Comparative Cultural Studies

CCS3121The New Berlin: Memory and Reinvention (O)3 ch (3C) [W]
The course explores the role of memory and cultural policy in the process of renewal which encompassed Berlin with an extraordinary surge of creativity and reconstruction after Germany's reunification. Students will study Berlin's cultural topography, examine the physical face of the city as well as living environment of its population, and investigate how places and spaces embody and narrate a story of national pasts and future. What does it mean to be German? How is history remembered or forgotten? What role do literature, film, images, media, and objects play in the practice and politics of cultural memory and cultural creation and branding? We will focus on manifestations of culture including subculture, in literature, film, architecture, memorials, museums, city design, and neighbourhoods. Topics may include: Walter Benjamin, Franz Kafka, Christa Wolf, Walther Ruttmann, Rainer Werner, Fassbinder, Wim Wenders; the Brandenburg Gate, the memorialisation of the Holocaust, remnants of the GDR, Europe and Berlin, immigration and multiculturalism, Kreuzberg, Jewish culture, gay culture, music culture, youth culture. Students will be introduced to theories and methodologies of memory culture research and will carry out case studies. They can expect to obtain an understanding of the transhistorical and transcultural significance of Berlin. Students who have taken WLCS 3021, or GER 3021 may not attain credit for CCS 3121.