Core Courses

IS104 Forms of Love

AY/BA1/Begin in Berlin Core Course

Module: Medieval Literatures and Cultures

Instructors: Tracy ColonyDavid HayesGeoff LehmanKatalin Makkai

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

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

“Love” is a word whose meanings seem to be known to all of us. It names a feeling, an experience, and a value whose importance appears incontestable. But did “love” always mean what we might consider it to mean today? How recent are ideals of romantic or sexual love? What kinds of prototypes did they have in earlier historical periods? To what extent is our word “love” equivalent to the terms used for it in the languages and cultures that have shaped European and so-called “Western” culture? This course explores the other meanings for the word “love” that contributed to our contemporary perspective or apparently diverge markedly from it. We focus on texts and ideas from the place and time that was foundational for the development of European societies, and yet seems distant and strange now: medieval Christendom. We look at the change that took place in the use of Ancient philosophical terms for love in Christian texts, and at the consequences (literary and doctrinal) of the condemnatory view of sexual and erotic love taken by Christian theology. Above all, we examine the ramifications of the primacy of the category of love in Christendom: how could this category become so all-important, and yet at the same time express such a hostility to the erotic and the sensual? The course looks at the norms, rituals and rhetoric that organized the idea of love in the medieval world, attending also to the relationship between Christianity, Judaism and Islam.

Syllabus

IS212 Early Modern Science (a cooperation with the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science)

BA2 Core Course

Module: Early Modern Science

Instructors: Ewa AtanassowMichael Weinman 

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

Course times: Tue 9:00-10:30, Thu 9:00-10.30

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. Included in 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.

Syllabus

IS322 Modernism, Cosmopolitanism and the Aesthetics of Internationalism

BA3-4/PY Core Course

Module: Modernism

Coordinator: Laura Scuriatti

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

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

In the aesthetic and cultural moment we identify as Modernism, newness in art became a defining value. At the beginning of the twentieth century, experiments in style, technique and content characterised the arts and generated close interdisciplinary dialogue between them. Modernist experimentation also had, in some cases, socio-political implications: while some authors and artists lived cosmopolitan lives, numerous avant-garde and modernist movements questioned the meaning of national identities and boundaries, both politically and culturally. Focusing on a broad range of modernist texts, the course explores the significance, aesthetics and politics of different versions of modernist internationalism – exile, cosmopolitanism, colonialism, multilingualism, orientalism and exoticism. It also aims at understanding the emergence of modernism, the political contexts in which its practices could thrive, as well as its legacy.

Syllabus

Foundational Modules

Economics

MA120 Mathematics for Economics

Module:  Mathematics for Economics

Instructor: Martin Binder

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

Course times: Tue 15:15-16:45, Thu 15:15-16:45

This course focuses on the mathematical tools important for the study of economics: analytic geometry, functions of a single variable, functions of two variables, calculus, integrals and linear algebra (matrices, determinants, systems of linear equations and methods for solving them). A large part of the course will deal with optimization in one or more variables and its corresponding applications in economics (e.g. utility and profit maximization problems). The course will also be useful 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

EC211 Macroeconomics

Module: Macroeconomics

Instructor: Dirk H. Ehnts

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

Course times: Mon 17:00-18:30, Wed 17:00-18:30

This course familiarizes students with the main models that macroeconomists use to analyze the way economies behave. The module begins by examining theories that seek to explain money and banking. We then focus our attention on investigating economic theories that explain short run business cycles, the periods of recession and boom that occur on a regular basis. An important part of the course is to investigate the role of governments in affecting the long and short-term economic prospects of their countries. We apply this theoretical knowledge to a range of current economic issues, including budget deficits and national debt, loans and private sector debt, the current account, and the role of institutions.

Syllabus

MA151 Statistics

Module: Statistics

Instructor: Marius Fahrner

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

Course times: Thu 15:15-18:30

This module is designed to introduce the methodologies proper to the empirical social sciences. Basic concepts of statistics, probability, probability distributions, random variables, correlation, and simple regression are introduced; the techniques of statistical inference hypothesis testing are developed.

