Andreas Kossert

German School Faculty

Andreas Kossert received his Ph.D. in Modern History from the Free University of Berlin, after having studied History, Slavonic Studies and Politics at Freiburg, Edinburgh, Bonn and Berlin. He is currently Research Fellow at the Federal Foundation Flight, Expulsion, Reconciliation in Berlin.

He has worked at the German Historical Institute Warsaw and taught as visiting professor at Dresden University.

His research interests include ethnic, religious and national minorities in Central and Eastern Europe, comparative borderland studies and forced migration.



Course List: 

Courses offered in the past four years.
indicates offered in the current term
indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]

GRMN 6612 - German Cultural History      

What is Germany? Myth, Memory, Culture

In 2014, the British Museum opened their fascinating exhibition Germany. Memories of a Nation, a show that incited the visitor’s active participation by distilling Germany’s unique and diverse history in only one hundred objects on display, carefully chosen by curator Neil MacGregor. At first sight only vaguely interconnected, these 100 objects invoked the fragmented nature of Germany as a country—neither geographically nor historically, we can even speak of a German nation or history prior to 1871. Instead, a multitude of smaller German states with constantly shifting borders but distinct regional identities suggested over the centuries that “German” was a complex cultural instead of a geopolitical concept. This course traces this complex cultural history and identity from the Reformation to our days. Questions guiding our discussions will include: What is German? What factors define a national identity and which ones created modern German identity? What is the relationship between this historically complex identity and today’s Germany as a nation-state? A study of myths and legends, master narratives, stereotypes and images from and about Germany will help provide answers to these and other questions.

Required texts:
- Neil MacGregor, Deutschland. Erinnerungen einer Nation. München: C.H. Beck 2015
ISBN 978-3-406-67920-9.
- Autorenteam. Meilensteine deutscher Geschichte. Von der Antike bis heute. Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung. ISBN 978-3-8389-0642-3 Area Studies

Summer 2016 Language Schools, LS 6 Week Session

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GRMN 6626 - Hitler's Germany      

Hitler’s Germany: The Rise of a Dictatorship and Everyday Life in Nazi Germany

Democracy is a fragile system of government. A case in point: the first German democracy, the Weimar Republic that proved too vulnerable to survive and allowed extremists to destroy the modern pluralistic society. This course will expose both the preconditions and the conditions that led to Hitler’s rise to power. Abusing his authority, Hitler successfully established the so-called Gleichschaltungsgesetze that effectively helped to establish his dictatorship and subsequently supported his reign of terror and unbridled authoritarianism. Using personal narratives as its main texts, this course provides insights into individual biographies of Nazi victims and juxtaposes these stories with the biographies of enthusiastic Hitler-supporters. Using the form of the personal testimony, students will learn how oral history helps to understand a totalitarian regime and its direct impact on the individual.

Required texts: A course reader will be made available electronically. Civ Cul & Soc

Summer 2017 Language Schools, LS 6 Week Session

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GRMN 6650 - The Other Germany:Hist of GDR      

The Other Germany: A History of the GDR

Right after the Second World War, Germany became a divided country. From the Soviet occupied zone to the GDR, this „first anti-fascist state on German soil“ was shaped by both hope and illusions, and by the experiences of need and oppression. When the system collapsed in 1989, the GDR and its people were confronted with enormous changes and challenges. This course will explore the GDR both in a German and international context, and special emphasis will be placed on the social and psychological mentality of its citizens and its legacy in reunified Germany.

The instructor will provide all required texts. Area Studies

Summer 2015 Language Schools, LS 6 Week Session, Summer 2018 Language Schools, LS 6 Week Session

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GRMN 6655 - History of Religion      

Shaping Modern Germany: A Cultural History of Religions in Germany

Cuius regio, eius religio: In 2017, the Protestant world is celebrating 500 years of Martin Luther’s revolutionary act of “Reformation”, a watershed moment that has influenced the German religious map to this very day. Christianity and its various denominations—the Roman Catholic church, Protestantism (Lutheranism as well as Reformed Protestantism)—but also Judaism and other religious faiths have helped to shape a complex religious diversity, and they have enriched Germany’s cultural life. However, this religious diversity is also responsible for deep rifts and sectarianism in German society, visible in practices of inclusion and exclusion. This course offers a thorough survey of 500 years of Germany’s diverse religious history. From the days of Martin Luther to this day, religion plays an integral role in German society despite an ongoing increasing secularization of life in Germany—it can indeed be considered key in understanding German politics, culture, and society.

