Berlin: History, Memory, Literature

Freie Universität Berlin

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Berlin: History, Memory, Literature

  • Host University

    Freie Universität Berlin

  • Location

    Berlin, Germany

  • Area of Study

    European Studies, German Culture, History, Literature

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • Contact Hours

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    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, we will devote some time to discussing the complex relations between space, text, history, and memory.

    Schedule permitting, we will watch relevant films and organize city excursions outside of regular class times.

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.

ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) credits are converted to semester credits/quarter units differently among U.S. universities. Students should confirm the conversion scale used at their home university when determining credit transfer.

Availability of courses is based on enrollment numbers. All students should seek pre-approval for alternate courses in the event of last minute class cancellations