Ioana Uricaru's screenplay Paperclip is based on historical events, especially Operation Paperclip, the US military's program of recruiting German scientists at the end of World War II. This intelligence operation, which made it possible to establish the American space program, is named after the office supplies used to affix a new set of paperwork—and therefore a new identity—onto the scientists' files. It also became the target of controversy decades later, as the scrubbed biographies of some of its beneficiaries came back to haunt them. This fictionalized version of the operation focuses on the moment when two representatives of the US military are confronted with the meaning of their mission. Paperclip uses authentic historical events as a substrate from which difficult questions can grow and develop, challenging viewers to look very closely at the raw reality of human behavior and its consequences.
Historian Rebecca Boehling examines divergent Western Allies' theories behind denazification and how they implemented their policies once on the ground. How, she asks, did denazification develop from the intent to come to terms with, if not confront, the past, and to attempt a level of reconciliation conducive to economic recovery and democratization? Using a broad chronological and geographical framework of transitional justice, she uses the case study of Berlin to explore how the Western Allied theories were put into practice—first by the Allies and then by Germans.
There are more than two hundred surviving manuscripts of Frankish capitularies—royal laws divided into chapters. Though they were produced by kings and courts, they were mostly copied by local authorities who decided to use them for their own purposes. Jennifer Davis's lecture, the title of which is eponymous with her most recent book, Per capitularios nostros: Law and its Uses in the Frankish Kingdoms, examines how these laws were used in different ways over time, revealing changes in Frankish politics, society, and culture. Her focus on manuscript evidence -- many of them located in Berlin -- allows her to look at both what kings intended and how Frankish law was used.
Tom Franklin's Academy lecture features readings from and a discussion of his New York Times bestselling 2010 novel Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter. This book, Franklin says, is "accidentally autobiographical," in that the author had few plans to use aspects and details of his own life. But when he found himself working in Brazil, far from his native Alabama, he began to draw from his own past. The discussion will also examine how the subconscious mind works when writing fiction. Franklin was introduced by his wife, Beth Ann Fennelly, the current poet laureate of the state of Mississippi.
Michael Watts' lecture focuses on two home-grown insurgencies in Nigeria: Boko Haram, a radical Islamist movement located in the dry and arid northern Muslim heartlands, and the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), arising from the largely Christian oil-fields of the southeastern rainforests. Each insurgency, Watts argues, arose from common failures of state, civic, customary and religious authority, and from the material, political, and economic insecurities produced by the failure of national secular development.