April 25, 2014
With Grete Brochmann
Scandinavian countries today face different kinds of challenges in relation to multicultural immigration. Questions of social cohesion and the sustainability of societal formation have been raised in all three countries over the past 10 to 15 years.
Grete Brochmann described and analyzed the dynamics generated when these challenges meet the traditionally equality-oriented and ethnically homogeneous Scandinavian countries. She asked how the political approaches available for governance are formed by the institutional structure of the region in which the welfare state plays an essential role.
April 26, 2014
Brandeis students, in teams of 3 - 4, joined in this fun, successful soccer tournament with cash prizes. The winning team received $300; second place got $200; and the third place team won $100. The games were 3 on 3 and had small goals. There was no entrance fee and every player got a free T-shirt and other miscellaneous CGES swag.
April 27 - 28, 2014
Our conference, “The Shoah in Israeli Culture, Memory and Politics,” took place on Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yom HaShoah). Since the topic of Israel and the Shoah is not well understood, this was a particularly meaningful opportunity to share how the subject may be treated.
The conference opened with a videotaped message from Professor Elie Wiesel, the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Boston University and university professor. The author of “Night” and over 60 fiction and non-fiction books, Professor Wiesel is also the 1986 Nobel Peace Laureate.
The keynote speaker was Professor Dan Michman, modern Jewish history professor and chair of the Finkler Institute of Holocaust Research at Bar-Ilan University; head of the International Institute of Holocaust Research; and John Najmann Chair in Holocaust Studies at Yad Vashem.
April 10, 2014
In light of recent international economic and social unrest in Europe, we discussed where Europe is heading and where we think it should be heading.
Michalis Psalidopoulos, holder of the Constantine Karamanlis Chair of Hellenic and European Studies at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy
Marc Bentinck, Fellow, Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University
Sabine von Mering, Director, CGES Brandeis
April 8, 2014
Lecture by Professor Antony Polonsky: “Lodz: A Jewish City”
Yiddish songs composed in the Lodz Ghetto performed by:
Sophie Michaux (mezzo soprano)
Elias Rosemberg (tenor)
Eugenia Gerstein (piano)
Susanne Klingenstein (words)
Temple Emanuel Choir, Newton
March 27, 2014
Panel discussion with Brandeis faculty experts about the current developing situation featuring:
Steven Burg, Adlai Stevenson Professor of International Politics
David Engerman, Ottilie Springer Professor of History
Chandler Rosenberger, Assistant Professor of International and Global Studies Program and Sociology
Russia's recent annexation of Crimea has sent shock waves throughout the post-Soviet space, the European community and beyond. How are we to understand recent events in Ukraine? What is the historical background? What is the proper response? Are we looking at a new Cold War? Brandeis faculty members discussed what many are calling the most significant geopolitical event in Europe since the fall of the Iron Curtain.
March 27, 2014
Directed by Guy Ben-Aharon, artistic director and founder of the Israeli Stage.
“Dear Sigmund and Carl” depicts the historic meeting between Freud's and Jung's sons when they agreed to publish their fathers’ exchange of letters.
After the show there was a discussion with Savyon Liebrecht. Liebrecht is also working on another play about Freud: “Freud's Women,” which explores Freud's relationship to his wife and his sister-in-law, and their relationship to Judaism.
Savyon Librecht was born in Munich in 1948 to Holocaust survivors. She grew up in Israel and studied literature and philosophy at Tel Aviv University. She writes about Israel today, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, conflicts between religious and non-religious Jews, and the effect of the Holocaust on subsequent generations. Her books have been translated into many languages. She is the recipient of the Alterman Literary Prize for her story collection “Apples from the Desert” (1987) and the Prime Minister's Prize for Literature (1992 and 1999) and the Playwright of the Year Award (2004 and 2006).
Read the Boston Globe article about Liebrecht.
March 27, 2014
Raffael Scheck is professor of history at Colby College, with a doctorate in comparative history from Brandeis University.
March 18, 2014
The Germany and Europe Job Fair showcased a panel of German businesses that operate in the Boston area and U.S. businesses with a presence in Germany. Students that attended gained a better understanding of how the U.S. and German economies and work place are intertwined, and presented themselves to German businesses looking for American workers.
Helene Munson (Realtor at Coldwell)
Michael Winter (Senior Vice President Operations at Bank of America)
Sarah Zahnouni (Engagement Manager at Harvard Business Publishing)
Andrew Eckhardt (Vice President KfW IPEX-Bank)
Peter-Paul C.Henze (Scientific Officer at Consulate General of Germany in Boston)
The DAAD and German Center for Research and Innovation (NYC) were also present.
