This course starts out by investigating the current "re-branding" of Germany through the focus on Berlin as an astonishingly liberal – i.e. hip, artsy, and still relatively affordable – city. Setting the scene by reading Peter Schneider's recent book Berlin Now, we will investigate scholarly literature, fiction, film, and journalistic writing in five broad areas (modules) to discuss and critically evaluate this self-presentation. Inquiries into Germany's complex history of the 20th century will be folded into each of these modules. These modules will focus on: the politics and history of city planning and urban development; GDR legacy and "Ostalgie" ([n]ostalgia); the situation of immigrants, migrants, and transient people living in Berlin; the history of Berlin's queer culture; and Jews and the Holocaust. Students will sign up for writing their final papers on a topic that falls within these five broader topics and commit to giving a presentation on a text and/or film that deals with these topics. In addition, there will be a mid-term essay and 5 one-page film reviews. The final project can include research on or creative work in a variety of media and genres (academic-style paper; creative non-fiction; or anything visual and/or digital, provided it's accompanied by a shorter paper).
- Teacher: Jutta Sperling