2010-11 Events

In Honor of Holocaust Remembrance Day

May 2, 2011

The Holocaust Remembrance Committee presented a screening of the film “Defiance,” followed by a discussion with Leora Tec.

Co-sponsored by The International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life.

“From Chernobyl to Fukushima: Nuclear Energy and its Alternatives”

April 28, 2011

with Dr. Roland Schindler and Dr. Harry Lehmann

Sponsored by The Goethe Institut Boston.

Earth Day Panel Discussion

April 14, 2011

“Philosophy, Ethics and the Arts: Sustainability Across Disciplines”

“The Legend of the Berlin Wall — As Presented by a Mole” with Slavenka Drakulić

Slavenka Drakulić is a Croatian author whose books and articles are translated in many languages. Drakulić is contributing editor to The Nation (USA) .

Co-sponsored by European Cultural Studies

Lucas Papademos
“Euro in Crisis?”

April 12, 2011

A Discussion with Lucas Papademos and Jeffry Frieden

Lucas Papademos, Former Vice President of the European Central Bank. 
Jeffry Frieden, Harvard University Professor in the Department of Government

Respondent: Catherine Mann, Barbara and Richard M. Rosenberg Professor of Global Finance, Brandeis University

Moderator: Chandler Rosenberger, Assistant Professor of International and Global Studies and Sociology, Brandeis University

Co-sponsored by The Rosenberg Institute of Global Finance and the International and Global Studies Program

April 11, 2011

Film Screening and Discussion with Filmmaker Robin Hessman, Feruza Aripova and Professor Irina Dubinina

When the USSR broke apart in 1991, a generation of young people faced a new realm of possibilities. An intimate epic about the extraordinary lives of this last Soviet generation, Robin Hessman’s feature documentary debut tells the stories of five Moscow schoolmates who were brought up behind the Iron Curtain, witnessed the joy and confusion of glasnost, and reached adulthood right as the world changed around them. Through candid first-person testimony, revealing verité footage and vintage home movies, Hessman, who spent many years living in Moscow, reveals a Russia rarely ever seen on film, where people are frank about their lives and forthcoming about their country. 

“TXT BCK? On the Art of Text Messaging” with Lutz Koepnick

Koepnick discussed the potential of electronic writing and text messaging to reframe the speed of our present and — contrary to expectation—develop a viable art of slowness. Koepnick concluded with some thoughts about the role of writing in the humanities in general as a means to probe the different speeds, itineraries and visions of progress that define our contemporary moment.

Lutz Koepnick is Professor of German, Film and Media Studies, and Comparative Literature at Washington University. 

March 31, 2011

Part of the "Shakespeare in World Cinema: A Film Series"

Screening is followed by a discussion with film expert Lutz Koepnick.

Co-Sponsored by:

The Department of German, Russian and Asian Languages and Literature
European Cultural Studies
Mandel Center for the Humanities

“Architecture, Life and Death”

April 5, 2011

A Conversation with Architect Daniel Libeskind and Shulamit Reinharz

Co Sponsored by: Hadassah-Brandeis Institute

“On Kafka” with Vivian Liska

In his diary entry from 8 January 1914, Franz Kafka writes: "What have I in common with Jews? I have hardly anything in common with myself and should stand very quietly in a corner, content that I can breathe." Taking this diary entry as a starting point, this lecture explores Kafka's ambivalent relationship to the Jewish community and to social, religious, ethnic and ideological groupings in general. Close readings of short texts will demonstrate how this ambivalence inspired innovative modes of writing which unmask the oppressive cohesion of communal groupings and how they testify to the specific potential of literature to configure alternative visions of communal bonds.

Vivan Liska is Professor of German Literature and Director of the Institute of Jewish Studies at the University of Antwerp, Belgium. Her research focuses on German and comparative modernist literature, German-Jewish literature and culture, and literary and cultural theory.

Film Screening: “Cabaret Berlin: The Wild Scene”

March 5, 2011

“Cabaret Berlin: La Scène Sauvage,” North American Premiere

Presented by: National Center for Jewish Film

Sponsored by:
Goethe Institut Boston
Consulate General of France in Boston
Tauber Institute for the Study of European Jewry

Film Screening: “Mahler on the Couch”

March 11, 2011

“Mahler auf der Couch,” New England Premiere

Co-presented by:
Goethe Institute Boston
National Center for Jewish Film

Sponsored by:
Tauber Institute for the Study of European Jewry

“The Comedian Harmonists: Popular Music and the Transference of Race at the End of Weimar Germany”

January 28, 2011

with Stephan Pennington, Tufts University

Sponsored by the Department of Music

“Law and the Human: The Challenges of Carl Schmitt”

December 2, 2010

Professor Joseph Koerner, Harvard University

Professor Noah Feldman, Harvard University

ClimateChange Campusweeks

November 15 - December 1, 2010

A variety of events on the issues and themes of climate change.

Sponsored by the German Embassy in the U.S.

