Lectures

Hugo Loetscher will give a lecture on "Plea for a Mobile Identity."

This lecture focuses on the conception of identity from both a Swiss and an international perspective. On the basis of personal experiences, the conflict between personal, national and global identity is debated. The focus is on variation and on the multiplicity of identities instead of uniqueness. As such, identity is not seen as fixation or as an orthodox uniform, but rather as a field of tension and a possibility of interaction with others.

Hugo Loetscher was born in Zurich in 1929. He worked as editor-in-chief of the political magazine Weltwoche and as literary editor of the journal du. He is known to be a talented speaker and is a regular guest on Swiss television to debate Swiss and international politics. He has been a freelance writer since 1969, writing novels, plays, travelogues and essays. Loetscher‚s works often base on his travelling experiences; he is considered to be the most cosmopolitan Swiss writer. Loetscher was President of the Swiss Writers‚ Association and the Swiss Foundation for Photography. In 1992 he received the most prominent Swiss literary price for his oeuvre, the Grosser Schillerpreis.

Reception to follow in German library.

Jan Donkers will lecture on "Provo and After: Second Thoughts on Amsterdam’s Playful Revolution in the Sixties."

For decades, the Dutch have taken pride in the playful and relatively non-violent nature of the Provo Movement that shook Dutch society in the sixties. The way the protest movements of that decade were swiftly encapsulated was typical of the traditional Dutch ability to compromise. For a while it seemed that the basis of a permissive society was agreed upon by all. But when the backlash eventually did arrive, it came with a hint of vengeance.

Jan Donkers is this year’s Regents’ Lecturer at the Dutch Studies Program. He is a journalist and writer from Amsterdam. He is the Dutch authority on the history of pop music, the cultural revolution in the sixties and the American influence on Dutch popular culture.

Organized by the Dutch Studies Program. Contact Jeroen Dewulf: jdewulf@berkeley.edu.

Iso Camartin will give a talk titled, "Advertising a Strange Case."

The thematic focus of this lecture is multilingualism and cultural diversity in Switzerland. Related aspects are: political and cultural loyalty, modern survival strategies in economically marginal regions, cultural priorities in a globalized world, revivifying the "think global, act local"- philosophy.

Iso Camartin was born in Graubünden in 1944. His mother-tongue is Romansh but he is fluent in the four official languages of Switzerland. From 1974 to 1997 he worked as a research fellow at the Centre for European Studies at Harvard University. From 1985 to 1997 he was Professor for the Romansh literature and culture at the Technical University Zurich as well as at the University of Zurich. His pedagogical and research field covers multi-lingual and multi-cultural minorities. Between 2000 and 2003 he was the director of the cultural section of the Swiss Television DRS.

Reception to follow in German library.

Roger de Weck will lecture on "Multicultural Identity in Europe: The Swiss Model."

Switzerland has traditionally been associated with snow-covered mountains, yodelers, cuckoo-clocks and Heidi as a tourist-fantasy of harmony, purity and order. The purpose of this project is to look behind such clichés that depict Switzerland as a complacent island of wellness and stability in a chaotic world and to critically reflect on the Swiss model of multicultural and multilingual identity, neutrality and direct democracy.

Three prominent Swiss guests have been invited discuss the future of the Swiss model, the Swiss relationship with the European Union, and immigration as a challenge and incitement to rethink the model and the question what it means to be Swiss in the 21st century. What is typically Swiss, what makes Switzerland tick and why do so many people fail to understand the fine inner working of this multilingual country: la Suisse, die Schweiz, la Svizzera? During the course of this lecture, these questions will be addressed. To do so, Switzerland's current state, its past and aspects of its society will be discussed. This brief and comprehensive Tour de Suisse seeks to explain the nature of the Swiss people, the country’s unique political system and, most crucially, the country’s relation with its own past.

Roger de Weck was born in Fribourg in 1953. He is currently chairman of the Board of the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva and a visiting professor at the College of Europe in Bruges and Warsaw. He worked as the Paris correspondent for various Swiss newspapers before becoming editor-in-chief for the Swiss daily Tages-Anzeiger and German weekly paper Die Zeit. He still works for German, French and Swiss newspapers as a columnist. He regularly appears on television and anchors the discussion program Sternstunde for the German TV-channel 3Sat.

Reception to follow in German Library.

Eric Vanhaute will give a lecture titled, "From Famine to Food Crisis: Lessons and Limits of the European Experience."

In the beginning of the 21st century, the world is confronted with what seems to become the first global food crisis. What are its historical roots? What is new? How did past societies cope with 'food security'? What can we learn from 'the big escape' from famine in the Western world? What are the limits of these lessons? This lecture tries to entangle the past and present relationship between the production of food and the production of famine.

Eric Vanhaute is this year’s Pieter Paul Rubens Chair at the Department of History, in collaboration with the Dutch Studies Program. He is Professor of Economic and Social History and World History at Ghent University in Belgium.

This lecture is the result of cooperation between the Dutch Studies Program and the Department of History. Contact Jeroen Dewulf: jdewulf@berkeley.edu, Eric Vanhaute: eric.vanhaute@ugent.be, Susanna Elm: elm@berkeley.edu.

Paul Verhaeghen will lecture on "Omega Minor."

Verhaeghen is a Flemish author and professor of cognitive psychology at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. He will present the English translation (Dalkey Archive Press) of his successful novel “Omega Minor” (2004), winner of the Borderwijk Award for Prose and the Triennial Culture Award for Prose from the Flemish Government. In his lecture, he will focus on the holocaust.

This lecture is a cooperation between the Dutch Studies Program and the Foundation of Flemish Literature (VFL).