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Harvard Comes to Freiburg

University of Freiburg welcomes 20 students from the elite American university to a summer school

Freiburg, Jun 13, 2016

Harvard Comes to Freiburg

Photo: Sandra Meyndt

An overview of European history, politics, culture, and thought – that’s what lies in store for 20 students from Harvard University in Cambridge, USA, during their eight week stay at the University of Freiburg. “Harvard’s interest in the University of Freiburg is a testament to our international appeal. Freiburg is one of Europe’s leading research universities and offers unique possibilities for students with its university college, its selection of English-taught degree programs, and its membership in the trinational Eucor alliance,” says Rector Prof. Dr. Hans-Jochen Schiewer. “We are looking forward to introducing the Harvard students to Freiburg, Germany, and Europe in the coming weeks.”

The participants will be taking seminars on sustainability, the private sphere, social inequality, and European responses to global challenges at the University College Freiburg. In addition, they will visit historic sites in France, Poland, and Switzerland and receive the opportunity to take a German language course. The aim of the cooperation between the two universities in the Harvard Summer Program is to provide students insight into European debates on current and historical topics. The participants will be paired with so-called buddies for the course of their stay – University of Freiburg students who can help them with questions and problems and plan activities with them in their free time.

At the core of the program is the seminar “European Responses to Global Challenges,” taught by Sven Beckert, history professor at Harvard University and the main initiator of the summer school, in cooperation with human geographer Prof. Dr. Tim Freytag and cultural studies junior professor Dr. Anna Lipphardt, both from the University of Freiburg. The three modules Historic Memories, Migration, and Urban Development will focus on Freiburg and on the trinational region with Germany, France, and Switzerland. Freiburg’s concept of the green city will serve as a model for sustainable urban energy management. The teachers will consider migration and mobility in Europe from both a historical and a current perspective, including the migrations during the Holocaust, the current refugee crisis, and the everyday international mobility of workers in the trinational region around Freiburg. Day trips to Basel, Switzerland, and Strasbourg, France, will give the students firsthand experience of the cross-border teaching and research conducted at the Universities of Freiburg, Basel, Upper Alsace, and Strasbourg and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology as part of the “Eucor – The European Campus” alliance. Other planned excursions include trips to the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland and to a battlefield from the First World War near Mulhouse, France.
In the seminar “Inequality,” Freiburg political scientist Prof. Dr. Uwe Wagschal will discuss forms of social inequality with the students – for instance with regard to education, health, immigration, gender, or ethnic background. The course will also touch on the European Union’s model of the welfare state. Dr. Elisa Orrù from the University of Freiburg’s Centre for Security and Society will introduce the concept of the private sphere in her seminar “Privacy,” including aspects like data protection and self-determination and their significance for current European politics. In the seminar “Sustainability,” Harvard professor Sheila Jasanoff will throw light on promising and controversial environmental technologies like fracking, nuclear energy, and biotechnology to give the students a better understanding of environmental problems and the sustainable approaches Freiburg is developing to solve them.

Harvard Summer Program at the University ofrg

Prof. Dr. Sven Beckert
Laird Bell Professor of History
Harvard University
Phone: 001-617-495-0697

Printable version (pdf) of the press release.

German Press Release