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.