Academic Year 2017/2018
June 7, 2018: Film screening: „Back to the Fatherland“
On the last colloquium event in Spring semester 2018, our center was able to screen the film “Back to the fatherland” at the library auditorium of the University of Haifa. The film is a documentary project with some movie elements but highly autobiographical impact by Katharina “Kat” Rohrer and Gil Levanon and has been screened before at several national and international film festivals in Israel and in Austria. Maria Gierlinger-Landa from the Austrian Cultural Forum in Tel Aviv gave some information about previous international screenings of the film and its reception. Afterwards, Dr. Ayelet Banai from our center welcomed the students and other visitors and Charlotte Trottier gave a short introduction to the film. The film showed four young people moving either to Vienna or to Berlin, including the stories of its producers, and documented the individual and different ways of the third generation dealing with the past. After the film, we were lucky to have Kat Rohrer and Gil Levanon on Skype, to ask them some questions and get into dialogue.
May 31, 2018: Novel Reading: Rabinovici: “Elsewhere“
On May 30, 2018, author Doron Rabinovici read from his book „Elsewhere“ at the Haifa Center for German and European Studies in frame of the weekly colloquium. The event was well attended, also from people outside the center, and also by the Director of the Austrian Cultural Forum, Dr. Johannes Strasser. An interesting introduction about Rabinovici as a person as well as on his work was held by DAAD-lecturer Winfried Schumacher. After providing a sample from his novel as well in English as partly also in German, he discussed about his motives of writing, the political and autobiographical impact of “Elsewhere” and his current novel “Die Außerirdischen” as well as about the political situation in Austria and other European countries. Fundamental issues like questioning the concept of Heimat compared to the Hebrew concept of מולדת as well the issue of identity were part of a very fruitful discussion by Rabinovici and the audience. Being an important political voice not only but especially in Austria, Rabinovici reported about his experiences concerning his political activism, for example his engagement against the FPÖ and other right wing movements – currently, and in the past. The colloquium was completed by another reading of a section from Elsewhere.
May 3, 2018: DAAD Info Session on Scholar Opportunities for Study and Research in Germany and in France
On Thursday the 3rd of May a DAAD information event in cooperation with the Campus France took place to inform the students about possibilities to continuing their studies in Germany or France and scholarship opportunities for study and research in both countries. The DAAD was represented by the DAAD lecturer Julia Papushado from the HCGES. For Campus France Sebastien Linden from Tel Aviv arrived to inform about the opportunities. Katharina Konarek, the academic director of the HCGES introduced and welcomed all guests, before the event started. At the beginning of the event Sebastien Linden informed about the possibilities to get to know the academic landscape in France. Julia Papushado then presented the more specific opportunities to study and receive a scholarship in Germany. Afterwards, the event was opened for questions. In addition to the funding, the students were particularly interested in the duration of their stay abroad and in the admission requirements for studying in these two countries.
March 22, 2018: Poetry Slam - Workshop: 12.00-14.00 - Slam 20.00
Spoken Word Poetry aus des Pudels Kern – Franziska Holzheimer is a German poetry slammer with many years of stage experience. In addition to international projects with artists from Egypt and India, Franziska has appeared in numerous international poetry slams. In 2014 she won the international poetry slam on Palma de Mallorca.
Her workshop at the Uni Haifa (Thursday, March 22th, 2018, 12:00 – 14:00) is designed to provide participants with basic knowledge. Together we worked out texts and prepare short performances.
The results were presented in the evening in the Teapool Café in front of an audience.
March 8, 2018: Round Table Discussion: Modifying the Status Quo: #MeToo in Israel and Europe
On March 8th, 2018, the HCGES organized a round table discussion on the “Me Too” Campaign in Israel and Europe. The Discussion took place on the occasion of the Women's Day at the Eshkol Tower. It was moderated by Katharina Konarek and attended
by thirty people.