Syllabus

Ethics and Politics

PS206 Constitutions, Ancient and Modern

Module: History of Political Thought

Instructor: Michael Weinman

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

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

In this course, we will look at three paradigmatic constitutions in order to understand what a (written) constitution is, how it works, and what it hopes to achieve. In each case, we will pair an actual constitution—that of Classical Athens, of the United States of America, and of the Federal Republic of Germany—with theoretical reflections by major political philosophers—respectively, Aristotle, Madison (and Hamilton and Jay), and Habermas—who played a role in the production, distribution and/or reception of that constitution by the communities to be ruled under them and by those empowered to rule those communities.

Syllabus

PL258 Recognition

Module: Ethics and Moral Philosophy

Instructor: Katalin Makkai

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

Course times: Mon 15:15-16:45, Wed 15:15-16:45

For the post-Kantian philosophical tradition of German Idealism, the concept of “recognition” (Anerkennung) anchors reflection upon social and political life and its ethical conditions. The concept is not merely of historical interest: issues of recognition and its limits continue to animate recent and contemporary debates. This course traces key sources of recognition theory (Immanuel Kant and Jean-Jacques Rousseau), explores its classical expositions (J. G. Fichte and G. W. F. Hegel), and studies some of its critiques and developments in twentieth-century and contemporary work (Jean-Paul Sartre, Stanley Cavell, Charles Taylor, Axel Honneth).

Syllabus

PL259 Short Dialogues of Plato

Module: Ethics and Moral Philosophy

Instructor: David Hayes

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

Course times: Mon 15:15-16:45, Wed 15:15-16:45

In the short form of Plato’s philosophic art, the questions are no less significant than they are in the longer works, e.g., “What is beauty?” (Hippias Major), “What is a friend?” (Lysis), “What is courage?” (Laches). Yet the tones of the short works vary greatly (some of them are even comic), and show Socrates encountering a very diverse group of characters in diverse circumstances. For example, the question “What is piety?” is raised when Socrates encounters a religious zealot who is prosecuting his own father for murder (Euthyphro), and the question of moderation is raised when an especially attractive boy walks into Socrates’s gym (Charmides). Plato’s way of writing philosophy was a dramatic one; the questions raised relate meaningfully to his artistic portrayal of who raises them and why. For all their diversity, the short dialogues also share a notable feature: they almost always end in “aporia”; that is, in a condition of being stuck with “knowledge of ignorance,” with the felt absence by the interlocutors of any positive answer to the question that was asked. In this class, we will pay special attention to this nearly ubiquitous feature of encounters with Socrates and inquire into its meaning. Readings: Plato’s Charmides, Laches, Euthyphro, Hippias Major, Ion, Cleitophon, Lysis.

Syllabus

Art and Aesthetics

FA106 Beginners Black and White Photography Class: Made for a Party

Module: Art Objects and Experience

Instructor: April Gertler

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

Course times: Thu 13:30-16:45

Using the backdrop of Berlin, this class (named after a famous Hannah Höch piece from the late 1930s) will explore the history of photography by Berlin based photographers while learning how to use a manual camera and also finding one’s way around an analogue darkroom through acquiring the technique of printing black and white photographs. Participants will be exposed to the rich photographic history of Berlin through presentations, discussions and studio visits. The historical component of the class will cover works by Berlin based photographers from Erna Lendvai-Dircksen to Michael Schmidt. Assignments through the semester will mirror various photo techniques used in the historical examples discussed. Camera techniques and black and white printing will be the fundamental element of the class.

Please note there is a materials fee of approximately €100 for this course. The exact amount will be confirmed by the professor via email after registration.

Syllabus

PL313 Art in Action: Kant’s Aesthetics

Module: Approaching Arts Through Theory

Instructor: Jeffrey Champlin

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

Course times: Wed 10:45-12:15, Fri 10.45-12:15

For Kant, aesthetics seeks to articulate the active engagement of the imagination, not merely to define an artistic object or describe its effect on a passive subject. In this course we will closely read the Critique of Judgment through its central topics (such as the beautiful and the sublime, taste, genius, representation, and judgment). In each case, later thinkers help us see resources in Kant's work for problems of the relation between art and knowledge, self-governance, and ethics. In its wider implications, the course will prepare the groundwork for a dialogue between post-Kantian aesthetics and contemporary performance art and activist art, which often explicitly graft the political and conceptual. (Authors include: Kant, Schiller, Schelling, Arendt, Lyotard, Derrida).

