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Marburg Online Summer Program 2021

Philipps-Universität Marburg offers a shortened online version of its popular International Summer University: Hessen:VASP (Virtual Academic Short Term Program)

“Germany and Europe in a Turbulent World – History, Politics, Society and Culture”

Today’s world is characterized by crisis, tension and conflict. Germany and the European Union are not unaffected by these dynamics. New political antagonisms have emerged since the end of the Cold War. European Integration, successful for many years, is facing great challenges not only because of BREXIT, but also due to migration and international terrorism. Right wing populism and authoritarianism seem on the rise again, and the dynamics of the Corona pandemic have already left their marks - both in national societies and international relations. What all this implies for politics and society in Germany and Europe will be the central topic of this years’ program. By focusing on selected topics, the Marburg Online Summer Program will deepen the understanding of current developments and conflicts in a historical context and will also look into possibilities of overcoming such conflicts.

  • Inhalt ausklappen Inhalt einklappen Overview Overview

    The Marburg online summer program Hessen: VASP combines interactive seminar and course sessions (synchronous classwork) with pre-recorded seminars and course sessions (asynchronous classwork), to give you maximum flexibility while still attending classes online. The asynchronous materials are available two weeks before the synchronous classwork starts. Papers are due two weeks after the end of the synchronous classwork. Our overview schedule will help you in preparing your calendar for the summer program.

    asynchronous materials available online July 1st, 2021
    classes begin with warm-up session July 14th, 2021. 3:30p.m. CEST
    classes end with wrap-up session July 23rd, 2021. 8p.m. CEST
    essay submission deadline August 6th, 2021
  • Inhalt ausklappen Inhalt einklappen SeminarsSeminars

    In cooperation with our Academic Directors, Professor Eckart Conze, Department of Modern History, and Professor Thorsten Bonacker, Center for Conflict Studies, we offer selected seminars that focus on the topic “Germany and Europe in a Turbulent World – History, Politics, Society and Culture”.


    • Youth, Society, and Politics in Germany and Europe

      Instructor: Dr. Philipp Lottholz (Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen)

      Seminar Description: This course provides an introduction into understandings of and research on the roles of youth in societal and political processes. It explores social scientific perspectives and conceptions that help participants critically consider young people’s potential to affect social and political change, but also the factors limiting such agency. Starting from the question ‘What is youth?’ to tackle the diverging scientific, cultural and political conceptions of youth, the course continues to survey key approaches to youth in political science, sociology and social work and illustrates their relevance with practical examples and case studies from European countries and beyond. The main ambition of the course is to offer participants to grasp the actual lifeworlds and experiences of youth. Under the current pandemic conditions, this will primarily be realised through digital interactions with conversation partners from children and youth work programmes, activist groups and other relevant structures.

      Learning Objectives: The course will introduce students to the field of youth research in sociology, area studies, social policy and neighbouring social science disciplines. It will particularly provide an understanding of the inter-relatedness of ‘youth’ with its various intersecting social categories and dimensions such as age, generation, class or gender and corresponding potentials and limits of understanding the role of youth in processes of social and political change. Students will learn to navigate and critically assess the existing academic debates and their relevance for current political and societal dynamics. Group work exercises and conversations with local youth workers and activists will serve to develop and strengthen participants’ analytical thinking and self-reflection skills.

    • The Politics of Migration in Contemporary Europe

      Instructor: Dr. Polina Manolova (Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen)

      Seminar Description: Contemporary migration dynamics within the EU and beyond have become a matter of heated contestation, sparking an array of political interventions and moral positionings. The ways in which we think about migration and immigration are heavily influenced by politicised images and discourses of threat, cultural difference and crisis that have gradually left the arena of right-wing politics and permeated the mass public discourse. It has been claimed that, as a human phenomenon marked by diverse forms and encompassing a multitude of actors, migration is resistant to theory building and formal explanatory models. Traditional migration studies scholarship has been criticized for studying migration as a ‘stand-alone’ phenomenon and not as positioned within social, economic and political processes and transformations. While arguing against a single general theory of migration, critical approaches to European migration insist on ‘widening the gaze’ and acknowledging intersections between heterogeneous (im)migration realities and their positioning within structures of power, dominance, and inequality. 

