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Program Locations

Overseas Seminars - Vienna, Austria


Vienna 1900: Culture, Science and Politics
Study in Austria with Adrian Daub

Arrival Date in Vienna: August 25, 2013
Departure Date from Vienna: September 15, 2013

Information Session: Tuesday, October 16, 12:30 - 1:30pm

@Room 029 Ground Floor, Sweet Hall


This seminar is intended to familiarize students with a moment of cultural and intellectual effervescence that continues to shape the contemporary world in ways undergraduates may not be familiar with. The turn of the twentieth century found Vienna on a tightrope between tradition and modernity (what one observer called the city’s “gay apocalypse”), and the cultural forms and scientific and political theories the city’s denizens arrived at to brave that tightrope have contributed centrally to our twenty-first century ideas: Sigmund Freud revolutionized how we think about our own minds; Karl Popper and the logical positivists elaborated the standards by which scientists continue to conduct their inquiries; Ludwig Wittgenstein planted the seeds for a kind of philosophy that is taught almost exclusively at places like Stanford; Gustav Mahler shaped what music listening should be like, and Arnold Schoenberg set the tone for the music of the entire twentieth century; meanwhile, in the flophouses of Vienna, an impoverished failed painter named Adolf Hitler prepared to cast his own shadow over the coming century.

This is the fascinating constellation this class seeks to illuminate. Though we’ll be looking at historical texts, buildings and phenomena throughout, it is not primarily a history class, at least not one aimed just at students with an interest in the field of history. Rather, the class aims to put students from a variety of disciplines in touch with the history of those disciplines, and to reflect on what it means to do psychology, biology, philosophy, art history, etc. At the same time, the course will have a strong research component, encouraging students to hone their skill at framing research questions in the humanities, and develop the tools for arriving at answers.


This seminar will take place in the city of Vienna. The students will have the opportunity to see, learn and experience the city of Vienna in depth. Continuously settled since the birth of Christ, de facto capital of the Holy Roman Empire and power center of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Vienna overflows with history and culture. While the seminar focuses on the turn of the twentieth century (a period of particular cultural effervescence), students will have ample time to explore this city of 2 million on their own.


Living and Traveling Conditions
Students will stay at a local hotel or equivalent in shared rooms in Vienna. Students will be expected to commute from their accommodation to the classroom on a daily basis except when classes are not in session. The commuting and all site visits will be done on foot and/or by public transportation. Students will receive transit passes that will allow them to roam freely within the Vienna metropolitan area. For students with dietary restrictions, please be advised that Austrian food is heavily reliant on meat and cream – vegan options may be hard to obtain in certain locations (halal, by contrast, should not be a problem). Dietary selections may be limited so students with severe restrictions should carefully evaluate their ability to participate comfortably.


Adrian Daub ( is Assistant Professor of German Studies. He is a native speaker of German and has extensively written on and researched topics in Austrian literature and culture (including the music of Strauss and Mahler, Freudian psychoanalysis, and the novels of Arthur Schnitzler). The idea for this seminar came from one of his research visits in Vienna: he realized that there was something about the cultural moment of fin-de-siècle Vienna that is almost impossible to grasp unless one has actually spent some time in Vienna. If one wants to understand why psychoanalysis manages to be revolutionary and retrograde at once, if one wants to grasp where the purism of analytic philosophy comes from, if one wants to know why modern classical music sounds the way it does (or even why movie soundtracks sound the way they do), the geography and specific milieu of Vienna can give students unparalleled insights.


Enrollment Capacity
15 undergraduate students.


Prerequisites and Expectations
Knowing German is not a must, all tours and guest lectures will be in English. However, even a little bit of German will go a long way in making your stay in Vienna more enlightening and more fun. A few helpful phrases will be part of the mandatory orientation sessions in the Winter and Spring Quarter 2013, but if you can take some German (and German Studies) courses before going, you will have that much more fun.


Grading Basis
Letter grade.


Passport and Visa
Students are solely responsible for obtaining their passport and visa. Every BOSP participant MUST have a signed passport that is valid for at least 6 months after the scheduled RETURN date from the overseas program. Students who do not have a valid passport must apply for a new or renewed passport immediately. For information on obtaining or renewing a U.S. passport see To expedite your passport processing, click on the following link and go to the appropriate tab:
For visa information for this specific seminar, please click on the link below and go to the appropriate tab:


Health and Safety
Students on international programs should be aware that attitudes toward medical conditions, disabilities, and psychological conditions vary by culture and under the laws of the host countries. These differences impact the level of treatment and accommodation available abroad. Students should give serious consideration to their health and personal circumstances when accepting a place in a program and should consult with their physicians.

Students must be aware that certain immunizations maybe required to protect their health in Austria. Students must review the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website for complete information on health conditions and vaccinations in Austria at Students must also consult the on-campus Vaden Health Center Travel Clinic ( Students are expected to make an appointment with the on-campus Vaden Health Center Travel Clinic as soon as they are accepted to the program at (650) 498-2336 ext. 1 to discuss any health concerns, pre-departure immunizations and any personal prescriptions before going abroad.


Students must review the U.S. State Department’s consular information website for complete information on safety and security in Austria at


As with any foreign travel, emphasis will be placed on staying away from questionable situations, avoiding injury, and preventing infectious disease. Students will be expected to travel in groups, avoid travel at night, and stay with the group unless prior approval is obtained. Additional issues of personal health and safety and precautions will be discussed in detail during the mandatory pre-seminar preparation and upon arriving in country.

While overseas, students are advised to be alert to their surroundings, and be particularly aware of any health and safety advisories for the areas in which they will be visiting. Students should consult with their physicians to be prepared for potential illness. Additional safety and health precautions and other important considerations will be provided at the pre-departure orientation.

If you are uncomfortable traveling under such conditions, you should not apply to this seminar.