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A Reception at Schloß Bellevue

President Joachim Gauck welcomed the American Academy to Schloß Bellevue on the afternoon of October 7 for a speech and reception in honor of the Academy's twentieth anniversary. "There are many transatlantic connections," President Gauck said. "But in this transatlantic net of relations there is one organization, here in Berlin, that plays an especially important role: the American Academy." 

The 2014 Henry A. Kissinger Prize Honoring James Baker, III

James A. Baker, III, received the 2014 Henry A. Kissinger Prize on the evening of October 7, with laudations delivered by Wolfgang Schäuble, Hans-Dietrich Genscher, Dr. Kissinger, and a video message from Secretary of State John Kerry. The prize recognizes Secretary Baker’s outstanding contributions towards German reunification and the peaceful resolution of the Cold War, in particular his central role in international negotiations following the fall of the Berlin Wall. 

The American Academy Turns Twenty

Nearly 200 guests gathered at the Hans Arnhold Center on the evening of October 8 for the Academy's twentieth-anniversary celebration. Joining Academy trustees, fellows, and management were longstanding benefactors, journalists, and former staff for a night of inspired addresses and entertainment, including a performance by Max Raabe, a short film about the Academy by trustee Volker Schlöndorff, and speeches by German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and the polymathic president of Bard College, Leon Botstein. 

Upcoming Events

Tuesday, Nov. 04 7:30pm

The Genealogy of a Gene: Patents, HIV/AIDS, and Race

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In this lecture, Myles Jackson will explain how he has used the CCR5 gene as a heuristic tool to probe three critical developments in biotechnology from 1990 to 2010: gene patenting, HIV/AIDS diagnostics and therapeutics, and race and genomics. Taking an interdisciplinary approach, Jackson ties together intellectual property, the sociology of race, and molecular biology by showing how certain patent regimes have rewarded different forms of intellectual property. The decision to patent genes was not inevitable, Jackson argues, nor "natural." Likewise, there is nothing inevitable about using race as a major category of human classification. Jackson explains the economic and political interests that rationalized those choices -- and explains the alternatives. He attempts to resurrect the past in order to illustrate the alternative paths not taken and explain why they were never chosen.

Thursday, Nov. 06 7:30pm

The Solid-Light Works and Other Projects

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In his lecture, artist Anthony McCall will discuss the evolution of his solid-light works in the 1970s, the appearance of vertical installations, as well as horozontal installations from 2004 onwards. Most recently, he has been developing proposals for large-scale projects outside the museum.

Moderated by Hubertus von Amelunxen, President, The European Graduate School EGS

Tuesday, Nov. 11 7:30pm

Whistling up a Storm: Toward a History of Emergency

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How have we denizens of the twenty-first century arrived at our notions of emergency? What was considered an emergency in the eighteenth, nineteenth, or early twentieth centuries, and what was one supposed to do in an emergency, national or local, communal or personal? How differently do we now understand and approach emergencies, and what does it mean in 2014---philosophically, medically, politically, emotionally---to “be prepared for” emergencies? Are we still whistling in the dark, or whistling past graveyards, or whistling in the wind, or whistling up a storm? In his lecture, Hillel Schwartz will address the question of “emergency,” beginning from the traditional understanding of emergency as “an unanticipated juncture that demands immediate, direct, often concerted action so as to stave off drastic threats or to cope with aftermaths of disaster.” He will explain how emergencies have come to be associated with fashion, contraception, and daycare as well as oil spills, nuclear “incidents,” climate change, and international terrorism – a remarkable shift in nature and notion since “emergency” was floated into written English in the 1600s.

Thursday, Nov. 13 7:30pm

Political and Economic Crisis in Post-1968 Mexico

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In the late twentieth century, Mexico’s middle classes were plunged into increasing turmoil. When the post-war boom began to dissipate in the late 1960s, doctors, shopkeepers, and the denizens of café society awoke to a new, economically terrifying world. Following massacres of students at peaceful protests in 1968, one-party control of Mexican politics dissipated as well. In this lecture, Louise Walker will look into the history of economic and political crisis, examining how the middle classes experienced increased inflation and navigated an emerging consumer-credit economy. Using recently declassified secret police reports, alongside government institutional records, economic data, and cultural production, Walker argues that the middle classes acquired a new political and fiscal identity: they became consumer-citizens. Walker speaks to the challenges and opportunities of doing recent history, such as the availability of archive sources, the polemics between political, cultural, and economic methods, and the politics of studying a period of history when many of its protagonists are still alive.

Tuesday, Nov. 18 7:30pm

X-Ray Architecture

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Modern architecture, launched by an international group of avant-garde architects in the 1920s, has usually been understood in terms of functional efficiency, new technologies of construction, and the machine aesthetic. In contrast, the hypothesis of this research is that the architecture of the early twentieth century was shaped by the dominant medical obsession of its time: tuberculosis. In this lecture, Beatriz Colomina explains that architectural discourse has, from its beginning, associated building and body, the body that it describes is the medical body—a body that is reconstructed by each new theory of health. Avant-garde architects of the early decades of the twentieth century presented their new architecture as a health inducing instrument, a kind of medical equipment for protecting and enhancing the body. Buildings even started to look like X-Rays revealing internal secrets.

Thursday, Nov. 20 7:30pm

The Unstable Object

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As technology continues to disrupt so many social and economic formations, our relationship to every object we encounter is transformed. Things now present an entirely new register of unstable meanings. Everything is made elsewhere... someplace across the planet; and the invisible men, women, and children who produce these things can only be imagined. What are their working days like? How do the objects they produce connect us? What kinds of exchanges take place through the object itself? "The Unstable Object" is a series of films and installations that observe the uncanny conditions of labor and mass production in a world of extreme change. In his lecture, Daniel Eisenberg questions the nature and meaning of work, objects, consumption, and networks in today’s globalized world: “I am interested in the ways that ‘things’ transmit and elicit sensations of all kinds,” he writes, “both for the producer and the consumer. The object becomes an intermediary, a medium for the transmission of sensation from the one who makes, to the one who takes.”

Tuesday, Nov. 25 7:30pm

Healer, Messiah, Rock Star: Bruno Gröning and the Early Federal Republic

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Bruno Gröning shot like a rocket across the heavens of the early Federal Republic of Germany. Emerging from obscurity in 1949, he swiftly rose to enormous fame, preaching that evil was responsible for illness and claiming to channel divine power to cure it. For a time, Gröning’s name was on the lips of nearly everyone: politicians, city and regional officials, medical doctors, university professors, police investigators, lawyers, documentary filmmakers, and members of the press. He attracted workers and aristocrats, men, women, and children, movie stars, and government ministers and members of the Allied occupation administration. But what was Gröning's meaning in this immediate postwar, post-Nazi moment? Indeed, what did it mean to be a messiah after Hitler? Monica Black will explore these and other questions in her lecture.

Tuesday, Dec. 02 7:30pm

Weeping for Dido: Rhetoric, Gender, and Classical Emotions in the Medieval Classroom

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In this lecture, Marjorie Woods discusses her research into the copious marginal comments in medieval Latin manuscripts, including over a hundred school copies of classical texts, to learn what passages received special attention from teachers and were performed by students in the classroom. Woods, a professor of English at the University of Texas at Austin, unravels how the focus upon emotional passages helped students learn Latin and remember important literary texts—and, moreover, how performing speeches by women allowed boys to explore emotions that were denied them outside the classroom.

Thursday, Dec. 04 7:00pm

The Unstable Object, II

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Please note this lecture takes place at the Deutsches Hygiene-Museum, in Dresden. 

Filmmaker Daniel Eisenberg takes his "Unstable Object" lecture to the Deutsches Hygiene-Museum, in Dresden, and will discuss the ways technology continues to disrupt a variety of social and economic formations. Eisenberg questions the nature and meaning of work, objects, consumption, and networks in a globalized world: “I am interested in the ways that ‘things’ transmit and elicit sensations of all kinds,” he writes, “both for the producer and the consumer. The object becomes an intermediary, a medium for the transmission of sensation from the one who makes, to the one who takes.”