Spring 2021

CGES Online invites you to a series of virtual events. We cover current developments of international relevance and welcome you to stay informed and critical during the world-wide crises we are facing. Sign up for our Newsletter to receive information about all events organized or sponsored by the Center for German and European Studies. We also post event announcements on our Facebook and Instagram accounts and invite you to follow us on social media.

CGES Online events are held as webinars on Zoom. In order to receive a link to the webinar, we ask you to RSVP online and provide an email address. You will find an RSVP link on each event's page, simply click on the event title you are interested in. If you have technical issues or other questions, please don't hesitate to contact our office.

Watch Recordings of Past CGES Online Events (Summer & Fall 2020)

Most CGES Online events are recorded. Find links to the recordings of 2020 CGES Online Events on the individual event pages or a list of all recorded webinars on CGES Online's Echo360 website.

We will keep recommending events from all over the world that cover topics related to our agenda of translatlantic dialogue and Germany's perspective on Europe and the world. Please follow our event recommendations at the bottom of the page.

CGES Online Events - Spring 2021

Book cover of High as the Waters Rise

Photo Credit: Catapult

April 22, 2021

12-1:30 pm ET (US)

In honor of Earth Day, we are hosting a conversation about climate fiction (or "cli-fi"), literature that deals with climate change and global warming. Not necessarily speculative in nature, works may take place in the world as we know it or in the near future. Climate fiction has found its way into syllabi of university courses, and environmental fiction writers have become an important part of the climate action movement.

German author Anja Kampmann, whose cli-fi title High as the Waters Rise (original German title "Wie hoch die Wasser steigen") was a finalist for the National Book Award will meet Amy Brady, who writes about arts, culture, and the environment. They will discuss the genre of climate fiction and the role it plays among other environmental publications.

Tiny person on the laptop keyboard looking at the forbidden sign on the screen

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

April 23, 2021

12-1:30 pm ET (US)

Deplatforming, or the removal of access to social media and other (online) platforms, has recently been on the rise, gaining attention as an antidote to the so-called toxicity of online communities and the spread of extreme speech.

The talk follows a series of extreme internet celebrities as they migrate to alt tech, particularly Telegram, after their accounts were suspended on mainstream social media platforms. It looks into their activity, speech and fan base or following, inquiring into the effectiveness of deplatforming, asking in particular who benefits. Are social media platforms, alt tech, the extreme internet celebrities, the internet and/or society at large the better for it?

Logo of Schwarz Rot Gold

Photo Credit: Kulturprojekte Berlin und Stiftung Stadtmuseum Berlin

April 26, 2021

12-1:30 pm ET (US)

The webinar traces the effects of racism by reflecting on the speaker's personal experiences of racism in Germany and the US, which led to the production of Schwarz Rot Gold ("Black Red Gold").

A brief introduction to academic research on the effects of racism on educational opportunities and health will highlight the importance of media representation of Black people in Germany and the US, while discussing the differences between the two countries on the subject. The webinar will give an insight into grassroots activism for People of Color and White people and look at different projects like Schwarz Rot Gold, Black Lives Matter, Critical Whiteness initiatives as well as ways to decolonize institutions.

Empty theater during the coronavirus pandemic. Teatro la scala, Milan. Italy, January 2021

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

April 27, 2021

12-1:30 pm ET (US)

Theaters and opera houses are closed almost everywhere, and a year into the pandemic, cultural institutions are still without clear prospects for reopening. While some small theater productions have been able to move forward with socially distanced, masked audiences indoors or outdoor, such alternatives are no option for opera companies which require a large ensemble and live orchestra - a combination that is expensive under normal circumstances and unthinkable with a half-empty venue.

What can be done? How are opera houses, musicians, and singers coping? What support are they receiving? What paths forward are being discussed?

