In 1900 the imperial capital of Austria-Hungary exploded with energy, wealth, sex, intellect, and power. The streets of Vienna teemed with the intriguing sounds of languages from the multi-national Habsburg Empire. In the coffee houses patrons rubbed shoulders with giants like Freud, Mahler, Klimt, Schnitzler, and Wittgenstein. Now, in the years following 2000, Vienna has recovered from the devastation of war and the straightjacket of the fallen Iron Curtain, and bright, striving, young people from the new lands of the European Union, from Prague, Budapest, Warsaw, and Istanbul flock again to the city to seek their fortunes.
Some residents fear and resent these outsiders, but others welcome them as a return to "normal times" when Vienna was the capital of a multi-ethnic empire. In fact, not unlike our own country, Austria is engaged in an intense debate about immigration and multi-culturalism. This course will examine culture, conflict, and identity, the contexts and consequences of being Viennese in these two remarkable historic moments, 1900 and the years following 2000.
The class will meet for orientation four Sunday afternoons (4pm-6pm) at the end of Fall Semester, then students will travel to Vienna, Austria, and Budapest, Hungary, for J-Term. Living and learning in an awe-inspiring working monastery in the heart of Vienna. With the city as their campus, students will explore the riches and poverty, the beauty and ugliness, the opportunities and the daunting challenges that faced Vienna and its people then in 1900 and that face it now.
As in all SYE courses, the learning process will include thoughtful reflection about the college experience and the transition to life after college, including life direction and goals. The course will use multidisciplinary readings and discussions, and it will be team-taught by course coordinators and other faculty members and guests, including distinguished Austrian scholars.
Students will learn basic traveler’s German, but all readings and classes will be in English. The city is well equipped to assist English-speaking visitors, and students will find that Viennese whom they meet are eager to speak English. Permission of instructor required. Criteria for admitting students include academic achievement, good campus citizenship, focus of interest in the topic, balance among majors, availability of lodging for men and women; previous study of German not required, but a plus. Requires meetings during Fall Semester.
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