Course Offerings | API Study Abroad
Course Offerings


  • Courses in English and German
  • Program designed for international students
  • Tandem partner program
  • Special options for advanced German speakers
  • FORUM on Education Abroad QUIP accreditation
  • International excursion in spring


  •  3.0 G.P.A.
  • Open to second semester sophomores, juniors and seniors
  • Open to all levels of German speakers
  • Completed API Application
  • University contact information form
  • One letter of recommendation
  • Official transcript
  • Copy of passport
  • Entry requirements: valid passport and student visa

Dates & Fees

Aug 26, 2018 - Dec 14, 2018
Aug 26, 2018 - May 17, 2019
Jan 27, 2019 - May 17, 2019


Mar 1, 2018
Apr 1, 2018
Mar 1, 2018
Apr 1, 2018
Oct 1, 2018
Nov 1, 2018

Course Offerings

If you require syllabi that are not listed below, please contact your API Program Coordinator.


Students are encouraged to apply early, as courses fill up quickly. Courses are subject to change, and no course is guaranteed.


Experiential Beginning German (5 ECTS; 3-4 U.S. Credits) Conducted in German [Syllabi]
Combined 2-level Intensive German (7 ECTS; 6-8 U.S. credits) Conducted in German [Syllabi]

Although the FU-BEST program does not have a German language prerequisite, each participant in the program is required to enroll in German on-site. Those who are (or intend to become) German language majors/minors at home and/or have any demonstrated prior knowledge of German beyond the absolute beginner level need to enroll in the double-course (“Intensive”) German language program, which involves 12 hours per week (Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. until noon) for 12 weeks. These students will normally complete 2 levels of German language training in the course of the semester. The decision regarding transfer to the next language level depends on the result of the student’s midterm exam (which thus serves as a final exam for the first part of this two-course track). Students who have completed the Advanced 1 or 2 (C1 or 2) level of German language instruction during a first semester and wish to stay on for a second semester are invited to enroll in the GermanPLUS+ program.

In addition to the double-course intensive track, the FU-BEST program also offers a single-course track of “Experiential Beginning German” for non-majors/non-minors with no prior knowledge of German only, comprising 6 hours of instruction per week (Monday and Thursday, 9 a.m. until noon) and a local field-trip featuring applied language learning every other week. Non-majors/non-minors may, however, also sign up for the double-course intensive track (Beginner level) instead, if they wish.

Each language section features a midterm exam, a final exam, quizzes, and regular homework. The language program utilizes resources and hands-on experiences available in the Berlin area, particularly in the form of course-related local field-trips.

The FU-BEST program awards workload-based ECTS (European Credit Transfer System) credits. 1 ECTS requires 30 hours of workload at Freie Universität Berlin. FU-BEST participants receive 7 ECTS (normally equivalent to 6-8 U.S. semester credits) for successful completion of the Intensive German, with the exact number of credits to be transferred left up to participants’ home institutions to decide. “Experiential Beginning German” is worth 5 ECTS (3-4 U.S. semester credits), with the exact transfer again left to the discretion of the home institution.

The teaching books, methods, and additional materials conform to the standards of the Common European Frame of Reference for Languages (CEFR) which are by and large comparable to the standards for Foreign Language Learning of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. Communication, the acquisition and improvement of all linguistic competences and of self-correction strategies, cultural context and a steep progression play an essential role in our curriculum. In the Intensive German language instruction, we use Begegnungen and Erkundungen of the Schubert Verlag in Leipzig; in “Experiential Beginning German”, we use Hueber Verlag’s Menschen A1. Much in this syllabus is intended for use by German language faculty at North American colleges and universities whose students plan to participate in the FU-BEST program, in order to facilitate advising and program review.

NOTE: The distinctions between competency levels prevalent in North America do not always easily match what is common in Germany. However, using a three-step placement process, students at FU-BEST are placed into the German level which best fits their abilities and which ensures the biggest possible progress during their stay in Berlin.


Students will choose 2-4 courses from a selection of the options listed below. Students taking the intensive German track can only take 3 culture courses per term. Not all courses are offered every semester; however, you can verify the available courses at the time of application in your @API account.

FU-BEST 1: Contemporary Germany in European Perspective (5 ECTS; 3 U.S. Credits) Conducted in English [Syllabus]

By placing Germany in a broader European context, this course provides an opportunity to develop a comparative perspective on political and socioeconomic features and trends in the Federal Republic. The course begins with a brief historical review, and then shifts to a consideration of such topics and issues as German society, the political system (including institutions, parties, and elections), welfare state features, and socioeconomic policies, with accompanying consideration of characteristics and developments in neighboring European countries. Special attention will also be given to the consequences of Germany’s reunification in 1990.

FU-BEST 2: Integration, Conflict, and Security in Europe (5 ECTS; 3 U.S. Credits) Conducted in English [Syllabus]

This course surveys and examines a variety of aspects of international politics in Europe, with particular focus on the Cold War and post-Cold War eras. Students will review the postwar history of international politics in Europe, followed by an in-depth study of European integration in general and the European Union in particular, the role played by security organizations (especially NATO and the Organization for Security & Cooperation in Europe), U.S. and Soviet/Russian policy toward Europe, the eruption of ethno-political conflict (especially in the Balkans), the international impact of Germany’s recent reunification, and the quest for order, security, and stability in a region that is no longer divided by the Iron Curtain but in which international politics continues to be shaped and affected by East-West as well as North-South contrasts.

FU-BEST 3: Exploring Classical Music: Baroque to Contemporary  (5 ECTS; 3 U.S. Credits) Conducted in English [Syllabus]

Within a basic cultural studies framework, this course covers the history of European classical music, paying particular attention to German-speaking regions. Musical examples from different periods between the 18th and 20th centuries give a historical overview and introduce musically relevant topics. These are then placed, addressed, and analyzed in their relation to their broader cultural, social, political, and aesthetic contexts. The musical works have been chosen as exemplary for their musical form and genre and/or for their significance or representative significance in the development of European classical musical history. Musical terminology, notation, (historical) performance practice, musical instruments, orchestration, musical forms, prominent composers, music as a work of art, and aesthetics are among the subjects of discussion.

Berlin is the ideal city to explore classical music. Three major opera houses, two world-famous concert halls, and countless smaller concert venues provide a daily, incomparable program of musical entertainment. A key aim of the course is to orient yourself in this musical landscape. Choosing a concert and writing a concert critique is one of the assignments for this course.

Note: previous training in music is not a prerequisite for this course, although students with an ability to read music may find this skill advantageous from time to time.

FU-BEST 4: Perspectives on 20th – Century Art In Europe (5 ECTS; 3 U.S. Credits) Conducted in English [Syllabus]

This course surveys the visual arts in Central Europe from the rise of modernism around 1900 to the present after postmodernism, with a strong focus on German art.

Its objectives are:

  • To study the individual works closely and interpret them critically by analyzing their formal structure, style and technique, iconography, etc.
  • To consider the intentions of the artists who created them.
  • To place the works against their wider historical, political, economic, social, and cultural backgrounds as well as within the international development of the visual arts in Western Europe and – for the second half of the 20th century – the U.S.

A consideration of the theoretical context is of particular importance for the understanding of 20th-century art and its role in society. Thus the course will also introduce students to major philosophical ideas of the period and will focus on various links to the visual art works including reflections on the methods which art historians have found appropriate in studying the objects and ideas which constitute their discipline. Berlin houses some of the most splendid art collections in the world, such as the Neue Nationalgalerie, the Hamburger Bahnhof (with the Friedrich Christian Flick Collection), the Kupferstichkabinett (Graphic Arts), the Brücke-Museum, and the Bauhaus-Archiv, not to mention the collections of ancient art. In addition, a vibrant scene of art galleries provides new perspectives on contemporary art that has not yet been established in the museums. An essential approach of the course will be to work not only with slides and text sources in class but also with the originals during excursions to different museums. Thus the specific material qualities of the art works discussed in class will be experienced in front of the originals. This can serve as an eye-opener for understanding the reasoning and the artistic procedure of the artists in their respective period.