Before the discussion started, she gave a short introduction and presented a European map, since when women have the right to vote in elections. This map shows the differences between the European States. In that aspect, one cannot see the European continent as a coherent union. Afterwards, Dr. Sara Cohen Shabot held an input on Feminist Phenomenology and Feminist Theory and described the experience of the own girls bodies as objects and the conflict with the body as a fragile encumbrance. Based on this assumption she asked, what has exactly changed during the “Me Too” Campaign? Before the campaign the experiences of women were silence and extraordinary. But the campaign shows, that sexual harassment is still an everyday experience for women, and it is not individual or extraordinary. Subsequently, Judith Stelmach from the Friedrich Ebert Foundation in Tel Aviv took another focus on the campaign and explained the political Situation in Europe. Her focus was on the female representation in European parliaments and of course also in local and regional councils in Israel and Europe. With these data, she argued, that
the voices of women under political level are not represented in an equal way to the population. In this regard, on the one site the “Me too” campaign did not have an impact to change the situation systematically. On the other site, it changes the discussion in many countries around the world and shows especially young women, that they can do it! Dr. Hana Saliba Salman lead the discussion back to the reactions in Israel and reported how the campaign started in Hollywood, as a reaction to treat women as objects and the abuse of power. What is needed to fight against female sexuality oppression and sexual arrestment and abuse is a collective voice in the society against oppression. Thereby the “Me Too” campaign was very useful and made the collective voice stronger.
At the end, the discussion was opened for everyone and turned to gender roles education, the relationship between equality and “Me Too”, as well as the future perspective of gender roles and emancipation.
January 18, 2018: Dr. Maya Sion-Tzidkiyahu: Towards a more Supranational Common Foreign and Security Policy?
The EU has advanced in an incremental process along the years, dealing with economic and functional matters and with Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) in a supranational manner. Yet, in Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) the EU preserved the intergovernmental decision-making procedures, the methods of work and mode of operation. Still, many changes have occured here. The latest stage was the creation of the European External Action Service (EEAS). The talk asks how does the establishment of the EEAS affects CFSP? It examines EU - Israeli relations as a case study.
December 28, 2017: Prof. Kirk Wetters: Demonic World Literature
Prof.Wetters is Department Chair of Germanic Languages & Literatures at Yale University. His lecture provides an insightful study into World Literature, setting apart Goethe’s and Marx’s notion of it. Here, the cosmopolitan understanding is critically reassessed by the Eurocentric nature of World Literature. Wetter proposes an expedient to the predicament by suggesting the concept of myth and demons implying that all literature is world literature if it engages imaginatively with the world behind world history.
December 14, 2017: Dr. Ursula Wokoeck: German Orientalism - The Formation of a Discipline
Dr. Ursula Wokoeck is a lecturer at the Rothberg International School in Jerusalem. Her research deals with the development of Oriental Studies. In her lecture, Wokoeck will give a valuable insight into how the discipline evolved in the context of the development of universities in general and in the field of philosophy in particular. She aims at discerning the reasons for faculties employing scholars who specialize in Oriental Studies. Hence, the question in which way these terms of employment have influenced the development of Oriental Studies will be analyzed.
December 7, 2017: Prof. Alex Guilherme: God as Thou and Prayer as Dialogue. Martin Bubers Tools for Reconciliation
Prof. Dr. Alexandre Guilherme is the Coordinator of the Research Group on Education and Violence at the Pontificia Universidade Catolica do Rio Grande do Sul, PUCRS, Brazil. His lecture provides an in-depth study into the different forms of ‘Prayer’- as some are vocal and articulate and others are only mental in nature. Guilherme analyses the basis of Martin Buber’s philosophy, particularly his conception of God as Thou the understanding of ‘prayer’. He argues that Buber’s understanding of ‘prayer’ as dialogue serves as a way for the individual to seek reconciliation with him- or herself with others and with God.
November 9, 2017: Prof. Juergen Neyer: The German Elections 2017 and its implications to Europe
The lecture provides an up-to-date insight into the German debate on the future of Europe. It reflects on the implications of the 2017 Bundestag election and its likely impact on Germany’s role in Europe. Prof. Neyer will do a tour de force over pressing problems of the European Union and addresses the question of whether Germany is ready to live up to its European responsibilities. As the „indispensable nation“, Germany carries a special obligation to provide serving leadership and to transform the neoliberal European order into a political setting which can be supported for good reasons not only by capital, but also by the weak and poor. If Germany fails to live up to its responsibility, Europe will pay the price of a growing illiberal movement.
