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Published in Social Sciences

Slavery, Property, and the US Constitution

Reconsidering the origins of anti-slavery politics

“There was nothing inevitable about the demise of slavery,” believes Sean Wilentz, Siemens Fellow at the American Academy. After all, he notes, it was crucial to the cotton trade in Colonial America and had been an accepted institution for millennia. »

Published in Arts and Culture

Towards a Comparison of the 'City Texts' of Vilnius and Tallinn

Two cities in their literary context

What makes a city? For Tomas Venclova, Axel Springer Fellow at the American Academy and a prominent voice of twentieth century literature, “city texts” are a significant part of a metropolis’ identity -- the totality of both verbal and non-verbal creative works related to a particular city. »

Published in

Thank You for Being Late

Pausing to Reflect on the Twenty-First Century

“You can dance in a hurricane, but only if you are standing in the eye.” The lyric comes from a song by Brandi Carlile, and it is one that Thomas L. Friedman, in the Stephen M. Kellen Lecture he delivered at the American Academy in Berlin on April 22, cited as a key to understanding his approach to the world. The eye, for Friedman, is St. Louis Park, Minnesota, the Minneapolis suburb where he grew up -- a place, he says, that forms the source for his view of the world. »

Published in Social Sciences

Gender, War, and Memory

Women in the military during and after World War II

The World War II mini-series Unsere Mütter--Unsere Väter, called Generation War in English, created a stir in Germany when it aired in 2013. Focusing on World War II in Germany and Eastern Europe, the series examined the atrocities committed by the German Wehrmacht and its role in the Holocaust. »

Published in Humanities

Guggenheim Foundation Fellows Announced

Congratulations to American Academy alumni

The American Academy congratulates four alumni for having been selected as 2015 fellows by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. Thomas Christensen, Rivka Galchen, Alex Ross, and Sean Shepherd are among 175 artists, scholars, and scientists selected from 3,100 applicants for the prestigious honor. »