Tuesday, January 24, 2017 | The Berlin Prize

Presentation of the Spring 2017 Fellows


The Spring 2017 Class of Berlin Prize Fellows:

Molly Antopol
Writer; Jones Lecturer of Creative Writing, Stanford University

Kate Brown
Professor of History, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Wendy Hui Kyong Chun
Professor of Modern Culture and Media, Brown University

Paul Guyer
Jonathan Nelson Professor of Humanities and Philosophy, Brown University

Trenton Doyle Hancock
Artist, Houston

Adam Johnson
Writer; Phil and Penny Knight Professor in Creative Writing, Stanford University

Harry Liebersohn
Professor of History, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Thessia Machado
Sound Artist and Composer, New York

Virág Molnár
Associate Professor of Sociology, The New School for Social Research

Jane O. Newman
Professor of Comparative Literature and European Languages and Studies, University of California, Irvine

Mark A. Pottinger

Associate Professor of Music, Visual and Performing Arts, Manhattan College

Aili Mari Tripp
Professor of Political Science and Evjue Bascom Professor of Gender & Women's Studies

Wednesday, January 25, 2017, 07:30 pm | Special Event
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True Believer: Stalin’s Last American Spy

At a time when Russia is alleged to have manipulated the recent US Presidential elections, Kati Marton returns to the American Academy to present her latest book, an astonishing tale of past intervention by Moscow in the highest reaches of the US government. True Believer (Simon & Schuster, 2016) reveals the life of Noel Field, an Ivy League-educated State Department employee, who was deeply rooted in the culture and history of the United States yet spied for Joseph Stalin. Like many of his generation, Field was attracted to communism’s promise to right social and political wrongs. But how did his initial idealism lead him to betray both his country and his family? With a reporter’s eye for detail and a historian’s grasp of the cataclysmic events of the twentieth century, Marton captures Field’s riveting quest for a life of meaning that went horribly wrong. Though set largely from the 1920s to the 1950s, this story of fanaticism and its profound effects is just as relevant today.

Generously supported by Daimler-Fonds

Thursday, January 26, 2017, 07:30 pm | Arts and Culture
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mining the unsound

New York-based sound and visual artist Thessia Machado offers an exploration of the emergence of sound in her artistic practice. She will also discuss her research into the musical possibilities of humble sonic sources and discarded technologies—turntables, photocells, circuit boards, speakers, and LCD screens. Following her talk, Machado will give a short performance involving an instrument she recently built: an analog synthesizer-circuit controlled by the image supplied from a cathode-ray-tube (CRT) baby monitor (pictured).

In cooperation with the CTM / transmediale Vorspiel

Tuesday, January 31, 2017, 07:30 pm | Humanities
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Christian Existentialism and a Jewish Life: The Worlds of Erich Auerbach

The German-Jewish literary scholar and critic Erich Auerbach (1892–1957) fled Nazi Germany in 1935, settling first in Turkey, then in the United States. Professor of Comparative Literature Jane O. Newman explores his readings of writers from St. Augustine through Montaigne to Virginia Woolf, setting his interpretations in conversation with the thought of his contemporaries, particularly phenomenologists and existentialists in Germany and France—both Protestant and Catholic. Newman traces Auerbach’s dialogue with these strands of thought and their European context, shedding additional light on Auerbach’s identity as an engaged intellectual in difficult times. She argues that seeing the diverse worlds out of which Auerbach’s work originally arose is crucial to understanding the complexity of his thought and its ongoing relevance in our own fraught moment.

Tuesday, February 07, 2017, 07:30 pm | Social Sciences
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Marketing Radical Nationalism in Post-Socialist Hungary

Bumper stickers in the shape of pre-1920 Hungary. Heritage tourism to Transylvania. Clothing with ninth-century runic letters. Rock bands singing of a glorious past. In this lecture, sociologist Virág Molnár explores the intersection of consumer markets and right-wing nationalism in contemporary Hungary. She argues that the increasing right-wing radicalization of Hungarian politics and the growth of “uncivil” publics have been fueled by an expanding industry that effectively commodifies these sentiments and packages them for consumption. They have given birth to a fluid subculture in which expressive symbols, objects, rituals, and lifestyles have become carriers of political convictions and markers of group boundaries, allowing radical nationalist discourse to penetrate mainstream political discourse.

Thursday, February 09, 2017, 07:30 pm | Social Sciences
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Women’s Rights: Contrasting the Maghreb and Middle East

For decades, it seemed that women’s rights in the Middle East and North Africa had fallen permanently behind other world regions. Today, the picture is rapidly changing, especially in the North African countries of Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia, known as the Maghreb. In this region, legislative and constitutional reforms for women’s rights have been made at a pace not seen in the Middle East. In Algeria and Tunisia, for example, women hold 32 percent of legislative seats, compared with an average of 10 percent in the rest of the MENA countries. In this lecture, political scientist Aili Mari Tripp explores the reasons for these surprising developments in the Maghreb.

Please note that this event takes place at Museum THE KENNEDYS (Auguststraße 11–13, 10117 Berlin)

In cooperation with the Museum THE KENNEDYS

Photo: Dzoasis, Creative Commons

Tuesday, February 14, 2017, 07:30 pm | Humanities
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Music and the Globalization of Culture

Culture was long defined by the artistic and intellectual creations of local communities. In this talk, historian Harry Liebersohn explores the globalization of culture as exemplified by music. He argues that technological innovations of the early twentieth century dramatically expanded music’s horizons by making global developments accessible to both producers and consumers for the first time. Berlin-based scientists, scholars, musicians, and businessmen played no small part in this transformation. Liebersohn’s talk surveys both the rapid changes in musical culture and its legacy in the era of internet downloads and streaming music services.

Monday, February 20, 2017, 07:30 pm | Arts and Culture
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On Walls and Music

New York-based composer Raphael Mostel is well known for his score for, and multi-media production of, the classic picture-book The Travels of Babar. He has also composed completely different works for ancient ambiguous-pitched instruments, primarily of Himalayan origin, which have been characterized by the New York Times as “worlds away from any popular, classical, or even Asian tradition,” and has collaborated with noted architect Steven Holl in teaching the internationally acclaimed seminar "Architectonics of Music." In this lecture, Mostel draws on his personal history to explore the diverse physical, social, and political implications of both ancient and modern concepts of sound and barriers. (Photo: Ellen Wallenstein)


Thursday, February 23, 2017, 07:30 pm | Law
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Institutions, Migrants, and Machines: Three Pivotal Transitions in American Law since 1890

Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar, Justice, Supreme Court of California; Affiliated Scholar, Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, Stanford University; and former Stanley Morrison Professor of Law, Stanford Law School

Thursday, March 09, 2017, 07:30 pm | Arts and Culture
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Trenton Doyle Hancock and Mind of the Mound

The Academy's spring 2017 Guna S. Mundheim Fellow in the Visual Arts, Trenton Doyle Hancock, will deliver an artist talk.