November 2, 2017: The Legal Treatment of Nazi Crimes in Hessen during the Post War
On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the first Frankfurt Auschwitz trial, the Hessian State Archive 2013 had prepared an exhibition on the NS trials in Hesse. On the basis of original documents, photographs and texts, this historical exhibition describes the legal treatment of Nazi crimes in the state of Hesse during the post-war period. The state of Hesse can be regarded as an example for the Federal Republic of Germany between 1945 and 1970: How did the state and society in the liberal-democratic part of Germany during the post-war period proceed in the legal investigation of the national socialist crimes of violence. The exhibition will now be presented in Israel with the support of the Hessian Ministry of Justice in a revised and translated Hebrew version.Discussion on the legal handling of Nazi Crimes in the State of Hessen in the Post War periode. Minister of Research and Art, Boris Rhein, will open the exhibition. Dr. Itamar Mann from the faculty of law and Dr. Johann Zilien from the State Archive in Hessen will discuss the topic.
October 26, 2017: Elections in Germany and Austria. Round Table Discussion and Opening of the Academic Year
Germany and Austria are facing mayor political shifts during this fall. Both countries were holding their parliament elections. In Germany Merkels CDU/CSU alliance won the highest shares of vote. But it is not enough to govern alone. As all political parties ruled out a colaiton with the nationalist AfD party, the so-called Jamaica option with CDU/CSU approaching the pro-business FDP and the greens seems to be the most likely coaliton. Also in Austria, the established parties - the Social democratic Party SPO and the People's Party OVP might face sever loss of voters being challanged by the populist Freedom Party FPO. Possible future outcomes and effects on internal and external politics in both countries will be discussed by Dr. Clemens von Goetze, German Ambassador to Israel, Martin Weiss, Austrian Ambassador to Israel, Dr. Alexander Brakel, Head of KAS Israel, and Tsafrir Cohen, Head of RLS Israel.
Academic Year 2016/2017
June 15, 2017: MdB Christian Lange, Parliamentary State Secretary in Germany
Germany is currently witnessing a fundamental shift in public discourse on the internet, especially in social networks. These phenomena are often described with terms such as "fake news" and "hate speech". Propaganda and a massive increase in hate crime – if not suppressed and prosecuted effectively – may seriously threaten our peaceful society as well as our liberal, open and democratic way of life. The right to freedom of expression is a precious asset. It is the safeguard for open discussion in a lively democracy. However, freedom of expression ends at the point where criminal law begins. Criminally punishable hate speech, defamation and slander should have as little place in social networks as they do on our streets. Corporations that make huge profits with their platforms cannot continue to absolve themselves of their responsibility towards society.
In order to compel social networks to process complaints of hate crime and associated criminal content faster and more rigorously, the German Federal Government's "Act to Improve Enforcement of the Law in Social Networks" (Netzwerkdurchsetzungsgesetz, NetzDG) aims to introduce statutory compliance rules for social networks. The Act foresees a statutory reporting duty for social networks on how they handle complaints about hate crime and associated criminal content; it stipulates that social networks must have an effective complaints management system, and foresees a duty for social networks to name a person authorised to receive service in the Federal Republic of Germany. Violations of these duties are punishable with regulatory fines to be imposed on the companies and individual managers. Furthermore, the Act allows victims of infringements of personality rights on the Internet to receive subscriber data on the infringer from service providers on the basis of a court order.
June 8, 2017: Prof. Dr. Robert Kappel, Former president of the GIGA - German Institute of Global and Area Studies, Hamburg
Where is the world economy headed? Many current developments give us cause for concern. The development of the world economy is not keeping pace with expectations. Following the onset of the global financial crisis, the G20 played a crucial role in stabilizing economies and financial markets. Today, some ten years later, the G20 continues to have an important role to play in overcoming the ongoing tangible effects of the crisis. The stability of the global economy has improved since then. As a forum the G20 brings together the leading industrialised and emerging market economies.
It brings together almost two thirds of the global population, more than four-fifths of global GDP and three-quarters of worldwide trade. The G20 has a responsibility to address the urgent questions of our time. The challenges have increased in recent years. Geopolitical conflicts, terrorism, migration and refugee flows, poverty, hunger, and epidemics and increasing climate change place great burdens on societies worldwide and have far-reaching effects on economic development.
