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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin | bologna.lab | Circle U.-Teams | Courses of the Circle U.-Teams

All Circle U.-Teams

All Circle U.-Teams since 2021/22 in overview.


Circle U.-Teams of winter semester 2022/23

The HU lecture period starts on 17th of October and ends on 18th of February 2023.


Kursbild_we, the gloabl governors.jpg We, the global governors




Team leader: Milan Varda, doctarate student at University of Belgrade

Level: open to Bachelor and Master students

What prior theoretical and methodological knowledge should students bring with them?

capability of conducting research individually in their field



This course will provide the required theoretical and methodological knowledge in the field of global governance. The field, while within the domain of political science, is inherently interdisciplinary. As such, this course is open for students from various disciplines, provided that students from non-political science disciplines are capable of conducting research within their fields.


Today’s world is very interconnected and issues like climate change, pandemics and conflicts affect us through state borders. Various global governance institutions have been formed to tackle these issues, albeit with varying effectiveness. The course We, the global governors will explore current issues that global governance institutions are trying to solve, as well as the role of democracy in facing contemporary challenges. This course will explore to what extent democracy and civil society have penetrated various areas of global governance, as well as to explore how greater transparency, democratization, inclusion at the local level and deliberation can make the global governance more effective.


The students are supposed to write a research article on the topic of their choosing within the field.


The students of this course will learn what global governance is, how it is forming and changing, as well as how it is affected by democracy. The students will also learn the fundamental knowledge of research such as forming research questions, finding literature, creating theoretical framework, and providing empirical proofs.

Course Dates and Time: Wednesday 4 p.m. - 6 p.m.


vlcsnap-2022-09-07-05h36m53s516.png Democracy, Bildung and Decolonialization in Afro-Brazilian Capoeira 

Team Leader: David S. Contreras Islas, PhD student at Humboldt-Universität

Level: Bachelor and Master students

What prior theoretical and methodological knowledge should students bring with them?

Previous experience within the mentioned fields is desirable but not required. A prerequisite for successful participation in the seminar is regular involvement and the willingness to read and discuss academic texts and create an open and trusting working atmosphere.


Using the example of the Afro-Brazilian martial art capoeira, we will explore the connections between education, embodiment and democracy from a theory of Bildung perspective. To this aim, democracy will not be understood as an institutional order but as a disruptive practice that allows the voices silenced by the institutional order to be heard (Rancière). Accordingly, education for democracy (Dewey, Reichenbach, Biesta) is not understood as the socialisation of “newcomers” in the existing order but as an open-ended process “in which new political identities and subjectivities come into existence” (Biesta). This approach allows addressing education for democracy as a form of Bildung, in which self and world relations are transformed (Benner, Koller, Brinkmann). Furthermore, it highlights the experiential, embodied and situated aspects of democratic education, usually overlooked in cognitive or competence-oriented approaches. Finally, as an embodied process of Bildung, democracy education becomes accessible to qualitative, empirical research. From these perspectives, we will analyse video sequences produced within the framework of a doctoral project on the videographic exploration of experiences of Bildung during the practice of capoeira. Furthermore, to explore the potential of capoeira as a practice of democratic education, we will examine the hypothesis that presents capoeira as a decolonial pedagogy (Abib). Starting from aspects such as embodiment, emotions and community, we will discuss potential relations between democracy, Bildung and decolonialization.

Following research-based learning principles, the seminar aims to provide students with experience conducting independent qualitative research. We will perform joint goal-oriented work as a student research team aiming to produce a piece of scientific communication (e.g. an academic article, a paper, a blog or a science communication video).

Course Dates and Time: Monday 4 p.m. - 6 p.m. (GMT+2)


Circle U.-Teams of summer semester 2022

The HU lecture period starts on 19th of April and ends on 23rd of July.

Not all Circle U.-Teams are taking place within this time frame - please check the Team that you are interested in.


GloHAU Circle U. - "Refugee Health"


Team leader: Dr. Andreas Halgreen Eiset, PostDoc at Aarhus University and Aarhus University hospital

Level: open to Bachelor and Master students

What prior theoretical and methodological knowledge should students bring with them?

