ONLINE COURSE: Global Cities as Centers of Knowledge Production

Globalization isn’t only about economics and multinational concerns! Have you ever thought about the role of knowledge in the global play? Education institutions have an important impact on politics, culture and economics – let's carry out historical investigations, compare New York and Berlin, do some field study projects and take a close look at the chances and functions of education concepts!

Course periodJune 14, 2021 - July 9, 2021 Session I
Category Social Sciences, Politics & History
Course levelsBachelor, Master
Class size

max. 15 participants in class

Credits and certificate

Participants will receive 5 ECTS credit points after successful completion of the online course. Additionally, six weeks after the end of the online course a Transcript of Records will be issued by Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.

Application deadline May 15, 2021, or when participant quota is reached
Course fee650.00 Euro | (excl. program fee and discounts)

Online Course Fee


The course will introduce students to the theory, development and realities of global cities as centres of knowledge production. Based upon a closer look at the formation of the European and the American city as knowledge centres in historical perspective, particularly in terms of travelling educational philosophies and practices of education, the 19th century German university will be explored as a role model for American educational institutions. In a second step in the course will discuss the shifting aims and institutional paradigms of education in Europe and the United States since the 20th century.

Here, the emergence of the knowledge relationship between Berlin and New York will serve as a comparative case study in explaining the forms, functions and resources of knowledge production in the contemporary global city. This discussion will be accompanied by investigating public and private education institutions in Berlin in terms of their impact on the politics, economy and culture of the city.

In a final step, the course will address future directions of the knowledge metropolis by exploring competing concepts of education in Europe and the United States in the 21st century and their functions in a transnational and international perspective, for instance with regard to the emergence of "Education Cities" in non-Western countries (such as Arab countries).


Preliminary Syllabus (PDF)

Course structure

The course content is equivalent to an on-site course offering 45 contact hours.

The study time includes:

  • virtual class room lessons with the lecturer and the fellow students (50%)
  • group exercises (25%)
  • assignments and self-study (25%)


Track B

Weekly schedule of virtual class room sessions:

  • Course days: Monday, Wednesday and Friday
  • Time: 12.30 pm - 2.45 pm (Berlin time, UTC+2)
    6.30 pm – 8.45 pm (Beijing time, UTC+8)
    8.30 pm – 10.45 pm (Sydney time, UTC+10)
    5.30 am – 7.45 am (Chicago time, UTC-5)



Language skills English: B2
Motivation Letter about one page in English
Student Profile

Undergraduate and graduate students with an academic background of the topic and strong interest in transatlantic issues, educational systems, contemporary history, social sciences, and European studies.

In order to follow the course, a very good command of English is required. The minimum age requirement is 18 years.

Reinhard Isensee teaches in the American Studies Program at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. After completing his Ph.D. in 19th century American literature he pursued a postdoctoral research project on 20th Century-American Adolescent Literature (Habilitation, 2002).

With a particular interest in transatlantic and transnational topics, he has more recently focused in his research on (visual) media with a special emphasis on the cultural work of digital media.

He has published extensively in the field of American literature on American naturalism and on 20th century young adult literature, as well as in cultural studies on multicultural education, cultural identity formation and digital media. His cur-rent research work encompasses the contemporary American adolescent novel, the cultural and social history and present models of transatlantic, transnational and global education as well as the impact of digital media on the production and distribution of knowledge in American culture.

He has frequently held long-term as well as short-term guest professorships at universities and colleges in the United States and Europe.

CoordinatorPierre Steuer/ Carmen Opolski/ Sanja Müssig
Contact detailsInternational Department
Unter den Linden 6
10999 Berlin

This course can be combined with: