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ULS - a place for You

IISCE - English version

Course in Detail

Travelling through Europe, one is constantly confronted with conflicting memories in places that have experienced dramatic upheavals and tragic events of European history. The 6-credit interdisciplinary course focuses on crucial sites for the understanding of how culture and politics of reconciliation and memory shaped modern European identity.

In Wroclaw, which was once a dynamic German metropolis almost totally annihilated during WWII and later nearly entirely re-populated and rebuilt by Poles in the post-war era, we will study the visible and invisible monuments in city that we will make speak to the complex issues of conflict, memory and reconciliation. In the spirit of action research, which aims at implementing knowledge in practical social action, students together with their instructors will produce a concrete work that will improve our common understanding of how the monuments of Wroclaw tell the stories of the city's complex past.

In Berlin, we will consider Germany's struggle to remember and represent the tragedy of the Holocaust, WWII and post-war division into East and West. We will study key sites such as the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, the Berlin Jewish Museum, the Stasi (the Communist regime's Secret Police) Prison, the Berlin Wall Memorial and the revitalized Parliament of re-united Germany.

Students revisit the tragedy of the Holocaust and the destruction of the European Jews at the former Nazi concentration camp of Auschwitz/Birkenau. We will built on this experience in nearby Poland's royal city of Krakow, where we will juxtapose the Polish national narrative embodied in the Royal Wawel Castle with the absence of the once flourishing Jewish life of the city focused in the neighborhood of Kazimierz.

On the last weekend of the program, we will take a trip to the nearby Polish/Czech mountains south of Wroclaw where we will reflect on the themes and experiences in the borderlands of Europe.

The 6-credit course introduces students to methods of qualitative ethnographic research, which are used to study the culture and politics of memory as it is reflected in the landscape of European cities. Engaging in an exploration of architectural remains and the stories of the city's inhabitants, students spend most of their time outside the classroom, working in groups under the supervision of instructors using a variety of "action research" techniques -- interviews, participant observation, data recording (notes, film, photography, audio recording), archival and library research. This course culminates in the creation of cultural products (performances, websites, written tourist guides, films) which present the results of students' intellectual and creative work to the public. For prior products, please see wroclawonyourown.pl.