Thursday, October 23, 2014, 07:30 pm | Foreign Policy

China and the West: Challenges and Opportunities

How should the West manage its increasingly complex relationships with China? This is the central question that this discussion among leading American China-specialist David Shambaugh and distinguished former German ambassador to China Michael Schaefer, will address. Shambaugh claims that America’s and Europe’s relations with China share some commonalities that the transatlantic partners should pursue in tandem, while in other areas they compete with each other. Is there, in fact, a common set of priorities that Washington and the EU should pursue in common vis-à-vis Beijing – or should each side pursue its own interests? Do the US and EU have a “grand strategy” that guides their approaches to China? What are Beijing’s strategies and priorities in its dealings with the US and Europe? Is there sufficient consultation and coordination among Washington and EU governments? These are some of the important issues that Shambaugh and Schaefer will explore in this evening's discussion, moderated by the executive director of the American Academy in Berlin, Gary Smith. 

David Shambaugh is Professor of Political Science & International Affairs and the founding Director of the China Policy Program in the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University. He is also a Nonresident Senior Fellow in the Foreign Policy Studies Program and Center for East Asian Policy Studies and Thornton China Center at The Brookings Institution in Washington, DC. He serves on the Board of Directors of the National Committee on US-China Relations, and is a member of several other public policy and scholarly organizations. Professor Shambaugh is a frequent commentator in the international media, serves on a number of editorial boards, and is a consultant to various governments, research institutions, foundations, and private corporations. As an author, he has written or edited thirty books, including China Goes Global: The Partial Power (2013), Tangled Titans: The United States and China (2012), and Charting China’s Future: Domestic & International Challenges (2011).

Michael Schaefer is Chairman of the Board of Directors of the BMW Foundation Herbert Quandt. Among others, he has held the positions of Permanent Representative at the German Embassy in Singapore, head of the Political Affairs Section at the German Permanent Mission to the Office of the United States in Geneva, as well as head of the Western Balkans Task Force and subsequently Deputy Political Director and Special Envoy for Southeast Europe at the Federal Foreign Office in Berlin. He was also Political Director of the Federal Foreign Office, before being appointed Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China, a post he held until June 2013.

Monday, October 27, 2014, 07:30 pm | Humanities
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Melvin J. Lasky’s War Diary "Und alles war still: Deutsches Tagebuch 1945"

A conversation between Michael Naumann, Journalist and Director, Barenboim-Said Akademie Berlin, and Wolfgang Schuller, Professor Emeritus of Ancient History, Universität Konstanz.

Melvin Jonah Lasky was an American journalist, intellectual, and member of the anti‑Communist Left. He founded the German journal Der Monat in 1948 and edited the British journal Encounter from 1958 to 1991. Lasky’s War Diary, an excerpt of which was featured in the American Academy’s Berlin Journal in 2007, will be published in full by Rowohlt Verlag in October 2014. In Und alles war still: Deutsches Tagebuch 1945, Lasky encounters a destroyed Germany. Bewildered, he traveled landscapes of the dead, outlined the beginnings of the Allied occupation, and listened to stories everyday people. Tales of concentration-camp survivors, resisters, Allied soldiers, prisoners of war, and followers of the Nazi regime combine to create a complex mosaic of the year 1945. On the occasion of the publication of Lasky’s Tagebuch, the American Academy invites you to a private viewing of the Lasky collection and selected personal affects.

Michael Naumann worked with Melvin Lasky and Helga Hegewisch to reintroduce Der Monat in the early 1980s. Before his tenure as an editor-publisher of DIE ZEIT, Naumann founded Metropolitan Books, served as CEO of Rowohlt Verlag, and as the chief executive of Holt Publishing. He served as German secretary of culture from 1998 to 2001, under Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, and as the editor of the political monthly Cicero, from 2010 until September 2012. Currently Naumann is the director of the Barenboim-Said Academy, which trains students from Israel, Palestine, and neighboring states in musical studies.

Wolfgang Schuller was educated as a lawyer and classicist. From 1972 until his retirement, in 2004, he was a professor of ancient history—since 1976 at the University of Konstanz. His research focuses on ancient Greece, ancient women’s history, and the history of the GDR. Schuller is a contributing writer at ZEIT-Geschichte and the author of an acclaimed biography of Cleopatra (Rohwolt, 2012). He is a regular contributor to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, among other publications.

In cooperation with Rowohlt Verlag

Tuesday, October 28, 2014, 07:30 pm | Humanities
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Kunstkammern, Practical Knowledge, and the Birth of the Modern Nation State

In this lecture, Mark Meadow will discuss how early modern German collections can be seen as pragmatic sites of knowledge-making that were intimately bound to the rise of the modern nation-state and the emergence of a global mercantile and informational economy. Through the collecting activities of the Fuggers, the Augsburg banking magnates who also sponsored the German colonization of the Caribbean coast of South America, Meadow argues that Kunstkammer emerged decades earlier than once thought. He also explores the complex systems of value at work in these collections, which extended well beyond monetary and aesthetic worth to include pure and applied research value, political and religious control and social memory. As a point of origin for modern public museums and research universities, a better understanding of the functions served by these early museums has important policy implications for the stewardship of cultural, scientific and academic heritage today.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014, 07:30 pm | Social Sciences
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The Genealogy of a Gene: Patents, HIV/AIDS, and Race

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, November 06, 2014, 07:30 pm | Arts and Culture
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The Solid-Light Works and Other Projects

In his lecture, 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, November 11, 2014, 07:30 pm | Humanities
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Whistling up a Storm: Toward a History of Emergency

How have we denizens of the twenty-first century arrived at our notions of emergency? What was considered an emergency in the 18th, 19th, or early 20th 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, November 13, 2014, 07:30 pm | Humanities
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The Challenge of Recent History: Political and Economic Crisis in Post-1968 Mexico

Louise E. Walker, Associate Professor of History, Northeastern University

Tuesday, November 18, 2014, 07:30 pm | Architecture
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X-Ray Architecture

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, November 20, 2014, 07:30 pm | Arts and Culture
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The Unstable Object

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, November 25, 2014, 07:30 pm | Humanities
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Healer, Messiah, Rock Star: Bruno Gröning and the Early Federal Republic

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 film-makers, people in the street, 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.