Since the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989, Berlin has reinforced its reputation as one of the cultural capitals of Europe. The city boasts three opera companies, the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, a world-famous film festival, and numerous theater and dance companies. The center of the city is known for its Museum Island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with museums for Roman, Greek, Near Eastern, and European Art. Berlin is also a city for new and adventurous contemporary artists from writers to musicians, actors to visual artists. It is the perfect hub for students to learn about the past, present and future of German history and culture.
This course will look at the city in its combined roles as an important location of memory and history with its function as a center for contemporary culture and artistic experiment.
Berlin has for the past several centuries been a focal point for German governance. Since 1871, the city has been the governmental center of the German Empire, the Weimar Republic, the Nazi regime, the East German government, and the post-1990 unified Germany. Berlin was one of the key places of confrontation during the Cold War, and the drawing of lines in the sand between NATO nations and the Warsaw Pact focused attention on the city as a European center. This focus on the city has continued in different forms until the present. Today Berlin serves not only as the administrative center of the Federal Republic of Germany, but also is a stage for managing the fiscal and political interconnection of the European Union. This stems largely from Germany’s rank as the second largest exporting nation in the world and its role as the largest financial supporter of the European Union. Thus, the German parliament has become a location for making not only German, but European policy.
As a renewed artistic capital and political center, Berlin plays an important role in representing the German past to its citizens and to the world. Pivotal historical sites in or near the city include the Berlin Victory Column, the German parliament building, Sachsenhausen concentration camp, Checkpoint Charlie, sections of the Berlin Wall, monuments to murdered Jews of Europe, the Bauhaus archive, the Emperor William Memorial Church, and the Babelsberg film studios. Along with many museums, such as the Jewish Museum, the Museum of German History, and the Museum of Technology, historical sites in Berlin mediate the process of memory and the representation of German history and identity.
Dr. Brian McInnis
Assistant Professor of German
Interpreting representations of German identity and history is a complex task. The course provides training to help students begin to do this analysis and thereby better understand sites and events during the trip in Germany and for the future in their home country. Students should return from the program not only with snapshots and videos of life-changing experiences, but also with a capacity to critically reflect on any culture and its interactions with other cultures. The program aims to have students learn about Germany; they should also learn an equal amount about themselves.
The three-week study abroad experience in Berlin is designed to help students to practice their day-to-day German language doing things such as buying tickets, eating at a restaurant, or visiting with native speakers, to reflect on their language use, the strength of their language skills, and ways of negotiating cultural difference in a diary, to compare cultural differences within Germany between the capital city and a regional center (such as Dresden), to critically consider the needs, successes and failures of memorials and museums as they communicate a culture’s past, to think critically about the subjective nature of representing history and to identify this invested perspective in monuments visited and events portrayed and to think analytically about a place in Berlin in a research paper written in English.
Program Dates: May 6-28, 2012
Accommodation & Meals
Students will stay in 3-person apartments equipped with a full kitchen while in Berlin.
For meals, students will have numerous cost-effective options, from shopping at the grocery and cooking in their own fully-outfitted kitchen to eating street food such as shaved meat sandwiches, sausages, breads from bakeries, and fruits and vegetables from groceries or local markets. Berlin has a variety of affordable restaurant options as well.
The total estimated cost for this program is $2,800-$3,000.
- UNI Tuition and Fees for 3-credits
- Housing while abroad
- Transportation while abroad
- Group meals
- Cultural activities
- Personal Expenses
International airfare is not included in the program price. Students pay UNI tuition and fees (in-state or out-of-state), the $65 application fee, and the study abroad administration fee to participate.
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