Past CGES Online Events - Spring 2021

Election 2021 text on German waving flag on the background

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

April 12, 2021

A string of regional votes in several Länder and the federal election in September will bring a (planned) end to Angela Merkel's 16-year reign as German chancellor and the Grand Coalition. We preview the election season and what the vote might bring for Europe's biggest economy, its role on the path towards carbon neutrality and the prospects for transatlantic relations for a green agenda.
Ed Winters in front of a bus

Photo Credit: Ed Winters

April 6, 2021

The science is clear: animal agriculture is one of the leading causes of climate change. In August of 2019, the UN published a report on land use and agriculture and concluded that humans must eat less meat to avert a  climate catastrophe. Yet governments in Europe and the US continue to heavily subsidize the animal agriculture industry.  With all the talk about the need to urgently address the climate crisis, why are governments failing on this key issue?

Ed Winters, also known as Earthling Ed, is a vegan educator, filmmaker, public speaker, and entrepreneur based in London, England. 

Woman throwing away her mask

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

March 26, 2021

When will this be over? When can we finally be together again, go to the movies, the theater, the restaurant without fear of infection? That is what everyone is asking, not just here in the US. In this discussion we will look at experiences in the US and Germany to look forward and ask, how do pandemics end? 
book cover of "Fast hell"

Photo Credit: Aufbau Verlag

March 25, 2021

In another installment of our series “Authors in Conversation,” Melissa Eddy, the Berlin Correspondent for The New York Times, meets Alexander Osang who was the New York Correspondent for the German magazine Der Spiegel for eight years.

Based on their intertwined biographies and writing, Melissa Eddy and Alexander Osang will talk about experiencing German history on an individual level as well as reporting about it from a journalist’s perspective. Or, as Alexander Osang has done in his latest book Fast hell ("Almost light," published January 2021 in German), about describing history in an individual biography.

Book cover of "Die Gesellschaft der Anderen"

Photo Credit: Aufbau Verlag

March 19, 2021

Authors Jana Hensel and Naika Foroutan present their book "Die Gesellschaft der Anderen" (The Society of the Others) about similar perspectives of seemingly different minorities in the current German society: immigrants and East Germans. The controversial reflection of the "other" within a society provides a new way of understanding modern Germany and the challenges it is facing.

Top Down Memory, film poster

Photo Credit: Daniel Theiler

March 18, 2021

We continue our series in support of artists and authors during the pandemic with a group of young filmmakers who have recently produced short films that won prestigious film awards in Germany: Jannis Alexander Kiefer with Meeting, Daniel Theiler with Top Down Memory, and Borbála Nagy with Land of Glory. They will be joined by Brandeis alumn Benedikt Reynolds, ‘19, founder of the Boston Student Film Festival.  
protestors in Belarus

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

February 25, 2021

In this webinar, audience members had the unique opportunity to hear firsthand about the current situation in the country and what the coming months may bring, both for the Belarusian pro-democracy movement, and more broadly, for the entire eastern European region. Participating in the roundtable, live from Minsk, Belarus, were Julia Mickiewicz, political activist and member of the oppositional Coordinating Council, Andrei Dynko, editor of the independent newspaper Nasha Niva, political scientist Andrei Kazakevich, and poet and translator Maryia Martysevich. 
book cover of "The Moral Triangle"

Photo Credit: Duke University Press

February 24, 2021

Join us and the authors of The Moral Triangle: Germans, Israelis, Palestinians, Sa’ed Atshan and Katharina Galor for an illuminating discussion. We will examine issues of diaspora, conflict, immigration. 
Abstract graphic of a virtual conference

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

February 22, 2021

During Covid-19, academic travel came to a halt and many conferences and meetings were moved online out of necessity. Which lessons did we learn and what should the future of academic travel look like? Many are eager to return to in-person conferences with opportunities to meet and mingle with colleagues from other institutions, but returning to the “travel culture” prevalent in the scientific community before Covid-19 would mean giving up major improvements in the areas of social justice and climate action.
Film poster for "Masel Tov Cocktail"

Photo Credit: Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg [de]

February 18, 2021

DIMITRIJ Liebermann (19) is Jewish and punched Tobi in the face. Now he’s supposed to apologize to him. But Dimitrij doesn’t exactly feel sorry. While on his way to meet up with Tobi, he encounters a diverse representation of German society. Again and again, Dimitrij faces one struggle he needs to overcome: his German-Jewish identity.