“Chances and Challenges of Becoming Low-Carbon Societies: An Interdisciplinary Conversation”

November 29, 2010

Elizabeth von Thadden, Editor at Die Zeit

Adam B. Jaffe, Dean of Arts and Sciences at Brandeis University

“The Building of a Muslim Community and Germany's Multicultural Society” with Riem Spielhaus

November 12, 2010

While the German public imagines one cohesive Muslim community, it still consists of a large variety of different and competing voices. A feeling of belonging between Muslims of different national, linguistic and political backgrounds is slowly emerging. Markers of this development can be observed after notable discursive events in nationwide media that led to Muslim individuals taking a stance as Muslims. This paper takes a look at how prominent individuals with a Muslim background and Islamic communalists are drawing on their Muslim identity raising the urgent question: "Who can speak for Muslims?"

Riem Spielhaus (Humboldt University, Berlin) is a research fellow at the Centre for European Islamic Thought, Copenhagen. Her research interests include identity politics, transnational Muslim networks, and female religious leadership and activism in Germany.

“Kinderland Ist Abgebrannt (Kinderland – Cinderland)”

November 10, 2010

Screening followed by a conversation with the filmmaker, Sibylle Tiedemann

The everyday life of fascism, its banalities, shabbiness and meanness, are addressed in this documentary. Ulm, the city of Albert Einstein and of the Scholl siblings, well known for their youthful resistance to fascism, becomes the place where history is felt and experienced. Twelve women, four Jews and eight Christians, now in their seventies, tell of their youth in this South German city. The Christian women still reside there, while their former Jewish classmates live in Israel or the United States. Their memories of the same place, during the same period of time, could not be more different. Made with never before seen archive material, “Kinderland - Cinderland” is a touching film of many layers, and has been highly praised by German film critics and viewers.


“Does Austrian Literature Exist — And If So, Why Not? Notes on an Obstinate Myth”

November 2, 2010

Sigrid Löffler examines the disastrous history of Austrian identity problems and proves that after 1945 Austrian authors have been dealing with quite different questions than their German neighbors. 

Löffler is an Austrian literary critic and journalist who lives in Berlin.

Panel Discussion: “German Austerity vs. U.S. Stimulus”

October 20, 2010


Professor Klaus F. Zimmermann, Institute for the Study of Labor at the University of Bonn, Germany.

Catherine L. Mann, Barbara and Richard M. Rosenberg Professor of Global Finance, Brandeis International Business School.

Internationally respected experts in their field, the panelists explain the different steps that were taken in both countries in reaction to the global economic crisis — and why Germany is celebrating another 'Wirtschaftswunder' [economic miracle] now while the U.S. economy is still in the doldrums.

Co-sponsored by:
Rosenberg Institute of Global Finance
International and Global Studies Program

“Communicating Climate Change: Problems and Strategies” with Dr. Frank Mauelshagen

October 18, 2010

Global climate change is a complex scientific issue, but climatologists frequently fail to communicate their findings and the conclusions they draw for political action, provoking misunderstanding and opposition among the general public. Climate denialists, their counterparts, seem to be much more successful in communicating their messages, particularly when using strategies of scandalization and denunciation to raise public attention. Dr. Mauelshagen argues that climate as defined by modern climatology suffers from being an abstract and boring statistical construction — based on technologically supported systems of global observation and measurement, or complex reconstructions from indirect information (for all periods before measurement).

Dr. Franz Mauelshagen is a research fellow at the KWI – the Institute of Advanced Study in the Humanities — in Essen. There, he is also the programme coordinator of “Climate and Culture” and the principal investigator of a new research group on “Climates of Migration.”

Jewish-German Dialogue with Sergey Lagodinsky

October 12, 2010

“Dialogue in Transition: Germany and its Jews”

A German-Jewish dialogue has reached another very special moment of its ambivalent history. Within only two decades Germany was able to become home to one of the biggest European Jewish communities. Yet the dynamics on both sides are less encouraging than these statistics propose. In his talk Sergey Lagodinsky is addressing the challenges and assessing the perspectives for a substantial German-Jewish Renaissance.

Sergey Lagodinsky, lawyer and author based in Berlin, a Yale World Fellow and an expert on German foreign policy, politics of integration and diversity, and German-Jewish relations.

Jewish-German Dialogue with Thomas Weber

“Hitler's First War: Adolf Hitler, the Men of the List Regiment and the First World War”

Thomas Weber explores the effect of the First World War on the politicization and radicalization of Adolf Hitler. He presents a Hitler very different from the one portrayed in his own self-mythologizing account as well as in Hitler biographies to date. He also demonstrates why the myth that Hitler created about his war years was so very important in the rise of the Nazis and why it was vigorously policed.

Thomas Weber teaches European and international history at the University of Aberdeen. He also is director-designate of Aberdeen's Centre in Global Uncertainties.

Co-sponsored by:
The Department of History
The Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies
The Mandel Humanities Center

German-Jewish Dialogue with Hannah Taieb

October 11, 2010

“Jews and Muslims in France and the U.S.: Conflict and Dialogue”

Hannah Taieb presented a lecture and workshop on improving relations between Jews and Muslims in France (and Europe).

Sponsored by:
The Department of Romance Studies

Housewarming and 20th Anniversary of German Unity

October 4, 2010