FU-BEST 5: German Cinema Before 1945 (5 ECTS; 3 U.S. Credits) FALL ONLY Conducted in English [Syllabus]

German Cinema to 1945 offers an overview of the development of film in Germany from its origins in the German Empire of the late nineteenth century through the end of the National Socialist period. While this course centers on close readings of works that belong to the canon of German film, it also includes examples of popular, experimental and documentary filmmaking. The course hopes to achieve three interrelated aims:

  • to introduce students to fundamental elements of film and film analysis;
  • to foster a critical understanding of how film functions both as entertainment and as an art form;
  • to explore the developments within German film in light of specific historical and cultural frameworks; but also to make students aware of the complicated issues involved in defining any unified national cinema, specifically, the pitfalls inherent in ready conceptions of German cinema.

This course assumes no prior knowledge of German, German films, or film theory in general. It is taught in English and all sound-films have English subtitles.

FU-BEST 6: The Human Condition and the Totalitarian Experience (5 ECTS; 3 U.S. Credits) Conducted in English [Syllabus]

This course starts with the classical concept of the totalitarian state, as developed by Hannah Arendt and others, taking Hitler and Stalin as their models. The course will then cover some subsequent modifications and debates regarding the theory of totalitarianism, as a result of historical changes and developments, especially in the Soviet Empire. Here are some of the questions students will be dealing with: What popular attitudes and psychological reactions exist towards totalitarian atrocities such as the Holocaust? Under what psychological conditions are individuals capable of offering resistance, as did the “rescuers” of Jews under Nazi domination? While these phenomena may now appear to be bygones of merely historical interest, the psychological aspects of “totalitarian situations” remain acutely important, even in present-day democratic societies. The massacre in My Lai, the obedience experiments carried out by Stanley Milgram, and other psychological studies provide shocking evidence of how easily average citizens — and by no means only the “authoritarian personalities,” as described by Theodor W. Adorno and Erich Fromm — are in danger of behaving inhumanely in social situations, in which unthinking submission, even to the most questionable authorities, seems to be the easiest way out of stress and insecurity.

FU-BEST 7: Berlin: History, Memory, Literature (5 ECTS; 3 U.S. Credits) Conducted in English [Syllabus]

Berlin is a quintessentially modern city. It was invented as a capital when Germany was unified in 1871 in order to minimize regional rivalries, then reinvented in 1990 to effect the reunification of East and West. This course will explore representations and topographies of Berlin between the first German unification and the second, focusing on the major events and conflicts that have left their mark on this urban landscape: the rise of the modern metropolis, economic depression and social unrest, the two World Wars, Nazism and the Holocaust, and the Cold War and its aftermath — in short the most disruptive and defining events of the twentieth century.

Of central concern will be the conflicting identities, ideologies, and aesthetic theories informing the events that have shaped Berlin’s — and the world’s — history. East and West, communist and capitalist, German and Jew, avant-garde and reactionary: these opposing terms have performed a mad dance over the past 130 years, sometimes settling in temporary alliances, sometimes in violent oppositions, and always leaving their traces in literature, memory, and urban geography. Berlin is a palimpsest of the discarded ideologies of the twentieth century, both political and aesthetic; it is also one of the premier stages of Europe’s transnational future. Reading its literature and traversing its spaces provides an object lesson in the history of modernism, modernity, and globalization. Part of the course will involve developing strategies for reading and walking through this multi-layered and contradictory landscape. Thus in addition to discussing the regular reading assignments, students will devote some time to discussing the complex relations between space, text, history, and memory.

FU-BEST 8: Modern German History in European Context – A Thematic Approach (5 ECTS; 3 U.S. Credits) Conducted in English [Syllabus]

Today there is no more talk of a “German problem,” but no one doubts that Germany had a profound and paradoxical impact on the trajectories of European history. Many historians express relief that the 20th century did not become the “German century” instead of the “American century.” Others concentrate on the transformation from a violent “Germanized Europe” to a (mostly) peaceful “Europeanized Germany.” In the big picture, modern German history is a useful vantage point for exploring European developments during the 20th century, not only because of Germany’s central and pivotal political role, but even more so because of its fragmented character and inherent contradictions. The impossibility of comparing the extreme of war, genocide, and destruction with the opposite extreme of unprecedented prosperity, consumerism, and happiness is not just a central paradox in German history, but of the modern age itself.

This course aims at fostering a critical understanding of the ruptures and continuities of the “extreme” 20th century with a cross-analysis of German and European political, social, and cultural history. Major themes will be the contest between democracy and dictatorship and the related tension between freedom and security in changing times under different political regimes. Other issues are the historical experiences of two World Wars and the “Cold War,” the emergence of “heroic” and “tragic” memories as well as the impact of these events on the life and memory of “ordinary people.” Since German history has been shaped heavily by the quest for a unifying national identity, we will examine the various modes of defining who is, and who is not, a “German.” The course will also ask how the transformations in politics and culture affected the situations of men and women, younger people, and minorities. Film screenings and in-class discussions with invited guest speakers will be part of the course.

FU-BEST 9a: The Promise of German Philosophy – Kant to Hegel (FALL ONLY) (5 ECTS; 3 U.S. Credits) Conducted in English [Syllabus]

Philosophy has constituted a central element in the development of modern German culture. In the late eighteenth century, German philosophy participated in the broader European Enlightenment culture, which was in turn connected to the development of modern empirical science. Under the impression of the historical changes brought about by the French Revolution and by the ‘Industrial Revolution’ in Great Britain, a special constellation of German philosophy emerged at the end of the eighteenth century, which has deeply left its mark on subsequent philosophical thinking far beyond Germany.

The two Philosophy courses offered by the FU-BEST program address the historical reality of German philosophy in two chronological parts: in the first part, offered during the Fall semester, the course follows the emergence and full deployment of German philosophy from its Kantian beginnings to Hegel’s grand but fragile synthesis, trying to understand its richness as well as its limitations. In the second part, offered during the Spring semester, the course discusses the later development of German philosophy in the nineteenth century and its historical tragedy in the twentieth century. This will include a discussion of the links between Marx and Marxism, between Nietzsche and the German political/ideological right-wing, between the ‘Vienna circle’ and the scientific revolution of the early twentieth century, as well as between German academic philosophy and Nazism. Post-World War II developments in the field will be studied as pathways out of the destructive turn philosophy in Germany took in the first half of the twentieth century.

Both courses will be based upon contemporary attempts at rethinking a global philosophical perspective – by focusing on the tension between the Enlightenment heritage of a universalizing human philosophy and a national culture project, as well as on the tension between classicist rationalism and romantic emotionalism in its construction as a series of philosophical projects. From the perspective of a German version of the dialectics of the Enlightenment, the German philosophers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries will be studied in context – combining the reading of key texts with a reconstruction of their historical contexts and their interaction. Please note: these two Philosophy courses can be taken either together, in a two-semester sequence, or separately and individually.

FU-BEST 9b: Tragedy and New Beginnings in German Philosophy – From Marx and Nietzsche to Habermas (SPRING ONLY) (5 ECTS; 3 U.S. Credits) Conducted in English [Syllabus]

Philosophy has constituted a central element in the development of modern German culture. In the late eighteenth century, German philosophy participated in the broader European Enlightenment culture, which was in turn connected to the development of modern empirical science. Under the impression of the historical changes brought about by the French Revolution and by the ‘Industrial Revolution’ in Great Britain, a special constellation of German philosophy emerged at the end of the eighteenth century, which has deeply left its mark on subsequent philosophical thinking far beyond Germany.

