FSA Berlin Courses and Credit


Bates in Berlin begins in late August with intensive language study designed to help students of all abilities gain/improve proficiency and comfort with German (or, in some cases, Russian). Students will be placed in language course levels according to their abilities – from beginner to advanced. Students continue language study throughout the semester and take three additional courses taught in English by Bates faculty:

Ideology and Politics in Germany and Russia   (Professor James Richter)

The cities of Berlin, Moscow and St. Petersburg are filled with reminders that they were once ruled by regimes that sought to reorganize society in pursuit of perfection, and killed millions in the process. Though visions of state-run utopias have fortunately fallen into disfavor, ideology remains an inextricable part of politics all over the world. This course examines the role of ideology in politics using Germany and Russia as case studies. The course first examines the interplay between ideas and politics under Nazism and Soviet-style socialism before venturing into a discussion of the persistent influence of nationalism, liberalism and populism in contemporary Europe.


Utopian Fantasies/Dystopian Facts: Everyday Life Under Hitler and Stalin (Professor Dennis Browne)

The long-term objectives of both Nazism and Soviet Communism can be seen as blueprints for utopian futures, albeit very different ones. Hitlerism proposed to address the perceived injustices of the Treaty of Versailles, and to correct the demographic contamination of Europe, rending the state obsolete as the German people assumed their natural place at the pinnacle of a racially purified Europe.  Soviet Communism (Stalinism) perceived itself as the vanguard of the international working class as it marched toward the inevitable classless society. Through screenings of futurist cinema, and readings of dystopian fiction and autobiographical chronicles from survivors of Europe’s most violent century, we examine the fear and terror visited upon everyday citizens by the Nazi and Soviet regimes.


Berlin(s) (Professors Richter and Browne)

Few cities in the world have experienced the extremes that Berlin has in the last 100 years. From a legendary “sin city” of the 1920s, it became a captive urban canvas for Hitler’s megalomania. Destroyed by the allies in World War II, occupied and divided, it was ground zero for superpower confrontations through much of the Cold War. For the last quarter of a century it has served as the capital of a reunified Germany, and has become a destination city for people from all over the world. Through a series of weekly guest lectures from community activists, scholars, and representatives of some of the larger ex-pat communities of Berlin, we examine the complex character of one of the world’s premier global cities.



The Berlin FSA program is part of the Bates curriculum. The 2018 fall semester abroad in Berlin provides students with four Bates credits and a complete General Education Concentration (GEC) upon successful completion. Alternatively, students may count three of the courses (one language and two non-language courses) toward GEC 024, Modern Europe. All four courses may count toward the major in European Studies. We assume that students will study German, but Russian minors may substitute a Russian language course for German (Berlin is a multi-national, multi-lingual city, and one hears Turkish, Russian, Arabic, Polish, English and many more languages on a daily basis). Two credits may apply toward the Russian minor (Russian language and Utopian Fantasies/Dystopian Facts). Similarly, German language and the Berlin(s) course may count toward the German minor. German majors who are placed in an intermediate or advanced German language course in Berlin may count this toward their major. Ideology and Politics in Germany and Russia may count as an elective for Politics majors.