Much has been made of the need for a “normalization” of German foreign policy and a departure from historically-motivated, self-imposed constraints. Adam Posen, president of the Peterson Institute for International Economics -- and formerly an economic policymaker at the Bank of England -- argues that a similar realization is overdue in German economic policy, where exaggerated memories of hyperinflation and unification distort current public policy decisions. The need for this kind of reevaluation has become pressing due to the German government’s approach to the euro crisis. While the recent performance of the German economy has been solid and the risk of a break-up of the euro zone has subsided, these deeply rooted sentiments inhibit more pro-growth approaches in Germany and its neighbors.
James A. Robinson, a political scientist and an economist at Harvard University, presented his and economist Daron Acemoglu's recent and renowned work, Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty (Random House, 2012), released in German as Warum Nationen Scheitern (S. Fischer Verlag) at the European School of Management and Technology. The timely and contested volume offers detailed arguments that a nation’s economic success s determined predominantly by its political institutions, with historical examples from the Roman Empire, Mayan civilization, medieval Venice, the Soviet Union, Latin America, England, Europe, the United States, and Africa. At this March 11 talk, Robinson discusses the economic and political history of the Americas.
Theories of Forgetting is a novel inspired by Robert Smithson’s famous earthwork, The Spiral Jetty, located where the Great Salt Lake meets remote desert northwest of Salt Lake City, Utah. Structurally, the book is interested in how words matter—how, that is, they can be used on fiction’s page as material as well as a way to convey conventional content. Thematically, it is interested in the notion of “entropology,” a neologism Smithson borrowed from Claude Lévi-Strauss that contains both "entropy" and "anthropology" within it. For Smithson, entropology embodies “structures in a state of disintegration”—but not in a negative sense, not with a sense of sadness and loss. Rather, entropology embodies the astonishing beauty inherent in the process of wearing down, wearing out, undoing, of continuous de-creative metamorphosis at the level, not only of geology and thermodynamics, but also of entire civilizations, and, ultimately, of the individuals living within them.
The Frankfurt School critics of the Weimar Republic were bedazzled – and confused – by the deluge of new mass technologies (photographs, movies, illustrated magazines, billboards, etc.) that were being developed in tandem with a new form of mass politics – for example, fascism. Weimar-era intellectuals, especially Bertolt Brecht, Walter Benjamin, and Siegfried Kracauer, engaged in sharp debate about whether these new forms would lead to a revolutionary consciousness or were, instead, opiates of the people. In this lecture, journalist Susie Linfield will discuss how eighty years later we are equally bedazzled, and equally confused, about the role of new technologies – digital cameras, Facebook, the Internet, Twitter – in the popular uprisings in the Arab and Muslim world, both inspiring and ominous, known collectively as the Arab Spring.
Religious liberty is not simply a neutral principle for accommodating religious difference. Rather, as a key mechanism of modern statecraft, it also defines and constitutes differences at the heart of the identity of religious minorities and majorities alike. Saba Mahmood's lecture addresses the modern state’s shifting regulation of religious and political life, local regimes of religious inequality, and geopolitical developments throughout the Middle East, enlisting the Coptic Orthodox Christian community of Egypt as an ideal test case.