Fall 2021 - HUM 340 E100

Great Cities in Their Time (4)

Class Number: 4461

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Tu 5:30 PM – 9:20 PM

  • Prerequisites:

    45 units.



An exploration of the cultural and intellectual accomplishments of a specific city that achieved prominence in a particular time period, and had substantial impact and influence on human civilization. Examines the political, social, religious, and cultural factors that help to explain a city's significance and investigates the achievements of its citizens. Students may repeat this course for further credit under a different topic. Breadth-Humanities.



Marlene Dietrich on stage in a smoke-filled cabaret, the Soviet flag atop a shattered Reichstag, jubilant crowds spilling over the Wall in 1989, the haunting expanse of Peter Eisenman’s Holocaust Memorial . . . no city is associated with more of the twentieth century’s most deeply etched images than Berlin.

Taking in the full range of media where Berlin’s multiple personalities have been constructed and perpetuated—including film, literature, music, architecture and visual art—we are going to examine the city’s history from its medieval origins to the present, paying special attention to its several twentieth-century identities: the hypermodern Babylon of the Weimar Republic, the capital and gravesite of the Third Reich, the quintessential setting of Cold War intrigue and, now, the palladium of civil liberties and digital rights. Students will acquire not only an understanding of Berlin’s unique profile in modern memory, but an appreciation of the responsible and serious-minded way in which Germans have reckoned with the last century’s ghosts.


  • Blackboard Participation 5%
  • First Paper 15%
  • Midterm Exam 20%
  • Discussion Board Posts (Berlin film diary) 20%
  • Second Paper 20%
  • Reading Quizzes 20%



Students are required to obtain their own copies, print or (if applicable) digital, of the following works.

Anonymous, A Woman in Berlin: Eight Weeks in the Conquered City, trans. Philip Boehm (Picador 2006) ISBN: 978-0312426118 [also available as an e-book]

Mel Gordon, Voluptuous Panic: The Erotic World of Weimar Berlin, expanded edition (Feral House 2006) ISBN: 978-0922915965 [also available as an e-book]

Christopher Isherwood, The Berlin Stories (New Directions 2008) ISBN: 978-0811218047 [apparently not available as an e-book]

All other sources will be made available on Canvas.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in fall 2021 will involve primarily in-person instruction, with approximately 70 to 80 per cent of classes in person/on campus, with safety plans in place.  Whether your course will be in-person or through remote methods will be clearly identified in the schedule of classes.  You will also know at enrollment whether remote course components will be “live” (synchronous) or at your own pace (asynchronous).

Enrolling in a course acknowledges that you are able to attend in whatever format is required.  You should not enroll in a course that is in-person if you are not able to return to campus, and should be aware that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who may need class or exam accommodations, including in the context of remote learning, are advised to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112) as early as possible in order to prepare for the fall 2021 term.