German History and Politics Summer School

The German History and Politics Summer School is a part of the International Summer University at Kassel that offers a short term education program dedicated to international students and graduates who are interested to track how German identity developed and changed from 1871 to present and to get insight into the implication of cultural and historical events in German history. The seminar also includes a day trip to the former medieval monastery and later Nazi concentration camp in Breitenau.

Academic Program

Module: German History and Politics of the 20th Century

20 contact hours and 3 credits points



In this course, students will analyze the specifically German elements of 20th Century History. How was it possible that a “Kulturnation”, a people who brought forth outstanding results in music, philosophy, literature, and science, initiated the worst known crime in history, the Holocaust? Was there an especially German approach to dealing with the challenges of modern and post-modern societies? How were questions of gender inequality and racial minorities answered in 20th Century Germany? How did German identity develop, change, invent, and re-invent itself from 1871 to present? How did defeat in two world wars, division of the country into two hostile blocs, successful reunification of the two Germanies, integration into the European Union, and the pressures of global capitalism lead to the German nation as we experience it today?



  • The course will use a mixture of lecture and seminar-style method. Students will read primary and secondary sources. The content will be usually presented via power point presentation and class discussion. The class will explore historical sites in Kassel and will visit the former Nazi concentration camp in Breitenau.
  • The participants will gain insight into the significance of cultural and historical events in German history.
  • They will be able to exhibit awareness of cultural and historical differences between the culture of German-speaking countries and the student’s native culture.



Materials will be provided during the course.

Participant Ratings

ISU History Politics Content
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Additionally you can choose one out of the following two modules:

Module: The German Fairy Tale: Looking-glass of Society

20 contact hours and 3 credit points


Kassel may be called the home of the German fairy tale – Jakob and Wilhelm Grimm lived and worked here, the famous brothers whose fairy tale collection „Kinder- und Hausmärchen“ is up to today the most important and influential fairy tale collection in the world. They continue to inspire modern media as eg. Disney films. 

This seminar is an introduction to the foundations of critical theory in Fairy Tale Studies (in the historical and social context of the early 19th century), as well as an investigation of the Brothers Grimm and their impact on the development of the genre. Students will discover the international aspect of these regionally collected fairy tales with an in-depth look at the contribution of Kassel’s Dorothea Viehmann. Kassel offers students a unique opportunity to follow the traces of the brothers Grimm in the place where they collected the fairy tales. In addition to attending lectures, students will explore Kassel’s museums, libraries, parks and historical sights. Finally, students will experience how Kassel’s brand new Grimm museum (Grimmwelt) developed and continues to develop its exhibition concept. The seminar also deals with aspects of translation into English. The course is a cooperation with the „Grimmwelt“and will take place partly there.


  • The students will be acquainted with recent theories of Fairy Tale Studies. 
  • They will apply different methods of text analysis.
  • They will find out regional and international aspects of the works of the Brothers Grimm.


Matrerials will be provided during the course.


Excursion to Grimm World

As part of the module The German Fairy Tale: Looking-glass of Society we will visit the Grimm World Kassel which transports the Brothers Grimm and their fairy tales into the modern era. By artistic, medial and interactive means, this newly created adventure space conveys the fascination of the life, work and influence of the Brothers Grimm. The GRIMM WORLD Kassel offers much more than just a formal display of valuable literary and historical exhibits.


Participant Ratings

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Module: Intercultural Communication

20 contact hours and 3 credit points


In our world, the cooperation of people from different cultures has become the norm in all areas.

Members of heterogeneous teams differ structurally and culturally from one another: attitudes, needs, values and behavior are different, so that dealing with diversity becomes a critical success factor. In particular, it may e.g. very different patterns of perception and behavior in dealing with hierarchy and status, power distance, future orientation, gender equality, performance orientation, insecurity avoidance, the perception of career options, the balance between cooperation and competition, the development of a professional identity, gender typical occupational behaviors, informal norms of professional ethics Communication and work engagement, which can make communication and confidence building beyond mere language barriers much more difficult.

In our module you will get to know and understand foreign cultural orientation systems better. We teach you the relevant basics, address intercultural overlapping situations and, together with you, develop guidelines for international encounters at home and abroad that are tailored to your needs.

Our cultural awareness training

  • provides you with the necessary foundations for intercultural communication
  • supports you in setting up and optimizing your intercultural competence
  • makes you aware of your own cultural self-assessment and the diversity of cultures
  • It serves to develop self-awareness and cultural-awareness, which are necessary in dealing with every foreign culture
  • deals with selected topics in intercultural encounters: cultural awareness, the influence of culture on behavior, leadership styles, dealing with conflicts, culture shock, bargaining styles
  • lets you recognize and exploit the synergy potential of multicultural workforces
  • supports you in the development of bases of action and guidelines for international cooperation
  • builds transnational competence

Forms of learning and methods:

Short lectures, discussions, self-assessment and self-awareness exercises, role-playing games, loosening games, simulations, videos, pictures and culture assimilator (CA).

Learning goals:

Development and promotion of intercultural competence: knowledge, change of perspectives, esteem, authenticity and ability to act.


Participants Ratings

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Apart from the two modules you choose, you will also take part in the German language course

German Language Course

40 contact hours and 4 credit points

German as a Foreign Language


Studying German in Germany and practicing your skills in everyday situations is a very effective way to improve your German.

The Summer School offers German language courses at three different levels - depending on the number of participants and their German language skills. Students will be assigned to the level that best fits their competence.

Our language courses are designed to fit the criteria of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (European Language Portfolio). The ISU program offers courses at the following levels: A1 (beginners) and, depending on the level of the participants, A2, B1, B2 and C1. The description explains which language skills you will have AFTER the course [... more Information].

The applied teaching and learning methods are based on a progressive and innovative concept which includes, among others, team work, games, and CALL (computer-aided language learning), etc. Students will study in small groups and in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere.

Our experienced teachers are carefully selected. They are especially qualified for teaching German as a foreign language.


Participant Ratings

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Course Outline German History and Politics 2024
Course Outline German History and Politics 2024
Course Outline Fairy Tale.pdf
Course Outline Fairy Tale.pdf