Special Topics in European History: Berlin and the Twentieth-Century

History 100B

Spring 2015
Day & Time: 
TuTh 2-330P

There is probably no other city in the world that bears the marks of twentieth-century modernity as much as Berlin. Pivotal site for the collapse of four different Germanies between 1918 and 1989, Berlin has been the capital of Empire, war and revolution, democracy, social, artistic and cultural experimentation, Nazism, genocide and urban warfare, Cold War confrontation, student radicalism in the West and Soviet-style Socialism in the East, and finally re-united Germany, haunted by the presence of the past. While our analysis will be buoyed by close readings of short primary texts (among others, from the collection Metropolis Berlin 1890-1940) and recent scholarship on Berlin’s ruptured twentieth-century history, careful analysis of visual sources (architecture, urban design, film and photography) will be at the heart of this course. As we ourselves journey through Berlin’s history, we will pay close attention to the ways in which contemporaries envisioned modernity as well to the darker side that these visions entailed. There will be two short papers, a mid-term and a final exam, which can be replaced by a research paper. Primary sources and short readings will be available on bCourses. Guest speakers will include Greg Castillo (College of Environmental Design), Deniz Göktürk and Anton Kaes (German Department). In preparation, please purchase a copy of Brian Ladd, The Ghosts of Berlin (1998) and listen to Berlin’s music of the last century from cabaret to techno: http://www.berlin-sampler.com.

Course Books

The Ghosts of Berlin by Brian Ladd Chicago UP. ISBN: 978-0226467627 Required