March 17, 2014
A Luncheon Reading and Conversation with Author Harald Welzer
Professor Harald Welzer is co-founder and director of the Foundation Futurzwei and honorary professor of transformation design at the University of Flensburg, Germany. He is also affiliate member of the faculty at Marial-Center Emory University (Atlanta, Georgia) and teaches at the University St. Gallen.
Welzer studied sociology, political science and literature at the University of Hannover. He has published a number of books: “Das Kommunikative Gedaechtnis. Eine Theorie der Erinnerung.” (Munich: Beck, 2002), “Opa War Kein Nazi” (Fischer Tb 2002); “Der Krieg der Erinnerung. Holocaust, Kollaboration und Widerstand im Europäischen Gedächtnis” (ed.), S. Fischer, Frankfurt/M. 2007; and “Klimakriege. Wofuer im 21. Jahrhundert Getoetet Wird” (Fischer Tb 2008), which was published in English in 2012.
March 13 - 15, 2014
Do we live in tragic times?
“America has everything ….” wrote Max Frisch, “except only one thing: a relationship to the tragic.”
Is the tragic something to be pursued, like life, liberty — and happiness? Is tragedy the pursuit of unhappiness? Should we worry, should we be happy— when people pursue the tragic? Did Frisch hit the nail on the head— and miss the point? Does German culture have everything— except a healthy relationship to happiness? Is the pursuit of happiness an American way of relating to the tragic? Does tragedy express resignation in the face of things unchangeable, or a sorrow-driven rebellion against the way things are, against the way we are? Are we talking about metaphysics and art when we should be talking about ethics and politics?
The symposium was a search to define for today a phenomenon that sheds light in and on ancient Greece. Does tragic art continue to shed light— does it remain a force of enlightenment — or has it only cast its shadow on times past, more as a sign of resignation and renunciation than illumination? What sense can we make of tragedy? What sense can tragedy make of us?
Steve Dowden (Brandeis University)
Thomas Quinn (Independent Scholar)
Sabine von Mering (Brandeis University)
Meike Werner (Vanderbilt University)
Isabel Ballan (Brandeis University)
Jeffrey Bernstein (College of the Holy Cross)
Joshua Billings (Yale University)
John Burt (Brandeis University)
Wolfram Ette (University of Basel)
Anke Finger (University of Connecticut)
Rachel Freudenburg (Boston College)
Gesa Frömming (Wellesley College)
Abigail Gillman (Boston University)
Jessica Gokhberg (Brandeis University)
Eugene Goodheart (Brandeis University)
Jennifer Anna Gosetti-Ferencei (Fordham University)
Barbara Hahn (Vanderbilt University)
John T. Hamilton (Harvard University)
Karsten Harries (Yale University)
Lauren Hobler (Brandeis University)
Felicitas Hoppe (Novelist, Essayist)
Susanne Klingenstein (MIT)
Joseph Lawrence (College of the Holy Cross)
Vanessa Lubiner (Brandeis University)
James McFarland (Vanderbilt University)
Tara Metal (Bookseller)
Klaus Mladek (Dartmouth University)
Karen Painter (University of Minnesota)
Evan Parks (Independent scholar)
Robert Pirro (Georgia Southern University)
Laura Quinney (Brandeis University)
Gerhard Richter (Brown University)
Mark Roche (University of Notre Dame)
Syliva Schmitz-Burgard (College of the Holy Cross)
Kathrin Seidl (Brandeis University)
Howard Senzel (UMass Dartmouth)
David Sherman (Brandeis University)
Gregor Thuswaldner (Gordon College)
Helmut Walser Smith (Vanderbilt University)
Pu Wang (Brandeis University)
Alexander Weick (Brandeis University)
March 11, 2014
An engaging discussion led by Professor Peter Petri, focusing on the benefits and disadvantages of trade agreements and partnerships, specifically: labor, environmental and intellectual property rights, and current negotiations surrounding the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).
February 11, 2014
Germany is a leading economic power and young people from around the world are interested in German culture, history and politics. This student-led panel discussion highlighted chances and challenges young generations are facing in Germany and Europe today. How do German and other European students identify? What role does Germany have in Europe and in the minds of Europeans right now? How do nationality and European identity conflict or interact? How much does history impact views of Germany? What are students’ employment prospects in Germany and Europe?
Directed by Guy Ben-Aharon
Featuring Jordan Ahnquist, David Berger-Jones and Daniel Berger Jones
December 3, 2013
Organized by Ian Hopper, Florence Levy Kay Fellow in Modern Britain and the World from 1750 in the history department at Brandeis University.
