Description: This course will take us on a journey – a journey that will start in the urban sphere of New York City - or more precisely, the Bronx on the Rose Hill campus at Fordham University in a classroom reading historical texts and cultural narratives on the metropolis Berlin. But during Spring Break of 2020, we will also have a truly unique opportunity of traveling together to discover the actual streets of Berlin, the center of modernity in Germany itself.
For the first part of the course, we will read and discover the narratives of Berlin, this extraordinary city, in its past and present. We will read authors who present conflicting views and engaging perspectives on four distinct Berlins: The Jewish Berlin of the Weimar Republic, Berlin during the Third Reich, the City as the Capital of East Germany, and lastly, Berlin as booming Metropolis of the 21st Century. Examining some of Berlin’s most important aesthetic, political, social, anthropological inventions and re-inventions, we will focus our discussions on questions revolving around the following topics: (1) The impact of technology and urbanity on artists/writers and their views of the city; (2) The political and social vocation of art; and (3) The city as a place of contesting notions of national identity.
The second part of the course we will travel to Berlin, Germany. We will walk along the Hackescher Markt, situated at the eastern end of Oranienburger Straße to retrace the horrors of war. We will follow the remnants of a city divided along the East Side Gallery. We will experience the rebellious attitudes of squatters, activists, and student protesters in Prenzlauer Berg. We will discover the different life styles of the so-called Kieze in the twelve boroughs of the city, the strong and creative pulse of minorities living in Kreuzberg, and the nostalgic feeling of Ostalgie of present day Berlin.
All these encounters make for great stories – tragic or humorous, but ultimately always personal ones. With this course you will listen to these voices, read their stories, and visit their sites, old and new.
Instructor: Maria Ebner
Travel: March 14-22, 2020 (Spring Break)
Location: Berlin, Germany