February 25, 2016
Professor of History, Claremont McKenna College
March 8, 2016
Professor of History and Director of European Studies, UC San Diego
March 14, 2016
(Ph.D. Berkeley, 1996), Professor of History, Northwestern University
February 5, 2015
Timothy Scott Brown
Professor of History, Northeastern University
March 2, 2015
Director, German Historical Institute, Washington, DC
Professor Berghoff contrasted the recent treatment of corruption in the United States with similar policies in Germany. He began his historical survey with the administration of President Nixon, who became famously associated with the Watergate scandal. Nixon’s resignation from office, according to Berghoff, marks the starting point of a long campaign against corruption in the US. The Foreign Corrupt Practice Act of 1977, which aimed to limit bribery of foreign officials, helped to uncover multiple secret offshore account firms with questionable payments by US firms. Berghoff compared this unilateral act of anti-corruption movement in the US to the rather controversial treatment of corruption in Germany. Bribes, considered a necessary part of doing business in many foreign countries, were considered tax-deductible as “useful expenditures” and obtained government approval. In the 1990s, however, a global shift in perspective on corruption due to the liberalization and democratization of the international market took place, altering German practices. The increased awareness of poverty in third world countries was accompanied by the creation of international organizations aimed at fighting government malfeasance, such as Transparency International and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. These shifts created the need for a globally competitive, well-organized market free from corrupt practices that could enable a fair exchange between countries like the US and Germany. This led to a reversal of German policy, and a tightening of anti-graft measures.
March 9, 2015
Associate Professor of History, Naval Postgraduate School; Senior Fellow at IES
On the basis of research taken from his recentlypublished book A Sense of the Enemy: The High-Stakes History of Reading Your Rival's Mind (2014), Professor Shore presented a new theory for analyzing foreign affairs through what he termed "strategic empathy": the ability of leaders to analyze their enemy's thought processes in foreign affairs. He argued that rather than looking only for patterns in a foreign nation's behavior, it is more productive to examine their behavior in what he called "pattern-breaking" moments, which are more likely to reveal underlying goals and decision-making processes. To illustrate his point he used several examples from 20th- century Germany. In the early 1920s, for example, Germany encountered a Soviet Union that, on the one hand, was secretly allowing Germany to rearm in exchange for German technical expertise and weapons and, on the other consistently attempting to foment revolt within the country through the Comintern. When details of this plot were leaked in 1926, German foreign minister Gustav Stresemann correctly interpreted Soviet denials of the program as a prioritization of the military strengthening of the Soviet Union over its revolutionary goals to leverage a better position for Germany and weather the ensuing scandal with little damage to Germany's image abroad.
April 2, 2015
Prof. Dr. Institut fuer Soziologie, Technische Universitaet, Dresden
April 15, 2015
Head, Rosa Luxembourg Foundation, Regional Department for OECD Countries, EU, UN, and North Africa; Head of Office: Athens, Greece
Centrifugal forces seem to be pulling Europe apart. While the Greek crisis put the eurozone in jeopardy, and ongoing austerity crises in southern Europe are strengthening left- and right- wing parties and social movements, wars in other world regions, such as Syria and Ukraine, are encroaching on Europe's borders. The refugee catastrophe, a result of Brussels policies in recent decades, is part of the new war scenario. Germany currently holds the position of the ‘power in the middle’. Bussemer raised the following questions: Will Chancellor Merkel's policies lead to a reintegration of Europe or will they destroy the European Project? What are the alternatives to current policies, and what would a future European security system look like?
September 14, 2015
DAAD Visiting Professor at Berkeley until 2014, now Visiting Professor at University of Florida, specializing in Modern Germany
Around 1980, West Germany's environmental movement had come to deeply affect the spiritual and cultural self-understanding of the country's Protestant churches, which saw themselves challenged to respond to growing societal concerns around pollution and sustainability. This lecture took a close look at two aspects of the intertwinement of environmentalism with modern German Protestantism: first, the attempts, referred to as "eco-biblicism", to reconcile Scripture with an environmentalist world-view; second, a tendency to incorporate concepts of natural religion claimed to have been preserved by Native American tribes into both theological reflection and liturgical practice.
October 26, 2015
(Ph.D, Berkeley 2006), Associate Professor of History, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, specializing in Modern Central Europe
October 7, 2015
(Ph.D. Berkeley 2008), Assistant Professor of Modern European History, Stanford University
On October 7, CGES was pleased to welcome Edith Sheffer, Assistant Professor of History at Stanford University, to the Berkeley campus. Her lecture, entitled "'No Soul': Hans Asperger and the Nazi Origins of Autism," was part of the CGES lecture series in German history. Sheffer's presentation highlighted the ways in which the present-day definition of autism relates to the evolution of the diagnosis during Germany’s Third Reich. Focusing on three different areas of influence, Sheffer detailed the work of Hans Asperger and discussed the ways in which he both helped and hindered autistic children's access to proper care. The first area of influence, fascist psychiatry, countered the Nazi eliminationist psychiatry through its emphasis on reintegration of autistic children into the collective. In Asperger's clinic, this meant advocating for "redeemable" children through new, progressive treatment options, such as special playgroups and classroom aids. Nazi eugenics also influenced Asperger's work, however, as manifested through his different diagnoses of children with similar symptoms solely based on gender. To him, most girls were incurable and needed to be locked away, while most boys had the potential for reintegration into the community. The final area of influence discussed was child euthanasia, a fate Asperger prescribed to his most severe cases regardless of his lack of membership in the Nazi Party. Sheffer concluded by stating that Asperger's idea of autism was deeply imbedded in Third Reich mentality. She claims that umbrella labels such as "autism" make it difficult to treat children as individuals and questioned whether "autism" will still exist as a label in ten or twenty years.
Spring 2016 Lectures