The two Philosophy courses offered by the FU-BEST program address the historical reality of German philosophy in two chronological parts: in the first part, offered during the Fall semester, the course follows the emergence and full deployment of German philosophy from its Kantian beginnings to Hegel’s grand but fragile synthesis, trying to understand its richness as well as its limitations. In the second part, offered during the Spring semester, the course discusses the later development of German philosophy in the nineteenth century and its historical tragedy in the twentieth century. This will include a discussion of the links between Marx and Marxism, between Nietzsche and the German political/ideological right-wing, between the ‘Vienna circle’ and the scientific revolution of the early twentieth century, as well as between German academic philosophy and Nazism. Post-World War II developments in the field will be studied as pathways out of the destructive turn philosophy in Germany took in the first half of the twentieth century.

Both courses will be based upon contemporary attempts at rethinking a global philosophical perspective – by focusing on the tension between the Enlightenment heritage of a universalizing human philosophy and a national culture project, as well as on the tension between classicist rationalism and romantic emotionalism in its construction as a series of philosophical projects. From the perspective of a German version of the dialectics of the Enlightenment, the German philosophers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries will be studied in context – combining the reading of key texts with a reconstruction of their historical contexts and their interaction. Please note: these two Philosophy courses can be taken either together, in a two-semester sequence, or separately and individually.

FU-BEST 10: Islam and Europe: Historical and Contemporary Dimensions (5 ECTS; 3 U.S. Credits) Conducted in English [Syllabus]

This course provides an overview of the history and present condition of Muslims and Islam in non-Muslim majority settings in Western Europe. It will introduce students to basic theoretical concepts, necessary for studying Muslims from a sociological perspective as well as the recipient societies in which they have settled in Europe. The first part of the course is devoted to the analysis of key terms and concepts that will serve as the foundation for the remaining parts of the course. Different concepts such as “Islam”, “Islamism”, “Shari’a”, and “Secularism” will be discussed in their historical context. In the second section, the institutionalization of Islam in Europe will be examined in its complex and highly nation-specific relationship to religious state policies, especially in France, Germany, and Great Britain. Finally, the course will look at the different aspects of the construction of religious authority. Emphasis will be put on the shaping of Muslim religiosity, i.e., the discursive conceptions and social practices of Shari’a within European contexts.

FU-BEST 11: European Business Cultures: Management and Marketing in Cross-National Perspective (5 ECTS; 3 U.S. Credits) Conducted in English [Syllabus]

This course offers a combined exploration of the ways in which companies function in Europe and the reasons for and characteristics of intercultural management issues across the continent. The objectives of the course are to enhance the students’ understanding of the high variety of European business cultures and to learn about the corresponding variety of management styles. The course provides an interconnected focus on the state of the European Union, its social economies, business ethics and the standards of corporate social responsibility with corporate cultures, their marketing pressures and aspects of multicultural team development.

FU-BEST 12: Architecture in Berlin from the 19th Century to Today (5 ECTS; 3 U.S. Credits) Conducted in English [Syllabus]

This course provides an overview of the development of public and private architecture in Berlin during the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. Following an introduction to architectural terms and an examination of the urban development and architectural history of the Modern era, the Neo-Classical period will be surveyed with special reference to the works of Schinkel. This will be followed by sessions on the architecture of the German Reich after 1871, which was characterized by both modern and conservative tendencies, and the manifold activities during the time of the Weimar Republic in the 1920s. The architecture of the Nazi period will be examined, followed by the developments in East and West Berlin after the Second World War. The course concludes with a detailed review of the city’s contemporary and future architectural profiles, including an analysis of the conflicts concerning the re-design of “Berlin Mitte”, Potsdamer Platz, and the new government quarter. Students will examine architectural examples in Berlin by famous international architects like Lord Norman Foster, Frank O. Gehry, Renzo Piano, and Richard Rogers.

As a complement to the lectures, formal field-trips to historically significant buildings and sites constitute an integral component of the course and will give you the possibility to discover the city in a unique way. Students will visit, for example, Berlin’s baroque boulevard Unter den Linden, the 18th century Gendarmenmarkt, the newly built Federal Chancellery, the Potsdamer Platz area, the Jewish Museum by Daniel Libeskind, and the Holocaust Memorial by Peter Eisenman. The course aims to offer a deeper understanding of the interdependence of Berlin’s architecture and the city’s social and political structures. It considers Berlin as a model for the development of a European capital in modern times.

FU-BEST 13: Contemporary Cinema in Germany and Europe (5 ECTS; 3 U.S. Credits) SPRING ONLY Conducted in English [Syllabus]

This course invites students to explore and critically reflect upon the current state of German cinema in a European context. It falls into three parts: the first part will introduce students to historical, cultural, and critical paradigms pertaining to the current situation of European cinema. The second part will discuss a selection of German and European films screened at the Berlin International Film Festival (Berlinale) during the semester in which the course is offered. The third part will then focus on films (co-)produced in Germany and distributed across several European countries. The three parts will cover the following subjects: film and authorship; art cinema vs. popular cinema; the concept of national cinema; the formation of history, memory, and cultural identity in film; film production and film policy; film culture and the role of film festivals. Students will be introduced to a number of key ‘post-Wall’ German and European films from 1990 to the present. They will acquire knowledge of theoretical discourses and critical concepts relevant to understanding and appreciating formal aspects of European cinema, and to examining contemporary German films in relation to their historical and cultural contexts. Film screenings and in-class discussions with invited guest speakers will be part of the course.

FU-BEST 16: Themes and Issues in Transatlantic Relations (5 ECTS; 3 U.S. Credits) Conducted in English [Syllabus]

This course surveys and analyzes the interplay between Europe and America since 1945, mainly in the fields of politics, economics, and culture. Special emphasis will be placed on the roles of the United States, Germany, and the European Union. The course begins with a brief review of transatlantic relations before World War II, followed by a more extensive study of the Americanization of Europe and the European response after 1945, by an analysis of conflict and cooperation during the Cold War, and by a discussion of the transatlantic rift (or not?) after 9/11. The course concludes by examining the various views taken by European and American politicians and scholars to improve European-American relations in the era of globalization.

FU-BEST 17: European Legal Traditions (5 ECTS; 3 U.S. Credits) Conducted in English [Syllabus]

This course provides an overview of European legal traditions and developments. Its coverage ranges from the law of the Roman Empire to the attempts to create a common European legal framework with the establishment of the European Union and the Council of Europe. Special emphasis will be placed on the broader lines of legal tradition and development that have shaped the conceptualizations of law in contemporary Europe. The course will start with a session focused on the leading questions: What is law and why do we need law? The course is then divided into three interrelated parts. Three sessions will encompass a brief overview of European legal history from the Roman Empire, via the Middle Ages, to modern legal thinking, and of European legal history shaped by war and peace (agreements). The next several sessions will focus on modern European legal systems, contrasting the continental (German, French) and common law (British) systems. The course will also dedicate one session to an exploration of law in the Communist bloc (1945-1989) and the legal transformation processes that have occurred in these countries since 1989. During the last three sessions, students will concentrate on recent attempts to create a common European legal space through the European Union and the Council of Europe. Throughout the course, students will keep a comparative eye on the legal system of the United States. This will allow us to identify similarities and differences. The course is designed not only for future law students but also for students who are interested in European legal traditions and who wish to gain an understanding of law as a decisive factor that shapes transatlantic, international, and European affairs today.

FU-BEST 18: Environmental Politics and Policy in Europe (5 ECTS; 3 U.S. Credits) Conducted in English [Syllabus]

Despite the less-than-successful outcome of the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Conference, environmental issues remain near the top of the international agenda. This is very much the case in the EU and its individual member states as well. This course intends to provide the student with an overview of and deeper insight into environmental politics and policy on three interlinked levels: national, EU, and global. Attention will be given to treaty regimes, policy debates and decisions, environmental activism and interest groups, the interaction between economics/business and environmental concerns, and the role played by environmental issues in the conduct of EU and national diplomacy. The course is intended as interdisciplinary option, with a primarily social science focus.

