GER354Y0 Special Topics: A Tale of More than Two Cities

A wall once divided Germany’s capital in two. Yet Berlin has always been much more than two cities. It is perhaps best described, in the words of author Zafer Senocak, as “the capital of the fragment.” Since the reunification of East and West Germany in 1990, Berlin has become a space of cultural diversity, national memory and constant transformation. This course is an exploration of the diversity and richness of Berlin today and of the various cultural influences that have shaped the city over time. We will focus on contemporary fictionalizations of Berlin as the divided/reunited city, drawing particular attention to the voices of Jews and Turks, the two largest ethnic/religious minorities in Berlin’s history. The course demands active engagement with the city. Visits to neighbourhoods, museums and historical landmarks, as well as guided tours and lectures by experts (like Dr. Rachel Seelig, author of Strangers in Berlin) and local artists (such as Israeli author Mati Shemoelof and Turkish-German author Zafer Senocak) will bring readings and class discussions to life. The main goal of the course is to provide a variety of entry points to the metropolis that inspire you to venture out and discover your own versions of Berlin. Central texts will be made available prior to departure for Germany, and there will be a preliminary assignment to set the tone for the initial encounter with Berlin.

Prerequisites: None
Recommended Preparation:100-level HIS/POL/GER course/International or European Studies
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GER354Y0 -Course Outline 2019

Field Trips: This course will incorporate visits to numerous neighbourhoods and museums in Berlin and an excursion to Dessau. The cost of the trips is CAD$290, paid to U of T for return transportation, some entry fees and guided tours and CAD$160 to be paid onsite for local excursions and transportation.

Instructor: Erol Boran teaches German literature, culture and language, and directs student theatre productions. His research is on Turkish-German theater and political cabaret. He collaborates frequently with the Goethe Institut of Toronto and has taught internationally at the University of Würzburg, the Freie Universität Berlin, the University of New Mexico and the Goethe Institut in Thessaloniki, Greece. Currently he is working on his first German fantasy novel.

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