      Learning Objectives: This course will provide students with the empirical and theoretical insights needed for developing a critical awareness to contemporary migration dynamics within Europe. In line with the interdisciplinary nature of migration studies, this course introduces students to texts that help them explore the heterogeneity of the research field and the variety of theoretical approaches developed to explain why migration has taken a central stage in today’s politics and governance and the policy approaches that have been developed to ‘manage’ its effects on EU and nation-state levels. The course addresses the following key questions: Why has population mobility become such a contested phenomenon in contemporary European politics? How are the different modes of European migration (free movement, third country migration, asylum seeker flows) regulated in terms of migration policies, legalistic and discursive categories, and everyday process of bordering? What are the debates framing the processes of diversification in European societies in terms of competing integration models, citizenship rights and the acceptance of ethnic and religious minority groups? How are migrants affected by efforts to regulate their movements? How are they navigating the subject positions that they have been relegated to in European societies and what are the alternative modes of citizenship and belonging that they have developed?

    • Warnings from History: The Weimar Republic, 1918-1933

      Instructor: Dr. Alex Burkhardt (Philipps-Universität Marburg)

      Seminar Description: Liberal democracy in the West is arguably under greater strain today than at any time since the end of the Second World War. Its principal enemies are illiberal, authoritarian forces of the right and left which vigorously call the values and institutions of liberal democracy into question. Against this contemporary backdrop, this course examines the historical example of the Weimar Republic – a liberal democracy which succumbed to and was destroyed by anti-democratic forces, with catastrophic consequences for Germany and the world. Founded in the wake of Germany’s defeat in the First World War and the collapse of the imperial monarchy, the Weimar Republic was Germany’s first democracy and, in 1918, one of the most progressive democratic systems in Europe. However, it lasted only 15 years, before giving way to a Hitler chancellorship and, ultimately, a National Socialist dictatorship in 1933. 

      Learning Objectives: This seminar not only provides an overview of the history of the Weimar Republic; it is also informed by the question of whether or not Western democracies are currently experiencing a “Weimar moment”. Will the threats posed to liberal democracy today prove to be as powerful and as destructive as those which, almost a century ago, put an end to Germany’s first experiment with parliamentary government?

    • Protest and Democratic Backsliding in Europe

      Instructor: Tareq Sydiq (Philipps-Universität Marburg)

      Seminar Description: In recent years, increasingly authoritarian politics in Europe have raised questions about democratic incentives of the European Union as an institution and democracy as a goal across societies and states. While the 90s saw quick progress in democratization, raising hopes about the EU as a democratizing force on its neighbours and new members, the 2000s saw an erosion of those hopes across countries. In Eastern Europe, this often took the shape of ruling parties undermining democratic institutions and challenging EU-norms on the rule of law. In Western Europe, lingering fears on far-right parties are challenging democratic norms from outside of government. While these processes mostly take the shape of top-down politics, they are constantly challenged on multiple levels. On the international level, institutions are strongly interlinked with the EU, creating interdependencies and checks on governmental reforms. On the state level, democracy activists maintain pressure to slow down, prevent, or even reverse backsliding. And with broad outlines of European activist networks, mobilization across state borders and pressure on EU institutions allow activists to influence politics even when they are not successful at the national level. As a result, democratic backsliding occurs not only as a governmental policy, but as multiple interlinked dynamics of concentration of state power, international norms and pressure to decentralize power, as well as stakeholders and activists challenging both. 

      Learning Objectives: In this class, we look at these processes and situate them within theories on democratization, social movements, authoritarian politics and backsliding.

  • Inhalt ausklappen Inhalt einklappen German Language and Culture CourseGerman Language and Culture Course

    A German language and culture course on “Germany today – History, Politics, and Society” will precede the subject related seminars and introduce participants to the basic structure of the German language and to cultural elements of Germany today.

    Next to a multi-level introduction to the German language, the objective of this course is to provide an overview of German culture, history and politics. It will allow the students to gain a better understanding of Germany today. Participants will learn to trace contemporary cultural and political phenomena in key historical moments as well as learn about basics such as the political system. This will help them understand current developments and debates in Germany and in Europe and provide further background regarding the main topic of the Marburg online summer program.

  • Inhalt ausklappen Inhalt einklappen Keynote Lecture "Radical Redemption. What Terrorists Believe - A Historical-psychological Perspective"Keynote Lecture "Radical Redemption. What Terrorists Believe - A Historical-psychological Perspective"

    We are delighted to welcome renowned expert on history of security, (counter)terrorism and international relations, Prof. Beatrice de Graaf (Utrecht University), as keynote lecturer of the Marburg online summer program.