FU-BEST 19: Art and Dictatorship (5 ECTS; 3 U.S. Credits) Conducted in English [Syllabus]

This course provides an introduction to art and politics in the context of dictatorship, focused on examples of Hitler’s Germany. The course will also examine the art and cultural developments in Stalin’s USSR, Mussolini’s Italy, Franco’s Spain, and – for comparison – in “New Deal” America. After an introductory section about art in the democratic Weimar Republic, the course will focus on the official art and architecture in Germany, Italy, and the Soviet Union in the 1930’s and 1940’s. Among others, the course will examine the work of Arno Breker, Albert Speer, Giuseppe Terragni, the Futurists, the concept of Socialist Realism as well as the propagandistic role and artistic strategies of film and photo in a totalitarian regime. Beyond that students will study the National Socialist persecution of modern and Jewish artists, their defamation as “degenerate”, and the artistic resistance against dictatorship, exemplified among others by Picasso’s “Guernica”. Finally, students will concentrate on cultural developments after the end of the Second World War and the artistic delineation and examination of the National Socialist past in East and West Germany as well as the impact of memory, visualized in the numerous memorials commemorating dictatorship and the Holocaust.

FU-BEST 20: Pop Culture – European-American Trends (5 ECTS; 3 U.S. Credits) Conducted in English [Syllabus]

“Roll over Beethoven and tell Tchaikovsky the news” roared Chuck Berry in 1956 with the drummer banging out an unforgiving backbeat, the pianist playing a chaotic boogie, and the double bassist adding buoyancy with a forceful walking bass line. Meanwhile Berry uses his guitar like a weapon and stomps across the stage in a way which became iconoclastic in rock music history. The song became a mantra for a global youth culture which positioned pop culture in opposition to what then was considered musical high culture and the classics. Nevertheless, the African American rebellious attitude had different connotations for the children of the “Greatest Generation” in suburban America, post-war Western Germans who, in the words of film maker Wim Wenders, were all-too willing to be culturally colonized, or British teenagers who appropriated blues, country, and rock in skiffle bands as a means to blur the borders of class society. Since Kurt Weill, the German-American composer of the controversial The Threepenny Opera, explained that there is no high or low but only good and bad music, scholars have engaged in a hot debate about the value of pop culture and how to say anything meaningful about it. There is no argument, however, about its significance and influence on the way we live and perceive our environment.

In this seminar students will familiarize themselves with the frameworks for studying popular culture and investigate case studies in painting, photography, music, film, radio, video, television, and digital media. The course will address theories of communication, historical developments in popular culture and their transatlantic networks, the language of media literacy, performance culture, and developments of modern technological media from paintings and musical concerts to digital animation and the immersion in 3-D simulations. Secondary texts will introduce a full range of theoretical perspectives through which the pop culture may be explored, analyzed, critiqued, and understood. The course will ask about the function of pop culture in the public sphere, representations in texts, images, and music. What are the effects of mass media on the audience and the connections with everyday life? How do popular culture and globalization processes shape the public sphere? In how far can we understand pop culture as a phenomenon of Americanization or Self-Americanization?

This seminar will unlock doors to the analysis of popular culture by placing a special focus on European-American trends. At the center will be developments in films from Metropolis to Independence Day, from the jazz age via the British rock invasion to the outlaw figure in HipHop performances, American founding myths between Shane, Old Shatterhand and Spaghetti Westerns, or the state of exception in post-apocalyptic scenarios in a transnational perspective.

FU-BEST 21: European Traditions in Sociology (5 ECTS; 3 U.S. Credits) Conducted in English [Syllabus]

Sociology as new science, concerned with the impact of the industrial revolution on traditional forms of communal life, beliefs, and authorities, emerged in late nineteenth-century Europe. The pioneers of sociology like Emile Durkheim, Max Weber, Georg Simmel, and Leonard Hobhouse, today regarded as classics, managed to establish the young discipline at the universities in France, Germany and Great Britain. The transatlantic exchange of sociological ideas intensified during the 1920s with American scholars (like Talcott Parsons) visiting Europe and especially with the large wave of emigrants (Paul Lazarsfeld, Reinhard Bendix, members of the Frankfurt School, and many others) to the United States. Modern Analytical Sociology was created in the United States in cooperation between European immigrants and Americans and (re-)exported to Europe during the 1950s and 1960s.

Today sociology is offered at universities all over the world – with some significant regional specializations. While American sociology is best known for its strong empirical orientation (‘social research’), sociology in Europe has developed further the theoretical traditions of the classics (‘social theory’). Some paradigmatic questions from Weber to Simmel seem still relevant: Why have essential elements of modern societies – from the rise of modern capitalism, to individualism, urban culture, and democracy – occurred first in the West? Alienation from society has been a big theme from Marx to Durkheim and Bourdieu. New topics emerged in the face of new challenges: European Integration, the end of the ‘Iron Curtain’ between Western and Eastern Europe, and the pressures of globalization on the European ‘social model’. And, of course, since Tocqueville’s Democracy in America (1853-1840), sociologists on both sides of the Atlantic have been fascinated to compare Europe and the American Experience. The aim of the course will be to portray prominent European sociologists and apply their ideas to the challenges of our time.

FU-BEST 22: Media Politics: Structures and Case-Studies in Germany and Europe (5 ECTS; 3 U.S. Credits) Conducted in English [Syllabus]

This course introduces its participants to mass media systems and structures in Germany and Europe and provides them with the analytical tools and background knowledge to assess the ways in which the mass media and politics interact and thus shape each other. The course will start with an overview of the different structures of mass media (public/ private) in Germany and selected European countries, including how they have historically developed and particularly which political ideas have shaped the frameworks in which media institutions and individuals operate. At the same time, students will take a critical look at how the media in turn have shaped and are still shaping the ways in which the political process works and presents itself to the public. Historical and current case-studies will help us analyse the manifold points of interaction between media and politics. At the end of the course, students will also have the opportunity to compare European and American media politics and to ask whether there may be trends and influences across the Atlantic (one or both ways) that are shaping today’s politics and mass media on both sides.

FU-BEST 23: History of Modern Diplomacy (5 ECTS; 3 U.S. Credits) Conducted in English [Syllabus]

This course surveys European international history and the culture of European diplomacy during the 19th and 20th centuries. It aims to introduce students to core events of international history and the multi-faceted outlook of European diplomats.

The first part of the course provides a rough overview of the workings of aristocratic diplomacy during the ‘Old Regime’ in the 18th century. This system was perturbed by the Napoleonic conquests and re-constructed during the Congress of Vienna as the ‘Concert of Europe.’

Next, students will scrutinize the impact of new forces on European international history such as nationalism, rationalized state administration, republicanism, technology, imperialism, and internationalism during the 19th century. The students will learn how Richard Wagner’s operas became one of the longest running hits at the New York Met, consider the initiation of the first international organizations in Europe, and analyze how public or published opinion came to influence the conduct of diplomacy.

The second part of the course analyzes continuities and changes after the First World War. It addresses the Paris Peace Conferences, the reform of the international system under the League of Nations, and the advent of new diplomatic actors such as experts and women as international civil servants. The course then turns to totalitarian diplomacy and Fascist transnationalism before and during World War II.

The last two sessions address the failed common political and security cooperation of the European Community during the Cold War. Students  assess the pitfalls of a ‘European’ diplomacy in the face of the violent breakup of Yugoslavia, the Iraq wars and the Libyan revolution. Last, students consider the prospects of the new common European External Action Service of the European Union.

The instructor provides readings with study questions and short, power-point-based lectures to establish a basic timeline on the political history of Europe. A key aim of the course is to activate the participants’ interests through an interactive approach and trigger them to work, develop, and present arguments independently or as team. Aside from in-class study groups, students will ‘re-experience’ diplomacy through selected re-enactments of international conferences or mock courts. Students will acquire basic tools to process academic texts and develop independent and evidence-based argumentations.

FU-BEST 24: Europe in the Global Economy (5 ECTS; 3 U.S. Credits) Conducted in English [Syllabus]

The European Communities were conceived as a union of democratic nations shaping the world’s economic and social model. Is the permanent enlargement process that made the EU big paying off? In a changing global economy, what is Europe’s comparative advantage?

“One market – one money” was what Europeans believed in. In a crisis not coming to an end the common currency is seen more and more as liability. Is an ill-designed Euro going to blow up the Eurozone?

With Russia as major energy partner Europe’s energy independence is high on the agenda. Is the energy hunger of China, Brazil, etc. a threat to the EU? We will discuss the cost of global warming and climate challenge Europe is expected to bear.

Lastly, a “look in the crystal ball” is supposed to give an idea of the EU in the world 30 years from now: still vibrant, or ageing and decaying?

FU-BEST 25: Jewish Life in Central Europe (5 ECTS; 3 U.S. Credits) Conducted in English [Syllabus]

This course will introduce and discuss canonic texts by German-Jewish authors from Moses Mendelssohn to Robert Schindel. It thus gives an extensive overview of German-Jewish culture since the late-eighteenth century. Every class session starts off with a contextualization of the historic circumstances in which each text was created. In doing so, the wider picture of German-Jewish culture and history will be developed, whereas in the second section of each class session, reading assignments will be discussed in greater detail. Here, the session will concentrate on one or two exemplary readings the students will prepare and present. These literary readings constitute the core interest of each session, as this course is situated in the field of cultural studies with a focus on literature.

FU-BEST 26: Statistics for the Social Sciences – Quantitative Research Methods (5 ECTS; 3 U.S. Credits) Conducted in English [Syllabus]

Statistics plays an important role in a wide range of professions. Therefore an understanding of statistical concepts and techniques is indispensable in order to critically read and use both popular media and scholarly articles. Furthermore, statistics might play a role in many students’ research.

This course aims to acquaint students with the basic concepts in statistics and equip them with a toolbox to conduct their own quantitative research in a social science context. The course covers key statistical concepts, descriptive and inferential statistics as well as (multiple) regression. The emphasis of the course is on understanding statistical concepts and developing the ability to apply them as well as to critically read and interpret quantitative research, and less on the mathematical details and proofs of the methods. At the beginning of the course, students will be provided with a list of key themes and methods that they will learn during the course and apply in their own research project at the end of the course.

Software for statistical analysis is an essential tool for conducting statistical research. This course uses SPSS, which will be introduced at the beginning of the course and used throughout.

The first part of the course covers data collection and research design as well as the visualisation and description of data with graphs and tables. The course then turns to probability and sample distributions necessary for the inferential statistical methods which are subsequently introduced. The course will also address the difference between correlation and causality. All the concepts will be illustrated with real-world examples and accompanied by readings of applied research in the social sciences. An integral part of the course will be the students’ own small research projects in a subject field of their own choice.

FU-BEST 27: Women’s and Gender Studies in Transatlantic Context (5 ECTS; 3 U.S. Credits) Conducted in English [Syllabus]

The sex/gender system, like many social systems of categorization, serves to group individuals. It represents an act of dividing, i.e. categorizing individuals as male or female; yet it also, paradoxically and simultaneously, connects individuals through shared membership in a category. This course on gender and women’s studies in a transatlantic context focuses on the boundary—that which both divides and unites. We investigate sexed and gendered boundaries between bodies, communities, cultures, classes, races, ethnicities, religions, sexualities, and nations.

Our exploration of boundaries is grouped into three units: In the first, we examine the way sex/gender boundaries are mapped onto the body; this includes the history of sex differences within scientific discourses, transsexual and transgender definitions, and attempts to control women’s health and reproduction. The second unit analyzes conceptualizations of citizenship as practices of drawing boundaries, and we examine how these boundaries intersect, connect, and prohibit. We look at the gendered ideals of citizenship, the history of women’s rights, and intersectionality between different types of marginalization. In considering definitions of nationhood and belonging, we examine how boundaries can connect individuals in solidarity, as well separate out others. The final unit investigates the boundary between the public and the private in an investigation of women, migration and work, as well as so-called women’s work, including sex work and domestic work.

In this course we use statistics, history, political and social sciences, filmic representations, news reports, essays, medical texts, and biographies to conduct our interdisciplinary investigation. Our guiding approach is one of transnational feminism, which seeks to find solidarity between women by understanding and embracing their differences. Ultimately, our analysis of a multiplicity of subject positions and histories reveals the overall instability of the sex/gender system. For example, something that one culture views as inherently masculine may be viewed as inherently feminine in another. Therefore, our transcultural examination helps us understand the socially constructed nature of a system that is often viewed as natural, unchanging, and stable.

By the end of the semester, students will be able to:

  • Discuss gender and gender roles in a nuanced manner.
  • Formulate academic theses about some of the major social, medical, and political concerns facing women in North America and Europe.
FU-BEST 28: Film Music: Listening Outside the Frame (5 ECTS; 3 U.S. Credits) SPRING ONLY Conducted in English [Syllabus]

Film is often understood as a primarily visual art form, with the development of novel visual technologies, such as 3D, being heavily advertised and well known to mainstream international audiences. In this course, we will uncover an equally important, yet often overlooked, component of film: music. Over the course of the semester we will examine how music has contributed to the success and evolution of films throughout the history of the film industry in North America and Europe.

We will begin with a discussion of the stylistic origins of film music in the Western (and specifically Germanic) classical music tradition, with particular focus on the influence of Richard Wagner. This will be followed by an investigation into the intertwining histories of film and sound-recording technology during their infancy, in which we will examine groundbreaking techniques and works developed in Germany, France, and the United States. Our second task will be to situate the role of film music in some of the most vital movement and moments in film history. For example, we will consider Prokofiev’s music in Soviet Russian war epics, as well as the naturalistic “folk” music present in neo-realist Italian films. In our third unit, we expand our investigation beyond film drama to survey how music and sound are used to construct genre. Each week will focus on one genre—for example, action/adventure, horror, musicals—with detailed discussions of representative works in these genres from a variety of time periods and locations. For instance, during our week on musicals we will consider how the early history of the genre was situated in Hollywood, but quickly sparked an international genre including creative re-workings of the genre such as Les parapluies de Cherbourg(The Umbrellas of Cherbourg) and the truly global production, Dance in the Dark. Our semester will end with an exploration of films that were inspired largely by music (rather than music composed to fit film). This unit will include a week on music documentaries and the construction of realism, as well as avant-garde explorations of the intersections of film and music.

As is the case for all of the arts, Berlin is an ideal location in which to study music and film. Thus, we will explore this cultural landscape with specific encounters that will complement our conversations and readings. For example, we will visit a theater that hosts a weekly showing of a “silent movie” alongside a live organist.

FU-BEST 29: Music in the Digital Age (5 ECTS; 3 U.S. Credits) FALL ONLY Conducted in English [Syllabus

From virtual instruments to illegal downloads, recent decades have seen the landmark effects of digital technology on the production and dissemination of musical content. In this course, we will examine the nature of these shifts and sample salient and productive intersections of music and technology in transatlantic contexts. Through specific case studies, we will tackle the following questions: How have these technologies encouraged unprecedented modes of hearing and acquiring music? In what ways has digital music technology enabled personal and communal experiences with musical content and style? And how do we reconcile the long-established connections between music and place in an era when music seems to exist largely in “the cloud?”

The first unit of the course will examine the nature of experiencing music in the digital era. Our second unit will explore the manner in which musicians and producers have employed digital tools to develop new industry standards. Our third goal will be to consider the manner in which digital music technologies have been applied to media outside of the mainstream music industry.