An analysis of the status quo.

Join us for a conversation about German-Jewish and American-Jewish identities with co-director Arkadij Khaet and Brandeis alumni Eve Litvak and Misha Vilenchuk.

Book cover of "How Democracies Die"

Photo Credit: Crown Publishing

February 8, 2021

What do protests against Covid-19 restrictions, claims of election fraud, and the events of January 6th, 2021 tell us about the status of our democracy? How do political scientists make sense of what is happening? What comparisons with European events are appropriate? What can and should be done to stabilize and strengthen democracy on both sides of the Atlantic?  

Susan Neiman and Daniel Ziblatt discuss current dangers to democracy and reflect on the severity of today's situation. Exchanging European and American perspectives provides new insights and, possibly, suggestions on how to overcome the apparent dilemma and how to strengthen our democratic institutions.

Event Recommendations (not hosted by CGES)

April 19, 2021

The Goethe-Institut Boston joins this year’s global Earth Day celebrations with a variety of events, including a film festival. Films can be watched online during the indicated dates. Please follow the links to register.

available 04/19 – 04/25 online, FREE
Several billion tons of earth are moved annually by humans - with shovels, excavators or dynamite. Nikolaus Geyrhalter observes people in mines, quarries, large construction sites in a constant struggle to appropriate the planet.

available 04/19 – 04/25 online, FREE
Biology! was one of very few East German films to address environmental issues. The topic was taboo in the GDR, which categorized all data on environmental damage as classified. In the 1980s, grassroot activists nevertheless began a small but vigorous environmental movement.

available 04/19 – 04/25 at Coolidge Virtual Screening Room, $10
Branching off of his bestselling book, renowned forester and writer Peter Wohlleben guides us through his most precious ideas and understanding of how trees work in this enlightening documentary.

Moissey Kogan, detail of relief, artificial stone, 1913

Moissey Kogan, detail of relief, artificial stone, 1913; formerly Museum Folkwang Essen. Confiscated in 1937. Now lost. Photographer unknown.

Photo Credit: Fritz Ascher Society

August 4, 2021

This event is organized by The Fritz Ascher Society for Persecuted, Ostracized and Banned Art, Inc. and is part of their monthly series "Flight or Fight. stories of artists under repression."

Wednesday, August 4, 2021 | 12:00 1:00 pm ET 

Moissey Kogan (1879-1943) was an innovative, influential sculptor-craftsman and printmaker, whose career straddled the European avant-gardes of the first half of the 20th century. A cosmopolitan Russian Jew, whose work was marked by his interest in Jewish mysticism and theosophical beliefs, Kogan looked to non-European cultures and ancient sources, in common with many of his contemporaries in Munich, Berlin, Amsterdam, and Paris, to root his avant-garde experimentations and revivals of ancient techniques, in what were considered more authentic means of expression.

On the day Adolf Hitler came to power, Kogan fled Berlin and returned to his home in Paris, forced to leave behind him many of his key works in the care of dealers and museum collections. He would be obliged to watch powerless as his work was seized by the Nazis, only to be vilified in the infamous Entartete Kunst show of 1937, and the related exhibit, Der ewige Jude. In hiding in Paris and associated with the Résistance, the sculptor would finally be arrested by the Vichy police and transported to his death at Auschwitz.

This talk will discuss Kogan’s artistic positioning within the European avant-gardes and his preoccupation with transcendence and light. In stark contrast, it will consider the consequences of the Nazi looting of his work for the task of reconstructing his oeuvre and reclaiming his career from unjustified obscurity.