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. The main goal of the course is to provide a variety of entry points to the metropolis that inspire students to venture out and discover their 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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GER354Y – 2020 Draft Course Outline

Field Trips: This course will incorporate visits to numerous neighbourhoods and museums in Berlin. Examples include the Jewish Museum, German Historical Museum, the Stasi Museum, a guided tour of Bayerischer Platz and an evening at the theatre. The cost of the trips is CAD$260, paid to U of T for return transportation, some entry fees and guided tours and CAD$100 to be paid onsite for local excursions and transportation.

Instructor: Hang-Sun Kim holds a PhD in Germanic Languages and Literatures from Harvard University and is Assistant Professor (Teaching Stream) of German at the University of Toronto, where she coordinates the language program and teaches German language and literature courses on topics such as the role of memory in postwar German literature, literature in translation, and the representation of real and imagined cities. Her current research interests include foreign language pedagogy, theories and representations of urban life, and translingual literature by transcultural German-language authors.

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