Throughout the semester, we will consider how these technological shifts have encouraged and enabled a globalized reception of music that simultaneously hinges on the role of geographic centers. Berlin will serve as our primary example of this, as it is a well-respected center of multiple musical scenes (including classical and electronic dance music) that participates in a globalized mainstream music industry. Thus, our discussions of these topics will often reference musical movements, companies, and technologies associated with Berlin (and elsewhere), but we will situate these topics within the broader transatlantic music industry.

FU-BEST 30: Energizing Europe: 21st-Century Renewable and Fossil Transformations (5 ECTS; 3 U.S. Credits) Conducted in English [Syllabus]

Today, the EU is a world leader in alternative energy efforts, most notably Germany’s Energiewende, which aims to replace coal and nuclear with wind and solar electricity. However, the EU is also interconnecting member-state gas, electrical and transport systems and unifying its energy markets aided by its new European Energy Union (EEU) — whose formation was spurred by the Ukraine crisis and Europe’s heavy dependence on Russian gas. In Energizing Europe, we investigate how these transitions impact EU carbon emissions, resources, economy, society, and geopolitical security. The class begins by surveying the EU’s energy resources and infrastructure as compared to the USA’s. The group then studies Europe´s energy transitions from medieval times through its 20th-century energy crises and wars. With this preparation, students begin a study of Europe’s intended 21st-century energy transitions. Topics include: (i.) Germany’sEnergiewende, its technical, economic, and social challenges and its impact on EU neighbors; (ii.) problems of oil dependence and traffic congestion in the German and EU transport sectors; (iii.) EU natural gas policy – external issues including dependence on Russia and pipelines through Ukraine, attempts to diversify with Norwegian, North African and Caspian gas and with US liquefied natural gas (LNG); and internal issues such as market unification, interconnection of pipelines, anti-monopoly efforts, fracking, and competition from cheap carbon-intensive coal; (iv.) finally, we examine German rejection of nuclear energy in light of risks and promises of next-generation reactors. Throughout, students follow current German, EU and related global energy affairs. This course should be of interest to students of both social and natural sciences.

FU-BEST 32: The Reformation Heritage (5 ECTS; 3 U.S. Credits) Conducted in English [Syllabus]

This course explores the legacy of the Protestant Reformation on Germany and Europe in light of its upcoming 500th commemoration. It discusses the linkages between the intellectual and religious dynamics of the epoch of the Augustinian monk Martin Luther and those of our modern society. In doing so, it explores the basic question to what extent we can interpret modern aspects of and changes in the realms of religion, politics, economics, science, and art as a demonstrable outgrowth of the Reformation and its aftermath. The aim of this course is not to present an uncritical Reformation history with Martin Luther as some kind of comprehensive “initiator of modern times”, but to inquire into the political, societal, and religious transformation that began in the 16th century and (perhaps) still shapes our age.

The course begins with a historical, theological, and literary overview of the 16th century and an exploration of the historical roots of Reformation ideas in England and Bohemia. Luther´s main theses are presented as well as the connections between the Humanist movement, the Renaissance, and the Reformation. The course then explores several aspects of Reformation ideas and asks in five thematic sessions, whether or where the long-term impact of the historical transformation wrought or ignited by the Reformation becomes visible. Each session gives an overview of Reformation-related literature, provides the historical setting, and presents the main theses of modern thinkers, such as Max Weber, Thomas Luckmann or Peter Berger. Themes such as changes in the realm of religion due to the Protestant Reformation are applied to current societal questions. Special attention is given to international differences with respect to the legacy of the Reformation, i.e., the contrasting traditions that can be identified between Germany and selected other European countries, as well as developments in the former East Germany within the general German context.

We also focus on ambivalent aspects associated with the Reformation and its legacy, ranging from its ecumenical aspects to Luther´s stance on the Jews and the Turks. In the last session we broach the issue of today´s use and abuse of Reformation ideas and discuss the need for a properly reflected application of the Reformation’s heritage in our contemporary Western secular societies.

FU-BEST 33: Green Business (5 ECTS; 3 U.S. Credits) Conducted in English [Syllabus]

This course provides an introduction to recent developments in Germany and the EU with regard to a green and sustainable economy. It offers theoretical as well as practical insights based on conceptual discussions, case studies, a field-trip, and group work to develop a green business case.

The acute awareness of environmental challenges has permeated German and European society, politics, and business for decades. The relationship between business and environmental issues has, however, changed drastically over the years and has continuously been impacted by the interaction between the German and European Union political levels. Historically, business’ environmental impact has been viewed more negatively as “market failure”. This view is increasingly becoming more differentiated. Nowadays, positive environmental impacts, which might be achievable through sustainable entrepreneurship and sustainable core business activities, are increasingly being acknowledged.

This course begins by exploring key concepts for a green and sustainable economy in the German and European policy contexts and then looks at the development that has taken place both at the political level and in the economy in recent time. We then focus on the micro-level, i.e., the businesses themselves: What are the motivating forces behind entrepreneurs’ and businesses’ decision to make a strategic commitment to environmental sustainability? What are the roles and strategies of different types of companies? Why and how do incumbents and start-ups engage in environmental protection in different ways? We will also look at the strong connection between politics and business in the European context and the inclination of many sustainable entrepreneurs to engage in policy making in a manner that also turns them into “institutional” entrepreneurs, acting at a meso-level. Finally, in this more theoretical part of the course, we will look at how sustainable entrepreneurs may encounter market and regulatory barriers related to environmental externalities, path dependencies, and lobbying activities by incumbent companies. We will also look at (partial) solutions to such barriers provided by e.g. incubators, business competitions, universities, investors, and public funding programmes.

In the more practical part of the course, we will engage with good practice examples hearing directly from the entrepreneurs themselves (guest speakers) and by going on a field-trip. As Berlin has a special reputation for hosting a vibrant start-up scene, we will visit the Green Garage on the Euref campus in Schöneberg, where we will learn more about the acceleration and incubation processes of the EU initiative “Climate KIC”, and meet the start-ups based there. The students will also be encouraged to creatively develop their own business ideas and plan the initial steps using the Sustainable Business Canvas. Their business concept/model will then be presented and discussed in the group, providing tips for future improvement and possible realisation of the ideas.

The goal of the course is to provide students with a theoretical foundation in the development of green and sustainable solutions within the economic context of Germany and Europe and to develop an understanding of how sustainable entrepreneurship is unfolding creative potential and opportunities for environmental improvements using core business activities. The course also aims at equipping students with more practical tools and processes for developing their own business ideas for the green economy.

FU-BEST 34: Migration: Dynamics and Controversies in Europe and Berlin (5 ECTS; 3 U.S. Credits) Conducted in English [Syllabus]

The European Union consists of pluralist and secular nation-states. This is official policy up to the highest levels of the EU-bureaucracy, in which “any discrimination based on any ground such as sex, race, color, ethnic or social origin, genetic features, language, religion or belief, political or any other opinion, membership of a national minority, property, birth, disability, age, or sexual orientation shall be prohibited.” Although this is the norm, in the factual political as well as every-day power-relations between migrants and citizens, diverse forms of discrimination are steadily reproduced.

In this course, students will encounter some of these differences between the normative and the factual as we pursue a series of analytical and learning objectives. Students will focus on the often problematic and conflictual triangle of migration, ethnicity, and religion and ground our exploration of relevant theory in a discussion of empirical case-studies on the wider European as well as on the local Berlin levels. Students will especially examine more closely the often highly emotionalized and mostly too simplistic public debates, which take place mostly around the categories of ethnicity and religion. Thereby we will also look at diverse forms of multimedia-based representations of the highly complex and multidimensional dynamics involved in migration processes, inasmuch as people do not come only as ethicized or religionized subjects. They come also as gendered and gendering persons. They come with their professions, their political viewpoints, their personal tastes, ethics and aesthetics, subcultures and complex worldviews – in other words, they come as individual persons, like anybody else. As a result, they actively contribute to the spatial, cultural, and social dynamics of migration, as well as to the controversies arising around them.

