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Welcome to a European Borderland!

The Entangled Polish and German History at the Local Level

Seminar: Kulturgeschichte-Einführung
Dienstag, 11.15 - 12.45 Uhr, Ort: GD 201, Veranstaltungsbeginn: 13.04.2014

There are few places where a short walk across a bridge not only leads to another riverbank but to a different country too, with a different history, language, and dominant religion. In this class we will study the entangled German and Polish history, focusing on the region around Frankfurt and Słubice.
After 1253 when Frankfurt was granted municipal rights, the city soon emerged as a major trading center within the powerful Hanseatic League, facilitating economic exchange between many parts of Europe. The church of St. Mary and the town hall are witnesses of these prosperous times. In 1506, the Brandenburg Elector founded the Viadrina University, an institution that for 300 years was an important spot in the higher education system of Europe, and one of the first universities to admit Jewish students. Since Poland was not far away, this country also played an important role not only in trade but also as a sponsor of university students to the Viadrina.
While for most of its history, Frankfurt and Słubice were part of the same urban space and state, after World War Two the situation changed dramatically. Between 1945 and 1990, an arbitrary border cut across the city that despite its name “border of peace” remained mostly closed to individual travel.
The recomposing of Frankfurt and Słubice – or Słubfurt as an artist relabeled it – as one urban space beginning in early 1990 with the implementation of visa-free travel. This has led to an ever-increasing reciprocal shopping tourism, whose significance increased enormously after 2004 (Poland’s EU accession) and 2007 (abolishment of border controls).
Literatur: Christopher Clark, Iron Kingdom. The Rise and Downfall of Prussia, 1600 - 1947. London et. al.: Penguin Books, 2007; Patrice M. Dabrowski, Poland. The First Thousand Years. Chicago: Northern Illinois University Press, 2014; William W. Hagen, German History in Modern Times. Four Lives of the Nation. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012; Brian Porter-Szűcs. Poland in the Modern World. Beyond Martyrdom. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2014.
Teilnahmevoraussetzungen: English level should be at least B2.
Hinweise zur Veranstaltung: The number of participants is limited (first-come, first-served basis). Please register for this class on moodle! Exchange students are especially welcome to this course!
Leistungsnachweis: Presentation, two exams.
Sprache: English