Upcoming Events for Fall 2016
Tuesday, September 27, 2016
Faculty Club Lounge
As we watch developments in the EU and US unfold, the unsettling feeling that our societies are unraveling is unavoidable. Social Theorist Armin Nassehi is professor at Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich and editor of Kursbuch, one of Germany’s leading intellectual magazines. An outspoken intellectual in the German media and cited as “among the most thoughtful intellectual voices in Germany today” (New York Review of Books), Nassehi analyzes the current populist tendencies. Whether it’s elite bashing or xenophobic voices, he tries to make sense of the underlying causes while suggesting an urgent need to develop new narratives as a basis for building stronger democratic systems.
Armin Nassehi has been editor of the magazine Kursbuch since 2012. Since 2014 he has been serving as director of the Institute of sociology at Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich, where he has chaired the Department of Sociology since 1998. Among his most recent works are Die letzte Stunde der Wahrheit (i.e. truth’s final hour, 2015) and Gesellschaft der Gegenwarten: Studien zur Theorie der modernen Gesellschaft II (i.e. a society of presents: studies on the theory of contemporary society II, 2011).
Ode to the Schwäbische Hausfrau: An Attempt to Deconstruct Angela Merkel’s Response to the Euro-Crisis, 2009-2014
Friday, October 7th 2016
Faculty Club Lounge
Join us for a luncheon discussion with Joyce Mushaben.
At the outset of the 2008 global financial crisis, Germany’s first female Chancellor invoked the iconic figure of the Swabian housewife to justify her demand that deeply indebted EU member states accept austerity packages forcing them to “live within their means.” Although women drive many national economies via their roles as primary consumers, household managers and wage-earners, they have been curiously absent from supranational negotiations determining the parameters of Euro stabilization packages and austerity programs over the last seven years. What began as a Wall-Street fiasco quickly morphed into a European banking crisis, followed by mounting sovereign debt across the common-currency states and an existential threat to the Euro itself. Each phase found Merkel adhering tenaciously to an austerity-driven response that not only contradicted Germany’s historical experiences with economic restructuring but also her personal tendency to respond flexibly to major crises ranging from the Fukushima melt-down to the influx of millions of Mid-Eastern and North African refugees since 2014. This talk will explore contextual factors that shaped Merkel’s atypical insistence on “ordoliberal” rules that not only undermined the historical Franco-German alliance driving European integration but also produced other gendered paradoxes that have exacerbated the EU’s so-called “democratic deficit.” It argues that her usual ability to “learn faster than other people think” was impeded, in large part, by her need to hold together the diverging party-political coalitions governing each stage of the crisis.
Monday, October 10th 2016
Mandel Humanities Center Reading Room (303)
Cultural ecology is a new direction in recent ecocriticism and the environmental humanities which is grounded, on the one hand, in a general theory of cultural ecology as a field of transdisciplinary studies that has gained considerable visibility in recent ecological thought. On the other hand, it adapts, translates, and integrates these insights from various disciplines into a more specific theory of literature itself as a medium of cultural ecology. Between an anthropocentric cultural studies perspective, in which nature is dematerialized into a discursive human construct, and a radical ecocentrism, in which cultural processes are basically subsumed under naturalist assumptions, cultural ecology looks at the interaction and living interrelationship between culture and nature, without reducing one to the other. Literature is seen as a cultural form in which this living interrelationship is explored in specifically productive ways, providing a site of critical self-reflection of modern civilization as well as a source of creative cultural self-renewal. This is not merely a question of thematic orientation or content but of the aesthetic processes staged in imaginative texts, which in this sense can be described as functioning like an ecological force within the larger system of cultural discourses. Literature is described as a transformative force of language and discourse, which combines civilizational critique with cultural self-renewal in ways that turn literary texts into forms of sustainable textuality.
Hubert Zapf is Professor and Chair of American Literature at the University of Augsburg, Germany. His main areas of research are Cultural Ecology, English and American Literature, Literary and Cultural History and Theory. He is co-editor of Anglia: Journal of English Philology, of the Anglia Book Series, of the Handbooks of English and American Studies (DeGruyter), and of the book series Text und Theorie (Königshausen & Neumann). His publications include Kurze Geschichte der angloamerikanischen Literaturtheorie, UTB, 2nd ed. 1996; Literatur als kulturelle Ökologie, Niemeyer, 2002; Amerikanische Literaturgeschichte (ed.), Metzler, 3rd ed. 2010; American Studies Today: New Research Agendas (co-ed.), Winter, 2014; Literature and Science (ed.), Special Issue of Anglia 2015; Handbook of Ecocriticism and Cultural Ecology (ed.), De Gruyter, 2016; Literature as Cultural Ecology: Sustainable Texts, Bloomsbury, 2016; Zones of Focused Ambiguity in Siri Hustvedt’s Works: Interdisciplinary Perspectives (co-ed.), De Gruyter, 2016; “Ecological Thought in Europe and Germany,” Cambridge Global History of Literature and Environment, Cambridge University Press, forthcoming.
