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 20, 2022 - July 15, 2022 Session I
Category Social Sciences, Politics & History
Course levelsBachelor, Master
Class size

max. 15 participants

Credits and certificate

Participants will receive 5 ECTS credit points and a certificate if they attend regularly (at least 80% attendance) and participate actively. Additionally, six weeks after the end of the course a Transcript of Records is issued by Humboldt-University.

Application deadline May 15, 2022, or when participant quota is reached This course is fully booked.
Course fee730.00 Euro | (excl. program fee and discounts)


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).


Syllabus (PDF)

Course structure

Academic lessons:

  • You will receive a total of 45 contact hours (one contact hour equals 45 minutes; 11 contact hours per week).
  • The lessons are held three times a week.
  • Lessons will comprise lectures, group work, discussion sessions, excursions.


Schedule (Track D)

Monday: 9.00 am - 10.30 am & 11.00 am - 12.30 pm
Wednesday: 9.00 am - 10.30 am & 11.00 am - 12.30 pm
Friday: 1.30 pm - 3.00 pm & 3.30 pm - 4.15 pm

Cultural extra-curricular activities:

HUWISU offers a fine selection of interesting extra-curricular activities and aims to give all participants an unforgettable stay in Berlin. Your program includes excursions, sport activities and social gatherings providing you the opportunity to get to know the city, the university and your classmates better and to meet students from all parts of the world. The costs for these offers are included in the course fees.

Activities and tours we offer regularly: Federal Chancellery, German Parliament, House of Representatives, Topography of Terror, Political Archive, Museum Island, Kreuzberg Tour, Daytrip to Potsdam, Boat trip, Beach Volleyball, Exhibitions, Farewell Party…

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.

This course is taught in English, including readings in English. For the understanding of the texts and the discussions in class a language level B2 (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) is required.

Participating students need to be at least 18 years old.

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: