2019-20 Events

Spring & Summer 2020 / CGES Online

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CGES Online invites you to a new series of virtual events. We will cover current developments of international relevance and welcome you to stay informed and critical during the world-wide crisis 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.

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Esther Dischereit and Elizabeth Bradfield

Photo Credit: Bettina Straub, Cotton Coulson

July 16, 2020

12-1:30pm Eastern Time (US) / 6-7:30pm German time

Two women writers talk about what it means to be an author of poetry in today’s world. Which role can and should literature play while our societies are facing seemingly insurmountable challenges? 

Esther Dischereit is a writer of novels, short stories, essays, poetry and plays for radio and the stage. Based in Berlin, Dischereit is regarded a leading figure of second-generation German Jewish literature after the Holocaust. Her prose works include Joëmis Tisch – Eine jüdische Geschichte (1988) (English title: Joëmi’s Table), Übungen jüdisch zu sein (1996) (English title: Lessons in Being Jewish), and Blumen für Otello. Über die Verbrechen von Jena (2014) (Flowers for Otello: On the Crimes that Came Out of Jena, exp. in English 2021) about a series of racially motivated murders and bomb attacks committed by a terrorist organization called the National Socialist Underground (NSU) during 1998-2011. In 2020 she published Sometimes a Single Leaf, a book of German poetry with English translations by Iain Galbraith, and a collection of essays entitled Mama darf ich das Deutschlandlied singen (Mama, May I Sing the German National Anthem).

Elizabeth Bradfield is the author of the Once Removed, Approaching Ice, Interpretive Work and Toward Antarctica. Theorem, a collaboration with artist Antonia Contro, is forthcoming this fall. Her work has been published in The New Yorker, Atlantic Monthly, Kenyon Review, and her honors include the Audre Lorde Prize and a Stegner Fellowship. Founder and editor-in-chief of Broadsided Press, she works as a naturalist/guide and teaches creative writing at Brandeis University. 

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Klaus Linsenmeier

Photo Credit: K. Linsenmeier

July 20, 2020

12-1:30pm Eastern Time (US)

Ocean Viking, Open Arms, Sea-Watch, Lifeline - privately funded rescue ships in the Mediterranean are trying to save refugees. The rescue missions are becoming more and more difficult, with captain Carola Rackete arrested last year, and a number of ships seized by authorities over the last three years. Most recently on July 9, 2020, Italy prevented Germany’s Sea Watch 3 from sailing due to “irregularities.” Covid-19 adds further complications. While we read news reports about what is called “migrant crisis” or “refugee crisis,” we must ask: what are the real crises underneath? What are the conflicts that make people risk their lives trying to reach Europe, which hopes do they have?

Klaus Linsenmeier was Program Director and later member of the Executive Board of medico international (an internationally active human rights and development NGO) in Frankfurt. From 1989-1996, he was Program Director of the newly founded Green foundation Buntstift in Göttingen and later served on the Board of Directors with the Stiftungsverband Regenbogen/Dortmund, an umbrella organization of German Green foundations. In1998, Linsenmeier became Program Director of the Heinrich Böll Stiftung in Berlin and has since worked for the foundation as Director of its international division, and as Executive Director of the North American and European offices. He is a co-founder of SOS-Mediterranee, an NGO for sea rescue in the Mediterrenean, and currently holds a teaching position at Universität Rostock in Germany.

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Anna Seghers

Anna Seghers

German Writers and Race: Anna Seghers (1900-1983)

July 13, 2020

Anna Seghers is one of the most important German women writers of the 20th century. Born Netty Reiling in Mainz in 1900 into a liberal Jewish family, she won recognition as a writer under the pen name Seghers. She allied herself with the international working-class movement, and joined the Communist Party in 1928. After she was forced to flee Germany in 1933, she lived in Paris and Mexico City. In 1947, Seghers returned to Berlin and eventually settled in East Germany, where she was elected president of the Writers Union of the GDR. Seghers died in Berlin on June 1, 1983.

The author's best-known work is the antifascist novel The Seventh Cross (completed in 1939) for which she received the Büchner-Prize in 1947. It was first published in the United States in 1942, became a book-of-the-month-club bestseller, and in 1944 was made into a Hollywood film directed by Fred Zimmermann and starring Spencer Tracy. The Seventh Cross was one of the first depictions of Nazi concentration camps. Other notable Seghers works include Transit (1944) which inspired several films, most recently by Christian Petzold in 2019. 

Panelists:

  • Ute Brandes, Georges Lurcy Professor of German at Amherst College in Massachusetts
  • Helen Fehervary, Professor emerita/Academy Professor of German Studies at Ohio State University
  • Christiane Zehl Romero, Professor of German, International Literary and Visual Studies and Goldthwaite Professor of Rhetoric Emerita at Tufts University
Ronny Blaschke

Photo Credit: R. Blaschke

Ronny Blaschke: The Games Must Go On - How the Corona Pandemic is Changing the European Football Industry

June 29, 2020

European football (read: soccer) was hit hard by Covid-19. Almost all leagues were forced to take several months off. And so the weaknesses of a commercialized industry became apparent. Revenue from ticket sales and merchandise collapsed, sports media fear for their lucrative business model. Some clubs faced bankruptcy. The German Bundesliga was one of the first professional leagues to start operating again in mid-May, without spectators and with a detailed hygiene concept. In lower leagues and health sports, however, restrictions can still be expected for months to come. Officials, players and politicians are now demanding a football with more sustainability. Can this crisis really put an end to high player salaries and transfer fees? What could a socially acceptable professional football look like that takes not only health, but also climate protection and education of its talents seriously? A debate about social policy in and through football.