Basic research/epidemiological/biostatistical training.

Preferably experience with one or more statistical packages (R, Stata, SAS or the like)


There is a paucity of evidence on refugees’ health and healthcare needs, resulting in public health interventions and clinical decisions being based on best guesses rather than available scientific evidence. The majority of previous publications have focused on maternal and mental health, but the available literature indicate that refugees in Europe may be disproportionately affected by both communicable, non-communicable (NCDs), and psychiatric diseases compared with the autochthonous population.

In this Circle U. Team students will get an introduction to the topic “refugee health” and to the scientific steps in developing and carrying out a research project in public health.

Go through the steps of setting up a research project with a real world data set on refugee health. In this research-based course the students will get the opportunity for independent but supervised research in a joint effort with peers. Through the course the students will be introduced to the topic “refugee health” and will develop a research question, describe the analysis plan, perform the data management and carry out the final analysis. Thus, the students will gain insights into the subject specific scientific area and knowledge on generic epidemiological methods and terminology. Depending on the group the course may also include statistical programming in R. Whether or not this ends up with a publishable product is entirely up to the group.

Course Dates and Time: Thursday 12 am - 2pm


Life Writing as a Democratizing Practice: Hybrid Feminist and Queer Writing 1960-1990

Team leader: Tijana Ristic Kern, PhD student at Humboldt-Universität

Level: Bachelor (preferably later semesters) and Master students

What prior theoretical and methodological knowledge should students bring with them?

Students should bring a general interest in literature and cultural studies.


This course will look at life writing as a democratizing genre: an activist genre that has a higher potential for generating and performing transformative agency from the social margin, due to its accessibility and openness. We will engage with hybrid feminist and queer writing, which crosses boundaries between life writing, fiction, and theoretical writing, and explore its relevance for the Western socio-political discourse on democracy and social justice in the 20th Century. Thinking of literary writing as cultural activism, we will look at the interplay between political structures and hierarchies and social activism performed from the margins through activities such as life writing and theorizing from personal experience.

The course is research-oriented and it aims to provide the participants with an opportunity to do both independent and group research work on the topics of their own interest. In the introductory part, we will focus on queer and feminist writing of the period of Second-wave feminism and the time of its “transformation” to Third-wave feminism, between the late 1960s to the 1990s. This period is chosen for its theorizing of the importance of the personal narrative for the political existence, reflected in the tenet “The personal is political”, as well as its particularly marked contribution of feminist and LGBT political-activist movements to the democratic changes and progress in the Western sphere. We will analyse selected writing within the political context of the period and in connection to the specific movements and the achievements made in the political and legal spheres in terms of gender, sexuality, race and class equality and visibility. In both the individual and group work we will explore connections between the pressing social issues in the second half of the 20th century and the current discourses on gender, queerness and race.

For their own projects, the participants will be encouraged to engage with examples from either their own context, or from the context they are working in or wish to learn more about, and to present the results of their research in a creative and personalized way. The course welcomes both MA and BA students (BA: preferably later semesters) with an interest in literature, cultural studies, and cultural activism.

The course is a Circle U.-Team course; it will be conducted digitally, in English language, and it is expected to have international participation. Interested participants can contact the Circle U.-Team leader Tijana Ristic Kern at for all questions.

Course Dates and Time: Wednesday, 6 to 8 pm


Security Governance and Democracy

Team Leader: Dr. Sonja Stojanović Gajić, PostDoc at University of Belgrade

Level: open to Master students

What prior theoretical and methodological knowledge should students bring with them?

This course aims for students interested in exploration of how democratic values are discarded through security governance and how they may be reversed through political and civic engagement. It is offered to Master's students of social sciences, in particular of political science, international relations, security studies, media studies, and sociology, as well as of humanities, including literature and film studies. 


