Students from fifteen different countries began class this week at ECLA’s International Summer University. Under Western Eyes is the central theme of this Summer’s programme and for the next six weeks students will examine Western perceptions of cultural otherness which shape the West’s notion of itself. They will discuss questions related to this theme that are raised in their weekly readings and film screenings.
This first week, Jingfei Liang (ISU 2006, China) who currently attends Humboldt University in Berlin was struck by the diversity of opinions and ideas in her seminar. ‘I especially like the discussion part. We are from varied backgrounds and it is interesting to see how people put in their own thoughts related to their own background. It’s very inspiring for me.’
Andriy Kozlov (ISU 2006, Ukraine) who majors in Cultural Studies at Ukrainian Catholic University discovered during orientation that much can be learned just by living in a small international community. ‘It is quite hard to find so many interesting people and at the same time good-willed people in the same place. The people are from different cultures and sharing their experience about the same things like Renaissance, globalisation, and films.’
ISU began on Wednesday, July 12th, with a five day orientation. Numerous social activities and city excursions occurred during this period as students acquainted themselves with each other and Berlin. Sunday was the Summer programme’s official opening with academic orientation, a screening of Ingmar Bergman’s The Magic Flute, and an evening reception for faculty and students.
The first week of class included guest lectures by German composer Violeta Dinescu and Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Jan Assmann in addition to the regular lectures and seminars by faculty. Readings for the week included Montaigne’s On the Cannibals and On Coaches; selections from Pierre Clastres’ Society against the State; Shakespeare’s The Tempest; and Aimé Césaire’s A Tempest. Students also attended film screenings of F.W. Murnau’s Tabu and Fernando Meirelles’ City of God.