Required texts: A course reader will be made available electronically. Civ Cul & Soc

Summer 2017 Language Schools, LS 6 Week Session

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GRMN 6662 - Cultural History East Prussia      

Germany from the Margins: A Cultural History of East Prussia

This course provides an insight into the fascinating cultural legacy of the “Atlantis of the North”: East Prussia. Immanuel Kant, Käthe Kollwitz, Siegfried Lenz, Hannah Arendt: They represent the former easternmost Prussian and later German province’s multi-ethnic traditions. In the late 19th century, East Prussia was in the focus of nationalist claims and debates. East Prussia represents an ideal case study for the gradual demise of a diverse culture being overturned by nationalism and racism. In 1945, at the end of the Nazi years, East Prussia finally disappeared from the geographical map. This course will look at East Prussia’s past in culture, literature and ethnic traditions and what to what extent the region still matters for Germans, Poles, Lithuanians and Russians alike. With a specific focus on East Prussia it provides also a case study for the general history of Prussia and Germany.

Required texts: Andreas Kossert, Ostpreussen. Geschichte und Mythos./(Pantheon); Monika Wienfort, /Geschichte Preussens. (C.H.Beck Wissen). Area Studies

Summer 2018 Language Schools, LS 6 Week Session

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GRMN 6685 - Weimar Germany (1919-1933)      

Weimar Germany (1919-1933): Challenges of a Young Democracy

From its very beginning, the Weimar Republic was in jeopardy as political extremist forces aimed at destabilizing the fragile republic. Yet, this precarious democracy also became the fertile breeding ground for a veritable explosion of new ideas in the arts, culture, the sciences, and society that shaped modernism in major and lasting ways. This course will retrace the conflict-ridden and fascinating developments in Germany between 1919 and 1933 and try to answer the question what led to the ultimate failure of this first German experiment with democracy.

Required texts:
Mai, Gunther: Die Weimarer Republik. München 2014. [2. Auflage].
Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung (Hg.): Weimarer Republik [=Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung: Informationen zur politischen Bildung 261/2011]
Course reader Area Studies

Summer 2015 Language Schools, LS 6 Week Session

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GRMN 6688 - Hist Migration: Modern Germany      

Melting Pot?/ A History of (Forced) Migration in Modern Germany*

This course provides insightst into Germany’s turbulent migrant history since the 19th century. Responding to problems back home and opportunities in the German lands, ethnic and religious minorities as well as ethnic Germans from the East have moved to Germany throughout the past 200+ years, but despite this, Germany has never thought of itself as an immigrant country or owning a diverse culture. This course will show to what extent migrants have challenged and shaped modern Germany, be they Ruhrpolen, refugees, expellees or Gastarbeiter, and it will provide a historical, theoretical and terminological framework to discuss and assess the current refugee crisis that has brought over one million migrants to Germany in 2015 alone.

Required texts:
- ZEIT-Verlag, Die neuen Deutschen. Vom Dreißigjährigen Krieg bis heute: 400 Jahre Einwanderung nach Deutschland. ZEIT Geschichte Nr. 4 (2015) ISBN 4-196763-905907-04
- Andreas Kossert: Kalte Heimat. Die Geschichte der deutschen Vertriebenen. München 2009, 4. Auflage. Pantheon Verlag. ISBN 978-3-570-55101-1
- Karl-Heinz Meier-Braun/ Reinhold Weber, Migration und Integration in Deutschland. Begriffe-Fakten-Kontroversen. Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung. ISBN 978-3-8389-0389-7
- Jochen Oltmer, Globale Migration. Geschichte und Gegenwart. München: C.H. Beck.
ISBN 978-3-406-64092-6 Area Studies

Summer 2016 Language Schools, LS 6 Week Session

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The German School

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Mailing address
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Tina Ellison, Coordinator