Which role does the G20 play? Will it help reducing conflicts, centrifugalism, the increasing fragmentation of the international economic and political order and avoid further exclusion? Will it govern globalisation and trade in an increasingly multipolar world?
May 4, 2017: Prof. Mehmet Tugtan, Department of International Relations, Istanbul Bigli University
Turkey has been the only Muslim member of NATO. The country’s membership in the alliance, now in its 65th year, has been a point of debate both in Turkey and among the other NATO members. The most important issue between Turkey and her NATO allies has always been the diverging expectations regarding the Middle East. This lecture aims to tackle the original process of membership from 1949 to 1952 with a different focus: the duties and responsibilities of the parties towards the Middle East as an unfulfilled contract for both sides dating back to the initial membership era. The main argument will be that from an international regime perspective, the Middle East remained the bilateral ‘wild west’ in the otherwise institutionalized relationship of Turkey with her European and American allies.
April 27, 2017: Dr. Sagi Schaefer, assistant professor of Modern German and European history at Tel Aviv University
Sagi Schaefer is an assistant professor of Modern German and European history at Tel Aviv University. He received his PhD from Columbia University in 2011. He was a visiting scholar at the European University Institute in Florence and a post-doctoral fellow at the Hebrew University before joining Tel Aviv University in 2012. His book, "States of Division: Border and Boundary Formation in Cold War Rural Germany" was published in 2014 by Oxford University Press. The book analyzes the process of German division through the lens of border formation. He has published articles about, among others, Iron Curtain tourism in West Germany and the connections between inter-German policies, social networks in border communities, and the gradual demise of border-crossing regional identifications during the Cold War.
April 20, 2017: Dr. Ulrike Mitter, lecturer of Islamic Sciences at the University of Hamburg
Ulrike Mitter did her MA in Islamic Sciences at the University of Hamburg (on Christians in Muslim Spain) and her PhD at Nijmegen University (on the origins of Islamic law). She is lecturing regularly at the University of Hamburg in the area of Islamic Studies. Since 2002 she is working as a DAAD lecturer for German as a Foreign Language and has been the head of the DAAD Information Centers in Baku and Damascus.
The lecture focuses on an interesting and notorious Prophetic saying (hadith) which states that women are the majority in hell. Starting with the historic context, the lecture will raise the question of the origin of the hadith. Can we tell when the hadith came into being and who spread the word? In order to try an answer to these questions, a method is used which combines the analysis of the hadith text and the transmitter chains. After that, the effects and the interpretations of this provoking text in the modern world are addressed – focusing on discussions in the internet and in university classrooms in Europe and especially Germany. It comes as no surprise that women, in contrast to men, are not enthusiastic about this statement. The hadith tells us a lot about the (legal) situation of Muslim women and the relation between men and women in the early Islamic period and in modern times.
March 30, 2017: Verena Shifferman, DAAD Information Center Israel: Study and Research Opportunities in Germany- Information on the System of Higher Education and Funding Options
The Director of the DAAD Information Center in Tel Aviv, Verena Shifferman, will provide information for students and academic staff about studying and research in Germany.Since the DAAD was founded in 1925, more than 1.9 million scholars in Germany and abroad have received DAAD funding. It is a registered association and its members are German institutions of higher education and student bodies. Its activities go far beyond simply awarding grants and scholarships. The DAAD supports the internationalization of German universities, promotes German studies and the German language abroad, assists developing countries in establishing effective universities and advises decision makers on matters of cultural, education and development policy. The goal of the DAAD Center in Israel is the strengthening of the relationship between German and Israeli academic bodies.
March 23, 2017: Prof. Christoph Schulte, Department for Jewish Studies and Philosophy
The Jewish Salonières of Berlin have often been affiliated with German Romanticism. This lecture proposes a different model: the Jewish Salonières of Berlin were the daughters, sisters or wives of Maskilim, their salons were a heritage, setting and place of the Haskalah. In a gender perspective, the Jewish salons of Berlin demarcate a new era of Jewish-Christian relations: the enlightenment model of Jewish-Christian male friendships is replaced by the new model of hetero-erotic Jewish-Christian relations, wherein the Jewish Salonières are empowered and play a leading intellectual and social role.