The way in which people understand war derives principally from the portrayal of war in their society. Portrayals can be found in personal narratives, historical writing, political rhetoric and art. Over the last century, the cinema has become the primary transmitter of the imagery of war, and it is from film that most derive their essential understanding of the nature of warfare and military history.
This panel brought together historical and artistic perspectives to discuss important questions surrounding the portrayal of war. These included: What are the challenges to portraying war historically or artistically? In what ways do the concerns of historians and directors of films overlap or diverge? What political or cultural influences shape how war is portrayed? How can portrayals of war confront or confirm the biases of the audience?
November 13 - November 20, 2013
The speakers and workshop participants explored the fate of intellectuals, writers and thespians in exile in the U.S. and in South America during the Second World War, and the ways in which they came to terms with National Socialism, the Shoah (Holocaust) and the challenges of building a new life through both their artistic and intellectual work, and their career choices.
Dr. Christiane Zehl Romero, Tufts University
Dr. Steve Whitfeld, Brandeis, keynote address
Robert Kelz, University of Memphis
Rolando Vargas, documentary filmmaker, Bogota; University of California, Santa Cruz
November 13, 2013
“Exile in a Strange Land: Reality, Fiction and ‘Truth:’ Exploring Anna Seghers’ ‘The Excursion of the Dead Girls’”
As Jew and a Communist, notable 20th century writer Anna Seghers had no choice but flee Germany to France due to Nazi occupation. However, when the Germans occupied the north of France, she had to flee again from the trap that Europe had become for her. The only country which would take her in was Mexico, where she originally did not want to go. Her most famous story reflects her own — and others’ — conflicted situation as an end to exile became a distinct possibility. Seghers weaves reality and imagination to communicate important truths about an exile going “home.”
November 13, 2013
“Weimar in Waltham — Brandeis University at the Beginning”
Vestiges of Weimar culture were reconstituted at Brandeis University, founded in 1948, when something of the experimentalism and radicalism, that Peter Gay summarized as “the outsider as insider” (1918-1933), could be discerned among the faculty. Thus Brandeis managed to extend the precarious existence of the brilliance of German and especially German Jewish art and thought before the Nazi era.
November 18, 2013
“Contesting Germany: The Free German Stage and the German Theater in Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1938-1945”
The cultural landscape of Buneos Aires during World War II was unique. No other major metropolitan city witnessed immediate, local and fully open confrontations between Nazi and antifascist theaters throughout this period. This presentation explores the bitter competition between the Free German Stage, which was composed entirely of European Jewish refugees, and the German Theater, which was funded by Joseph Goebbels’ Ministry of Propaganda.
November 20, 2013
“Exiles in Exile: Germans During the Second World War in Colombia”
November 19, 2013
Featuring filmmaker Rolando Vargas, who will answer questions after the screening.
This documentary is about the detention of German nationals in Colombia during World War II, in Spanish with English Subtitles (2002).
November 19, 2013
Featuring Hilke Brockmann, PhD
Are women and men, mothers and fathers, represented equally in the German Bundestag? Or does politics remain a male-dominated affair because the life script of most women includes children who do not fit the demanding time schedule of a politician? This question is highly relevant, given the current debate about a women's quota for leadership positions in the German economy and in the European Union. We discuss the potential advantages and disadvantages of a mother quota.
Dr. Hilke Brockmann is a sociologist and demographer by training, and a professor of sociology at Jacobs University, Germany. Her research deals with the causes and consequences of population aging and of subjective well-being (SWB), often equated with happiness. During her stay at Minda De Gunzburg Center for European Studies CES at Harvard, Brockmann is working on four quantitative projects which all deal with issues of subjective well-being.
November 11, 2013
CGES held a Jewish-German dialogue meeting to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Kristallnacht pogrom of November 1938.
Ruth Gutmann is the author of “A Final Reckoning: A Hannover Family's Life and Death in the Shoah” (originally published in German; forthcoming with University of Alabama Press). Gutmann's family was there to present excerpts of her new book.
October 30, 2013
Featuring Dr. Martin Dean
Dr. Martin Dean, of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies (washington, DC), discussed recent findings from the museum’s massive “Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos” project, volume 2, covering ghettos in German-occupied Eastern Europe. Published in 2012, the project documented more than 300 ghetto sites not previously described in English. Dr. Dean outlined some of the research methods and sources used and gave a survey of the wide variety of forced labor camps and police-run camps to be covered in the forthcoming Volumes 5 and 6, devoted mainly to more than 30,000 forced labor sites across Europe.
