ECLA's International Summer University 2008 (ISU)takes place in Berin from 7 July to 15 August. It offers a possibility for students, who are serious about their education to discuss problems concerning politics, morality, art and knowledge. The dialogue is pursued in the classroom - through the close study of texts and works of art that have shaped or seek to shape the values we live by – and beyond the classroom, over lunch in the cafeteria, for example, or in a Berlin café after a play. The small seminar groups, the weekly essays, the individual attention in one-to-one tutorials, and the close-knit international community of students and faculty, who live on campus throughout the programme, provide the framework for the joy of this unusual academic experience.
The themes of the 2008 ISU are taken from Dostoyevsky’s novel The Demons. During a six week programme, students and faculty will explore some of the numerous moral, religious, and political implications of this book: the historical and metaphysical roots of terrorism, its various embodiments from state terror to individual violence and, more generally, the ‘death of God’, the ‘deification of man’, nihilism and existentialism. Along with The Demons, students will study and discuss a variety of philosophical, literary, and historical texts, including Camus’ The Stranger, Pascal’s The Provincial Letters, Nechaev’s Catechism of a Revolutionary, Diderot’s The Nun, Schopenhauer’s Dialogue on Religion, and Plato’s Gorgias. Films and museum visits will complement the readings.
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