language requirements English B2
This course explores philosophical reflections on the university and the role of philosophy within that institution as put forward by German philosophers in the Prussian Berlin of the 19th century, while also providing a critical perspective on the subsequent history of the university through the 20th century until today. The University of Berlin was founded in 1809/10 as a result of revolutionist treatises on university reforms by philosophers in Berlin such as Fichte, von Humboldt, and Schleiermacher. Wilhelm von Humboldt in particular had the idea to create a new kind of university in which teaching and research would form a unity, in which science would be independent of political and economic interests, and in which students would receive a universal education. Consequently, the University of Berlin became the worldwide paradigm of a new era of university and science. By reading key texts by Kant, Fichte, von Humboldt, Schleiermacher, Hegel, Marx, Heine, Schopenhauer, Heidegger, and others, we will trace how ideas relating to the structure and purpose of the university and academic teaching and scientific research changed and were implemented in the course of the last two centuries, especially in light of the most recent university reform following the Bologna Process in 1999. Moreover, the course puts particular emphasis on the impact of philosophical ideas on politics, religion, and education, as well as on literature, visual arts, and architecture in Berlin past and present.
Reading materials are made available electronically in both the German original and English translation. Instruction and discussion are in English, but German contributions are welcome.
Berlin Perspectives is an international and interdisciplinary module 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, German, or in bilingual formats.
This seminar carries 5 ECTS.
! Please register for the courses before the semester starts both here in Agnes
and the Berlin Perspectives online registration form:
You will find the detailed syllabus for this course on the Berlin Perspectives Website: