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Semester Classes

Foto: Miriam Prüßner

Regular Semester Classes

The International Undergraduate Study Program (IUSP) takes courses from the university's regular course catalogue. Usually, classes take place two hours per week.
Important: Each class, whether held in English or German, is being supported by tutorials (obligatory!) in English with four hours per week, especially for IUSP students. In the tutorials, students are working up the contents of the lecture, not only of the first eight weeks the IUSP participants are staying, but also the contents of the second half of the German semester. In addition, the tutors work more deeply on the topic with the students and deepen their knowledge.

The IUSP students give presentations and write essays on the topics according to the respective class and tutorial. Generally, marks are given for oral work (presentations, performance in class etc.) and written work (reports, bibliographies, homework, essays etc.).

Class Choice: We are adding classes as they come in from the professors, and will start publishing classes from December on for the Spring semester, and from July on for the Fall semester.* As soon as the list will be complete, we will notify all students, and ask for their class choice in an email. We will ask for their final decision after their arrival in Marburg. Only students with the language level B1.1 and above can enroll for classes held in German.

Note on Class Attendance
Please bear in mind that attendance is required in order to receive credit for IUSP classes. Failure to attend classes or tutorials can result in grade cuts and/or a grade not being issued to you if you do not attend classes and tutorials regularly. Absence of 15% of the class/tutorial time or more will result in failing the class. IUSP students do not have the option of simply sitting for the exam at the end of the semester without having attended classes. Health issues and other serious reasons for missing lectures are, of course, another matter. Please keep your teacher and/or the IUSP staff informed if you are unable to attend lectures.

*Please note:
Generally speaking, class descriptions are posted online later than what many colleges and universities outside of Germany are accustomed to. The reason for this lies in the differing academic calendars. The classes for the spring semester in Marburg are published in January; classes for the fall semester in Marburg are published in July. We recommend looking at classes from the previous academic year to get a feel for what classes will be offered in the corresponding semester of the current academic year. In most subject areas, similar courses are offered on a rotating basis one time each academic year. We do not offer the same classes every year/semester. Introductory-level courses, however, are generally repeated. Browsing through past catalogues can be helpful in giving you an idea of what courses may be offered and what courses may be counted towards your degree.
The descriptions in the class list are taken from our university course catalogue. 

Class List Fall 2023 

Subject Area: American Studies 

  • Prof. Dr. Carmen Birkle: Introduction to North American Studies (held in English)

    Online lecture, Tuesday 10 am - 12 pm, asynchronous

    This lecture class will serve as a survey of the discipline of North American Studies as well as the literature and culture of the United States and, to some extent, of Canada and the English-speaking Caribbean. We will look at what North American Studies actually is and does and will exemplify our more theoretical insights with phenomena taken from literature and culture. American Studies by definition is interdisciplinary so that our examples will be taken from literature, history, film and TV, music and art and will show how their interaction and multiple perspectives help us to understand what we talk about when we talk about North America. Literary and cultural theory and practical analysis will be integrated. Our objects of analysis will range from Christopher Columbus’s early letters to Europe all the way up to twenty-first-century presidential elections and inaugural speeches and representations of current protest movements such as #BlackLivesMatter and #MeToo. Significant historical moments such as the foundation of the United States, slavery and the Civil War, Native Americans and the Westward Movement including immigration and imperialism, the Harlem Renaissance and the Great Depression, the Civil Rights and Women’s Rights Movements, 9/11, Artificial Intelligence, and the current Corona crisis will be intertwined with literary texts, popular examples, and concepts and theories such as emancipation, gender, class, and ethnicity. Our socio-historical categories will be (im)migration, emancipation, and globalization. We will read and analyze one short story for each session. 

    Reading Requirements (Short Stories):
    Stephen Crane, “The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky” (1898)
    Sui Sin Far, “Mrs. Spring Fragrance” (1910)
    Washington Irving, “Rip Van Winkle” (1819)
    Charlotte Perkins Gilman, “The Yellow Wallpaper” (1892)
    Pauline Hopkins, “Talma Gordon” (1900)
    Zitkala-Ša, “The Soft-Hearted Sioux” (1901)
    Alice Walker, “Nineteen Fifty-Five” (1981)
    Annie Proulx, “What Kind of Furniture Would Jesus Pick?” (2003)
    Joyce Carol Oates, “The Mutants” (2004)
    Isaac Asimov, “Satisfaction Guaranteed” (1951)
    All stories will be made available on ILIAS by early October.

  • Juliane Gamböck-Strätz: Introduction to Disability Studies (held in English)

    seminar, Thursday 12-2 pm

    This course provides an introduction to the multi-disciplinary field of disability studies. It will introduce the students to critical frameworks that help us to theorize personal and social responses to impairments and (re)conceptualize disability from different perspectives. In doing so, we examine disability as a personal, social, cultural, and political phenomenon, shifting particular attention to patterns of discrimination, marginalization, and normalization that impact the social construction and the experience of disability.

    As this seminar is part of the module “Theoretical Approaches to American Studies,” this seminar’s focus lies on reading, understanding, and applying theoretical texts. Still, we will practice applying the newly learned concepts to examples from U.S.-American culture and literature.

Subject Area: Business Administration and Economics

  • Prof. Dr. Torsten Wulf:  Strategic Problemsolving and Communication (held in English)

    lecture, Thursday 8-10 am or 10 am - 12 pm

    Content: Link to Course Homepage

  • Prof. Dr. Sascha Mölls: Corporate Governance and Sustainability - Cases & Methods (held in English)


    Companies today are expected not only to maximize their value and provide relevant financial information about the ongoing business but are also presumed to engage in environmental and social activities as an integral part of their management process. Such activities are typically made transparent towards stakeholders through “corporate social responsibility” (CSR)-reporting using guidelines introduced by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). Such additional reporting has not only gotten increasing attention in shareholder-oriented ‘exit’ systems of corporate governance but in particular in bank-based insider systems prevalent in continental Europe and Asia. The relationship between corporate
    governance-frameworks and CSR is complex and ambiguous. CSR is associated with potential benefits for the company, that, however, are long-term and uncertain. Thus, whether the costs associated with CSR outweigh its benefits crucially depends on the time horizon as well as on the effects of certain governance mechanisms (= firm characteristics) on the success of firms. In this course, we start with a thorough introduction into the fundamentals of corporate governance (as an economic interpretation of corporate law focusing on organizational and strategic features as well as financial aspects) and go on with reviewing existing empirical evidence regarding the relevance of firm-specific corporate governance attributes for the decision-making about CSR activities and reporting. Participants further apply the gained conceptual knowledge by working on case studies comparing the practice of CSR-reporting in large listed companies from different countries. Finally, the empirical base allows for a detailed discussion of insights as well as implications.

  • Prof. Dr. Elisabeth Schulte-Runne: Introduction to Institutional Economics (held in English)    

    Online, asynchronous, self-study

    Course description “Introduction to Institutional Economics”
    Institutions define “the rules of the game”. We will look at four kinds of problems that may require particular rules: cooperation problems, coordination problems, imperfect information and concentration of market power, and we will see how these problems give rise to transaction costs. The presence of transaction costs in turn gives rise to the relevance of governance structures, e.g. whether transactions are better executed within a firm or on a market. We will have a closer look at the possible governance structures in the light of the problems mentioned above. Besides the governance structures that private parties can choose, another option to deal with the above problems is state intervention, which may come along with its own specific problems, on which institutional economics offers a perspective as well. In this course, you will be exposed to the following questions: What are institutions? How do they come about? How are they embedded? How do they change? How do economic outcomes depend on the institutional framework? What kind of institutions are suitable to tackle cooperation problems, coordination problems, and problems originating from an asymmetric distribution of information or a concentration of market power? What are transaction costs, what are their origins, and how to minimize them? What are potential problems when the state intervenes?

    Learning goals
    Your course work is supposed to enable you to give answers to the above questions, and to:
    • explain the role of institutions as solutions for social dilemmas, coordination problems and to
    govern transactions,
    • assess the relevance of transaction costs for different kinds of transactions and the suitability of
    different mechanisms to reduce transaction costs in the presence of imperfect information,
    • point at institutional differences as possible explanations for differences in behavior and
    • apply concepts and arguments from institutional economics to simple problems, and to
    • evaluate alternative institutional solutions.

    Key concepts
    Institutions, (bounded) rationality, social dilemma, trust, coordination problem, equilibrium multiplicity, transaction costs, property rights, public goods, the tragedy of the commons, externalities, asymmetric information, moral hazard, adverse selection, reputation, signaling, (incomplete) contracts, hold-up problem, asset specificity, commitment problem

    Course format
    The course can be studied completely online: The content is delivered in ILIAS learning modules for self-studying. You receive feedback on your learning progress by participating in quizzes. Possibilities for interacting with other course participants and/or the lecturer are on offer.

    Examination format
    The examination format is a portfolio. You will find detailed information on the portfolio components on the ILIAS course.

    Prof. Dr. Elisabeth Schulte,
    Please use your student e-mail account when you contact me via e-mail.

    Ideally, you have completed the course “Introduction to Economics” before this course. In particular, it will be taken for granted that you are familiar with concepts such as utility functions, optimization, or Pareto efficiency, and we assume that you are comfortable with taking derivatives, taking expectations of simple lotteries, and simple algebra.

    Outline of the content in the learning modules
    The learning modules contain a material mix. You will find a collection of the slides that appear in a learning module on its front page along with a barrier-reduced Word-file. If you face difficulties to access any of the media that we use to convey the content (e.g., due to a visual impairment), please let me know and I will offer a more accessible substitute.
    LM 1: Introduction
    We will look at several conceptualizations of institutions, distinguish between perspectives from different schools, and spell out the viewpoints that are particular to institutional economics. We also look at the ways in which institutions are established and possibly change.
    LM 2: Social dilemmas
    We will capture social dilemmas (public good provision, the tragedy of the commons, dealing with externalities) in a simple normal form game (“the prisoner’s dilemma”) and analyze it with gametheoretical methods. Thereafter, the perspective on the problems is broadened and institutions to deal with them are being discussed.
    LM 3: Coordination problems
    We will introduce coordination problems in strategic situations without underlying conflicts of interests, and we will discuss institutions as solutions to such problems and as obstacles to overcome inefficiencies. Broadening the perspective, we will look at the problem of coordinating economic activities.
    LM 4: Imperfect information and market power
    We will introduce imperfect information and market power as deviations from perfect markets, derive their consequences for economic outcomes, and analyze institutions to deal with these problems.
    LM 5: Transactions, transaction costs and their origins
    We will illustrate how information imperfections, a lack of property rights, an incompleteness of contracts, and other frictions give rise to transaction costs. We will introduce the concept of asset specificity and the resulting hold-up problem.
    LM 6: Governance structures
    We will look at markets, contracts and firms as possible structures to govern transactions, and their differences in dealing with cooperation and coordination problems, transaction costs and uncertainty.
    LM 7: State intervention
    We will focus on selected problems that may accompany state intervention from an institutional economics perspective. In particular, we will look at the problem of reaching collective decisions, the problem of rent-seeking and the commitment problem.

    You will find most of the material covered in these text books:
    • Groenewegen, Spinthoven & van den Berg (2010): Institutional Economics—An Introduction.
    Palgrave MacMillan.
    • Voigt (2019): Institutional Economics—An Introduction. Cambridge University Press.

  • Dr. Sven Fischer: Introduction to the Economies of the Middle East (held in English)

    lecture, Tuesday 2-4 pm 

    This course is intended as an introduction to basic economic systems and concepts followed by a comprehensive overview of the economies of the region. The goal is to provide students with a solid basis and understanding of the economies of the region and equip them to analyze these in an objective critical manner. The course is designed to equip students with the necessary tools that would allow them to think and analyze economic problems witnessed in the MENA region in a systematic theory based approach. After attending the course, participants should be able to make educated comments on ongoing economic discussions in the region.

  • Prof. Dr. Oscar Stolper: Entrepreneurial Finance (held in English)

    lecture: online, asynchronous, self-study. Tutorial: Tuesday 2-4 pm

    Content: Link to Course Homepage

Subject Area: English Studies 

  • Prof. Dr. Sonja Fielitz: Negotiating Gender: ‘Unruly’ Women in Early Modern Plays (Shakespeare and Contemporaries) (held in English)         

    seminar, Tuesday 4-6 pm

    Despite the subordinate role of women in early modern society, female characters play a crucial role in the plays by William Shakespeare (1564-1616) and his contemporaries. They have important roles and in many cases change the plot by not accepting the established social norms. Some of them even surpass the male title characters in terms of power and wit.

    After a brief introduction to the early modern period and the critical field of ‘sex and gender’, we will in class discuss Shakespeare’s comedy Much Ado About Nothing, his tragedies Macbeth and Othello, and his Roman play Antony and Cleopatra. For a comparison with Shakespeare, we will also include John Webster’s (1580-1632) tragedy The Duchess of Malfi.

    Participants are asked to read the four plays by Shakespeare before the beginning of term. There will be an introductory test on their content in the first session.

  • Prof. Dr. Sonja Fielitz: Landmarks of British Comedy: William Shakespeare, Oscar Wilde, Alan Ayckbourn (held in English)

    seminar, Wednesday 12-2 pm

    The genre of comedy is usually associated with laughter, marriage, and a happy ending. An expectation like this tends to forget, however, that happiness and merriment in most cases can only be achieved by overcoming obstacles and deceiving expectations. After a brief introduction to various types of comedy and the (timeless) nature of laughter, we will in class focus on three famous British playwrights, that is, William Shakespeare (1564-1616), Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) and Alan Ayckbourn (* 1939). We will discuss Shakespeare's Twelfth Night (c.1602) and The Tempest (c. 1610), Wilde's The Importance of Being Ernest (1895) and Lady Windermere’s Fan (1892), as well as Ayckbourn's The Norman Conquests trilogy (1973) and his Season’s Greetings (1980).

    Participants are asked to read Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, Wilde’s The Importance of Being Ernest, and Ayckbourn’s Season’s Greetings by the beginning of term. There will be an introductory test on the content of these three plays in the first session.

Subject Area: German Studies 

  • Prof. Dr. Volker Mergenthaler: (Analoge) mediale Formate der Literatur (held in German)

    seminar, Thursday 8-10 am

    Es gehört zu den Gepflogenheiten der Literaturwissenschaften, literarische Texte als immaterielle Entitäten zu behandeln. Sie sind aber nicht körperlos, sondern treten ausnahmslos materialiter in Erscheinung. Sie werden in monographischen oder anthologischen Buchformaten veröffentlicht, lieferungsweise oder in periodischen Formaten. Die medialen Eigenlogiken dieser Formate organisieren, ohne daß wir uns dessen bewußt sind, unsere Lektüren, unsere Verständnisprozesse. An geeigneten Beispielen werden wir die Logiken der wichtigsten Veröffentlichungsformen freilegen und medienformatspezifische Interpretationsansätze entwickeln. Vorgesehen ist die analytische Auseinandersetzung mit (schul-)kanonischen, aber auch weniger bekannten literarischen Veröffentlichungen des 19. und 20. Jahrhunderts.

  • Prof. Dr. Hania Siebenpfeiffer: Literatur und Medien (1600 bis 1900): Von der Camera obscura zum frühen Film (held in German)

    lecture, Tuesday 12-2 pm

    Die Vorlesung verfolgt in einem Durchgang vom frühen 17. bis frühen 20. Jahrhundert das Wechselverhältnis zwischen optischen Medien und Literatur. Wir beginnen um 1600 mit der Erfindung der ersten optischen Instrumente (Teleskop, Mikroskop, Camera obscura und Laterna magica), gehen dann über zu den Illusions- und Halluzinationsmedien der Aufklärung und ihren Verfahren (allen voran den Techniken des Mesmerismus, der Geisterseherei und der Hypnose) und schließen mit der Automatisierung optischer Apparate im 19. und frühen 20. Jahrhundert (Fotografie und Film). Die Vorlesung präsentiert keine bloße Mediengeschichte, sondern geht den Wechselbeziehungen zwischen optischen Medien auf der einen und der Ästhetik und Poetik literarischer Texte auf der anderen Seite nach. Anhand von konkreten Textbeispielen werden die Effekte und Verfahren der Indienstnahme optischer Medialität im Medium der Literatur vorgestellt und mit Bezug zu ihren literatur- und medienpoetologischen Kontexten diskutiert. Die Vorlesung setzt die regelmäßige Anwesenheit und in überschaubarem Maße eine vorbereitende Lektüre voraus.

Subject Area: History 

  • Prof. Dr. Christian Kleinschmidt: Europäische Wirtschafts- und Sozialgeschichte nach 1945 (held in German)

    lecture, Wednesday 10 am - 12 pm

    Die Vorlesung wird, neben der überblicksartigen Darstellung der wirtschaftlichen Entwicklung  (Wirtschaftssysteme; Europäische Integration; Industrielle Beziehungen) von der Rekonstruktionsphase nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg bis zu den Veränderungen Ende der 1980er Jahre auch auf den gesellschaftlichen und kulturellen Wandel (Jugend, Familie, Konsum, Wohlfahrtsstaat, Mobilität etc.) in Europa eingehen und dies an ausgewählten Beispielen vertiefen.

    Gerold Ambrosius: Wirtschaftsraum Europa. Vom Ende der Nationalökonomien, Frankfurt/Main 1996; Gerold Ambrosius/William H. Hubbard: Sozial- und Wirtschaftsgeschichte Europas im 20. Jahrhundert, München 1986; Stephen Braodberry, Kevin H. O’Rourke (ed.): The Cambridge Economic History of Modern Europe, Vol. 2: 1870 to the Present, Cambridge 2010; Gerhard Brunn: Die europäische Einigung von 1945 bis heute, Stuttgart 2002; Carlo M. Cipolla/Knut Borchardt (Hg.): Europäische Wirtschaftsgeschichte Bd. 5: Die europäischen Volkswirtschaften im 20. Jahrhundert, Stuttgart, New York 1986; Barry Eichengreen: The European Economy since 1945: coordinated capitalism and beyond, Princeton 2007; Eberhard Eichenhofer: Geschichte des Sozialstaats in Europa. Von der „sozialen Frage“ bis zur Globalisierung, München 2007; Handbuch der europäischen Wirtschafts- und Sozialgeschichte, hg. von Wolfram Fischer u.a., Bd. 5 und 6, Stuttgart 1985 u. 1987; Harold James: Geschichte Europas im 20. Jahrhundert. Fall und Aufstieg 1914-2001, München 2004; Hartmut Kaelble: Sozialgeschichte Europas. 1945 bis zur Gegenwart, München 2007 (auch über die Bundeszentrale f. polit. Bildung zu beziehen); Jan Hesse/Christian Kleinschmidt/Alfred Reckendrees/Ray Stokes: Wirtschafts- und Sozialgeschichte des modernen Europa, Baden-Baden 2013 (im Erscheinen); Manuel Schramm: Wirtschafts- und Sozialgeschichte Westeuropas seit 1945, Köln u.a. 2018; Göran Therborn: Die Gesellschaften Europas 1945-2000. Ein soziologischer Vergleich, Frankfurt/Main 2000.

  • Prof. Dr. Christian Kleinschmidt: Energiesicherheit (held in German)

    seminar, Thursday 2-4 pm

    Das Thema Energie, Fragen der Energie- und Versorgungssicherheit sind nicht erst seit dem Krieg gegen die Ukraine zentrale Aspekte der Wirtschafts- und Gesellschaftsgeschichte. Die Verfügbarkeit von Energie betrifft sowohl Privathaushalte, Unternehmen und Staaten und ist vor dem Hintergrund der sich ändernden ökonomischen und politischen Rahmenbedingungen (Kriege, Krisen, Ressourcenknappheit) eine permanente Herausforderung für Konsumenten, Produzenten, die volkswirtschaftliche Entwicklung und die staatliche Energiepolitik. Damit setzt sich die Veranstaltung mit Blick auf nationale, europäische und globale Entwicklungen sowie hinsichtlich der Nutzung unterschiedlicher Energieträger wie Kohle, Erdöl, Atomkraft sowie alternative Energien im Verlauf des 20. Jahrhunderts auseinander.

    Brüning, Sascha: Performing Diligence: Nuclear Labour, Reactor Safety, and Public Relations in the West German Nuclear Industry in the 1980s, in: Mark Jakob/Nina Kleinöder/Christian Kleinschmidt (ed.): Security and Insecurity in Business History, Baden-Baden 2021, p. 229-252; Energiepolitik (Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte, 72. Jg., H. 46-47/2022);; Gläser, Wiebke: Marktmacht und Politik. Das internationale Kartell der Ölgesellschaften 1960-1975, Berlin, Boston 2019; Graf, Rüdiger. Öl und Souveränität. Petroknowledge und Energiepolitik in den USA und Westeuropa in den 1970er Jahren, Berlin 2014; Hohensee, Jens: Der erste Ölpreisschock 1973/74. Die politischen und gesellschaftlichen Auswirkungen der arabischen Erdölpolitik auf die Bundesrepublik Deutschland und Westeuropa, Stuttgart 1996; Jung, Matthias: Öffentlichkeit und Sprachwandel: zur Geschichte des Diskurses über Atomenergie, Opladen 1994; Karlsch, Rainer/Stokes, Raymond G: Faktor Öl. Die Mineralölwirtschaft in Deutschland 1859-1974, München 2003; Martiny, Martin/Schneider, Hans-Jürgen (Hg.): Deutsche Energiepolitik seit 1945, Köln 1981; Türk, Henning: Treibstoff der Systeme: Kohle, Erdöl und Atomkraft im geteilten Deutschland, Berlin 2021; Uekötter, Frank: Atomare Demokratie. Eine Geschichte der Kernenergie in Deutschland, Stuttgart 2022; Umbach, Frank: Erdgas als Waffe. Der Kreml, Europa und die Energiefrage, Berlin 2022.

  • Dr. Heidi Hein-Kircher: Introduction to Digital History: Methods and Tools (held in English)

    Seminar, Friday 10 am – 12 pm

    ## Overview

    This course in an introduction to the methods and practice of history in a digital age. Digital History is a large and growing field, as the digital transformation of our life-world affects both, the production of sources historians encounter and the way history is practised and communicated by using digital instruments and methods.

    This course will survey readings on the origins of Digital History and the debates defining this field. Additionally methods and tools can be experienced in a hands-on manner through small individual and group assignments.

    Students do not need advanced computer skills to take this course.


    ## Learning Objectives

    More specifically students will learn:

    - how to discover the broad range of digitized and datafied historical sources that are available online and develop a critical understanding for this kind of resources;

    - about the critical appraisal of digital born sources;

    - how to apply computational tools to the scholarly activities of discovering, annotating, comparing, referring, sampling, illustrating and representing (methodological commons, G. Unsworth);

    - how to critically engage with methods from the emerging fields of Digital History and Digital Humanities;

    - how to evaluate and determine approaches for historical practice with digital sources and tools

    and will ultimately be able to participate in some of the debates in the field.


    ## Introductory Reading Material:

    Salmi, Hannu. What is Digital History? Medford: Polity, 2020.

    Zaagsma, Gerben. ‘On Digital History’. BMGN - Low Countries Historical Review 128, no. 4 (16 December 2013): 3–29.

Subject Area: Informatics & Mathematics

  • Prof. Dr.-Ing. Christoph-Matthias Bockisch: Virtual Machines (held in English)

    lecture, Tuesday 10 am-12 pm


    It is a continuing trend to develop so-called process-based virtual machines for modern programming languages, which reduce the complexity for the programmer by offering managed resources. This also enables dynamic optimization or program analysis, for example. A related concept is system-based virtual machines. These provide a virtual environment that corresponds to an entire computer system, including hardware and operating system. In this case, several virtual machines can share a physical machine, with the virtual resources such as main memory being separated from each other.

    Qualification goals

    Students can

    -          describe and explain the basic concepts of process- and system-based virtual machines,
    -          describe the structure of virtual machines,
    -          develop components of process-based VMs (such as scheduler, garbage collection, just-in-time compiler),
    -          explain the methods of system-based VMs (hypervisor, hardware emulation, hardware virtualization, paravirtualization),
    -          explain optimizations in virtual machines,
    -          exemplify modern research work in the field of VM technology,
    -          compare implementation approaches for programming language concepts (code transformation vs. VM support).


    Recommended are the competencies taught in basic computer science modules and the advanced software engineering and software lab modules.