Ronny Blaschke has been working as a political sports journalist for media in Germany and Switzerland for more than 15 years, including for Deutschlandfunk, Süddeutsche Zeitung and Neue Zürcher Zeitung. He has initiated important debates in five non-fiction books, such as violence, right-wing extremism and homophobia in football. In his book "Gesellschaftsspielchen" (2016), he analyzed social projects in German professional football. And in his current work “Machtspieler” (2020), he sheds light on the political instrumentalization of football in dictatorships. Blaschke integrates his research into political education, he gives lectures, moderates debates and curates workshops. He has received multiple awards for his work.

Watch a recording of the complete event by clicking the button below.

RECORDING: WEBINAR JUNE 29, 2020

Andy Gheorghiu

Photo Credit: A. Gheorghiu

Andy Gheorghiu: Why Does Climate Champion Germany Invest in Climate Hostile Fossil Gas?

June 22, 2020

Germany is considered a pioneer in the much-needed clean energy transition as it took early steps toward the so-called “Energiewende” with the goal of a decentralized climate-friendly energy system based on renewables and energy efficiency. However, the transition may have proved too successful and is now facing heavy pushback by the fossil fuel lobby that sees its old power patterns threatened.

Germany is already the biggest gas consumer and dealer in Europe and the fossil fuel industry tries to take advantage of the announced coal phase-out to expand this already mature market. Right at a time when we need true climate champions, Germany is investing in or supportuing new unneeded gas infrastructure - causing geopolitical tensions and torpedoing efforts to move away from fossil fuels.

Andy Gheorghiu, freelance anti-gas campaigner and policy advisor, gives us an overview over the current developments of "gassy Germany". A former public servant, Andy Gheorghiu became involved in the anti-fracking movement when an international oil and gas company requested a permission license for shale gas development in North Hesse, Germany, where he lives. He works as a full-time freelance campaigner, consultant, and activist for climate and environmental protection.

Watch a recording of the complete event by clicking the button below.

RECORDING: WEBINAR JUNE 22, 2020

Sasha Marianna Salzmann, Guy Ben-Aharon, Rebecca Ajnwojner, Ireon Roach

Photo Credit: Rebecca Ajnwojner, Ireon Roach, Esra Rotthoff, Olivella Small

Art in the Times of Uprisings: Sasha Marianna Salzmann & Rebecca Ajnwojner, Guy Ben-Aharon & Ireon Roach

June 18, 2020

In Cooperation with the Goethe-Institut Boston 

"I think all poets—and I’m a kind of poet—are caught in a situation, which is a kind of pre-revolutionary situation; they have a very difficult role to play. (…) My own effort is to try to bear witness to something that will have to be there when the storm is over, to help us get through the next storm. Storms are always coming.

James Baldwin 

ARTISTS:

Rebecca Ajnwojner, M.A., born in Frankfurt am Main, completed her studies in Psychology in Heidelberg and her studies in Dramaturgy and Directing in Frankfurt am Main and Tel Aviv. During her studies she engaged with questions of intersectionality regarding a critical theatre practice and Critical Theory. Since season 2017/2018 she is a dramaturg at Maxim Gorki Theater Berlin. Rebecca's artistic and scientific work operates at the interface between art and activism as well as the commitment to interests of diverse marginalised communities. 

Guy Ben-Aharon is a stage director and cultural entrepreneur looking to radically change the way we experience culture. He is the Founder & Director of The Jar, a company that exists to produce cultural encounters that delight, ignite and unite a diverse and vibrant community. His work has been profiled in numerous press outlets, such as The Boston Globe, The International Herald Tribune, The Washington Post, among others.

Ireon Roach (she/her/hers) is a Black, queer, Chicago-bred poet, performer and activist currently pursuing her BFA in Theatre Arts from Boston University. Her writing has appeared in Hoochie Feminst Magazine and Shortline Review Reading Series. She is passionate about liberation through the untelling of Western history and retelling of our own.

Sasha Marianna Salzmann is a playwright, novelist, curator, and director. They were the co-founder of the culture magazine freitext and the artistic director of STUDIO Я. Salzmann also co-founded NIDS – New Institute for Drama, where they give workshops on political writing. In 2017 they were voted “the German speaking theater maker of the season”. In the same year Salzmann finished their first novel, Beside Myself, which is translated into 16 languages and won two major German awards for best debut novel. Beside Myself was on the short list for the Book Prize 2017, Premio Strega Europeo 2019 and Central European Literature Award ANGELUS.

Watch a recording of the complete event by clicking the button below. (We are currently working on the transcription and will update the link as soon as it becomes available.)

RECORDING: WEBINAR JUNE 18, 2020

Joachim Kersten

Photo Credit: J. Kersten

Joachim Kersten: Racism, Police Training, and the Fight Against Domestic Violence in Germany

June 15, 2020

“Defund Police!” is one of the demands of the Black Lives Matter Movement in the wake of the brutal murder of George Floyd and the many other victims of police brutality in the US. In this webinar we take a look at how police are trained, equipped, and funded in Germany where the number of victims of police shootings is small. Kersten will also talk about his current research project on domestic violence, funded by the European Union. 

Joachim Kersten (Professor, Dr. soz. habil., Dr. soz., M.A.) studied science, history, and politics at the Free University Berlin, and at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. He holds a doctorate from the University of Tübingen and a post doctoral degree from the University of Konstanz. He has written numerous books and journal articles on juvenile prison, youth crime, gendered violence, and police accountability/police and minorities. Joachim Kersten has taught at universities in Australia, Japan, the Netherlands, and the USA and is currently senior research professor at the Criminology Department of the German Police University (DHPOL), a graduate school for German and European police leadership. He leads the EU Horizon 2020 research on improving first line responders' strategies concerning incidents of high impact domestic violence (www.improdova.eu).

Watch a recording of the complete event by clicking the button below.

RECORDING: WEBINAR JUNE 15, 2020

Theresia Enzensberger and Elizabeth Otto

Photo Credit: E. Otto, T. Enzensberger

Authors in Conversation: Theresia Enzensberger and Elizabeth Otto talk about Bauhaus

June 11, 2020

In Cooperation with the Goethe-Institut Boston

A novel about one female Bauhaus student by Theresia Enzensberger, and a non-fiction account of 45 Bauhaus women unjustifiably forgotten by Elizabeth Otto: this conversation combines an author’s and a researcher’s take on the famous art school in Weimar, Germany that celebrated its 100th anniversary last year.

Theresia Enzensberger was born in 1986 in Munich and now lives in Berlin. She studied film at Bard College in New York and works as a freelance journalist for publications including the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Zeit Online, Krautreporter and Monopol. In 2014 she founded the award-winning BLOCK magazine. 

Enzensberger’s highly readable novel "Bauhaus" (English title: Blueprint) is a celebration of student life at the Bauhaus school, an enlightening introduction to the aesthetic and political debates of the modernist avant-garde, and a reflection on the new opportunities and challenges for female artists in Weimar Germany.

Elizabeth Otto is an art historian specialized in modern art, gender, and media culture in early twentieth-century Germany. She is a professor at the State University on New York in Buffalo (SUNY) and has served as the Executive Director of the Humanities Institute. She is currently a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery in Washington, D.C.

Otto is the author of "Haunted Bauhaus: Occult Spirituality, Gender Fluidity, Queer Identities, and Radical Politics," as well as "Tempo, Tempo! The Bauhaus Photomontages of Marianne Brandt," and, together with Patrick Rössler, "Bauhaus Women: A Global Perspective." Otto’s chronology, from the first women to enter the school to those who helped lead it through its last days in 1933, widens the lens to reveal how the Bauhaus drew women from many parts of Europe and beyond, and how, through these cosmopolitan female designers, artists, and architects, it sent the Bauhaus message out into the world and to a global audience.

Watch a recording of the complete event by clicking the button below.

RECORDING: WEBINAR JUNE 11, 2020

Torben Lütjen

Photo Credit: T. Lütjen

Torben Lütjen: America’s Cold Civil War - A European Perspective on America’s Extreme Polarization

June 8, 2020

For much of the 20th century, the United States, with its moderate political culture, was the antithesis to ideologically fractured Europe. In fact, many Europeans looked with envy to the “new world”, which seemed to have escaped the political extremes – such as communism or fascism – even in the darkest moments of the interwar period. In a world of uncertainty, the U.S. was considered the impregnable and indispensable bastion of liberal democracy.  

Today, however, it is America that has become the epicenter of a new global wave of political polarization. From a uniquely European perspective, Torben Lütjen wonders what has happened to the promised land of pragmatism. What can Europeans learn from the toxic polarization that has torn the country apart? Is the fracturing of America a signal for things to come in Europe? Then again, to switch the perspective: Is there anything that Americans, fearing for the survival of their democracy in the age of Donald Trump, can learn from the lessons of the European past?

Torben Lütjen currently teaches comparative politics at Universität Kiel, Germany. Until this year he was DAAD Visiting Associate Professor for European Studies and Political Science, through a joint appointment of the Max Kade Centre for German and European Studies and Vanderbilt’s Department of Political Science. Most of his work is located on the intersection between political science and contemporary history and he is particularly interested in political parties, polarization and democracy.

Recently, Torben Lütjen has written a book on the connection between residential segregation and polarization in two “landslide counties” in Wisconsin (Die Politik der Echokammer. Wisconsin und die ideologische Polarisierung der USA, 2016) and another one on the evolution of the Republican Party and American conservatism after 1945 (Partei der Extreme: Die Republikaner. Über die Implosion des amerikanischen Konservativismus, 2016).

Watch a recording of the complete event by clicking the button below.

RECORDING: WEBINAR JUNE 8, 2020

Antonie Eickelberg

Photo Credit: A. Eickelberg

Antonie Eickelberg: Germany is Opening Up - A View from Hamburg

June 4, 2020

In Cooperation with the Goethe-Institut Boston

With the help of a far-reaching lockdown in mid-March, Germany has come through the first major Corona wave relatively well. The death toll is comparably low, and the feared overwhelming of hospitals did not occur. Businesses and companies received financial aid and support such as ‘Kurzarbeit’ - a short-time work benefit that allows companies to retain workers on slightly reduced pay with government help. Now, for several weeks, the strict measures and contact restrictions have been gradually eased. Shops are open again, albeit under severe restrictions. People from two different homes are allowed to visit each other again. Sport in clubs is possible under certain conditions. Cinemas, theatres and concert halls are still closed, however.

After a skiing vacation in Austria, Antonie Eickelberg had to spend 14 days in quarantine. The journalist then returned to a heavily modified newsroom where special work shift models, spatial changes and strict hygiene measures have so far successfully prevented Covid-19 infections. She now experiences the changes caused by the pandemic in her private and professional life. The return to normality in Germany is still a long way off in many areas. Corona has changed the country and many say: it will never be the same again.

Antonie Eickelberg is a German journalist and television editor from Hamburg. From 2014-2018 she lived with her family in Boston, where she worked at the Goethe-Institut and the German International School, and regularly collaborated with CGES. Since her return to Hamburg, she has been working in the editorial office of "Tagesschau," the oldest and most successful news program on German television. The Corona crisis brought "Tagesschau" even higher ratings. Many millions of people watch it daily on television, online, and through numerous social media channels to stay informed about the course of the pandemic.

Watch a recording of the complete event by clicking the button below.

Recording: Webinar June 4, 2020

Joyce Mushaben

Photo Credit: J. Mushaben

Joyce Mushaben: From Mutter der Kompanie to Madam Europe - Ursula von der Leyen and the Pursuit of Gender Equality

June 2, 2020

Having served in all four Merkel cabinets, Ursula von der Leyen often faced major opposition within her own party (CDU/CSU), due to her curiously strong stance on  gender equality issues. Though she refuses to label herself a feminist, von der Leyen became the driving force behind many policies that have fundamentally transformed the German gender regime since 2005. Her tenure as the nation's first female defense minister was no less controversial than the nomination that rendered her the first woman President of the European Commission in July 2019. She immediately announced an ambitious agenda to level the playing field between women and men, before Europe was overtaken by the Corona-pandemic, which could pull the brake on her equality promises.

Presuming that  past  performance is the best predictor of future actions, this talk reviews von der Leyen’s extensive record on equality policies in Germany, then addresses the conundrum posed by the great expectations her appointment has raised at the EU level, where she faces many new structural limitations.

Joyce Marie Mushaben received her Ph. D. from Indiana University in 1981. Having recently retired as a Curators’ Distinguished Professor of Comparative Politics at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, she formerly served as Director of the Institute for Women's & Gender Studies (2002-2005).  She is now an Affiliated  Faculty member in the BMW Center for German & European Studies at  Georgetown University and works with Gender5 Plus, an EU feminist  think-tank.

Having spent over 18 years living/researching in Germany, her early work focused on new social movements (peace, ecology, feminism, anti-nuclear protests and neo-Nazi activism), German national identity and generational change. She then moved on to European Union developments, citizenship and migration policies, women’s leadership, Euro-Islam debates and comparative welfare state reforms. Her most recent books and monographs include Gendering the European Union: New Responses to Old Democratic Deficits (with Gabriele Abels; Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), and Becoming Madam Chancellor: Angela Merkel and the Berlin Republic (Cambridge Univ. Press, 2017).

Watch a recording of the complete event by clicking the button below.

Recording: Webinar June 2, 2020

Wolfgang Merkel

Photo Credit: W. Merkel

Wolfgang Merkel: Covid-19 and the Challenge to Democracy

May 18, 2020

Around the world, drastic emergency measures are in place to control and limit the spread of Covid-19. Democratic societies have accepted the new ’normal’ of restricted freedom and mutilated human rights. Our freedom of assembly and the freedom of movement are severely limited, we are getting used to an unknown degree of surveillance, elections are impacted and postponed. Hiding behind emergency measures, ambitious politicians implement controversial new policies without democratic consent, and authoritarian regimes are snuffing out any hope for democracy altogether.

How does Covid-19 challenge democracy? Why is there so little resistance? When does the end justify the means? And does political opposition still have a role to play during a global health crisis?

Wolfgang Merkel, Director em. of the Department “Democracy & Democratization” at the Berlin Center of Social Science, and Prof. em. of Political Science at the Humboldt University of Berlin, has been a member of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Science since 2007. Prof. Dr. Merkel has written and edited dozens of books which have been published in many of languages. He is also the author of more than 200 articles and book chapters. His main fields of research are democracy, democratization, transformation of political systems, autocratic regimes, political parties, social democracy and social justice.

Watch a recording of the complete event by clicking the button below, use password: 7c.D0BxF

Recording: Webinar mAY 18, 2020

Justus Haucap

Photo Credit: J. Haucap

Justus Haucap: The Economic Consequences of Covid-19 in Germany

May 11, 2020

Germany is Europe's largest and the fifth largest economy in the world. Ninety-one percent of German companies are family-owned enterprises with a global reach. Germany exports about $1.5 trillion worth of goods every year, from cars to machinery to chemical goods to pharmaceutical and food products. To weather the storm of Covid19, the German government has made financial resources available to small and large companies as well as the self-employed. Negotiations for large rescue packages for Lufthansa are ongoing.

What exactly is being done, and how? Is Germany's economy more resilient than other economies? If so, why? And will the German economy be able to find a "climate-friendly" way out of the Coronavirus, as Chancellor Angela Merkel urged in the Petersberg Dialogue?

Justus Haucap is the founding director of the Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE) at Heinrich-Heine-University of Düsseldorf. He has been named one of Germany’s 30 leading economists for the last five years in a row by the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Germany’s leading daily newspaper.

Watch a recording of the complete event by clicking the button below.

RECORDING: WEBINAR MAY 11, 2020

Headshot of Stefan Rahmstorf

Photo Credit: Astrid Eckert

Stefan Rahmstorf: The Climate Crisis - What We Know About It And How We Can Stop Further Warming

May 4, 2020

Since the start of the industrial age, the carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere has risen to the highest value in at least three million years, recently passing 415 parts per million. At the same time, global average surface temperatures have increased by 1.2 °C. The top five hottest years on record were all in the past five years.

The webinar will discuss some of the current ‘hot topics’ in climate research. How and to what extent are recent extreme events like wild fires, flash floods and tropical cyclones affected by human-caused climate change? Is the Jet Stream going ‘weird’? Has the Gulf Stream System slowed down? Have critical tipping points already been passed in the climate system?

In Paris in December 2015, 195 nations unanimously agreed to stop global warming well below 2 °C. The lecture will discuss what the Paris Agreement means and how it can be fulfilled.

