"It was incomprehensible to such an extent, that immediately upon its emergence it became a symbol", German-born author Bernd Wagner reflected about the Berlin Wall some time after its fall in 1989. During the 28 years of its existence the Wall, being a heavily guarded military border isolating half a city as well as an icon of the national and global post-war era, had inspired all kinds of artistic involvements. While many international artists took an interest in the Berlin Wall and what it represented, obviously it was even more important for artists from both parts of Germany and Berlin. How has the Wall been interpreted in art? Does the portrayal differ between East and West? What does it tell us about people's lives and feelings? And how are the artworks still relevant today? The seminar will mainly focus on German literature (Uwe Johnson, Peter Schneider et al.) but also look into music (esp. Wolf Biermann), visual and performing arts. It traces connections between sociopolitical developments and art and addresses topics like artistic purpose, responsibility, freedom and censorship. The course will be taught online in synchronous and asynchronous sessions, but shall also include live meetings and an excursion if the pandemic situation allows for it. As most of the materials will be provided in German, a high level of reading and listening competence is required (at least B2).
language requirements English B1, German B2
You will find the detailed syllabus for this course on the Berlin Perspectives Website:
In order to participate, you have to register through the Berlin Perspectives online registration form:
Registration period: 15 September – 25 October 2020:
Seminar places are allocated to the students registered and present in the first session.
This seminar carries 5 ECTS.
Berlin Perspectives is an international and interdisciplinary course program for incoming international students to complement their regular studies at Humboldt-Universität. It is also open to regular HU students who may enroll as part of their elective course requirements (üWP). Courses are taught in English or in bilingual German-English formats.