  • Prof. Dr. Thorsten Papenbrock: Big Data Systems (held in English)

    lecture, Monday 10:30 am - 12:30 pm & Tuesday 8:15 - 10:00 am


    -          Actor-, service-, batch- and stream-based distributed programming
    -          Big Data Systems
    -          Data serialization and message transmission
    -          Data structures for distributed data management
    -          OSI model and communication protocols
    -          Data partitioning and replication
    -          Consistency and reconciliation protocols
    -          Time synchronization and change propagation
    -          Distributed request planning

    The students

    -          know the challenges of building distributed systems,
    -          know reactive, distributed programming (Actor Programming),
    -          know techniques for digital representation and serialization of data (encoding),
    -          know procedures for the functioning of networks (Communication),
    -          know standards for structuring and querying data (Data Models and Query Languages),
    -          know algorithms and data structures for distributed work with data (storage and retrieval),
    -          know techniques for ensuring fail-safety and availability (replication and partitioning),
    -          know techniques to ensure consistency and consensus (Consistency and Consensus),
    -          know algorithms for distributed transaction management (Transactions),
    -          know frameworks for distributed batch processing of data-intensive tasks (batch processing),
    -          know frameworks for distributed data stream processing (stream processing),
    -          know how distributed database management systems (distributed DBMSs) work,
    -          know the basics of distributed query processing (Distributed Query Optimization),
    -          are able to apply this knowledge practically in the programming of data-intensive, distributed algorithms,
    -          are able to apply scientific working methods when independently identifying, formulating and solving problems,
    -          are able to speak freely about scientific content, both in front of an audience and in a discussion.


    Knowledge of programming, algorithms and networks as well as discrete mathematics and algebra is useful. Prior knowledge of IT security is generally helpful, but not required.

  • Prof. Dr. Gabriele Taentzer: Software Quality (held in English)

    lecture, Wednesday 10 am-2 pm


    An important topic in software development is the quality of software. Typical quality criteria are correctness, robustness, changeability, reusability and usability of software. In the course, we look at various techniques, such as software metrics, development guidelines, refactoring, design patterns, and testing procedures, to examine and improve the software according to syntactic and semantic aspects.

    Qualification goals

    -          Overview of possible procedures for software quality testing and improvement,
    -          Basic knowledge of the techniques presented,
    -          Knowledge of typical quality assurance tools,
    -          Practicing scientific working methods (recognizing, formulating, solving problems, training the ability to abstract),
    -          Training of oral communication skills in the exercises by practicing free speech in front of an audience and in discussion.


    Recommended are the competencies taught in the modules Object-Oriented Programming, Algorithms and Data Structures, and Software Engineering.

  • Prof. Dr. Elmar Tischhauser: Introduction to Cryptography and its Applications (held in English)

    lecture, Monday 2-4 pm


     Introduction to the main concepts and methods of cryptography, in particular encryption, authentication, network security protocols (e.g. TLS). Followed by discussion of these methods in both established and newer applications (e.g., disk encryption, VPNs, signature methods, cloud security, blockchains).

    Understanding and application of the concepts presented in the lecture will be practiced in the tutorial as well as in an integrated crypto lab, especially the security evaluation of cryptographic methods and best practices for their use in different application scenarios.

    Qualification goals

    The students know the most important basic principles and methods of cryptography, which are necessary for an evaluation of cryptographic security and its elementary application in other areas of computer science. They understand these methods and are able to select and practically implement suitable cryptographic methods for concrete application examples.


    Knowledge of programming, algorithms and networks as well as discrete mathematics and algebra is useful. Prior knowledge of IT security is generally helpful, but not required.

  • Prof. Dr. Heinz-Peter Gumm: State-Bases Systems (held in English)

    lecture, Monday + Wednesday 10 am-12 pm


    -          Examples of state-based systems
    -          Streams, automata (Moore, Mealy, deterministic, nondeterministic), transition systems, objects, probabilistic systems, neighborhood systems.
    -          Description of state-based systems as co-algebras
    -          Category theory abstractions
    -          Structure theory
    -          Bisimulations and behavioral equivalence
    -          Co-recursive definitions, co-inductive verification.
    -          Terminal and Co-free systems.
    -          Modal logics
    -          Completeness set

    Qualification goals

    -          Develop a basic mathematical theory to describe state-based systems,
    -          Learn category theory methods and conceptualizations and applications in computer science,
    -          Practicing scientific working methods (recognizing, formulating, solving problems, training the ability to abstract),
    -          Training of oral communication skills in the exercises by practicing free speech in front of an audience and in discussion.


    Recommended competencies are those taught in the Theoretical Computer Science and Logic modules.

Subject Area: Peace and Conflict Studies

  • Dr. Kerstin Zimmer: Rosania – a Simulation (held in English)

    Blockseminar: Oct 28, Nov 4, Nov 11 (full day Saturdays) + some meetings in the weeks before and one in the week after the seminar (no tutorial needed)

  • Prof. Dr. Julia Schulte-Cloos: Einführung in das politische System der BRD (held in German)

    lecture, Thursday 12-2 pm

  • Astrid Juckenack: victims, perpetrators, bystanders in genocide and mass violence (held in English)

    seminar, Tuesday 12-2 pm

    In research and discussions revolving around genocide and mass violence, the terminology of victims, perpetrators and collaborators, bystanders or rescuers is pertinent for understanding the events and developments. However, these discourses often assume clear distinctions while lacking in definition and complexity, as actors can fulfill multiple, changing or ambiguous roles.

    The aim of this seminar is to engage with the concepts of genocide and mass violence broadly in order to delve further into more focused discussions of explanatory approaches to the participation, resistance against and targeting of groups in the context of genocide and mass violence, as well as historical case studies from e.g., Germany, Rwanda and Cambodia.

  • Ariadna Petri: Multitrack diplomacy (held in English)                              


    This course is designed to provide conceptual and experiential perspectives on the variety of ways to bring about conflict resolution, mitigation, transformation and peace building on multiple levels, ranging from personal through community and organizational, to international. Such levels, often termed “tracks”, encompass official “first track” diplomacy and a spectrum of unofficial initiatives by civil society organization (CSO) and grassroots leaders and activists. Such activities are essential complements to formal conflict resolution activities, especially for complex societal conflicts involving non-state actors.