    July 16th, 2021. 6p.m. CEST 

  • Inhalt ausklappen Inhalt einklappen CreditsCredits

    Students of this program receive a transcript of records stating the number of classroom hours, the course level, and performance (in local grade points). A total of up to 6 ECTS credits can be gained throughout the program. Submission of two term papers (one for the seminar and one for the language and culture course) or an equivalent performance record, as determined by the course instructor, is required.

  • Inhalt ausklappen Inhalt einklappen Technical RequirementsTechnical Requirements

    In order to participate in our online seminars and courses, we recommend that you have the following equipment at your disposal:

    stable high-speed Internet access
    desktop computer with camera
    headset with microphone

    Classes take place via our online classroom system ILIAS and the meeting tools WebEx and Laptops in Space.
  • Inhalt ausklappen Inhalt einklappen ApplicationApplication

    Please use our online application portal to access your already submitted application. At this point, no new applications can be accepted. Please stay tuned for our 2022 summer program plans.

  • Inhalt ausklappen Inhalt einklappen FAQFAQ

    • How much does the Marburg Online Summer Program cost?

      The program itself is free of charge. Students from our partner institutions are admitted with highest priority. Students whose home institution is a member of the University of Massachusetts system, the University of Wisconsin system, or a participating university from Queensland are accepted as exchange students into the Marburg Online Summer Program. Please contact your study abroad advisor for more information on how and when to apply.

    • How do I register for classes?

      You pick one academic seminar within your application process in mobility online. You will be assigned to a language and culture class according to your pre-knowledge of German.

    • I am unhappy with my choice of classes. Will I be able to change them?

      You need to make your choice of academic seminar within the registration period. Please read the description of all seminars carefully and choose a seminar that you are confident to complete. As all seminars take place simultaneously, a change of seminars can only be arranged before the first synchronous session has started. Any requests placed without explanation, cannot be taken into consideration.

    • What is ILIAS, and what do I need it for?

      ILIAS is a platform embedded in the website of Philipps-Universität Marburg. This ILIAS platform will be of great importance for you as you will be provided with all necessary learning material for your seminars via ILIAS. Further than that, this platform also enables you to directly communicate with all other participants of your class and the professor, thanks to its included mailing system. You will be able to log-in, once you are provided the username and password of your university account. Please log-on to ILIAS as soon as you receive your username and password, change your password and familiarize yourself with the platform. Also make sure to check your correct membership for the chosen seminar and assigned class. 

    • I missed a class. What do I need to do?

      Of course, we prefer if you did not miss any classes. IF you are sick, please inform us as early as possible. If you are able to provide a doctor’s note, we will surely be able to find a solution with your teacher, to recover the missed class and still receive a grade and the ECTS credits. If you do, however, miss more than one class without an excuse, we will not be able to permit you to recover the missed classes with additional work and will have to fail you in this class. 

    • What does “professional behavior during class” mean?

      Even online, professional behaviour is a relevant topic. We expect all students to log-on to class in time. If you are more than 10 minutes late for class, it is at the discretion of your professor to note this class as “not attended”.

    • What will the assignments be like?

      You are required to submit an essay for your academic seminar and an essay for the language and culture class. The teacher will let you know the specific requirements in time, and you can use the allotted tutorial time to ask more detailed questions regarding your essays.

    • What rules do I need to follow concerning the assignment; and what is plagiarism?

      We expect all students to do all their assigned works and hand them in in time. If you are unsure about the length, form or anything else, please ask your teacher. In any case, we expect you not to plagiarize. Working professionally and writing an essay means to always indicate all the literature used and to mark quotations. Otherwise, your work will be classified as plagiarism, which will result in failing the class. Never copy any texts from the internet. Besides sources from the internet often being unreliable, we can easily check your work for copied passages. It should also be in your own interest to prepare your work properly and live up to academic standards as you are pursuing an academic career. If you are unsure about this topic or about a certain passages you would like to include in your work, please consult your teacher. They will be more than happy to help and make sure that you do not plagiarize.

Hessen:VASP is a joint project of Hessen's institutions of higher education and is funded by the Hessian Ministry of Higher Education, Research and the Arts.