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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Geosciences : Geography

Undergraduate Course: Berlin Field Class (GEGR10122)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Geosciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe Berlin field class is a research elective that provides an opportunity to develop skills in designing, planning and doing research in Human Geography. The primary aim of the field class is to successfully design and execute a group research project. The fieldwork for the research project must be conducted in Berlin. The research project is an opportunity for students to deepen their engagement with a substantive conceptual issue in Human Geography, develop a central research question, and design appropriate research methods to gather, analyse and present research materials. The ideas, initiative and energy for the research project must come from students, although they will receive guidance before the field class via lectures, a research design workshop and feedback on research proposals, and during the field class. The research elective will be of particular benefit for students doing dissertation research in Urban, Social or Cultural Geography and those using research methods from the social sciences and humanities.
The field trip is also an introduction to Berlin and to several major themes in Urban, Cultural and Social Geography. During an orientation tour and staff-led field work activities, students will be introduced to the politics and practices of place-making in Berlin. In particular, teaching in the field will focus on the politics of commemoration, remembrance and forgetting; how the legacies of Cold War geopolitics are imprinted in urban space; and the diverse and contested claims being made on urban space by groups as disparate as property developers, city planners, squatters, hipsters, tourists and migrants.
Course description This research elective is an 8-day residential field class in Berlin. The field class is comprised of one orientation day and introduction to the 'New Berlin' and 6 fieldwork days, during which there will be a range of staff-led activities (equivalent of 2 days- teaching over 6 days). The staff-led fieldwork will develop skills in identifying, gathering and producing original empirical material/research skills around the themes of 'The Berlin Wall and the legacies of division' and 'Memory-work and the Holocaust'. They will also provide opportunities for students to discuss questions, problems and ideas arising from their research.
The majority of time during fieldwork days (at least 5 hours/day) in Berlin is dedicated to group research projects. Students are required to do some preliminary reading and research into their research projects before we depart on the field class. An introductory lecture, alongside a research design workshop and a feedback session will provide students with guidance on the design and framing of their research project before we leave for Berlin. In Berlin, workshops and student presentations will provide students with opportunities for further guidance and feedback while they are doing their research. the fieldtrip will end with final workshop focusing on the analysis of research material and writing the research project so that the students return to Edinburgh ready to write the degree assessment.
Below is an indicative structure for the field trip.

Before the field trip:
Introductory lecture
Research Design workshop
Feedback on research proposals

During the field trip
Day 1: Travel to Berlin and 4 -hour orientation tour to the 'New berlin'
Days 2-7: Student fieldwork (c. 5 hours per day) alongside daily staff-led activities that will include walking tours and fieldwork that focuses on developing research skills through research on 'The Berlin Wall and the legacies of division' and 'Memory work and the Holocaust'; workshops for feedback and guidance; student presentations.
Day 8: Final workshop on analysing research materials and writing the degree assessment. Return travel to Edinburgh.
After the field trip:
Two office hours each week for feedback and guidance until the submission deadline.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs 50% of travel and accommodation costs, approximately 250.
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. design, plan and execute a group research project that is appropriately framed by a critical understanding of theoretical and conceptual issues in Human Geography
  2. demonstrate advanced skills in the use of research methods and the appropriate analysis of original research materials
  3. employ a range of writing and analytical skills for the original interpretation and presentation of research
  4. evaluate and reflect critically on your research practices, and to make judgements where data or information is limited or comes from a range of sources
  5. demonstrate detailed knowledge and understanding of a substantive concern at the forefront or Urban, Social or Cultural Geography
Reading List
On Berlin:
Allen, J (2006). 'Ambient Power: Berlin's Potsdamer Platz and the Seductive Logic of Public Spaces', Urban Studies 43 (2), 441-455
Boyer, C. (1996). 'The City of Collective Memory: Historical Imagery and Architectural Entertainments'. Boston, M.A: MIT Press.
Boym, S (2001). 'The Future of Nostalgia'. New York: Basic Books
Cochrane, A. (2006). 'Making Up Meaning in a Capital City: Power, Memory and Monuments in Berlin', European Urban and Regional Studies, 13 (1), 5-24.
Cochrane, A. and Passmore, A. (2001). 'Building a national capital in an age of globalization: the case of Berlin', Area 33 (3), 341-352.
Dekel, I. (2009). 'Ways of looking: observation and transformation at the Holocaust Memorial, Berlin', Memory Studies, 2 (1), 71-86.
Funder, A. (2003). Stasiland. London: Granta Books.
Huyssen, A. (1995). Twilight Memories: Marking Time in a Culture of Amnesia. London: Routledge.
Knischewski, G. and Spittler, U. (2006). 'Remembering the Berlin Wall: the wall memorial ensemble Bernauer Strasse', German Life and Letters, 59 (2), 280-293.
Ladd, B. (1997). The Ghosts of Berlin: Confronting German History in the Urban Landscape. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Staiger, U. (2009). 'Cities, citizenship, contested cultures: Berlin's Palace of the Republic and the politics of the public sphere', Cultural Geographies, 16, 309-327.
Stangl, P. (2008). 'The vernacular and the monumental: memory and landscape in post-war Berlin', GeoJournal, 78, 245-253.
Till, K. (2005). The New Berlin: Memory, Politics, Place. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
Varvantakis, C. (2009). ' A monument to dismantlement', Memory Studies, 2(1), 27-38.
Young, J. (1992). 'The Counter- Monument: Memory Against Itself in Germany Today', Critical Inquiry, 18 (2), 267-296.

On Research Design and Methods:
Back, L. and Puwar, N. (2012). Live Methods. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.
Becker, H. (2001). 'George Perec's experiments in social description', Ethnography, 2(1), 63-76.
Clifford, N., French, S. and Valentine, G. (2010). Key Methods in Geography. London: Sage.
Cloke, P., Cook, I. (2007). Doing Ethnographies. London: Sage
DeLyser, D., Herbert, S., Aitkin, S., Crang, M. and McDowell, L (2009). The Sage handbook of Qualitative Geography. London: Sage.
Emmison, M., Smith, P. and Mayall, M. (2012). Researching the Visual. London:Sage.
Phillips R. and Johns, J. (2012). Fieldwork for Human Geography. London: Sage.
Law, J. (2004). After Methods: Mess in Social Science Research. London: Routledge.
Lury, C. and Wakeford, N. (2012). Inventive Methods: The Happening of the Social. London: Routledge.
Rose, G. (2012). Visual Methodologies. London: Sage.
Silverman, D. (2010). Qualitative Research. London: Sage.
Ward, K. (2014). Researching the City. London: Sage.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsHuman Geography,Cities,Fieldwork,Group Research
Course organiserDr Daniel Swanton
Tel: (0131 6)50 8164
Course secretaryMrs Faten Adam
Tel: (0131 6)50 5850
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