    Multi-track diplomacy has become an increasingly important tool for diplomats, government, UN and regional international organization (IO) agencies and CSO staff working in development, relief, refugee and humanitarian aid, peacekeeping and other activities in areas of conflict and political instability. Almost all violent conflicts are now at least primarily internal rather than inter-state, with at least one party a non-state community, and no mutually acceptable official structure through which disputes can be settled. In the context of mistrust and uncertainty, the sustainability not only of peacemaking efforts, but also of development, aid or humanitarian programs often depends on how communities, organizations or opinion leaders are empowered to find common ground on implementation of planned initiatives. Trust building, skills building – in areas such as nonviolent communication, prejudice reduction and integrative problem solving – along with consensus building and action planning methodologies may become essential elements for success.

    The Seminar will introduce participants to concepts, theoretical issues and techniques in the field of multi-track diplomacy, as tools for peacebuilding. This course has a strong practical focus, implemented through classroom discussions, student presentations and in-class small group projects. Students, in groups, pick a conflict from around the world, to which they will be applying the concepts discussed in class. This group work will be presented and discussed in class. These, along with regular academic discussions based on scholarly publications are the launch pad for conversations with guest speakers with abundant experience in different aspects of Multitrack activities, including ambassadors, informal mediators and CSO and grassroots leaders. The final activity of the course is staging a Multitrack diplomatic exercise.

  • Ariadna Petri: Israeli-Palestinian Critical dialogues (held in English)


    This course offers an introduction to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, one of the most popular and protracted at global level. We will first explore the histories, geographies, economies, demographics, and identity formation of the sides, to get a sense of the major arguments, narratives and perceptions.

    Once the framework of analysis is set, we will examine the “Peace Process”, the conditions, missed opportunities, and what improvements could stimulate different kinds of resolutions to the conflict.

    A range of genres and modes of expression are incorporated into this course, besides academic works, including cinema, art, literature, and music. This course has a strong practical focus, implemented through classroom discussions, and student presentations.

  • Ariadna Petri: Critical/Postcolonial readings of Eastern Europe (held in English)


Subject Area: Physics

  • Prof. Dr. Frank Bremmer: Complex Neural Networks (held in English)

    Lecture (Thursday 8-10 am) + seminar (time tbd)

    Prerequisite: for students (of Physics or related disciplines) in their 3rd year and above 

    Sensory illusions / dioptric system / structure of lense eyes and compound eyes / oculomotorics: mechanics and systems analysis / structure of the retina / signal transduction / retinal circuits and their adaptive properties / main visual pathway / functional organization of primary visual cortex / the concept of the visual receptive field / mechanisms of visual invariance generation / hierarchy of the visual system / ventral vs dorsal stream / sensorimotor integration

    The students will learn about complex neural mechanisms and their capabilities, considering the visual system as example. Based on an introduction of the functional structures of the visual system (eye, retina, optic nerve, thalamus, visual cortex), the principles of visuomotor integration and object recognition will be examined. Subsequently, processing of visual scenes at the different stages of the visual system will be discussed. Emphasis will be on neural circuits at peripheral and central levels. Filter properties of neural processing units will be considered, as well as the neural mechanisms underlying certain sensory illusions. In an accompanying seminar, the students will study current relevant publications and present them in a graded seminar talk.


    o    Kandel, Schwartz & Jessell: Principles of Neural Science (Appleton & Lange)
    o    Purves et al.: Neuroscience (Sinauer Assoc.)
    o    Nicholls, Martin & Wallace: From Neuron to Brain (Sinauer Assoc.)

  • Prof. Dr. Reinhard Noack: Computational Physics 1 (held in English)

    lecture (Friday 2-4 pm) + exercise course (Monday 2-4 pm)

    Prerequisite: for students (of Physics or related disciplines) in their 3rd year and above

    The course offers an introduction to modern computational methods in physics. The first part focuses on deterministic algorithms and their applications in classical mechanics, electrodynamics and quantum mechanics. Topics include: root search, systems of linear equations, numerical integration, ordinary differential equations, partial differential equations, Fourier transforms, eigenvalues and eigenvectors.

    The course will use examples from classical theoretical physics, quantum mechanics, and electrodynamics. A working knowledge of some advanced programming language is required.

    Students learn to gauge the significance of deterministic numerical methods, the power and limitations of algorithms, and the reliability of the results, and are introduced to basic visualization techniques.


    ·         W.H. Press, S.A. Teukolsky, W.T. Vetterling, B.P. Flannery, Numerical Recipes, Cambridge University Press In Fortran, Pascal, Fortran 90, C++
    ·         W. Kinzel, G. Reents, Physics by Computer, Springer, 1998.
    ·         S.E. Koonin, Physik auf dem Computer, Oldenbourg 1990.
    ·         J. Schnakenberg, Algorithmen in der Quantentheorie und Statistischen Physik, Verlag Zimmermann-Neufang, Ulmen, 1995.
    ·         A. Quarteroni and F. Saleri, Introduction to Scientific Computing with MATLAB Problems and Exercises solved with MATLAB
    ·         H. Gould, J. Tobochnik, An introduction to computer simulation methods, Addison Wesley 1996.
    ·         T. Pang, An introduction to computational physics, Cambridge University Press 1997.

  • Prof. Dr. Enrique Castro-Camus: Fundamentals of Functional Materials (held in English)

    lecture (Wednesday 10 am-12 pm) + seminar (Friday 2-4 pm)

    Prerequisite: for students (of Physics or related disciplines) in their 3rd year and above

  • Dr. Andreas Beyer: Methods in Material Science 2 (held in English)

    lecture (Tuesday 2-4 pm) + seminar (Thursday 2-4 pm)

    Prerequisite: for students (of Physics or related disciplines) in their 3rd year and above

    This module provides student deeper insight into modern techniques of production and the characterization of semiconductor structures. This will provide students with the necessary background for completing a master’s thesis or dissertation in the field of structural growth, structure processing and structure characterization.


    o    Epitaxy: Physical Principles and Technical Implementation, Springer Series in Materials Science, Band 62, M.A. Herman, W. Richter, H. Sitter, Springer 2004
    o    Handbook of Crystal Growth Vol. 3a, b, Thin Films and Epitaxy, Ed. D.T.J. Hurle, Elsevier 1994
    o    Materials Science and Technology Vol. 1, Structure of Solids Ed. V. Gerold, VCH Verlagsgesellschaft 1993
    o    Materials Science and Technology Vol. 2, Characterization of Materials, Ed. E.Lifshin, VCH Verlagsgesellschaft 1993
    o    Transmission Electron Microscopy, D.B. Williams, C.B. Carter Plenum Press 1996

