As 2016 comes to an end, we look back at another successful year of stimulating lectures, colloquia and events that brought together faculty, students and the greater Bay Area community to CGES at UC Berkeley. We continued our exciting German History Lecture Series featuring important thinkers reflecting on questions pertinent to scholars of past and contemporary commentators. Speakers explored the role of German women in the Nazi killing fields; how fear shaped cultural democratization processes experienced by German society; the rationalizations of German soldiers going to war during the Third Reich; the absence of race in postwar Germany; the role of populism in Europe and America as well as the ways in which U.S. lynching of African-Americans informed Nazi racial policy in the 1930s.
Visitors to CGES heard expert perspectives on developing news stories such as Germany’s role in the refugee crisis by experts such as Die Zeit journalist, Wolfgang Bauer; Astrid Ziebarth, Migration Fellow for the Europe Program of the German Marshall Fund of the US and Sabine von Mering, CGES Director at Brandeis University. Many speakers also offered their views on German economic developments including Michael Hüther of the Cologne Institute of Economic Research, Jan Techau, Director of the Richard C. Holbrooke Forum at the American Academy in Berlin, Timo Lochocki, Transatlantic Fellow of the German Marshall Fund of the U.S. and Volker Bouffier, the Minister President of the German State of Hessen.
Graduate students affiliated with CGES were especially active and the research workshops “Comparing Social Solidarity in Europe and the US,” “Jews, Germans and other Europeans: Modern Encounters” and “Modern German Histories” highlighted dissertation presentations by graduate students in the social sciences and the humanities.
The CGES calendar in 2016 was capped by the highly anticipated Gerald D. and Norma Feldman Lecture, held each November to honor the life and work of the former director of CGES and IES—Professor Gerald D. Feldman. This year CGES/IES hosted Celia Applegate, the William R. Kenan, Jr, Chair of History at Vanderbilt University who gave a talk on music’s role in shaping the German nation.
Thanks to the continued support of the DAAD and our generous donors, preparations are underway for more innovative programming highlighting the research and scholarship at CGES in 2017 and 2018. The upcoming agenda includes events addressing important themes such as Germany’s evolving role in the policy and politics of climate change, the refugee crisis and current questions of German and European historiography.
Akasemi Newsome, Executive Director (CGES)