April 2012

Fellows Distinguished Visitors Program Video/Audio Archive Support


Spring 2012 Program

Please join us at the Hans Arnhold Center and other locations throughout Berlin for a blooming array of events from April to June 2012, including lectures by fellows M. Norton Wise on steam-powered Berlin; Richard Deming on learning from the ordinary; Inga Markovits on lawyers in the GDR; and Karen J. Alter on international courts, as well as lectures by visitors including the head of the National Gallery of Art, Earl A. Powell, and the gifted performers from the Curtis Institute of Music. You can dowload the complete spring program as a pdf and register for upcoming lectures on our website.

The Academy in the News

Read interviews with Michael Porter on the German Health Care System in Der Stern; our resident composer Annie Gosfield about her music and performance at MärzMusik 2012 in Der Tagesspiegel and NPR; Kelly Sims Gallagher on green technologies and the prospects for a renewable future in IP-Journal; and Calvin Trillin on the US presidential elections with Deutschland Radio Kultur; and an article by Leland de la Durantaye on the son of Vladimir Nabokov in The Boston Globe.

Also online, you can watch videos of recent Academy lectures by Michael Porter, Kelly Sims Gallagher, and Calvin Trillin.

Upcoming Events

Thursday, Apr. 12 8:00 pm

The National Gallery in the New Century: The Mellon Legacy

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The National Gallery of Art was conceived and endowed by the renowned financier, United States Secretary of Treasury, and US Ambassador to the Court of St. James’s, Andrew W. Mellon. Guided by Mellon’s grand vision to create a national collection for the American people, the Gallery has flourished and is now known as one of the world’s greatest repositories of Western art. Earl A. Powell III, only the fourth director to lead the National Gallery, will discuss the institution’s remarkable founding at the beginning of the twentieth century and its continued growth and achievement in the twenty-first.

Monday, Apr. 16 6:00 pm

What "Health Care Reform" Should Mean

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Donald M. Berwick, former Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services of the US Department of Health and Human Services, will explore the scope of the opportunity, emerging examples of local successes, and current concepts for bringing improvement to full scale and as quickly as possible. The main focus will be the trajectory in the US in the special context of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, President Obama’s principal Health Care Reform legislation signed into law in March 2010. Welcoming remarks by Rainer Hess, Chairman of the Federal Joint Committee.

Location: European School of Management and Technology (ESMT); Schlossplatz 1, 10178 Berlin.

Generously supported by Daimler-Fonds

Media partner: Der Tagesspiegel - Endorsed by Bundesverband Managed Care

Tuesday, Apr. 17 7:00 pm

The Steam-Powered Gardens of Potsdam and Berlin: Projecting Industrial Culture into the Landscape

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The naturalistic beauty of the large landscape gardens in and around Berlin is well known. Today, however, it is not often remarked that many of the gardens were built or rebuilt during the nineteenth century with steam engines at their heart, nor that their aesthetic quality derives in part from the engines that powered them. In this lecture, historian M. Norton Wise will discuss how the engines were originally intended to be celebrated by a wondering public, who visited them in their sometimes splendid houses. Over the course of the century, as industrialization developed, ownership of steam-powered gardens continually expanded, from the royal family to individual entrepreneurs to bourgeois colonies to the larger public. The gardens and their engines, therefore, can provide a view of the social history of industrialization literally on the ground, by making the now-invisible technology visible once again and by reuniting it with the aesthetics of Berlin’s splendid gardens.

Moderated by Anke te Heesen, Curator and Professor of the History of Science, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.

Thursday, Apr. 19 7:00 pm

"You Can Always Count on a Murderer for a Fancy Prose Style" On Nabokov's Lolita

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The fifty-six-year-old Vladimir Nabokov published Lolita in 1955. It was his twelfth novel, his third in English, the finest he would ever write, and amongst the finest ever written. Since then, Lolita has been read by millions and written about by thousands. It has been transformed for the stage and screen and been the subject of several court cases of note. Modern dance pieces and pop songs have found inspiration in it. Indie rock bands have borrowed their names from its hero and its villain (who are both, in fact, villains). An Italian novelist has told the story from the young girl’s perspective. An Iranian critic has credited it with helping her to teach women in her homeland to think courageously about their world. The Oxford English Dictionary has incorporated its inventions. Universities around the world offer classes teaching it. And yet, despite all this activity and adulation, the book has remained resolutely enigmatic. And what has remained enigmatic in it is nothing less than its nature: whether it is a sterile exercise of linguistic virtuosity or a deeply human account of love and loss, whether it is an incitement to vice or an encouragement to virtue, whether it is art for nothing but its own sake, or a work of rare moral force.

Tuesday, Apr. 24 7:00 pm

How to Do Things with the Ordinary: Skepticism and the Everyday in Philosophie, Art, and Literature

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Richard Deming's talk explores what the ordinary has things to teach us about belief and skepticism, about hope and despair. It seeks to reveal and engage the ongoing occasions for interpretation and imagination that are everywhere to be encountered in daily life. Deming's Academy project begins by arguing that because the ordinary is always at hand, it is at the furthest remove from our ability to perceive it and become fully aware of it. The ordinary, in fact, is what most needs to be discovered. This position leads to thinking not only about what constitutes “the ordinary”—the condition by which and in which we find ourselves daily—but also about the process by which we examine such a condition. Questions that are revealed in surprising, everyday places—as in a stand up comic’s routine, for instance, or looking at a Brillo box, or watching a Hollywood movie—are the means to finding the way that philosophy is shot through everything, and everything has the potential to call for attention, engagement, acknowledgment.

Moderated by Ulla Haselstein, Director, Graduate School of North American Studies, Freie Universität Berlin.

Alumni Highlights

New Publications: Astrid M. Eckert's project while at the Academy was turned into the book The Struggle for the Files - The Western Allies and the Return of German Archives after the Second World War (Cambridge University Press); Jonathan Safran Foer's New American Haggadah (Little, Brown and Company) , with a new translation of the traditional text by Nathan Englander and commentaries by Jewish writers and thinkers; Nicolas Eberstadt's work on demographic implosion in the Arab world discussed by David Brooks; Kenneth Gross's Puppet: An Essay on Uncanny Life (University Of Chicago Press) reviewed by John Rockwell; read new features in The New Yorker by Donald Antrim, Francisco Goldman, and Rivka Galchen; Dan Visconti is featured on Many-Sided Music by Aeolus Quartet (Longhorn Music); Morton Subotnick’s Monodrama, from Jacob’s Room, traveled with American Mavericks from San Fransisco to Carnegie Hall, he also received the Qwartz Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award on March 29. on show: Jenny Holzer's "Endgame" at Skarstedt Gellery (NY) through April 7; and new photographs by Mitch Epstein at Sikkema Jenkins & Co (NY) through April 14