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Photo by Stephanie Peltner
Photo by Stephanie Peltner

The Alumni Conference “The Future of the Past” was truly a unique event. Special thanks are due to the organizing committee – Nina Berman, Noah Isenberg, Jennifer Kapzcynski, and Barbara Kosta – for putting together a well-composed program, as well as the other alumni speakers – June Hwang, Susanne Baackmann, Sara Hall, Robert McFarland, Kristin Kopp, Nancy Nenno, Kurt Beals, Rick McCormick, and Eric Ames – who travelled to Berkeley for this homecoming. We owe the pleasure of this reunion to one very special person, Professor Anton Kaes, who was the advisor on the dissertations written by all these former students. Our colleague and collaborator, who served as chair of German and chair of Film for many years in the past, has significantly shaped the way we do both German and Film Studies here at Berkeley and beyond. With his book Shell Shock Cinema: Weimar Culture and the Wounds of War, he taught us, once again, to unfold potential possibilities for the future in our readings of the past. With this key idea he gave the title to this alumni conference, which created an opportunity for past, present and even future students of the Department of German to meet and engage in conversation. As this conference demonstrated, he has initiated a “Berkeley School” that lives on across the country. Warm thanks to all participants!

We also celebrated the forthcoming volume The Promise of Cinema: German Film Theory, 1907-33 (a substantially expanded English edition of Kino-Debatte, many years in the making and co-edited by Anton Kaes, Nicholas Baer, and Michael Cowan), as well as the 10th anniversary of TRANSIT, the department’s electronic Journal of Travel, Migration, and Multiculturalism in the German-speaking World.

A full schedule of Friday's events can be found here, and Saturday's here.

Photo by Stephanie Peltner
Photo by Stephanie Peltner

After a successful compact seminar on Heinrich von Kleist came to a close last Friday, UC Berkeley Professor Emeritus Hinrich Seeba delivered an illuminating lecture on "Geselligkeit: Bildungskultur und bürgerliche Emanzipation":

"Einem Emeritus, der immer mehr außerhalb der Gelehrsamkeit und zwischen den Kulturen lebt, ist hoffentlich nachzusehen, daß ich bei den folgenden Überlegungen, die ich in erweiterter Fassung zuerst vor dem großen Kreis des Naturwissenschaftlich-Historischen Vereins in Detmold vorgetragen habe, nicht intensiv, sondern extensiv, nicht begriffs-deduktiv, sondern erfahrungs-induktiv vorgegangen bin. Ich wollte meinem deutschen Publikum, das man im altmodischen Sinn getrost ‚gebildet‘ nennen darf, eine historische und kritische Perspektive auf Kulturphänomene vorführen, die mit ihrer eigenen Lebenserfahrung zu tun haben..." (see full text of lecture here)

 

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Professor Deniz Göktürk and Professor Emeritus Hinrich Seeba