  • Prof. Dr. Marina Gerhard: Semiconductor Optics 1 (held in English)

    lecture (Tuesday 12-2 pm) + seminar (Thursday 12-2 pm)

    Prerequisite: for students (of Physics or related disciplines) in their 3rd year and above

    Electronic structure of organic and inorganic semiconductors, optical transitions, free carriers, excitons and other photoexcited species, interaction with phonons, photoexcitation and recombination dynamics, impact of defects and impurities, fundamentals of optical spectroscopy, time-resolved techniques such as time-resolved photoluminescence and transient absorption spectroscopy, Raman- and infrared spectroscopy

    This course provides students with fundamental knowledge about photophysical processes of organic and inorganic semiconductors, as well as hybrid systems such as organo-metal halide perovskites. Moreover, they become familiar with spectroscopic techniques and the interpretation of optical spectra and dynamical processes in a variety of material systems.


    o    Klingshirn, Semiconductor Optics, Springer
    o    Gugliemo Lanzani, the Photophysics behind Photovoltaics and Photonics, Wiley
    o    Anna Köhler, Heinz Bässler, Electronic Processes in Organic Semiconductors, Wiley
    o    Juan Bisquert, The Physics of solar cells, CRC Press Ivan Pelant
    o    Jan Valenta, Luminescence Spectroscopy of Semiconductors, Oxford

Subject Area: Political Science

Subject Area: Social and Cultural Anthropology

  • Prof. Dr. Siegfried Becker: Auf nach Amerika! Die transatlantische Migration aus beiden Hessen im 19. Jahrhundert (held in German)

    seminar, Thursday 8 - 10 am 

    Im 19. Jahrhundert zwang die Massenverelendung viele Hessen zur Auswanderung nach Amerika und Australien. Wir wollen uns mit den Ursachen und Umständen der Migration beschäftigen: Warum gingen die Menschen weg von hier, sagten Eltern, Geschwistern und Verwandten Adieu und schickten sich an, in einem fernen, unbekannten Land ihr Glück zu suchen?

    Hessen ist nicht erst in den letzten Jahrzehnten zu einem Einwanderungsland geworden, es ist schon immer eines gewesen. Aber in den Jahren der größten Auswanderungswelle nach 1840 kehrte sich die Migrationsrichtung um. Sehr viel mehr Menschen gingen damals weg von hier, und die meisten unter ihnen versuchten, eine Überfahrt nach Amerika finanzieren zu können. Dafür benötigten sie eine Entlassung aus dem Untertanenverband. Sie war Voraussetzung, um kurhessisches Territorium zu verlassen, insbesondere um sicherzustellen, dass sich die jungen Männer nicht der Militärpflicht entziehen wollten. Die Akten zu den Entlassungen aus dem Untertanenverband sind heute wichtige Quellen für die Frage nach Motiven und Umständen, unter denen sich meist junge Leute für die Auswanderung entschieden. Wir werden uns daher auch mit Archivquellen und den daraus zu erschließenden historischen Lebensbedingungen befassen.


    Assion, Peter (Hrsg.): Der große Aufbruch. Studien zur Amerikaauswanderung. (Hessische Blätter für Volks- und Kulturforschung, 17) Marburg 1985
    ders.: Von Hessen in die Neue Welt. Eine Sozial- und Kulturgeschichte der hessischen Amerikaauswanderung mit Text- und Bilddokumenten. Frankfurt am Main 1987
    ders. (Hrsg.): Über Hamburg nach Amerika. Hessische Auswandernde in den Hamburger Schiffslisten 1855 bis 1866. Eine Studie des Instituts für Europäische Ethnologie und Kulturforschung der Universität Marburg. Marburg 1991
    Auerbach, Inge: Auswanderung aus Kurhessen. Nach Osten oder Westen? Marburg 1993
    Beer, Matthias, und Dittmar Dahlmann (Hrsg.): Über die trockene Grenze und über das offene Meer. Binneneuropäische und transatlantische Migrationen im 18. und 19. Jahrhundert. (Migration in Geschichte und Gegenwart 1) Essen 2004
    Greve, Barbara: „Den Nothstand im Kurstaate betreffend.“ Ein Beitrag zum Armutsproblem der unterbäuerlichen Schichten in der ersten Hälfte des 19. Jahrhunderts. In: Hessische Heimat NF 38, 1988, H. 2/3, S. 99-105
    Kriebernegg, Ulla, u.a. (Hrsg.): „Nach Amerika nämlich!“ Jüdische Migrationen in die Amerikas im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert. Göttingen 2012
    Kukowski, Martin: Der Pauperismus in Kurhessen. Ein Beitrag zur Entstehung und Entwicklung der Massenarmut in Deutschland 1815-1855. (Quellen und Forschungen zur hessischen Geschichte 100) Darmstadt 1995
    Wüstenbecker, Katja: Von Hamburg nach Amerika. Hilfsorganisationen für jüdische Auswanderer 1880-1910. In: Zeitschrift des Vereins für Hamburgische Geschichte 91, 2005, S. 77-102

  • Prof. Dr. Siegfried Becker: Gewalt, Tod und Verwandlung im Märchen. Einführung in Geschichte und Forschungsfelder der volkskundlichen Erzählforschung (held in German)

    seminar, Monday 8-10 am

    Märchen, Sagen, Legenden und Schwänke – die Genres der sogenannten Volksüberlieferung begründeten seit den Brüdern Grimm das Interesse an der Alltagskultur, trugen zur Entstehung der Erzählforschung und schließlich zur Institutionalisierung unseres Faches bei. Das Seminar wird daher auch Einblicke in die Wissenschaftsgeschichte, in Fragestellungen und Forschungsfelder unserer Disziplin geben. 

    Am Beispiel der Erzählstoffe um Tod und Verwandlung werden wir uns mit diesen Genres der Erzählforschung befassen, werden die darin enthaltenen Deutungen gesellschaftlicher Strukturen, der Wahrnehmungen von Macht- und Gewaltrepräsentation, des Umgangs mit Leben und Tod zu verstehen versuchen.