Syllabus

FA103 Found Fragments & Layered Lines: mixed-media techniques for drawing and collage

Module: Art Objects and Experience

Instructor: John Kleckner

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

Course times: Fri 13:30-16:45

This is a hands-on studio art course exploring contemporary and historical approaches to drawing and collage. The class projects are designed to exercise each student’s skills in visual thinking through the creation of drawings on paper and collages of found printed fragments. Students will gather printed materials from Berlin’s famous Flohmärkte (flea markets) to use in creating original collages; students will also draw dynamic object arrangements, make abstractions from nature by working outdoors, work collaboratively on large-scale drawings, develop their own systematic approach for generating compositions, and experiment with the expressive possibilities of combining text and imagery. A central focus will be examining the potential to create new and surprising meanings and contexts resulting from the juxtaposition and layering of image fragments together. The semester culminates in the creation of a body of original artwork that will be shown in a class exhibition. The majority of classes are studio sessions. There will also be a number of group critiques, image presentations, and several artist studio / gallery visits. The ideal student will be highly motivated, with a strong interest in studying and producing art, and must be comfortable with presenting their artistic creations with peers in class discussions.

Please note there is a materials fee of approximately €100 for this course. The exact amount will be confirmed by the professor via email after registration.

Syllabus

FM219 German Cinema in the Weimar Republic

Module: Art and Artists in Context, Theater and Film

Instructor: Matthias Hurst

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

Course times: Mon 17:00-18:30, Wed 17:00-18:30 and 19:30 - 22:00 (film screenings)

Social and political conditions are always reflected in the history and development of cinema. In no case does the relationship between cinema and society present a more fascinating and complex record than in the years of the Weimar Republic, the period spanning from the end of the German Empire following Germany's defeat in the First World War in 1918, to the Nazi seizure of power in 1933. During these years, new techniques of experiment in visual effect and narrative form were devised which were to become standard references for modern filmmaking more generally. In addition, the films created in this period registered the deep crisis and instability that plagued the Weimar Republic by means of symbolic, realist and fantasy elements. The films and motifs we examine include classics such as the silent expressionistic "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari" (1920), the uncanny vampire tale "Nosferatu" (1922), the iconic representation of sublime nature in "The Holy Mountain" (1926) and of a seductive femme fatale in "The Blue Angel" (1930), the dystopian landscape of "Metropolis" (1927) as well as the urban thriller "M" (1931).

In exploring the variety of important themes and trends that emerged in the films during the Weimar period, the course draws on classic socio-psychological and hermeneutic approaches. Revisions of these approaches by more recent interpretations guide the discussion of landmark films by directors like Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau, Fritz Lang and Georg Wilhelm Pabst.

Syllabus

FM220 Woody Allen: A Poetics of Fun and Philosophy

Module: Art and Artists in Context

Instructor: Matthias Hurst

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

Course times: Mon 15:15-16:45 and 19:30 - 22:00 (film screenings), Wed 15:15-16:45

“That’s […] how I feel about life: Full of loneliness and misery and suffering and unhappiness. And it’s all over much too quickly” (Alvy Singer in Annie Hall). Woody Allen is one of the most original American film directors, with specific appeal to European audiences. Over the course of his long film career he has created a distinguished screen persona and also portrayed American life and culture with an unmistakable idiosyncratic mix of humor and criticism, irony and despair. In his films he shows us the absurdities of life and the comical side of death as well as the causes and consequences of neurotic attitudes, and he succeeded in a unique way in transforming comedy into philosophy. The central topics of existence and the human condition – love, sex, the meaning of life and death – are his cinematic obsessions and he explores them alongside notions (and illusions) of happiness and the bleak realities of modern life. In this course we discuss the films of Woody Allen (with a focus on his films of the 1970s and 1980s), the philosophical questions raised by his work and his development as an artist of the cinema. The course consists both of seminars and film screenings.

Syllabus

Literature and Rhetoric

LT251 Poetry and Poetics

Module: Poetry and Poetics

Instructor: James Harker

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

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

Poetic forms were once used for a wide variety of subject matter, often to convey knowledge in the branches of the arts and sciences, as metre was valued for its mnemonic effectiveness. In the modern period, poetry is principally considered an aesthetic form, and its various manifestations (the epic, verse drama) became concentrated into the lyric, associated with the self-expression of an individual voice. The modern poet claimed a hidden but somehow powerful influence on culture and society—the position of an “unacknowledged legislator of the world”—or later, in the French tradition, the condition of being “accursed,” a renegade living outside the bounds of the acceptable, inventing new modes of living and creating.  This course provides an introduction to reading poetic forms from Romanticism to the present day, and to the rhetorical figures most relevant for modern poetry, as well as the philosophical and literary theories (of the sublime, romantic art, the nature of “poetic language”) which developed in tandem with and sought to interpret the lyric.

