IDIS 350r – Arts and Culture in Germany

The course taught on side in Berlin, Germany, familiarizes students with the rich cultural fabric of German art and culture. Visits include not only museums, but also to the hotbeds of street art and concerts.

Berlin’s Museumsinsel (Museum Island) unites in five museums world-class art collections that encompass 6000 years of world heritage and the best of German art. Berlin’s Treasure Island is of topographical and historical interest as it is here, in the small Spreeinsel (Spree Island) that the city of Berlin originated as the twin 13th century settlements Berlin and Cölln.

The Alte Nationalgalerie was built in 1876 by Johann Heinrich Strack as an elevated temple of antiquity for 19th century German and European painting collections. It reopened in 2001, with works from Monet, Manet, Renoir and Caspar David Friedrich. The Baroque Bode Museum (1904), originally Kaiser Friedrich’s Museum for European Renaissance art was named after its first director, Wilhelm von Bode in 1956. Renowned for its sculpture collection and Museum of Byzantine Art, finally reopened in 2006 after a five and a half years’ renovation.

We will also investigate how Germany deals with its Nazi past and the period of division by visiting the former concentration camp Sachsenhausen and the GDR museum. Both periods in German history left deep marks in the Germans’ conscience and are still very influential in contemporary culture and art production.

Students will keep a daily travel diary in which they will record impressions and interesting discoveries, and will also write a final paper on one of the cultural sites in Berlin. There will be two mandatory pr-departure meetings as well as one post-departure debriefing.