    Und ein wenig dient das Seminar auch dem Kennenlernen der Universitätsstadt Marburg, ihrer Geschichte und ihres Umlands, der von hier ausgehenden Märchensammlung der Brüder Grimm und dem in den Sammlungen des Instituts enthaltenen Zentralarchiv der deutschen Volkserzählung.


    Enzyklopädie des Märchens. Handwörterbuch zur historischen und vergleichenden Erzählforschung. Berlin u.a. 1977-2015
    Uther, Hans-Jörg: Handbuch zu den „Kinder- und Hausmärchen“ der Brüder Grimm. Entstehung, Wirkung, Interpretation. Berlin/New York 2008
    Oberfeld, Charlotte, und Andreas C. Bimmer (Hrsg.): Hessen – Märchenland der Brüder Grimm. (Veröffentlichungen der Europäischen Märchengesellschaft 5) Rheine 1984
    Hedwig, Andreas (Hrsg.): Die Brüder Grimm in Marburg. (Veröffentlichungen des Hessischen Staatsarchivs Marburg) Marburg 2013

  • Prof. Dr. Siegfried Becker: Die Lahn. Leben am und mit dem Fluss (mit Halbtagsexkursionen) (held in German)

    seminar, Friday 8-10 am

    Wie können wir uns kulturwissenschaftlich einem Fluss annähern? Wie lebten und leben die Menschen in der Landschaft an der Lahn, wie nutzten und nutzen sie den Fluss, welchen Gefahren waren sie ausgesetzt, und wie wurden diese Gefahren verarbeitet? Die hohe Strömungsgeschwindigkeit der Lahn und die häufigen Hochwasser machten das Übersetzen über den Fluss für Fracht- und Personenverkehr lange Zeit zu einem gefährlichen Unternehmen. Da, wo heute Brücken über die Lahn führen, gab es in der frühen Neuzeit nur Furten; mit Orten und Spuren der historischen Lahnquerungen wollen wir uns befassen. Wie wurde und wird die Wasserenergie genutzt, für welche Gewerbe und welchen Alltagsgebrauch diente das Wasser des Flusses? Und wie gingen die Menschen mit den oft katastrophalen Hochwasserereignissen der Lahn und ihrer Zuflüsse aus dem niederschlagsreichen Schiefergebirgsrand um, wie wurde die Lahn schließlich „gebändigt“? Und warum werden heute Renaturierungsmaßnahmen nötig, welche Aufgaben werden damit verbunden und welche Projektionen einer „wilden“ Natur werden darin umgesetzt? Wir wollen uns aus vielen Perspektiven mit der Lahn beschäftigen. Das Seminar soll dazu genutzt werden, die Stadt an der Lahn und die Landschaft entlang des Flusses kennenzulernen, aber auch Fragen und Perspektiven unseres Faches auf Natur und Kultur zu entwickeln.


    Hussong, Ulrich, und Karl Murk (Hrsg.): Eine Stadt und ihr Fluss. Marburg an der Lahn. (Marburger Beiträge zur hessischen Geschichte 21) Marburg 2011
    Tichy, Franz: Die Lahn. Geographische Grundlagen einer Wasserwirtschaft. (Marburger Geographische Schriften 2) Marburg 1951
    Becker, Siegfried: Andersens Kleine Meerjungfrau und ihre Vorbilder. In: Fabula, Zeitschrift für Erzählforschung 56, 2015, H. 3/ 4, S. 248-262

Subject Area: Sociology

  • Prof. Dr. Antje Röder: Gender, work and migration (held in English)

    seminar, Thursday 10 am-2 pm (no tutorial needed)

    In this seminar, we focus on the role of gender in global migration processes with a particular interest in labour markets and (unpaid) reproductive labour. Increasingly, it is recognized in the migration literature that gender plays a pivotal role in global migration processes. We examine this literature and look at topics such as the so-called feminization of migration, female migrants’ labour market integration and global care chains. We question how welfare states, global and national migration regimes and other institutional actors shape gendered migration processes, and what consequences this has for those affected by it in migrant receiving and sending countries.

    The course takes place between October and December to facilitate exchange students who may return to their home countries during the Christmas break. This does not affect essay submission deadlines that are in line with the dates set by the faculty (mid-March and mid-April). Exchange students who require their grades earlier can consult with the course lecturer for individual deadlines.

  • Prof. Dr. Sven Opitz: Global Health Security (held in English)

    seminar, Monday 10 am-12 pm

    Quarantine, physical distancing, lockdown – with the COVID-19 pandemic, measures of health security have entered the everyday. From a sociological perspective, however, the link between health and security is far from self-evident, innocent or inevitable. Problematizing health in terms of security has itself particular effects: It feeds into biopolitical modes of governing concerned with existential threats to life. These modes of governing are not uniform. Over the last decades, the securitization of global health exhibits multiple twists and turns as it occurred in relation to a series of different crises such as SARS, H1N1 or the Ebola outbreak of 2014-2016. Against this background, the seminar elaborates conceptual tools for empirically investigating the securitization of global health, its procedures and its consequences. It focuses on surveillance programs, border technologies, humanitarian design, legal regulations, contingency plans, and forms of risk management inter alia. It will become clear that biological problems of infection are of utmost relevance for the sociological inquiry of relationalities. The anxiety about pathogenic agents goes hand in hand with a heightened concern for the material contacts that bind humans with microbes, animals and things. Accordingly, the seminar investigates how the securitization of health tends towards the securitization of collective life.

Class Lists from Previous Semesters

Spring 2023 (PDF)

Fall 2022 (PDF)

Spring 2022 (PDF)

Fall 2021 (PDF)

Fall 2020 (PDF)

Spring 2020 (PDF)

Fall 2019 (PDF)

Spring 2019 (PDF)

German Conversation Classes

The main goal of our Conversation Classes is to improve students' ability to communicate and interact in German. The classes focus on teaching students conversational techniques and strategies, improving students’ listening abilities, and strengthening students’ grasp of German grammar and vocabulary. The conversation classes will have the same language levels as the intensive German language classes. Attendance is mandatory, absence of 15% of the class time or more will result in failing the class.