MAGES Program Core Courses

Completion of these 6 courses is a requirement for the M.A. degree

Modern German & European History

This is the foundational history course for graduate students in the Master of Arts in German and European Studies Program and its affiliated doctoral programs. It is designed to introduce students to some of the major events and principal problems in German and European history in the twentieth century. 

Rather than simply transmitting factual knowledge, the course provides an introduction to history as a scholarly discipline. The weekly in-depth discussions of a set of readings will familiarize students with the divergent ways in which history can be written, such as social history, political history, cultural history, biography, generational history, memory, and the history of historiography. 

Historiographical and methodological issues will be discussed alongside key events in European history, such as First and Second World War, the Holocaust, the reconstruction of European societies after 1945, the establishment of Socialist regimes in countries to the East of the Iron Curtain after 1945, the protest movements of 1968, and the collapse of communism in 1989. 

Politics in Europe and the European Union

This course examines the European Union from a variety of disciplinary perspectives - political science, history, and cultural studies. It is divided into three parts. The first part addresses the history of postwar European integration in its political, social, and cultural dimensions. The course then moves on to a detailed examination of the contemporary politics of the EU - its institutional architecture, party politics, contested legitimacy, and ambiguous identity. The final part of the course explores an array of policy challenges now facing Europe, including the introduction of monetary union, the coordination of social and cultural policy, the development of a common foreign and security policy, and expansion to the East.

The European Economy

The European Economy proceeds on a variety of levels, ranging from labor markets to foreign direct investment, trade, institutional harmonization, fiscal policy coordination and monetary union. This course concentrates on a subset of these developments: The integration of the goods market (trade) and of factor markets (foreign direct investment and labor mobility). The course follows a dual strategy, beginning with an examination of theoretical issues arising in each of the aforementioned areas, such as the determinants of trade patterns, the income distribution consequences of opening trade, the motives for capital and labor mobility, etc. These concepts are then applied specifically to the case of Europe, including the relevant economic history, the current institutional framework, the observed effects of liberalization on trade and income patterns and the remaining obstacles.

International Relations in Europe

The revolutions in Eastern Europe, the unification of Germany and the disintegration of the Soviet Union have radically changed the structure of Europe's international relations. This seminar focuses on understanding what distinguishes today's European order from previous orders, how Europe has reached its current position, and what is relevant about the past for understanding Europe's future. The course explores the role of the balance of power in the European state system, the origins and consolidation of the Cold War stalemate, the nature of alliances, the attempts to enhance security through detente, and the debate over why the system collapsed. It also examines the central role of Germany, the content and significance of French exceptionalism, the debate over U.S. hegemony, and the significance of European integration for European interstate relations. Finally, the course surveys the efforts to create a new order based upon common commitment to democratic governance and multilateral institutions, the reconstruction of norms of sovereignty and nonintervention, and the contending theories about the nature of the emerging European state system.

Theorizing Culture

The course will introduce students to the study of culture, with a focus on theories of gender and sexuality.  We will draw on a range of German, French, and Anglo-American theories of high, popular, and mass culture and apply them to contemporary German cultural texts, performances, objects, and practices.  The course is organized around four major media, genres, and sites of cultural production, from print culture (literature), and visual culture (film, tv), and live bodies/urban space, to cyberspace. The course will be conducted as a seminar, with a strong emphasis on our working together to explore the parameters of this new field.  Each student will be asked to choose a sub-area of contemporary culture theory on which he/she will focus. Working independently or in work groups, students will investigate how a particular theoretical approach might be applied to a German cultural artifact of the group's choice, presenting the results of their investigations to other members of the seminar.