Syllabus

TH242 Narrative in Contemporary Theatre and Performance

Module: Theater and Film

Instructor: Nina Tecklenburg

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

Course times: Sat 10:00-18:15 (six Saturdays)

Collecting objects, reading traces, retelling performances, tailoring identities, game narratives: artists in contemporary performance and theatre have developed a whole range of new narrative techniques. This course takes a close look at contemporary theatre and performance, examining interdisciplinary theatre installations, autobiographical storytelling performances, participatory role-playing games, audio walks and their narrative implications. We will question how those new theatrical formats tell stories. What does it mean to tell stories in contemporary, often non-literary theatre? What do these narrative practices tell us about narrative itself and its cultural function in general? What does telling a story really mean anyway?

The course aims at stimulating a fruitful dialogue between critical reading, thinking, discussing and practical performance work. Classes will therefore be taught in intensive blocks. Texts will include classic narrative theory (Aristotle, Genette, Barthes, Ricœur) as well as performance theory (Schechner, Phelan, Lehmann, Fischer-Lichte). We will look at works by artists and groups such as Forced Entertainment, She She Pop, Bobby Baker, SIGNA, Eva Meyer-Keller, plan b, Lone Twin, Janet Cardiff and we will experiment with new narrative formats in creative response to their work. This course will serve both as an unorthodox introduction to narrative theory as well as contemporary performance practice.

Syllabus

FM219 German Cinema in the Weimar Republic

Cross-listed with Art and Aesthetics  

Advanced Modules

Economics

EC311 Ethics and Economics

Module: Ethics and Economic Analysis

Instructor: Martin Binder

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

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

This course aims at highlighting how economics and ethics intersect in various ways: Is it legitimate to dump our trash in lesser-developed countries because it is, economically speaking, “efficient”? Are high salaries for managers or movie stars justified? Should a company be allowed to bribe officials in foreign countries in order to do business there? Should we encourage markets for organs or blood if they are efficiently allocating “resources”? In this course, seminars deal with these aspects of the economy, where different value judgments may be in conflict. While it is often useful to analyze various aspects of human life in economic terms, there may be spheres where economic calculation might seriously distort our judgments of goodness and rightness and hence might be in need of correction by other forms of measurement. The course balances the positive aspects of economics (such as alleviation of poverty and development of nations) with its negative sides (such as corruption of values and neglect of fairness issues). It elaborates on the value judgments underlying economics (its often utilitarian or libertarian commitments), and the difference between market logic and market ideology.

Syllabus

PS310 EU Governance: The Structure, Politics and Policies of the European Union

Modules: Law and Society, Global Economic Systems

Instructor: Sybille Luhmann

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

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

“Berlin” is increasingly deployed (and often critically) in media discourse as a synonym for the center of the European Union, even though this organisational entity is constitutionally based on a complex arrangement of weighted decision-making, between sovereign nations (national parliaments and governments) and pan-European institutions (elected and otherwise). How far does “Berlin” or an agenda influenced by German national interest, drive or dominate the direction of EU policy and development? This course will look a variety of important issues: currency union and its structural determinants; the pace and conditions for EU expansion; defense and security policy, and finally, the provisions governing the apparatus of democratic and executive power in the EU (treaty-making, referendums, and the relationship between EU and national representative and administrative bodies). The course includes visits to and studies of the relationship between EU and domestic political institutions in the German capital itself.

