Wednesday, November 18, 2015 | Social Sciences

Methlabs and Industrial Alchemy

From the Fall 2015 Berlin Journal

The below excerpt is from anthropologist Jason Pine's article "Methlabs and Indutrial Alchemy," in the fall 2015 issue of the Berlin Journal.

Meth cooking is at once sacred and sorcerous because of its alchemical promise. The base matter of chemical-industrial, mass-consumer everyday life—Wal-phed Nasal Decongestant, Coleman...

Monday, November 16, 2015 | Media

The Fall 2015 Berlin Journal

The fall 2015 issue of the Berlin Journal, published on November 16, features a suite of articles about the ups and downs of the German-American relationship since WWII, with contributions from Josef Joffe, Karsten Voigt, William Hitchcock, and Philipp Gassert. In-depth articles by the Academy's resident fellows range from topics on Yugoslav architecture during the Cold War to taking...

Monday, November 16, 2015 | Humanities

Shame and Shamelessness in the Age of New Media

Fritz Stern Lecture

Shame and shaming have been powerful tools since the expulsion of Adam and Eve from Paradise, notes Andrea Köhler, the New York correspondent for the Neue Zürcher Zeitung. At her November 12 Fritz Stern Lecture, Köhler discussed how the rise of social media has dramatically impacted the brutality of shaming, leading to what Köhler characterized as "a cultural boiling point....

Tuesday, November 10, 2015 | Obituary

Remembering Helmut Schmidt


The American Academy in Berlin mourns the death of Helmut Schmidt, former Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany (1974-1982), who passed away on November 10, 2015, at age 96.

Schmidt, a great friend and supporter of the American Academy, was awarded the Academy's inaugural Henry A. Kissinger Prize, in 2007.

We have selected a number of photos of his recent visits...

Tuesday, November 10, 2015 | Technology

Shifting Power Dynamics in the New Digital Age

Stephen M. Kellen Lecture

On the evening of November 9, Jared Cohen, the founder and director of Google Ideas, drew a crowd of over five hundred guests to Berlin's Rotes Rathaus for his lecture, "Shifting Power Dynamics in the New Digital Age." After a warm introduction by Academy president Gerhard Casper--president of Stanford when Cohen was...

Monday, November 09, 2015 | Architecture

Planning the Postwar City: East German Design and Its Afterlife in Vietnam

Bosch Public Policy Lecture

Scholars have long been interested in architecture and urban planning as a cultural battleground during the Cold War. What is less known, however, is how such ideological conflicts played out abroad, beyond the frontlines of Europe. On the evening of November 3, architectural historian Christina Schwenkel, a Bosch...

Monday, November 02, 2015 | Humanities

The Possibility of Social Progress

Daimler Lecture

In his Daimler Lecture of October 29, philosopher Philip Kitcher, of Columbia University, examined the concept of social progress by proposing that we should think of progress pragmatically, in terms of overcoming problems rather than as directed towards some ideal state. Following the lead of the great American...

Thursday, October 29, 2015 | Humanities

Gay Berlin: Birthplace of a Modern Identity

American Academy Book Presentation

On October 26 historian Robert Beachy presented the broad argument from his most recent book, Gay Berlin: Birthplace of a Modern Identity. He argues that German legal reformers and medical doctors invented a new language to describe an “essentialist” sexual identity that helped to shape Berlin’s community of sexual minorities, both before and after the First World...

Thursday, October 22, 2015 | Social Sciences

The South and the Federal Income Tax

Siemens Lecture

In her October 15 lecture, economic historian Robin Einhorn, of the University of California, Berkeley, recounted the two questions about American tax politics she sees most commentators focused upon: how high or low, and how progressive or regressive. But because the US political system is designed to emphasize geography more strongly than class-interest or political ideology, Einhorn...

Friday, October 09, 2015 | Environment

Policies to Decarbonize the Economy

Airbus Group Lecture

The world received big news in March 2015 when the International Energy Agency reported that, for the first time in history, annual energy-related CO2 emission stayed flat while the global economy experienced positive growth. Is this the start of a serious movement to decarbonize the economy? And can we thereby halt runaway climate change and avoid almost unimaginable damage to the Earth? In...