This Circle U.-Team aims to explore how national security policy and security sector governance are used to undermine or re-strengthen liberal democracy in Europe. The assumption behind the design of this course is that security governance is an inevitable target of autocratisation, for three purposes: (a) guaranteeing impunity for those abusing power, (b) selective enforcement of rules by police and judiciary on the behalf of 'wannabe' autocrats, and (c) legitimisation of elite and governance through securitisation. Besides focusing on problems of autocratisation, the course will also examine how security sector reforms and civic engagement can be used to counter autocratisation and strengthen (re-) democratisation. In this way, the students will be able to get an understanding of the complexity of security as a public good and the political and practical challenges to the provision of human and national security while attending to the basic fundaments of democracy.  

The course's empirical focus is on security governance within both 'old democracies' and post-communist countries, as well as on insights gained from European history of autocratisation and re-democratisation in 20th and 21st centuries. The active participation of students is envisaged through a combination of reflective and research assignments (Country Case Studies), discussion classes and two hands-on workshops: (a) how to research security and (b) how to be a policy advisor on security reforms. Selected assignments of this course will be shared at the web portal of the Centre for International Security (CIS) of the Faculty of Political Science, University of Belgrade.  


To enrol in this course please contact us at and fill in this survey:

Responding to this survey is a condition for enrolment into the course, so please fill it out ASAP and not later than 1st April 2022. Your responses will be treated confidential and your personal information won't be shared.

Course Dates and Time

4 April – 14 June 2022 

Time: Tuesday  4 to 6 pm


"Darling, I'm going up on our roof for a minute to pick some apples"
Sustainable and ecological aspects of self-directed urban gardening – how science can support the desirable green transformation of cities

Team leader: Dr. Eleonora Zickenheimer, PostDoc at Humboldt-Universität

Level: Bachelor and Master students

What prior theoretical and methodological knowledge should students bring with them?

Students should bring a general interest in urban gardening and its ramifications.


On the one hand, urban planning aims to make optimal use of land for settlement and transport and to enhance its ecological value at the same time. On the other hand, many city dwellers become active in urban gardening and greening from roof gardens to balcony biotopes to seed bombs for dreary lawns and fallow land. In this way residents continue to tell the future narration of their city as green oases, areas of small self-sufficiency and mini-biotopes.

Many urban planners already support these developments yet there are questions and uncertainties among all participants.

What can individual citizens contribute to making cities greener and more ecological? Will a concept of a climate‐friendly and healthy city grow over this ‐ in the truest sense of the word? And how specifically can urban and private areas be gardened? What are private and municipal strategies for dealing with urban gardens and their implementation? What are the costs to cities of private urban gardening? Which horticultural and which structural engineering aspects have to be considered? Which psychological and healthy effects does a green city have on its inhabitants? What kind of biodiversity exists in green cities? These exemplary questions form the thematic framework of the course. The questions can only be dealt with and answered within an interdisciplinary framework. Therefore, a group of students from different disciplines and universities at different locations is desirable. The students will decide which sub‐questions of this complex topic we will pick out or which we will further differentiate.

Course Dates and Time: Wednesday, 2 to 4 pm


You haven't found a course that is appealing? You can check our Q-Teams - these are open to all students as well: see the HU course catalogue under Q-Programme / Q-Teams


Circle U.-Team of winter semester 2021/22

The Circle U.-Team courses start with the HU-lecture period on 18th of October and end on 19th of February.

Climate Change needs System Thinking

Team leader: Wendy Quetzal Morel, PhD student at Humboldt-Universität

Level: Bachelor and Master students

What prior theoretical and methodological knowledge should students bring with them?

Students should bring a general interest in sustainable development.


Systems competence is one out of eight key competences which should be developed by each individual in the context of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). It creates the conditions to perceive and understand environmental-societal interrelations and contributes strongly to the development of all the other seven key competences.

The aim of the seminar is to introduce a way how to achieve systems competence by following ten successive steps. Based on climate change we will focus on the analysis of a part of our reality (perceive challenge) and how this is part of a system that is integrated by elements and relationships. Once we understand the system, we can identify leverage points of intervention in the frame of sustainable development, and therefore integrate positive actions.