Syllabus

Ethics and Politics

SO313 City for Citizens: Participation, Inequality and Social Change

Modules: Social Theory, Social Commitment and the Public Sphere

Instructor: Irit Dekel

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

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

This course focuses on the city as a site of contemporary civil struggle and change. We discuss seminal texts about urban culture and politics, while attending to conditions particular to Berlin. The focus on the city is analytical: asking about the relationship between the landscape of the city and ethnicity, inequality, race, and gender, as well as issues of communication and civil action. Our approach is also historical, attending to the influence of research findings on policy and activism. We begin with a discussion of seminal theoretical works in sociology, anthropology and politics by Simmel, Benjamin, Schorske, Scott, Alexander, Löw, de Certeau and Lefebvre. Then, we address specific empirical studies of cities in the fields of direct democracy, memory, inequality and ethnic struggle, material culture and the arts. Here we discuss texts by Harvey, Jacobs, Sennett, Till, Zukin, Partridge, El Tayeb, Bull and Jerolmack, among others. In the concluding section, we discuss texts dealing interpretively, ethnographically, and phenomenologically with the representation of spaces, things, and populations. Here students will be asked to use the theoretical and empirical foundations of the first two units to design their own research question and site of study.

Syllabus

PL312 Secular Humanism

Module: Movements and Thinkers

Instructor: Peter Hajnal

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

Course times: Mon 17:00-18:30, Wed 17:00-18:30

Is there a coherent general world-outlook that we can describe as secular humanism? How is it based on a concept of the “human”? Or is it rather an obscure and obsolete idea that has served to falsely categorize and unify philosophical outlooks in the past that have little to do with each other? One thing is certain: while a great number of intellectuals in pre-war Europe would have been content to describe themselves as professing a set of moral principles captured by this term, today few even recognize its meaning, let alone adopt it as a confession of faith, despite the fact that not very long ago philosophers of the stature of Sartre and Heidegger thought of these questions as important. Should we seek to revive secular humanism today in response to current moral and existential challenges such as the rise of extremism and the spread of the internet? Is such an effort even coherent? Or should we instead try to come to terms with the demise of any such possibility? And if so, what sorts of personal theorizing should replace whatever service the ideas gathered under the phrase “secular humanism” have tendered in the past? Finally, is it possible to formulate a framework of general education without relying on some notion of “humanism”? We will be pursuing answers to these questions by looking at a number of different philosophical, cultural, artistic and scientific manifestations and manifestos of “humanism,” beginning with the Renaissance revival of the idea of humanitas, and ending with Roger Scruton’s recent surprising defense of the ideal of secular humanism.

Syllabus

LT315 Literary Theory and Ethics

Module: Movements and Thinkers

Cross-listed with Literature and Rhetoric

PS310 Berlin and EU Governance

Cross-listed with Economics

Art and Aesthetics

AR311 Curatorial Practice, Past and Present

Module: Exhibition Culture and Public Space

Instructor: Aya Soika

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

Course times: Thu 13:30 - 16:45

Curatorial Practice involves a careful consideration of thematic, pedagogical, and aesthetic concerns. The course assesses the disclosure of such concerns in the structure of the exhibition form, past and present, drawing on a variety of museum collections and art spaces in Berlin. Our investigation begins with an exploration of some of the past, present and future challenges curators, conservators and archivists have faced on the Berlin Museum Island as well as at the Hamburger Bahnhof museum of contemporary art. We concentrate on the underlying debates concerning the complex dynamics between questions of display, the demands of conservation and the need for accessibility through an increasing number of visitors. The second part of the course is dedicated to smaller houses and art spaces as well private collections and galleries. Here, we discuss in greater detail the process of framing: the relationship between individual works, the role of the spectator and the conceptual rationale of curatorial choice as well as the significance of the different settings. Conversations with curators and critics, conservators and dealers will be part of the course. Readings include art-historical, essays in the field of museum studies, as well as recent interviews and selected websites/online sources.

Syllabus

TH332 Advanced Studio Practice

Module: Media, Practices, Techniques

Instructor: Daniel Seiple

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

Course times: Fri 13:00-16:00

This course is designed to assist students in developing a self-defined artistic practice. The aim is to foster dialogue within a community of artistic peers, to meet professional artists working in their areas of interest, and to develop students’ own ability to make, discuss, and describe their work. The class is neither discipline—nor medium—specific. Rather, it encourages experimentation across disciplines as a means to test the imaginative, subjective and physical boundaries of one’s ideas and artistic practice. Assignments will challenge students to incorporate new methods and other fields of interest, and prompt them to create new sites and audiences for their work. Each student will be provided a studio for the term, and will be asked to present work for individual and group critiques at least twice a month. The course is designed to be highly responsive to the group: readings, regular field trips to Berlin museums and galleries, and talks with Berlin artists will be scheduled based on the composition of the class, and will evolve in response to the artwork, discussions, and concerns that emerge from the course itself. The course will culminate with an "open studio" showing of student work.

Please note there is a materials fee of approximately €100 for this course. The exact amount will be confirmed by the professor via email after registration.

Syllabus

FA311 Concept Building, Problem Solving, and Logistics for Sculptors in Tomorrow’s Artworld

Module: Media Practices and Techniques

Instructor: John von Bergen

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

Course times: Tue 13:30-16:30

Course open to Art and/or Arts & Aesthetics Majors only.

This sculpture course is designed to sharpen a variety of critical skills relating to one’s sculptural practice inside and outside the studio, taught by American-born, Berlin-based artist John von Bergen. Students who are preparing for a career as artists will engage directly in Berlin’s international art scene to broaden their knowledge, skills and understanding of what is ahead. One concentration of this course involves the use of Bard’s on-campus factory workshop as well as having options to engage off-site businesses that offer welding, glass-blowing, 3D printing, laser cutting, etc.*. 

In Bard’s workshop students can have individual lessons relating to their personal projects, which may include mold-making, model-building, basic construction, as well as exposure to specialized sculpting materials such as exothermic polymers, water-based epoxies, etc. Strategies for transporting art objects as well as preparing international exhibitions will be discussed. Individual and group critiques would be supplemented by slide lectures from visiting artists. Students will engage in off-campus visits to galleries, museums, private artist studios, off-spaces, private collections, and art events as both required as well as optional curriculum. A final public presentation of works will be arranged at the end of the semester.
*Please note: In lieu of a materials fee, there will be fees for the use of off-site facilities as well as materials. Students must be prepared to present their current body of work on the first day of class via laptop “slide-show” presentation. This is a course where the primary goals are set by individual students, and a mature, independent working attitude is mandatory.

Please note there is a materials fee of approximately €100 for this course. The exact amount will be confirmed by the professor via email after registration.

Syllabus

AH313 Photography and Modernity

Module: Media, Practices, Techniques

Instructor: Geoff Lehman

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

Course times: Mon 13:30-15.00, Wed 13:30-15:00

Invented in the early nineteenth century, the new medium of photography has since then occupied a crucial place within visual culture. This course considers photography in terms of the conditions and concerns specific to its medium, as well as in its relationship to painting, to the origins of cinema, to key aspects of modernism and postmodernism, and to broader categories of experience (affective, social, scientific, oneiric). Major topics for the course include: photography’s theoretical and technical origins in Renaissance perspective and the camera obscura; memory, presence, and affective response, with a particular focus on portraiture; the “reality effect,” documentation, and social criticism; originality and replication in relation both to avant-garde practices and to mass culture. Special attention will be given to the early history of photography and to photography within the broader context of modernism. The course will also involve a sustained dialogue between photography and painting (Renaissance portraiture, Goya, the Pre-Raphaelites, Impressionism, Surrealism). Recent developments in digital photographic practice, especially in relation to online replication and dissemination, will be a topic towards the end of the term. We will be guided throughout by close reading of a small number of individual works by photographers such as Daguerre, Talbot, Nadar, Atget, Man Ray, Moholy-Nagy, Evans, Sherman, and Lawler, among others. Visits to galleries, museums, and installation sites to experience works of art firsthand are an integral part of the course.

Syllabus

PL204 Continental Aesthetics  

Module: Aesthetics and Art Theory

Instructor: Tracy Colony

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

Course times: Mon 15:15-16:45, Wed 15:15-16:45

This advanced course will focus on the complex relation between art and philosophy in post-Kantian European thought. We will read many of the seminal texts in the tradition of European aesthetics. Beginning with Kant, Hegel, Schopenhauer and Nietzsche, we will then trace the fate of philosophical considerations of art in the later reception of this tradition by Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, Foucault, Deleuze and more contemporary figures. We will focus particularly on the question of the relation between ontology and aesthetics, and the changing role of subjectivity vis-à-vis the work of art. Visual analysis of the works of art described in these texts will play a large role in our readings and will happen often simultaneously. We will also become familiar with the specific conceptual vocabularies articulated by post-modern discussions of art such as figure, image and frame. All texts will be read and discussed in English, however, parallel readings of the original French and German will be supported and encouraged.

Syllabus

Literature and Rhetoric

LT315 Literary Theory and Ethics

Module: Critical and Cultural Theory

Instructor: James Harker

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

Course times: Wed 17:00-18:30, Fri 13:30-15:00

In an era when the study of the humanities is under threat and the very activity of reading is seemingly in decline, a great many defenses of literature have been put forth: Reading literature makes you smarter, a better judge of character, a more empathetic individual. Literature imparts wisdom, helps you to see political and social injustice, and inspires you to appreciate the different experiences of others and the diversity of humanity. In short, literature is not just beneficial—it is ethical. But are these claims true? And where do they come from? In this course, we will survey literary theory from the postwar period to the present day, looking to understand how literature’s relationship to ethics has been conceived and often challenged. We will consider many approaches: structuralism, psychoanalysis, Marxist and ideological critique, deconstruction, poststructuralism, critical studies of race, gender, sexuality, and nationalism, cognitive approaches to literature, and post-secular critique. By the end of the course, we will have both familiarity with the major movements of 20th-21st century literary theory and a nuanced understanding of the possibilities and the pitfalls of the “ethical claim” for literature.

Syllabus

LT212 Reading into Writing: A Fiction Workshop

Module: Literary Analysis and Cultural production

Instructor: Paul Festa

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

Course times: Tue 15:15-18:30

Every writer learns the craft by reading. This course, open to students of any level, focuses on that process of self-expression through analysis, criticism, absorption and invention. Each week students will read and write; they will also critique each other’s work. Readings from masters of short and long fiction, and of criticism, will inform exercises in plot and closure; character development, point of view and voice; figurative language, style and genre; action, atmosphere and description; the persistent alternative between showing and telling; and techniques of revision, excision and rewriting. Several online or in-person classroom visits by authors on the syllabus are planned. We’ll look at fiction and criticism by authors including Virginia Woolf, Henry James, Anton Chekhov, William Faulkner, Flannery O’Connor, Shirley Jackson, Hilary Mantel, Edward St. Aubyn, Paul La Farge, Alexander Chee, Karl Soehnlein, Andrew Sean Greer, Jennifer Egan, Wayne Koestenbaum, Francine Prose and James Hannaham. Texts on the art of writing include those by Prose, Jerome Stern, Anne Lamott, James Wood and John Gardner. 

Syllabus

LT316 Literature and Revolution: Classic German Rogues

Module: Literary Movements and Forms

Instructor: Jeffrey Champlin

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

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

Many of the greatest German writers initially responded to the French Revolution with enthusiasm for its ideals of liberty, equality, and fraternity. As the years of the revolution went on however, their work confronted the problems of translating these broad ideas into specific practices. This course tracks this literary history up to the next European period of revolution in 1848 through works of such authors as Kant, Goethe, Schiller, Hölderlin, Kleist, Hegel, Heine, and Marx. Marked for exclusion but evading power, the figure of the rogue will challenge us to engage literary creation as both a reaction to, and model for, attempts to create a better world in the face of violence. A loosening of genre boundaries at this time parallels social upheaval, which encourages the examination of essays, short stories, poems, and dramas that engage questions of politics, philosophy, and literature. Within this field, topics to be covered include the place of the individual in society, the relationship between law and justice, the demands of the excluded other, and the progress of history.

Syllabus

LT317 Exile and Estrangement in Modern Fiction

Module: Author and Influence

Instructor: Norman Manea

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

Course times: Fri 15:15-18:15

Reading and discussion of selected fiction by Thomas Mann, Kafka, Nabokov, Camus, I.B. Singer, Kundera, Naipaul, Pamuk etc., examining the work for its literary value and as a reflection of the issue of exile - estrangement, as a fact of biography and as a way of life. The complex topics of foreignness and identity (ethnic, political, sexual) of rejection and loss, of estrangement and challenge and also of protean mutability, are discussed in connection to relevant social-historical situations (war, expulsion, migration) and as a major literary theme. 
 
Preference given to advanced students in Literature and Rhetoric.

Syllabus

Electives

MU215 Performance, Perception, and the Concept of the Work in John Cage's Experimental Music

Instructor: Volker Straebel

Credits: 4 ECTS, 2 U.S. credits 

Course times: Mon 10:45-12:15, Fri 10:45-12:15 (not every week, see BCB Schedule)

American composer John Cage (1912-1992) not only introduced sounding material formerly not considered suitable for music composition and performance, but also broadened the concept of the musical work with its aesthetic and philosophical implications. The introduction of chance procedures and indeterminate performance in Cage’s work raise questions regarding authorship and work-identity, while Cage’s concept of silence (that means considerably more than just the absence of sound) emphasizes the aspects of situation and perception in music performance.

