Fall 2008

Berlin, Metropolis


Ute Brandes (Section 01)


“Willkommen, Bienvenue, Welcome!” to Berlin, Europe’s youngest metropolis. Virtually exploding in the early 1900s into a creative and influential urban center, the new Berlin reacted to the political challenges of imperialism, war, revolution, and inflation with wit, sarcasm, and radical politics-the perfect proving ground for those seeking personal freedom and political change, including artists, amateurs, reformers, and revolutionaries. We will trace the beginnings and flowering of urban modernism in Berlin public life, architecture, the fine arts and theater, up to the Nazi virulent attacks on modern art and urban lifestyles as “degenerate” in 1933. Course materials focus on the changes from pre-modern to urban metropolis, including such topics as alternative ways of life in the social and cultural spaces of the city; the celebration of the exotic; new concepts of sexuality and the body; ethnicity and difference; and the ill-fated German-Jewish symbiosis. Readings and viewings include novels, films, essays, design, architecture, theater, cabaret, jazz, and montage in the arts. Fall semester. Professor Brandes.