Dr. Martin Dean was born in 1962 in London. He received his doctorate in history from Queens’ College, Cambridge, in 1989 for his thesis entitled “Austrian Policy during the French Revolutionary Wars, 1796-1799.” Subsequently, he worked as a historical researcher for the British Home Office War Crimes Inquiry (1988-1989), for the Cambridge University History Faculty’s Project on Berlin during the First World War (1989-1991), and for the Australian Special Investigations Unit (War Crimes) (1989-1992). From 1992 to 1997, Dr. Dean worked as the senior historian for the Metropolitan Police War Crimes Unit in London. His publications include: “Collaboration in the Holocaust: Crimes of the Local Police in Belorussia and Ukraine, 1941-44,” “Robbing the Jews: the Confiscation of Jewish Property in the Holocaust, 1933-1945,” and “The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos 1933-1945, vol. 2, Ghettos in German-Occupied Eastern Europe.” He has also written many book chapters and articles on the Holocaust focused mainly on the issues of ghettos, collaboration, war crimes and the confiscation of Jewish property.
October 29, 2013
Three women, three generations, three ways of life. What did it mean to live as a Jew in East Germany, and what does it mean in modern-day Germany? Questions of identity and belonging are set against questions of personal freedoms and responsibility for the family in a staged reading of this hilarious new play, honored as best play of 2013 at Muelheimer Theatertage.
Featuring Boston actors Bobby Steinbach, Maureen Keiller and Rebecca Schneebaum. Directed by Guy Ben Aharon.
September 13, 2013
Esther Dischereit was born in Germany. The survival of her Jewish mother while hiding during the Holocaust has marked and influenced Dischereit’s life as well as her work. Today she stands out among the small number of Jewish writers in 21st century Germany, with works ranging from poetry to plays.
September 23, 2013
Presentation by Carina Schmitt
Political scientist Carina Schmitt (CES Harvard) gave a presentation and held a discussion about the outcomes of the recent elections in Germany and their implications for the future.
September 28 - September 29, 2013
Contemporary Germany is one of the rare examples of successful reconciliation. Despite the fact that in parts of East Germany unification continues to be a struggle, the generation of Germans born after 1990 fully embrace their (united) German identity. There are only a few other examples of such unification: the united nation of Vietnam is one.
Just like war-torn Vietnam, the reunified Germany faced hitherto unknown challenges of economic, political and social proportions. Young Germans all over the country have moved beyond the mindset of the cold war and are helping to shape a self-confident national image that first surprised their elders in its demonstration of patriotism during the 2006 soccer world cup.
What is this new German identity about? How do young Germans today connect to their country’s past, and how do they view their future? How did/do educators, journalists, politicians and cultural institutions promote a new, forward-moving set of values? How will Germany deal with its new role as a major guarantor of peace, prosperity and security in Europe? Will the German economy be strong enough to pull its Southern European neighbors along? What happens if it won’t? How has Germany’s image abroad evolved as a consequence, and how do Germans see themselves?
By bringing together German, American and Israeli students, this project explores the lessons that can be shared from German successes in reconciliation and how the German experience can be compared to other countries or situations. Students and faculty from all three countries participated in the workshop. Following the workshop, conversations continue via the web over the course of the year in preparation for a 2-week intensive seminar held in Germany in May 2014.
October 16, 2013
Featuring Mycle Schneider
The plummeting natural gas prices, sovereign debt crisis, proliferation concerns and improved economic conditions for renewable energy sources have created a challenging global environment for nuclear power. Contrary to what the nuclear industry would have us believe — that we are seeing a global renaissance in nuclear power — nuclear power the world over is on the decline. This is especially true in the U.S., where operating reactors are being closed as uneconomic for the first time in 15 years. The World Nuclear Industry Status Report provides a vital reality check to the current situation of the global nuclear industry, as well as identifying important nuclear trends.
Mycle Schneider is an independent international consultant on energy and nuclear policy, based in Paris. Mycle is a member of the International Panel on Fissile Materials (IPFM) at Princeton University, U.S. His consulting clients included the French and German Environmental Ministries, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the International Atomic Energy Agency, Greenpeace, the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, the Worldwide Fund for Nature, the European Commission, the French Institute for Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety. Mycle has given evidence and held briefings at parliaments in 13 countries and given lectures at 14 universities around the globe. He founded the Energy Information Agency WISE-Paris in 1983 and directed it until 2003. In 1997, along with Jinzabuto Takagi, he received the Right Livelihood Award, also known as the Alternative Nobel Prize.