The course is structured in two parts. First we will make ourselves acquainted with Cage’s achievements in music composition and aesthetics, studying a selection of his works and writings. In the second part, this knowledge of Cage’s work will be contextualized with music theory, aesthetic theory and performance studies. If students are interested, we may develop or stage an indeterminate performance.

Syllabus

IS331 Berlin Internship Seminar: Working Cultures, Urban Cultures

Instructor: Agata Lisiak

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

Course times: Mon 10:45-12:15

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

FM227 Video: “Based On A True Story” - Factual Fiction

Instructor: Dafna Maimon

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4. U.S. credits

Course times: Thu 19:00-22.15

No matter what its genre, film-making, in its encounter with the real, is a fundamentally subjective medium. This class explores that process of encounter by drawing on actual events, people and stories in the city of Berlin. The aim is to find ways to make use of our own "encounters with the real" by entwining these with a visual language at once individually-crafted and technically proficient. We analyze documentary- and fiction-works from filmmakers and video artists who place “real elements” in the center of their practice both as material and theme. The course also explores script writing and production techniques that follow immersive principles. It looks at methods like improvisation, method-acting, psychodrama, role-playing, translating these into the process of  video-production even when the work includes no human subjects. We will use the non-predictable nature of reality as a catalyst for developing a project, and deliberately create situations within the production of the work in which accidents or coincidences are given space to interfere fruitfully with the script and shooting plan. 

Please note there is a materials fee of approximately €100 for this course. The exact amount will be confirmed by the professor via email after registration.

Syllabus

SE150 The Wages of Rebellion: Political Organizing and Social Justice

Instructor: Cassandra Ellerbe-Dück

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

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

Political organising is a primary tool in the quest for social justice. In this course we will explore broadly the issues of social justice, diversity and political mobilisation. In addition, we will focus on understanding from an interdisciplinary perspective (intersectional, critical race & queer theory) the various historical contexts and socio-political conditions that have led to politicised grass-roots organisation of marginalised groups in various spaces across the globe. The specific cases and organizations we will study are: The Young Lords – 1968-1973; The Black German Movement (ISD & ADEFRA) 1986 till the present; Homonationalism & The “Butler Scandal” – 2010 –; and Impulse Project- Refugee Theater / Theater of the Oppressed - 2013. Looking at these cases and the broader issue of social justice, this course aims not only to discuss the purpose and necessity for social justice and political activism, but also to assist students in the discovery of their own change agent and leadership skills and the possibility to apply these skills in daily life. The course entails lectures, in-class discussions and presentations, off-campus visits to various Berlin based organisations, and guest lectures by local activists & scholars. 

Syllabus

Language Courses

GM101 German Beginner A1

Instructor: Ursula Kohler

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

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

Syllabus

GM151 German Beginner A2 (Group A)

Instructor: Ulrike Harnisch

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

Course times: Mon 13.30-15:00, Tue 10:45-12:15, Thu 10.45-12.15

Syllabus

GM151 German Beginner A2 (Group B)

Instructor: Ariane Faber

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

Course times: Mon 9:00-10.30, Wed 9:00-10:30, Fri 9:00-10:30

Syllabus

GM201 German Intermediate B1

Instructor: Ariane Faber

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

Course times: Mon 13.30-15:00, Tue 10:45-12:15, Thu 10.45-12.15

Syllabus

GM251 German Intermediate B2

Instructor: Ulrike Wagner

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

Course times: Mon 9:00-10.30, Wed 9:00-10:30, Fri 9:00-10:30

Syllabus

GM301 German Advanced C1

Instructor: Ulrike Wagner

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

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

Syllabus

GM351 German Advanced C2

Instructor: Ulrike Harnisch

Credits: 8 ECTS, 4 U.S. credits

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

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. 

Beginner German A2
Continued emphasis on listening comprehension and routine communication. Students read and write short, simple texts. 

Intermediate German B1 
Emphasis on communication skills including comprehension of standard speech and descriptive reading passages, topical conversation and simple, descriptive composition. 

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. 

Advanced German 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. 

Advanced German 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. 

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