Berlin:Reco(r)ding the City

Winter 2003 Residential College (RC) Core 334

Course Instructor: Karein Goertz (RC German Program)
(This course is taught in English.)

RC Newsletter Article about
the Berlin Class Trip 2000

Course Description

As incubators for new ideas and sites of dynamic contradiction, cities have long inspired novelists, filmmakers and artists. In this seminar, Berlin wil serve as the case study to examine the relationship between cities as physical places and as imagined, discursive spaces. Berlin provides an historically and culturally rich object of study; over the course of one century, it was the capital of the German empire, the Weimar Republic, the Third Reich, the GDR and now reunited Germany. In novels, paintings, and films, Berlin has been depicted in metaphoric terms: as symphony, machine, seductress, maze, moral parable, haunted city, etc. By studying the city in its various guises, we recognize the variant of Heisenberg's uncertainty principle: theat when we observe and represent the city, we do not see the city itself, but rather, the city exposed to our particular method of questioning. These questions are determined by the observer's historical and subjective position and by the particular parameters of genre and medium.

The goal of the class is for students to generate their own spatio-narrative video mappings of hte city that incorporate secondary readings and first-hand experiences. Through in-class workshops organized in conjunction with the Media Union, students will be trained in video production and editing. Over the Spring Break, students have the option of traveling to Berlin as a group to record their engagement with the city. Integrating original video and audeo footage and text, as well as excerpts from prior abstraction, preconceived image and acquired knowledge and the city as actual, physical place. For those unable to travel overseas, Ann Arbor, Detroit or Chicago can serve as sites for video production and comparative analysis.

Please note: This course is taught in English. Qualified RC students may receive FLAIR credit for doing assignments in German. Arrangements should be made with Karein Goertz.

Reading List (under construction)

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