon 9:00-10:30

The Berlin Internship Seminar 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 EU, the state, the market, and the individual) in influencing the way institutions operate. Over the course of the seminar we will also talk about contemporary ways of living and working in Berlin and beyond: How is work organized temporally and spatially and how does it, in turn, affect the city and its residents? What distinguishes the spaces in which we live and work today? Which new forms of work have emerged in Berlin recently? Which of them seem to thrive? How do Berlin’s political, artistic, and citizen-activist organizations operate? What can we learn from these institutions?

Syllabus

FM226 Experiments in Documentary: Three Approaches 

Instructor: Paul Festa

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

Course time: Mon 15:15-18:30

Open to students of any level of filmmaking experience, the course will pursue hands-on, historical, critical, and creative investigations of experimental documentary film. From the roots of the discipline in the photography of Eadweard Muybridge through to the present-day avant garde, we will examine a wide range of experiments conducted at the intersection of reality and its technical reproduction. In the first third of the course, students will focus on an artist or documentary work of their choice and lay the groundwork for their own projects. The midterm and final projects will explore two of three potentially overlapping documentary types: autobiographical / biographical; aesthetic / sensory; and social issue / political, with special consideration given to the city of Berlin as a background for, or subject of, these investigations. Throughout our critical and creative work, we will analyze and devise techniques that help complicate or bypass the familiar language of traditional documentary storytelling, elicit unguarded responses from our subjects, bring questions of identity to light on film in a fresh way, and further an experimental tradition of dissolving boundaries between documentary and other modes of filmmaking.

Syllabus

Language Courses

GM101 German Beginner A1 (Group A)

Instructor: Ulrike Harnisch

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

Course times: Mon & Tue 9:00-10:30, Thu 10:45-12:15

Syllabus

GM101 German Beginner A1 (Group B)

Instructor: Ariane Faber

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

Course times: Mon & Wed 10:45-12.15, Fri 15:15-16:45

Syllabus

GM101 German Beginner A1 (Group C)

Instructor: Silke Hilgers

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

Course times: Tue 15:15-16:45, Wed 13:30-15:00, Fri 10:45-12:15

Syllabus

GM151 German Beginner A2

Instructor: Ariane Faber

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

Course times: Mon & Tue 9:00-10:30, Thu 10:45-12:15

Syllabus

GM201 German Intermediate B1 (Group A)

Instructor: Silke Hilgers

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

Course times: Mon & Tue 9:00-10:30, Thu 10:45-12:15

Syllabus

GM201 German Intermediate B1 (Group B)

Instructor: Ulrike Harnisch

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

Course times: Mon 15:15-16:45, Thu 17:00-18:30, Fri 10:45-12:15

Syllabus

GM251 German Intermediate B2

Instructor: Ulrike Harnisch

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

Course times: Mon & Wed 10:45-12.15, Fri 15:15-16:45

Syllabus

GM301 German Advanced C1

Instructor: Silke Hilgers

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

Course times: Mon & Wed 10:45-12.15, Fri 15:15-16:45

Syllabus

 

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 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

Beginner German A2
Continued emphasis on listening comprehension and routine communication. Students read and write short, simple texts. 
Ulrike Harnisch, Ulrike Wagner, Silke Hilgers

Intermediate German 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

Intermediate German 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

Advanced German Language 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

Advanced German Language 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

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