BCA’s required course focus student learning on cross-cultural awareness and trans-disciplinary study through traditional classroom learning and in-field experiences. Much of this learning incorporates meaningful and direct contact with local people whose lives are entwined with and affected by the issues we examine. Enrollment is required for all students participating in a BCA program.
HIS 205: Vienna, Crossroads of Europe
Using Vienna as a sort of intercultural laboratory, this course will introduce students to the history and culture of Vienna, Austria, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2002. The course focuses on the city as a geographical, political, cultural, and artistic crossroads at the heart of Europe. Students will also learn about intercultural competencies, which will help them understand others and their own cultural motivations.
Students will become familiar with such historical figures, movements, and events as Sigmund Freud, Gustav Klimt, Karl Lueger, Adolph Hitler, Theodor Herzl, Karl Kraus, Franz Joseph, Zionism, anti-Semitism, urban modernism, the fall of the Austro-Hungarian empire, Hitler’s absorption of Austria, Austrian culture during the Cold War, and contemporary struggles to define Vienna’s and Austria’s place in the new, enlarged European Union. Students will encounter these topics not only in the classroom, but also by visiting important historical sites in Vienna, connecting the city’s past to its visible present and coming to understand the manifold ways in which the city’s history helps to shape contemporary reality. Finally, students will reflect upon these issues in an intercultural perspective and learn to see in new perspectives. Learning about another culture forces one to learn more about one’s own motivations. Students will improve their ability to express the meaning of their encounter with, and deeper understanding of, a history and culture in addition to their own.
After the Vienna module is over, students are required to complete a final project for HIS 205 during the regular semester in Marburg. The title of the paper is “My Journey to My New Self: Observations of a Foreigner in Europe” and should demonstrate that students are grasping and learning from the local culture and surroundings. As the title implies, the project should be comparative in nature.