Stefan Rahmstorf completed a thesis on general relativity theory after studying physics at the Universities of Ulm and Konstanz and physical oceanography at the University of Wales (Bangor) . He then moved to New Zealand and obtained his PhD in oceanography at Victoria University of Wellington in 1990. After this he worked as a scientist at the New Zealand Oceanographic Institute, at the Institute of Marine Science in Kiel and since 1996 at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. His work there focuses on the role of the oceans in climate change. 

In 1999 Rahmstorf was awarded the $ 1 million Centennial Fellowship Award of the US-based James S. McDonnell foundation. Since 2000 he teaches Physics of the Oceans as a professor at Potsdam University. Rahmstorf is a member of the Academia Europaea and served from 2004-2013 in the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU). He was also one of the lead authors of the 4th Assessment Report of the IPCC. In 2007 he became an Honorary Fellow of the University of Wales and in 2010 a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union. In 2017 he was the first scientist outside the US to be awarded the Climate Communication Prize of the American Geophysical Union.

He has published over 120 scientific papers (over 30 of which in the leading Nature and Science journals and PNAS) and co-authored four books. Available in English is Our Threatened Oceans (2009, with Katherine Richardson) and The Climate Crisis (2010, with David Archer).

Watch a recording of the complete event by clicking the button below. Due to technical issues with the audio, we recommend watching with subtitles. If subtitles are not running automatically, you can turn them on by clicking on the closed captions button [CC] in your browser.

Recording: Webinar mAY 04, 2020

Daniel Sturm talking to Nancy Pelosi

Photo Credit: D. Sturm

Daniel Sturm: America 2020 - How a German Correspondent Presents it to His Readers

April 20, 2020

How does a German correspondent look at the USA - and how does he present this huge country to his readers? What does his daily work look like? How does this work differ from the previous years of reporting on Germany from Berlin? And above all: how do you succeed in transporting topics beyond Donald Trump?

Daniel Friedrich Sturm, born 1973, is a German political scientist and historian. He works as US-Correspondent for the German newspaper group WELT/ Welt am Sonntag in Washington DC since November 2018. Before he worked as a senior political editor for the domestic desk in Berlin. He reported mainly on the Social Democratic Party of Germany, about which he has written several books.  Dr. Sturm holds two degrees (an MA and a PhD) from the University of Bonn in Germany.

WELT is a national German news outlet. With a daily newspaper (DIE WELT), a 24/7 homepage (welt.de), a TV channel (WELT) and a Sunday broadsheet (Welt am Sonntag), the newsoutlet is one of European’s largest media channels.

Headshot of Sophia Schlette

Photo Credit: S. Schlette

Sophia Schlette: The German Response to Covid19 and What It Teaches Us

April 13, 2020

Health expert Sophia Schlette will provide an overview about the policy responses, containment and mitigation measures taken in Germany to stop the Coronavirus from spreading since the first patient was diagnosed with COVID-19 in late January. It will be quite insightful to take a look at state level responses versus central level responses in a situation where still many unknowns exist. In an emergency situation, it is also interesting to look at the advisers, what was learned from international experiences, how the general public responded, what the impact has been so far and how the debate has begun to shift from a generalized lockdown with manifold unintended consequences to more focussed long-term measures of prevention and protection.

Sophia Schlette, MPH Harvard, is a Berlin-based health policy analyst presently working as managing director at the German Association of Dermatologists. An expert in health policy innovation, governance, telemedicine, prevention, primary care, and integrated delivery systems, she has been advising executives in domestic key health care agencies. Her track record of international work includes two years with Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, philanthropies, and international organizations. 

After her presentation, Sophia Schlette will be available for an extensive Q&A session.

Watch a recording of the complete event by clicking the button below, or read the slides for the webinar.

Recording: Webinar April 13, 2020
Cover of Born After
POSTPONED: Angelika Bammer: Born After. Reckoning with the German Past

Due to current developments regarding COVID-19, the event has been postponed and will be rescheduled at a later time.

What do we do with pasts we inherit that carry shame? A major and original contribution to thinking about and grappling with the legacies of German and Nazi history, this book reflects on the relationship between history and memory through the personal narrative of a postwar German intellectual. Arguing that the pasts that haunt us are shaped both by the things people did and suffered and the affective traces the past leaves in memory, Born After is a powerful meditation on questions of guilt, complicity, loss, and longing. With bracing honesty and without sentimentality, Bammer draws on her own family story to think anew about a history that we have come to accept as familiar. Inflecting questions about history with questions about ethics, her book speaks to all those concerned with historical pasts that remain unreconciled.
Angelika Bammer is Associate Professor of Comparative Literature at Emory University, USA. She is the author of The Future of Scholarly Writing: Critical Interventions (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015) and Partial Visions: Feminism and Utopianism in the 1970s (Peter Lang, Revised edition, 2015; Routledge, 1st edition, 1991). She is the editor of Displacements: Cultural Identities in Question (Indiana University Press, 1994).

Two halfs of broken egg shell painted with European and British flag
POSTPONED: Brexit: Post Mortem with Professor Robert Kuttner

Due to current developments regarding COVID-19, the event has been postponed and will be rescheduled at a later time.

On January 31, 2020, Great Britain officially left the European Union. Prime Minister Boris Johnson delivered what he had promised in his election campaign. But many questions remain unanswered: Will Scotland vote for independence from the UK to rejoin the EU? How will Northern Ireland deal with a European Union border to Ireland?  What trade agreements will there be between the UK and the world? What will the UK be like when “the free movement of people” ends, as Home Secretary Priti Patel predicts? What consequences will immigrants face who have made their life in the UK? Will there be further repercussions in Europe, such as other countries voting to leave the European Union? Will Johnson succeed in forging closer ties with the US now? 

About Robert Kuttner: Robert Kuttner is co-founder and co-editor of The American Prospect and Meyer and Ida Kirstein Professor in Social Planning and Administration at Brandeis University’s Heller School for Social Policy and Management. He is the author of 12 books on politics and economics. His latest is The Stakes: 2020 and the Survival of American Democracy. He was a longtime columnist for BusinessWeek and for the Boston Globe. In addition to writing for the Prospect, he writes for The New York Review of Books. 

Photo of pipeline
Power to the People: Building a ‘People’s Atlantic Bridge’ to Fight Climate Change Connecting the Dots of the Protests Against Gas Infrastructure

March 12, 2020

2-3:20pm

Location: Shiffman Humanities Center, Room 219

For many years, so-called “natural” gas was touted as a clean alternative to coal and oil. Not any more. Due to the far more dramatic climate impact of methane, not to mention the many dangers involved in gas infrastructure, scientists and climate activists have been calling for an end to all new fossil fuels, gas included, and climate activists have mounted fights against gas infrastructure across the globe. 

This panel will connect the dots between the economic and political impacts of the fracking and pipeline industries, highlighting the fight against the Weymouth Compressor Station here in Massachusetts, and the growing protests against LNG (Liquid Natural Gas) terminals in Northern Germany. 

Although many European countries, including Germany and France have implemented bans on fracking, the desire to shut down coal (and in Germany phase out nuclear) while keeping the economy going has led to an increase in gas infrastructure. The North Stream Gas pipeline has become a major source of tension between Germany and the US. Meanwhile, Greece, Israel and Cyprus signed an agreement to build an undersea pipeline to ferry natural gas from offshore fields in the eastern Mediterranean to Europe.

Panelists:

  • Andy Gheorghiu, Policy Advisor at Food and Water Europe [via Zoom]
  • Nathan Phillips, Boston University
  • Ya'ara Peretz, Head Of Government Relations and Policy at Green Course, Israel [via Zoom]

Moderator: Sabine von Mering, Director, Center for German and European Studies (CGES)

About the panelists:

Ya’ara Peretz is an activist from Israel, working for Green Course as the climate organizer and campaigner.  As part of her work with Green Course, she also works with and provides support for the student movement - Strike 4 future Israel - that is leading the school strikes in Israel as part of the Fridays for Future movement. She is also one of the founders of the Extinction Rebellion branch in Israel.

Andy Gheorghiu is a Policy Advisor at Food and Water Europe

Cover of My City of Dreams
Lisa Gruenberg: My City of Dreams

February 26, 2020

7pm - 9pm

Location: Mandel Center for the Humanities, Room G03

In this second-generation Holocaust memoir, Gruenberg, confronted with her elderly father's flashbacks, begins to inhabit the story of his sister Mia, who disappeared into Germany in 1941. After her father’s death in 2005, Gruenberg travels to Vienna, Germany and Israel to explore these lost landscapes, and to trace the fates of Mia, their extended family, friends and neighbors. She interweaves her own story with theirs, linking them together with photographs, archival and primary source material, family letters, diaries, her father’s writing, his genealogy research, and the joyful tales he told her long ago.

Alex Beam, author of Life and Death Inside America’s Premier Mental Hospital writes“The past is a foreign country; sometimes best left unexplored. But Gruenberg takes the trip, figuratively and literally, in an attempt to recreate her father's Vienna and the events that exterminated his sister, his parents, and 65,000 other Austrian Jews.”

Dr. Lisa Gruenberg is a physician, medical educator, and writer based in Boston. Her essays have been published in Ploughshares, Vital Signs, Hospital Drive, The Intima, a Journal of Narrative Medicine, and The Michigan Quarterly Review. Her short story, Keiskamma, won the 2012 Artist Fellowship from the Massachusetts Cultural Council. Her first book, My City of Dreams, was published in September 2019 by Cambridge-based TidePool Press.

Inge Auerbacher
Memories of a Child Survivor of the Holocaust

January 28, 2020

5pm - 7pm

Location: Shapiro Campus Center Theater

Join us to hear the moving and important testimony of Holocaust survivor Inge Auerbacher at Brandeis University. Last year, Ms. Auerbacher shared her account as a child survivor of Theresienstadt at the United Nations for International Holocaust Remembrance Day memorial ceremony. This year, she will be speaking at Brandeis University.

Following the event there will be a signing of Ms. Auerbacher’s Book, “I Am A Star- Child of the Holocaust”.  From the book: “We must speak out against evil and injustice. Let us build bridges of understanding and love to join mankind in every land. My hope, my wish, and prayer is for every child to grow up in peace without hunger and prejudice.” 

This event is co-sponsored by Together Restoring Their Names, the Center for German and European Studies, Chabad at Brandies, and Brandeis Hillel.

Shoah film poster
Worldwide Screening of Claude Lanzmann's "Shoah"

January 27, 2020

10 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Location: Wasserman Cinematheque

In this 9.5-hour documentary, surviving victims and perpetrators of the systematic extermination of Jewish people and other persecuted groups by the Third Reich relate the events of the Holocaust to audiences in their own words. In response to the call from the International Literature Festival Berlin (das internationale literaturfestival berlin, or ilb), Brandeis University joins a worldwide screening of Claude Lanzmann’s Shoah.

Fall 2019

Dr. Cornelius Adebahr speaking at Brandeis
Luncheon Talk with Dr. Cornelius Adebahr: “Carnegie Europe: German and European Policy Toward Iran”

September 9, 2019

Dr. Cornelius Adebahr is a political analyst and consultant living in Berlin, Germany. His work focuses on European foreign policy issues, transatlantic relations, and Iran.

