If there is one area of the world where US presidents are consistently confronted with the limitations of their power, it is the Middle East. But must it be so? On the evening of March 26, Dirk Ippen Fellow Jeffrey Goldberg spoke about US President Barack Obama’s policy in the region, which is the focus of his most recent book project. An award-winning journalist and national correspondent for the Atlantic, Goldberg hopes his book will help explain the “diabolical complexities” of the Middle East.
There are many texts that have been handed down to us from the ancient world. But there are also myriad documents that were not, destroyed before they could enter posterity. In his lecture on the evening of March 31, Anna-Maria Kellen Fellow Nathanial Levtow examined the phenomenon of text destruction, from the beginning of writing to the formation of the Bible, and examined the strategic interests behind such destruction.
Every year, more and more Europeans are embracing Islam. What stands out about recent conversions is that they are taking place at a time when Islam is increasingly seen as contrary to European values. On the evening of March 17, Foreign Policy Forum lecturer Esra Özyürek spoke about her new book, Being German, Becoming Muslim (Princeton, December 2014), which explores how Germans come to Islam within this antagonistic climate.
On the evening of May 28, the American Academy's Kurt Viermetz Distinguished Visitor Lawrence H. Summers held a lecture entitled "European Economy & Financial Future: An American View." Summers, the 71st US Secretary of the Treasury, discussed the respective advantages and disadvantages of American and European economic policy approaches and noted that strong policy actions are essential to raise growth rates and to combat inequality.
On the evening of March 12, 2015, the American Academy's Holtzbrinck Fellow William Uricchio held his lecture entitled "The Cultural Work of Algorithms." Uricchio has sought to launch a critical discourse on the cultural importance of algorithms and their impact on present-day society. He emphasized the omnipresence of algorithms in our daily lives, be it in the form of algorithmically generated news stories, collaborative text sites such as Wikipedia, or online search engines like Google. Algorithms, he argues, intervene in the subject-object relationship, destabilizing old certainties developed during the Modern and provoking a reordering of (human) agency.
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