News & Events

Past Events Archive

  • “Poetic Thinking, or Why Germany’s Best Writers Today are Poets”

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  • Still Lives: Jewish Photography under Nazism (co-sponsored by The Center for Jewish Studies)

    The talk considers photographs that were taken by non-professional Jewish photographers under the National Socialist regime. By the early 1930s, most German-Jewish families had avidly used pocket-sized cameras to document their experiences, from domestic routines and family vacations to participation in political gatherings, youth movement ceremonies, sports and religious events. I argue that, gazing at a rapidly changing environment after January 1933, amateur Jewish photographers utilized their cameras to reflect on the new reality, to make sense of it, and to reclaim agency in it. My analysis of the photographs underscores their dialog with the visual imagery of the time,…

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  • Askesis, Critique and Tradition: Foucault and Benjamin

    A central concept in Foucault’s later work is Askesis: an exercise of oneself, related to self-mastery and self-transformation. The concept of “ascetic schooling” in the foreword to Benjamin’s Origin of German Trauerspiel has a similarly significant role, much neglected by scholarship. Both Foucault’s askesis  and Benjamin’s “ascetic schooling” relate to the transformation of the subject through arduous work as fundamental for philosophy.   At the same time, their considerations of askesis/asceticism illuminates the different models of critique in each case – the reactivation of an attitude alien to tradition and doctrine (Foucault), versus a change of attitude as propaedeutic for the presentation of doctrine or tradition (Benjamin).  Ori…

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  • Berkeley Cologne Summer School: “Practice, Exercise, Formation”

    The notion of practice has played an increasingly important role in the study of literature, in cultural studies, in anthropology, and in philosophy during the last decades. This increasing interest in practices also entailed a specific interest in forms of writing from a perspective that foregrounds not the production of meaning and the hermeneutic reading of texts, but a specific attention to the ways in which texts shape forms of perception, stiles of thought, and modes of behavior. Thus, we have to distinguish between a focus on and a tension between semiotic and hermeneutic approaches to texts and approaches that…

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  • A German Cabaret-04/23 & 4/24 at 7pm

    A German Cabaret WAS ES ALLES GIBT!

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  • Mosse Lecture: Ulrike Ottinger

    Filmmaker in residence Ulrike Ottinger presents an illustrated lecture discussing her approach to the visual design of her films, as well as her research methods for a nonfiction film project like Chamisso’s Shadow. https://bampfa.org/event/mosse-lecture-ulrike-ottinger See schedule on PFA website: https://bampfa.org/program/afterimage-ulrike-ottinger

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  • Between the Money-Image and the Museum: Ulrich Peltzer’s Theory of the (Contemporary) Work of (Installation) Art

    Abstract: If money’s status as dominant medium guiding what Jochen Hörisch once called the ontosemiological framework of modern culture has really yielded to the empire of audio-visual media, then why is so much contemporary German literature still so obsessed with money? This presentation considers how one such example—Ulrich Peltzer’s 2015 novel Das bessere Leben, a work whose very title signals its investment in correlating being and meaning—has tracked the convergence of money and image in our contemporary moment but in so doing has also called literature’s powers of critical observation into question. By indexing the museum as a privileged space of aesthetic…

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  • 27th Interdisciplinary German Studies Conference: Affective Realisms

    Affective Realisms 27th Interdisciplinary German Studies Conference February 22-23   We often think of realism as a reactionary gesture, circumscribing all that is possible within the limits of the status quo – but recent developments in critical theory, philosophy, and literary studies have mobilized affect and reality in surprising new configurations. Scholars such as Eve Kosofsky-Sedgwick, Brian Massumi, Sarah Ahmed, Jane Bennett, and Mel Y. Chen have figured affect as something very “real” in itself, a non-subjective force that gives form to bodies at once material, social, and political. As contemporary theorists return to the question of realism after the…

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  • Bonwit-Heine Lecture “ ‘Global Mission’: Nazi Foreign Cultural Policy and the Goethe Society in Weimar”

    Bio: W. Daniel Wilson was professor of German at Berkeley from 1983 to 2005 and departmental chair for four years; he is now professor of German at Royal Holloway, University of London. He has published widely in eighteenth-century literature, culture, and politics, particularly on political, gender and sexuality in Goethe. His most recent books are Goethe Männer Knaben: Ansichten zur ‘Homosexualität’ (Insel, 2012), Goethes Erotica und die Weimarer ‘Zensoren’ (Wehrhahn, 2015) and Der Faustische Pakt: Goethe und die Goethe-Gesellschaft im Dritten Reich (dtv, 2018). In 2016 he was awarded the Raimar Lüst Prize of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. https://literaturkritik.de/wilson-der-faustische-pakt-goethe-als-mitlaeufer,25123.html

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  • GUH Lecture: Erich Mendelsohn vs. the Skyscraper Primitives: A Berliner in Jazz-Age Manhattan

    “Erich Mendelsohn vs. the Skyscraper Primitives: A Berliner in Jazz-Age Manhattan” Greg Castillo, Associate Professor of Architecture Tuesday, November 20, 1-2:30pm | Wurster 172 (please note the updated room and time) Presented by the Global Urban Humanities Initiative Upon first sight of the Manhattan skyline in 1924, Erich Mendelsohn proclaimed it an object lesson in “the tragedy of madness, deranged power, the… intoxication of limitless victory.” Amerika: Bilderbuch eines Architekten (America: An Architect’s Picture Book), his bestselling travelogue, portrayed a culturally primitive society degraded by jungle capitalism, but advanced in building technology. Maintaining that American architecture had “unexpectedly little to…

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