Co-sponsored by the American Council on Germany, Eric M.Warburg Chapter

Cover of book: H.G. Adler: A Life in Many Worlds. Peter Filkins.  Background image is a black/white image of HG Adler.
Luncheon Talk with Author Peter Filkins: “Writing History, Writing Biography: Capturing H.G. Adler's Many Worlds”

H.G. Adler (1910 - 1988) lived at the center of his times and on their margin. A survivor of Theresienstadt, Auschwitz, and two other concentration camps, he chronicled his experience and the loss of others in two dozen books of seminal history, modernist fiction, formally intricate poems, and insightful essays. Yet, despite close friendship with Leo Baeck, Elias Canetti, and Heinrich Böll, he remained a writer's writer, largely unknown and neglected. Thus, unlike with better known figures, the story of his life must be told through the times in which he lived, as well as how the same lived through him. On the publication of H.G. Adler: A Life in Many Worlds, biographer and translator Peter Filkins discusses the intersection of biography and history in shaping the story of Adler's life and work.

Peter Filkins is an award-winning poet and translator. His authorized biography H.G. Adler: A Life in Many Worlds appeared in 2019 from Oxford University Press, and he has translated three novels by H.G. Adler, Panorama, The Journey, and The Wall, as well as the collected poems of Ingeborg Bachmann, Darkness Spoken. The recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Leon Levy Center for Biography, the DAAD, and the American Academy in Berlin, he is the Richard B. Fisher Professor of Literature at Bard College at Simon’s Rock, and also teaches translation at Bard College.

Co-sponsored by the English Department, the History Department, the Tauber Institute for the Study of European Jewry, and the European Cultural Studies Program.

Dr. Eurovision Paul Jordan
Panel Discussion: “Not Your Toy: Israel-Europe Relations through the Lens of the Eurovision Song Contest”

October 10, 2019

Why does Israel participate in a European song contest, and what does this contest say about how Israel and Europe relate to each other? How can popular culture inform how we study international relations? Join us to learn why this contest is crucial for understanding both Israel and Europe today.

Panelists

Moderator

Co-sponsored with the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies

Franziska Brantner
Luncheon Talk with Franziska Brantner: “A Green Perspective on the Future of the EU and the Changing Political Landscape in Germany”

Franziska Brantner has been a member of the Bundestag for the German Green Party since 2013. She is currently the Green spokesperson for European affairs, and a member of the committee on foreign affairs. Before her time in the Bundestag, she was a member of the European parliament.

At Brandeis Ms. Brantner will talk about the current political challenges facing the European Union, from the impending Brexit to right-wing populist governments within the EU to the strained transatlantic relationship. She will also discuss the changing political landscape in Germany, where the Green Party has surged in the polls, and is currently on par with the conservative party of Angela Merkel.

Co-sponsored by the Heinrich Boell Foundation, Washington, D.C.

Architect drawing of a Berlin House at Lippehner 35.
Peter R. Gossels and Simon Lütgemeyer: “Neighbors Through Time: Lippehner 35 — the Forgotten History of a Berlin House”

October 15, 2019

When two stolpersteine (stumbling blocks) were placed in front of the house next door in March 2018, Simon became curious about the history of his own house, where he has lived since 1999. He lives there now with his wife Britta and daughters Enna Lio (b. 2008) and Mila Bo (b. 2011).

After finding the old address books, he learned that the name of the owner of his building had been Isidor Lewy, who bought the building in 1904. He then learned from the manager of his building that Isidor Lewy’s grandchildren had sold the building to the current owners in the early 90s and he came across the name of Peter Gossels, a grandson of Isidor Lewy. So he sent him a first letter, hoping to find out more about the building's past. This was the beginning of an amazing journey into a whole book of stories of which none of the current tenants were aware.

The distinct Jewish past of this house, on a street which changed its name in 1974 from Lippehner into Käthe-Niederkirchner-Strasse (after a communist resistance heroine) but not its numbers, had been completely forgotten over decades, because no one asked about former layers of life within the old walls.

October 16, 2019

Britta Wilsmeier is a storyteller in Berlin who works with immigrant children in various schools.

She created a staged reading of Peter Gossels’ story on June 16 at the local "Theater unterm Dach" together with Roman Ott.

Olga Grjasnowa
Luncheon Talk with Olga Grjasnowa

October 22, 2019

Olga Grjasnowa is the author of “City of Jasmine,” a captivating story following a family in the Syrian Civil War. It offers real insight into the horrors of war, but also explores the humanity of the protagonists. Grjasnowa is one of the most talented young German authors today.

Thomas Pletzinger
Luncheon Talk with Thomas Pletzinger: “The Great Nowitzki”

October 23, 2019

Co-sponsored by the Boston Goethe Institut and Brandeis Athletics.

Luncheon Talk: “Brexit — The Continuing Chaos, Part 2”

October 28, 2019

Panelists

  • Daniela Caruso (BU) is Professor of Law and Jean Monnet Chair, Boston University School of Law. Professor Daniela Caruso teaches Contracts to first-year law students and an upper-class course on European Union Law.
  • Mai’a K. Davis Cross (Northeastern) is the Edward W. Brooke Professor of Political Science and associate professor of political science and international affairs. Professor Cross researches international cooperation, especially in the areas of European foreign and security policy, epistemic communities, crises, diplomacy and public diplomacy.
  • Graham Wilson (BU) is the co-founder and director of the Boston University Initiative on Cities. His areas of specialization include American politics, comparative politics, business, and government and interest groups.

