New English-Language IU Program
Summer Course in Berlin, Germany
- Location: In the very heart of Berlin
- Time: Four weeks in the summer, June 3 – 30, 2012
- Course: "Sites of Memory: Berlin, 1871 to the Present"
- Instructor: Michel Chaouli, Assoc. Professor of Germanic Studies, IUB
- Size: 15–20 IU students
- Course info: German E-371, 3 credits, all readings and discussions in English, no prior knowledge of German required
- Requirements fulfilled: The course may be applied to the IUB College of Arts and Sciences "Arts & Humanities" requirement and the "World Languages & Cultures" part of the General Education requirement, as well as departmental requirements
- Cost: $3,078 (for Indiana residents); $3,378 (non-residents); includes academic fees, outings, lodging, health insurance, and some meals; financial aid available
- Application deadline: Feb. 6, 2012
- More details: Office of Overseas Study
Berlin has undergone a stunning transformation. Barely more than two decades ago, the city was still cut in two by a looming concrete wall that divided "East" from "West." It was mostly known as the setting for cold-war spy movies. Today it is hailed as the most exciting metropolis in Europe, harboring a thriving art scene, extraordinary museums and concert halls, and a boisterous, never-ending street life. Young people flock here from all over the world.
But Berlin is not just a pleasant city, it is also a stimulating, engaging, and at times unsettling place. Since the crumbling of communism and the eastward shift of Europe's center of gravity, the capital of Germany has also become the unofficial capital of the new Europe. It is a magnet for people and their ideas, a place where you can find innovative social experiments alongside acute social problems. If you want to get a measure of both the promise and the perils attending European societies today, there is hardly a better place to visit.
Starting in 2012, Indiana University offers a four-week English-language summer course in Berlin, taught by IU faculty and tailored to IU students. The city is not merely the setting for the course, but in many ways its key subject. Readings and research assignments—whether about literature, culture, history, or society—come alive in the city. At the same time, the experience of the city itself changes when it is studied intensely. Ideally, then, two things happen in the course: knowledge gleaned from books lifts off the page, while the buildings and streets of the city gain in depth.
All classroom meetings (three times a week, 90 minutes each) take place at the IES Center in the heart of Berlin, a technologically sophisticated space that offers students many amenities (Internet access, printers, library, and helpful staff). But the more important learning happens all over the city, at monuments, in museums, along streets, and in train stations. Besides the many planned outings, students have ample opportunity to explore on their own. Everyone receives a pass allowing unlimited use of the public transit system. Students are lodged in a modern hostel (several to a room) in close proximity to the IES Center.
"Sites of Memory" aims to think of the city not merely as a cluster of streets and buildings, but as a historical text. Like every city, Berlin does not live in the present alone. It consists of many historical layers that exist together and often react to one another in unpredictable ways.
But Berlin is unusual in two respects that will interest us. One is the sheer number and crispness of historical layers one encounters here. Starting in 1871, when Berlin came into its own as the capital of Germany, every major development in German and European history has left its marks on the city, some conspicuous, some subtle. Scratch the surface of virtually any spot, and significant events of the last 150 years come into view. Part of our task will be to identify some of these marks left by history and try to understand their significance.
The second feature that will concern us is the way Berlin, in confronting its past, memorializes not only triumphs but also failures. This is unusual for most cities outside Germany and opens up entirely new ways of understanding both the past and the present.
We will examine the vexed ways in which the past is commemorated, and will reflect more generally on the deeper question of the roles that memory and forgetting play in a modern society. We will do this through readings, discussions, film screenings, meetings with notable figures, and, of course, by experiencing the city and its sites first hand. Click here to see a syllabus of the course.