While politicians in the US are still debating whether climate change is actually happening, German citizens convinced their politicians to pass laws that would allow them to make their own energy even when it hurt utility companies to do so. From the origins of the Energiewende movement to the shut down of nuclear power plants Germany has witnessed a dramatic increase in people power: Community control over solar and wind farms, efficiency, local heat supply, walkable cities...In their new book about this "power shift", Craig Morris and Arne Jungjohann explain what made it possible.
Followed by a discussion with author and Harvard Professor of the History of Science Naomi Oreskes in person.
The film is based on Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway's 2010 book Merchants of Doubt: How A Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming.
2014 was the hottest year on record. 2015 beat that record “by a mile”. 2016 is on track to beating the record yet again. Climate Scientists agree: We must urgently reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Then why aren’t we doing it? Merchants of Doubt has an answer.
with KATJA GLOGER, Editor-at-Large, Stern Magazine and Georg Mascolo, Joint Investigative Group of Süddeutsche Zeitung, NDR and WDR. Former Editor-in-Chief, Der Spiegel
Two leading German journalists with decades of experience discuss how President Putin's leadership is changing Russia, and what that means for Germany, for Europe, and for transatlantic relations.
Katja Gloger studied Eastern European History in Germany and Moscow and got her MBA in the US. She started her professional life as a television reporter for ARD public television and Moscow bureau chief for Stern Magazine. She worked as Foreign Editor for Stern and as political correspondent in Washington, D.C.. Back in Germany, she now covers mostly international affairs for Stern, as well as political and economic issues. She is a board member of Germany's "Reporters without Borders" and a member of the Atlantik-Bruecke in Berlin.
Georg Mascolo was born October 26, 1964 in Stadthagen, Germany. He started working for the SPIEGEL Group back in 1988. He reported and produced features and documentaries for SPIEGEL TV, particularly covering the fall of the Berlin Wall and the subsequent reunification of Germany. On November 9, 1989 Georg Mascolo and his camera team, Rainer März and Germar Biester, documented the historical moment of the East German border patrol opening the checkpoint at Bornholmer Strasse. In 2011 the video footage was voted into UNESCO’s Memory of the World International Register. In 1992, Mr. Mascolo transferred to the magazine, where he started as deputy head of the Berlin bureau and later became department head of the national affairs desk in Hamburg. ln August 2004, he went to Washington as a political correspondent for DER SPIEGEL and in 2007 became one of the two bureau chiefs in Berlin. From February 2008 until April 2013 Mr. Mascolo held the position of Editor-in-Chief of DER SPIEGEL together with Mathias Müller von Blumencron. Since 2014 Mr. Mascolo is the head of the Joint Investigative Group of Süddeutsche Zeitung, Germany’s leading newspaper, and the major German public television stations NDR and WDR.
Die Ganze Welt --The Whole World
35mm Screening + Q&A with Brandeis Prof. Thomas Doherty
in Wasserman Cinematheque, Sachar Building, Brandeis University
Free screening. Advance tickets required. Reserve tickets here.
Join us for a rare screening in 35mm of a one-of-a-kind film: The only Hollywood film made during World War II to depict the events later know as the Holocaust.
Released in January 1944, the film projects forward to a postwar reckoning in which a United Nations Tribunal conducts a trial for a Nazi war criminal (Alexander Knox, in his screen debut), who is charged with the round up, deportation, and murder of a group of Polish Jews. His twisted path is traced in flashback from 1919 onward. Directed by Hungarian émigré Andre de Toth, shot by ace cinematographer Lee Garmes, and scripted by future member of the Blacklisted Hollywood Ten, Lester Cole, the film also stars Marsha Hunt, Henry Travers, and Richard Crane. (Columbia Pictures. 85 min. B&W) See Image attached.
The presentation looks at the difficult issue of minority policing in the European Union. Recent EU research findings indicate the necessity of independent police oversight. The ongoing refugee crisis has substantially complicated the issues. In particular, the New Year's Eve attacks by cliques of young Maghreb 'refugees' in Cologne and elsewhere has affected the political climate, and furthered voters' move to right-wing populist 'protest' parties.
Joachim Kersten is Senior Research Professor at the Hochschule der Polizei [Police Academy] in Muenster, Germany. He completed his doctorate in Sociology at the University of Tuebingen, Germany, and his Habilitation at the University of Konstanz. His most recent publications include the co-edited volume Strengthening democratic processes - Police oversight through Restorative Justice in Austria, Hungary and Germany (2015).