Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Berlin Questions and Topic

Hi Berliners,
Here are some thoughts following yesterday's class. When considering your topic or topics, you might consider not only a subject specific topic, but also a thematic topic. On your blogs, you might begin by simply writing down the questions you have about that topic and the answers you hope to find in Berlin or how you might hope to refine the topic once you get to Berlin.
For example, the theme of "Betrayal." Some of the questions might be:
1. When the wall fell down, did East Berliners feel betrayed by the failure of the Soviet Union, Communism, an ideology?
2. When East and West Germany became one Germany, did the West Germans feel betrayed that this new unification would undermine all that they had built up and now they would have to take care of their "poorer"
cousins behind the Iron Curtain?
3. Did East Germans feel betrayed when they had to adopt a new monetary system?
4. Did those working in East Berlin government or military feel betrayed when the wall came down?
5. When the wall came down, did East Berliners feel betrayed when they lost their identity as East Berliners?
6. When Germany joined the EU, did Germans as a whole feel betrayed at the loss of their national identity?
Sometimes just thinking of questions can lead you to a topic.
Some other ideas that came up during our discussion:
Humor (Was there iron curtain humor? Why is David Hasselhof so popular in Germany?), Food, Music, Sports, National Memory and Identity, Berlin's dual identity (two of everything--museums, airports, etc.), exile.
Another way to approach the topic is to think what are your interests here and how do they translate to your specific study in Berlin (international relations, fashion, globalization, NGO's, propaganda, modernist art, religion, Holocaust, architecture).

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