Based on constructivist approaches drawn from cultural and social anthropology, students will establish the basics of transnational migration theory, focusing especially on the fields of critical migration and mobility research, postcolonial studies, globalization theory, the anthropology of the state, of religion and of multimedia representation. Students will question different forms of mobility, while being aware of their historical contexts in the rise of the (European) nation-state, and will think about the consequences of the contemporary politics of fear and identity, played out along the lines of the production and reproduction of fixed cultural boundaries, which thereby foster xenophobic worldviews. In the case of populist discourse, students thus encounter political manifestations that directly threaten the ideals of the European Union. A final objective of the course will be to explore ways to think beyond the conventional framings of identity.


GermanPLUS+ is a package consisting of two German language and three subject courses, all taught in German and designed to meet the needs and interests of students with advanced German language abilities.

This track is only available to students at the advanced level, and consists of a pre-set menu of classes (see below). Participants need to have German language skills on the C1 or C2 level, either through formal education or through being a (near-)native speaker. All course assignments and most of the readings will be in German. Upon successful completion, participants are awarded 20 ECTS credits.


Depending on their German level at the start of the program, students will take German C2 (Advanced) or DaF unterrichten (Teaching German as a Foreign Language) during the first half of the semester, and Wissenschaftliches Schreiben auf Deutsch (Academic Writing in German) during the second half. Language courses take place in the morning, Monday through Thursday.

German C2 (Advanced 2) Conducted in German

Dieser Kurs befähigt Sie, Ihre Kompetenz im Deutschen beim Sprechen und Schreiben sowie Ihr Vokabular dem muttersprachlichen Niveau anzunähern. Dazu gehört das Verstehen von Nebenbedeutungen, Idiomatik und die Anwendung stilistisch und situativ angemessener Kommunikationsformen. Besonderer Wert wird auf die Verbesserung der kommunikativen Fähigkeiten in akademischen Zusammenhängen gelegt. Sie werden Vorlesungen und Vorträge verstehen und an wissenschaftlichen Diskussionen teilnehmen können. Mithilfe ausschließlich authentischer, anspruchsvoller Texte erhalten Sie relevante Informationen zur Kultur, Politik und Geschichte Deutschlands und anderer deutschsprachiger Länder. Sie werden am Ende des Kurses über effektive Lese- und Hörstrategien hinsichtlich verschiedener literarischer Gattungen und Medien verfügen und sich mit umfangreicheren Beispielen deutscher Literatur beschäftigen. Die Diskussionen im Unterricht basieren auf literarischen und nicht-literarischen Texten und ermöglichen Ihnen den Austausch von Informationen, Ideen und Meinungen auf einem akademischen Niveau. Ihr Abschlussprojekt beinhaltet eine wissenschaftliche Hausarbeit, einen Vortrag und die Leitung der sich daran anschließenden Diskussion im Unterricht.

Deutsch-ALS-Fremdsprache (DAF) Unterrichten – Eine Einführung (Teaching German as a Foreign Language) Conducted in German

Dieser Kurs dient als Einführung in das Unterrichten von Deutsch als Fremdsprache (DaF). Die Teilnehmer werden mit Theorien des (Fremd-)Sprachenerwerbs und der Linguistik vertraut gemacht und lernen Werkzeuge, Methoden und Strategien kennen, mit deren Hilfe sie DaFUnterricht konzipieren, durchführen und auswerten sowie optimieren können. Hospitationen in DaF-Kursen und deren kritische Reflexion geben Einblicke in die Bedeutung der Lehrerpersönlichkeit. Ein Ziel des Kurses ist, die Teilnehmer zu befähigen, einen Stundenentwurf für eine kurze Lehreinheit im Anfängerbereich zu erstellen, Elemente daraus im Kursplenum zu präsentieren und sie anschließend zu evaluieren. Der Kurs richtet sich an weit fortgeschrittene Deutsch-Studierende, die das Unterrichten von Deutschkursen als ein Element ihrer weiteren Karriere in Betracht ziehen.

Wissenschaftliches Schreiben Auf Deutsch (Academic Writing in German) Conducted in German

In diesem Kurs werden Aufbau und Stil wissenschaftlicher Textsorten erarbeitet und entsprechende Texte verfasst. Diese Textproduktionen werden u.a. durch Übungen zur Versprachlichung verschiedener Tabellen, Diagramme und Schaubilder, zum Aufstellen von Thesen und Definitionsweisen sowie zur Konstruktion und Ausarbeitung einer Argumentation vorbereitet. Hinzu kommen Übungen auf der Wort-, Satz- und Textebene zum angemessenen Gebrauch der deutschen Gegenwartssprache hinsichtlich verschiedener stilistischer Merkmale und Mittel sowie die Erweiterung Ihres allgemeinen Wortschatzes, damit Sie am Ende des Kurses wissenschaftliche Texte gleichermaßen logisch strukturiert und verständlich wie spannend gestalten können.


All GermanPLUS+ students will be enrolled int he following subject courses, which meet once a week for 2.5 hours in the afternoon.

FU-BEST 14: Theatermetropole Berlin: Gegenwart und Vergangenheit (Theater Metropolis Berlin: Past and Present) (5 ECTS / 3 U.S. credits) – Conducted in German [Syllabus]

This course is part of the German Plus + package. Students not choosing the whole package but interested in taking this course will be Placed on a waiting list and Notified of any available space after the application deadline, according to the ranking of the course provided here and the date of receipt of their application. Please note the language prerequisites for participation care fully (Intermediate 3 and above)!

Berlin ist eine der lebendigsten Theater-Metropolen weltweit. In Berlin wird Theatertradition gepflegt, über Theater debattiert und Theater immer wieder erneuert. Das Berliner Theater ist am Puls der Zeit: Theaterstücke und deren Aufführungen spiegeln gegenwärtige gesellschaftliche Entwicklungen und aktuelle politische Diskussionen in Deutschland wider.

Heute gibt es in Berlin eine der herausragendsten jungen, lebendigen und sehr produktiven Theaterszenen der Welt. Mit neuen Konzepten und dramaturgischen Mitteln überzeugt das Theater auch formal in der globalen Mediengesellschaft unserer Zeit.

Berlins wechselvolle Theatergeschichte reicht vom Deutschen Nationaltheater (Klassik: Goethe) über das politisch-provokative Theater der Weimarer Republik (Brecht) bis hin zu heutigen „postmodernen“ Theaterstücken und -inszenierungen (Pollesch). Diese besondere Vielfalt der früheren und heutigen Berliner Theaterwelt werden wir in unserem Seminar aufspüren. Wir untersuchen klassische und Regietheater-Inszenierungen, theaterkritische Rezeptionen, die politische Mitwirkung des Theaters in einer multikulturellen Gesellschaft, experimentelle Stilmittel, Tabu-Brüche, Dauerthemen. Was ist „klassisch“, was ist „modern“ und wie wirkt beides aufeinander? Welche Funktion(en) hat Theater heute?

Wir werden repräsentative Dramentexte aus den aktuellen Spielplänen der Berliner Theater diskutieren und uns den Texten auch kreativ annähern. Durch Besuche von Theateraufführungen an den wichtigsten Berliner Theatern (Deutsches Theater, Berliner Ensemble, Maxim Gorki Theater, Schaubühne und Volksbühne) werden wir das Spannungsfeld zwischen Originaltext und aktueller Inszenierung in der heutigen Berliner Theaterlandschaft erkunden. In Kooperation mit dem 2014 als „Theater des Jahres“ preisgekrönten Maxim Gorki Theater schließen wir das Seminar mit einem kreativen Theaterworkshop dort ab.

