Historian Robert Beachy presents the broad argument from his book Gay Berlin: Birthplace of a Modern Identity (published in November 2014 and in German translation last June). 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 War. As a city of firsts, Berlin hosted the first homosexual journal, the first homosexual rights organization, the Institute for Sexual Science--also a first--and the first sex-reassignment surgeries. According to Beachy, Berlin’s contributions still influence our thinking about sex and gender to this day.
Historian Monica Green’s lecture “A Global History of Health" addresses the need for a narrative of global health that encompasses every continent, across time, and includes all major infectious diseases. This means, as well, the inclusion of histories of pathogens and the human actions that played a role in human exposure to disease. As she reframes the public discussion of epidemic and pandemic, Green’s work is relevant to biomedical researchers, molecular biologists, population geneticists, and policymakers.
Economic historian Robin Einhorn notes that most commentators tend to focus on two questions about American tax politics: how high or low, and how progressive or regressive. Yet because the US political system is designed to emphasize geography more strongly than class-interest or political ideology, the history of federal taxation is better understood in geographical terms. Einhorn will discuss how, from this perspective, the big story is about redistribution from the South to the Northeast, through the nineteenth-century tariff, and then from the Northeast to the South, through the twentieth-century income tax. Only in retrospect is it surprising that Southerners championed the adoption of the federal income tax, which reversed the direction of sectional redistribution.
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? CEO of Energy Innovation, Hal Harvey, examines how decarbonization trends and new technologies indicate that we can arrive at a reasonable climate future with very modest costs and profound benefits.
On September 18, the Aflred Herrhausen Gesellschaft of the Deutsche Bank held a conference entitled "Denk ich an Deutschland: The World Out of Joint -- Searching for New Certainties." The conference addressed the issue of European borders being shifted once again, while the European project of integration is in a crisis. In Germany, fringe political forces are becoming stronger. Is this the end of the age of certainty? The conference included Minister of Defence Ursula von der Leyen, along with Anne-Marie Le Gloannec, Martin Schulz, Enrico Letta and Heinrich August Winkler. Gerhard Casper, president of the American Academy in Berlin, joined a panel discussion on the United States and Russia, along with Fyodor Lukyanov, editor-in-chief of Russia in Global Affairs, moderated by Thomas Matussek, managing director of the Alfred Herrhausen Gesellschaft.