Lectures

Jocelyn Holland and Jan Reimann will present a lecture titled "Denoting Chaos."

Claimed by theology, aesthetics, science and – most recently – popular culture, chaos has undergone vast semantic shifts in the course of its history. From its early roles in narratives of creation, chaos has been championed alternately as the epitome of order and disorder, beauty and formlessness, and elaborated both discursively and in symbolic form.

The Berkeley Department of German invites you to a conversation on chaos: on the basis of a small selection of excerpts drawn from literature and philosophy, ranging from the classical to the bizarre, we will discuss the specific strategies involved in the denotation of chaos from a number of disciplinary perspectives. We welcome visitors from all branches of the sciences and humanities to join this informal discussion. Refreshments will be served.

The conversation will be hosted by Jocelyn Holland, visiting professor in the Department of German, and Jan Reimann, visiting professor in the Department of Mathematics.

Professor Wilhelm Vosskamp (Univ. of Cologne) will lecture on "Schillers Utopie der aesthetischen Bildung."

The basis of my talk will be Schiller's "Letters on the Aesthetical Education of Man," published in 1795. In the context of German discussions on "Bildung" (education, selfformation, selfperfection), I want to outline that the preconditions of Schiller's aesthetics are his anthropology (this was first conceptualized in the dissertation on the "Connection between the Animal and Spiritual Man") and a critique of modern societal differentiation. My main purpose is to elaborate the specific characteristics of "aesthetical education" and the role of a "state of beauty" in "select circles."

-Professor Vosskamp

Dr. Erwin Tschirner (University of Leipzig) will give a lecture titled "Häufigkeitsverteilungen im Deutschen und ihr Einfluss auf das Lehren und Lernen des DaF."

Erwin Tschirner is Dean, Professor of German, and Director of the Herder Institute at the Universiy of Leipzig. He received his PhD in Germanic Linguistics from the University of California, Berkeley, and is the author of numerous books and articles on the Acquisition and Teaching of German as a Foreign Language (DaF), most recently the Frequency Dictionary of German: Core Vocabulary for Learners ( with R. Jones, London: Routledge, 2005). He is co-author of the most widely used North American textbook for first-year German, Kontakte, and frequently returns to the US, giving presentations and directing ACTFL OPI training workshops, as well as teaching as Adjunct Professor of German Studies at The University of Arizona.

Kurt Mueller-Vollmer (Stanford) will lecture on "How the German BROCKHAUS became the ENCYCLOPEDIA AMERICANA: A Case Study in German-American Cultural Transfer" from 1:00-3:00 p.m. in Dwinelle 219.

The presentation is aimed at expanding the traditional horizon of German-American Studies beyond immigrants’ lore or influence studies to include the important domain of the historical interaction between the two cultures that occurred within the mainstream of American intellectual andc ultural history. As case in point the making of the ENCYCLOPEDIA AMERICANA by the German-American Francis Lieber between 1828 and 1832 will be closely examined, its contents and structure as instrument of transcultural communication be analyzed and its historical effectiveness be assessed.