Am Ende des Kurses werden die Teilnehmer/innen in der Lage sein:

  • Geschichte und Gegenwart ausgewählter Berliner Theater miteinander zu vergleichen
  • wesentliche Konzepte des klassisch-dramatischen, epischen und postdramatischen
  • Theaters zu benennen und in Theorie und Praxis voneinander unterscheiden zu können
  • Theaterstücke und Inszenierungen zu analysieren
  • Theaterszenen und Theaterkritiken zu verfassen
  • kleine Spielszenen zu konzipieren und vorzuführen
FU-BEST 15: Deutschland un seine Kunst – ein Nation in Bildern (Germany and His Art – a Nation in Pictures) (5 ECTS / 3 U.S. credits) – Conducted in German [Syllabus]

This course is part of the German Plus + package. Students not choosing the whole package but interested in taking this course will be Placed on a waiting list and Notified of any available space after the application deadline, according to the ranking of the course provided here and the date of receipt of their application. Please note the language prerequisites for participation care fully (Intermediate 3 and above)!

Dieser Kurs bietet einen Überblick über die Bildende Kunst in Deutschland vom Beginn der Moderne um 1800 bis zur Gegenwart. Er betrachtet Kunst und ihre Entstehung nicht nur aus einer rein kunsthistorischen Perspektive, sondern sieht sie als eine Reflexionsebene für (Gruppen-)Identität. Immer wieder wurde nämlich an verschiedenen Zeitpunkten im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert die Bildung einer deutschen Nation und die problematische Vorstellung einer nationalen deutschen Identität auf das Engste mit der Frage nach einem „deutschen Stil“ und einer besonderen („deutschen“) Kunstform verknüpft.

Im Laufe des Semesters werden wir ausgewählte Beispiele deutscher Kunst, mit dem Fokus auf berühmte nationale Ikonen, genauer analysieren und sie dabei in ihre übergreifenden historischen, philosophischen, politischen, gesellschaftlichen und kulturellen Zusammenhänge einordnen. Welches Anliegen verfolgten die Künstler und wie vermochten sie es umzusetzen? Dabei werden wir uns besonders auf die konkreten Bedingungen konzentrieren, unter denen in Deutschland Kunst produziert und rezipiert wurde; dazu gehört natürlich auch die Berücksichtigung der vielfältigen internationalen Einflüsse, sei es nun im Sinne einer Adaption, einer Abgrenzung oder einer Neuformulierung.

Wir werden uns zunutze machen, dass Berlin einige der faszinierendsten Kunstsammlungen der Welt beherbergt, wie z.B. die Gemäldegalerie, die Alte and die Neue Nationalgalerie, den Hamburger Bahnhof, das Kupferstichkabinett (Graphiken), das Brücke-Museum und die Berlinische Galerie. Hinzu kommt eine lebendige Szene von Kunstgalerien, die uns neue Blickwinkel auf Gegenwartskunst ermöglicht, welche noch nicht in Museen etabliert ist. Schließlich betrachten wir auch Beispiele „alternativer“ Kunst und von „Street Art“, um ein Gefühl für Trends zu bekommen, die danach streben, sich einen Namen als Kunst von morgen zu machen – oder die genau dies ablehnen und sich als „Gegen-Kunst“ zu Deutschlands künstlerischem „Mainstream“ verstehen. An geeigneten Stellen werden wir Vergleiche zu internationalen Entwicklungen von Bildender Kunst in Westeuropa und (in der zweiten Semesterhälfte) in den USA ziehen.

Am Ende des Kurses sollen die Teilnehmer/innen über die Methoden und die Terminologie verfügen, Kunstwerke auf ihren formalen Aufbau, ihren Stil und die verwendete Technik sowie ihre Bildsprache hin zu untersuchen. Sie können sie im weiteren politischen und kulturellen Umfeld ihrer Zeit verorten und die Bedingungen ihrer Produktion und Rezeption bewerten. Die Studierenden erwerben Spezialwissen über deutsche Kunst aus den letzten beiden Jahrhunderten und über ihre doppelte Relevanz als Spiegel, aber auch als Gestalter deutscher Identität innerhalb der deutschen Gesellschaft.

FU-BEST 31: Deutsch, Deutscher, Deutschland: Identität(en), Geschichte, Politik (German, German, Germany: Identity(ies), History, Politics) (5 ECTS / 3 U.S. credits) – Conducted in German [Syllabus]

This course is part of the German Plus + package. Students not choosing the whole package but interested in taking this course will be Placed on a waiting list and Notified of any available space after the application deadline, according to the ranking of the course provided here and the date of receipt of their application. Please note the language prerequisites for participation care fully (Intermediate 3 and above)!

Was ist „deutsch“, wer ist „deutsch“? Wer definiert das, und wer entscheidet darüber – Politiker, Wissenschaftler, Gruppen, jeder Einzelne für sich? Wie fühlt sich „deutsch sein“ an? Was macht einen zum/zur „Deutschen“, und wer findet vielleicht, er/sie sei deutscher als andere (und warum)? Was ist „Deutschland“, wo ist „Deutschland“? Seit wann gibt es überhaupt ein „Deutschland“, und ist es inzwischen noch ein „Deutschland“ oder nicht vielmehr mehrere „Deutschland“s? Und was denken eigentlich andere über „die Deutschen“?

Der Kurs wird diese Fragen (und noch weitere) aus verschiedenen Blickwinkeln beleuchten – denen der Geschichte, der Soziologie, der Politik- und der Kulturwissenschaft. Auf dem Weg zur Erkenntnis darüber, was und wer „typisch deutsch“ ist, beschäftigen wir uns zunächst mit Theorien zum Ursprung und zur Funktion von Fremd- und Selbstbildern (Hetero- und Autostereotypen). Anschließend verfolgen wir die historische Entwicklung eines nationalen deutschen Selbstverständnisses anhand ausgewählter Topoi in der deutschen Kulturgeschichte. Wir fragen, welche Rollen diese Selbstbilder für die Schaffung einer kulturellen und/oder politischen nationalen Identität in Deutschland gespielt haben (und immer noch spielen), wie einvernehmlich sie innergesellschaftlich akzeptiert (oder aber umstritten) waren/sind, welchem Wandel sie bis heute unterliegen und wie sie sich zu den Bildern verhalten, die andere Nationen sich von Deutschland und seiner Rolle in der Welt machen.

Schließlich diskutieren wir im Rückgriff auf unsere Ausgangsfragen, ob solche nationalen Selbstbilder im 21. Jahrhundert noch eine Rolle für die Identitätsbildung des postmodernen Individuums spielen, das sich aus unterschiedlichen Gruppenzugehörigkeiten heraus und aufgrund seiner individuellen Biographie die Freiheit nehmen kann, multiple Identitäten zu entwickeln, sie miteinander zu kombinieren oder sie in ein mitunter widersprüchliches Spannungsfeld zu bringen. Viele in Deutschland lebende Menschen definieren sich heutzutage über ihre regionale Verbundenheit, ihre Sprache, ihre familiäre Herkunft oder die Zugehörigkeit zu einer bestimmten (sub)kulturellen Gruppe. Ist also „typisch deutsch“ nur noch ein Klischee, oder sagen tatsächlich noch Menschen ernsthaft von sich (oder anderen), dass sie „typisch“ oder „echt deutsch“ sind und handeln?

Am Ende des Semesters werden die Kursteilnehmer in der Lage sein, nationale Fremd- und Selbstbilder allgemein kritisch zu hinterfragen. Sie kennen theoretische Grundlagen der Stereotypenforschung und können Erkenntnisse daraus in Beziehung zu Mechanismen und Topoi individueller wie auch (teil)gesellschaftlicher Identitätsbildung setzen. Sie haben Wissen über die Entwicklung Deutschlands und dominante gesellschaftliche Themen seit dem späten 19. Jahrhundert erworben. Mit Hilfe dieses Wissens und der im Kurs vermittelten Analysemethoden werden sie in der Lage sein, Stereotypen und Klischees über „die Deutschen“ historisch und politisch einzuordnen sowie existierende Identitäten in Deutschland differenziert zu betrachten und zu bewerten.