Moderator

  • Lucy Goodhart (Brandeis) studies comparative and international political economy, analyzing the domestic politics of trade protection and coalition policy-making.
Movie poster for the documentary film "Complicit" showing the SS St. Louis, a drawing of the statue of liberty holding a sign that says "Keep Out," news photos of State Department officials, a group photo of the refugees and a small photo of 2 girls on the ship.  Text says: The untold story of why the roosevelt Administration denied safe haven to Jewish Refugees. Executive Robert Krakow. Associate Director Ruth Kalish. SS St. Louis Legacy Project Foundation. Non profit 501 C3 dedicated to education through drama on issues of human rights, anti-Semitism, immigration and the fight against genocide. STLOUISLEGACYPROJECT.ORG.  Official Selection Australian Jewish Film Festival. Official Selection Georgetown Law School Equal Justice Film Festival.
Jewish-German Dialogue with Dr. Hans Fisher, survivor of the SS St. Louis 

November 4, 2019

In commemoration of the Nazi pogrom known as “Kristallnacht” of November 9, 1939, CGES invites you to join us for a conversation with SS St. Louis passenger and survivor Dr. Hans Fisher. We will also be showing a clip from Robert M. Krakow’s documentary “Complicit.“

The SS St. Louis sailed from Germany to Cuba with 937 mostly Jewish passengers on board in May 1939 — only to be refused entry in Cuba, the United States and Canada. Upon its return to Europe, 254 of the passengers were later murdered in the Holocaust.

Hans Fisher, then a young boy, is among the surviving passengers and will share his experience of the journey and his survival.

Robert M. Krakow’s documentary film “Complicit” (2013) weaves the story of the SS St. Louis into the political drama unfolding within the Roosevelt Administration regarding its policies on the Jewish refugee issues during the wartime period. The film addresses the issues of immigration, refugee policy and the civilized world’s response to genocide.

Poster for the Critical Conversations Series
Critical Conversations: “Fiddling While Rome Burns: Understanding Humankind’s Response to Climate Threat”

November 5, 2019

Experts were aware of the destructive consequences of human-caused climate change long before the general public was — or accepted this as fact. Even as the public has gradually come to acknowledge the effects of climate change, action to prevent large-scale loss of life and livelihoods has barely begun. How does such a collision of human knowledge and inaction arise? What individual and societal changes are necessary to reduce the impending disaster?

Participants

  • Paul Miller, Associate Professor of Biology

  • Sabine von Mering, Professor of German and Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies, and Director of the Center for German and European Studies

Moderator

Watch the Video

Winnetou and Old Shatterhand
Luncheon Talk: “Deutschlandjahr Teil III: Winnetou and Old Shatterhand, German Settlers in the Americas”

November 8, 2019

Every child in Germany grows up with Winnetou and Old Shatterhand (see picture), the fictional Apache chief and his German settler friend, invented by bestselling novelist (and criminal) Karl May in the late 19th century. Over 50 percent of Americans have German heritage, but Winnetou and Old Shatterhand are largely unknown in the U.S. Unfortunately, many Americans also know very little about real native Americans.

After having played the board game “Catan” (previously known as “Settlers of Catan”) in November and March without questioning its harmless depiction of the act of settlement, in this final panel of our Deutschlandjahr activities we take a serious look at the relationship between fact and fiction, at the history of German settlements in the Americas and at the lives of native Americans past and present.

Panelists

Moderator

Artist's image commemorating the opening of the Berlin wall.
Peter Keup: “From Communist Dictatorship to Free Democracy”

November 14, 2019

Thirty years ago on Nov. 9, 1989, the Berlin wall opened. Peter Keup describes what life in the GDR dictatorship was like. His father was a Communist, and after the Communist Party was made illegal in West Germany, he and Peter’s mother moved to the GDR.

When Peter was 16, his parents applied to move back to West Germany but their application was denied. Ostracized from society and under constant surveillance, Peter discovered dancing and became a professional dancer.

In 1981, Peter attempted to flee. His plan was discovered and he was imprisoned for 10 months. Freed by the Federal Republic of Germany (through an arranged exchange), he moved to the west in 1982. Thirty years later, he discovered that his brother had worked for the Stasi (the GDR’s secret police).

November 23, 2019

A group of actors gather to tell the little-known story of the first genocide of the 20th century. We Are Proud to Present … takes place largely in a rehearsal room that descends from collaborative to absurd as a group of idealistic actors — three black and three white — attempt to recreate the extinction of the Herero people at the hands of their German colonizers. Along the way, they test the limits of empathy as their own stories, subjectivities, assumptions and prejudices catalyze their theatrical process. Eventually the full force of a horrific past crashes into the good intentions of the present, and what seemed a faraway place and time comes all too close to home.

Presenter: Katharina von Hammerstein, Professor of German Studies and member of the Human Rights Institute’s leadership team at the University of Connecticut, USA

News Update: We congratulate Katharina von Hammerstein for being named a Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor by the Board of Trusteesof the University of Connecticut. 

Students gatherd for Whitebreadmusic event
Whitebreadmusic

December 11, 2019

by Sasha Marianna Salzmann
A Staged Reading, directed by Guy Ben-Aharon
At MakeShift Boston 549 Columbus Ave, Boston, MA 02118

Aron, Nurit and Sedat grew up in Germany, but they don’t feel at home. They are caught between fatherland, mother-love, friendship and betrayal, past and future generations, struggling for where they belong. They appear funny and cool, until the very thin ice beneath them breaks…

  • 7:30 p.m. Staged Reading of “Whitebreadmusic”

  • 8:30 p.m. Moderated Dialogue

A cooperation between the Center for German and European Studies at Brandeis University and the Consul General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Boston.