January 26, 2017: Prof. Stefan Ihrig, Department of General History and HCGES, Eren Önsöz, Director: film screening of 'Haymatloz'
HAYMATLOZ tells the story of Jewish and other anti-Nazi emigrants who found a safe haven in Turkey, a different and relatively unknown story of migration between Germany and Turkey.
From 1933 onwards, Jewish university professors were removed from their positions by the Nazis in Germany. A few of them managed to get to Turkey where they contributed to the establishment of the university system during the Ataturk period. Among the exiles were renowned figures such as the politician Ernst Reuter, the architect Bruno Taut and the composer Paul Hindemith.
Eren Önsöz, a Turkish director, interviewed five descendants of these professors. Against the backdrop of these historical events the director starts a journey from Switzerland to Turkey through Germany, establishing a bridge between the past and present.
January 19, 2017: Prof. Stefan Ihrig, Department of General History and HCGES: Justifying Genocide-Germany and the Armenians from Bismarck to Hitler
Prof. Stefan Ihrig is a historian working on various themes of European and Middle Eastern Prof. Ihrig History. In his lecture he will discuss astounding aspects of German-Turkish history. The Armenian Genocide and the Nazi Holocaust are often thought to be separated by a large distance in time and space. But they were much more connected than previously thought. Bismarck and then Wilhelm II staked their foreign policy on close relations with a stable Ottoman Empire. To the extent that the Armenians were restless under Ottoman rule, they were a problem for Germany too. From the 1890s onward Germany became accustomed to excusing violence against Armenians, even accepting it as a foreign policy necessity. For many Germans, the Armenians represented an explicitly racial problem and despite the Armenians’ Christianity, Germans portrayed them as the “Jews of the Orient.”
Many Germans before World War I sympathized with the Ottomans’ longstanding repression of the Armenians and would go on to defend vigorously the Turks’ wartime program of extermination. After the war the “great genocide debate” German nationalists first denied and then justified genocide in sweeping terms. The Nazis too came to see genocide as justifiable: in their version of history, the Armenian Genocide had made possible the astonishing rise of the New Turkey.
December 15, 2016: Prof. Dr. Marc Silberman, Professor Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin: Readings and Misreadings: Scholarship on East Germany from a Culprit’s Perspective
Prof. Dr. Marc Silberman teaches twentieth-century Germany with special emphasis on postwar issues (east and west) as well as courses in the film studies program (Communications Arts) at the University of Wisconsin. Silberman was trained in the USA as a scholar of East German literature in the early 1970s at a time when there was great suspicion and little knowledge about this country behind the "iron curtain", the German Democratic Republic (GDR). In this lecture he will reconstruct the way East Germany became a topic of interest among North American humanist and social science scholars in the 1970s and 1980s, using his own experiences as a case study. Then he will detail how the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War changed the landscape of GDR studies and conclude with considerations as to the challenges and potential for future work on the GDR.
December 8, 2016: Prof. Dr. Sylvia Bashevkin, Department of Political Science University of Toronto: Women as Foreign Policy Leaders: Evaluating National Security and Feminist Politics since 1980
Sylvia Bashevkin is a professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto. Best known for her research contributions in the field of comparative politics, Bashevkin’s current work addresses women’s participation as foreign policy leaders. She is the author of the book Women, Power, Politics: The Hidden Story of Canada’s Unfinished Democracy.
What do we know about women’s participation in political executive roles? How useful are theories concerning gender and leadership to research on contemporary foreign policy elites? What types of methodological approaches seem best suited to the study of national security and feminist politics among political executives? What conclusions can we draw from the available data on US decision-makers, including with respect to their relations with Europe?
December 1, 2016: Dr. Stefan Vogt, Goethe University Frankfurt am Main: Subaltern Positioning: German Zionism in the Field of Nationalism in Germany, 1890-1933
Main BuildingStefan Vogt is research associate at the Martin Buber Chair for Jewish Thought and Philosophy and private lecturer for Modern History at the Department of History of Goethe University Frankfurt am Main. He received his Ph.D. from the Free University Berlin and has previously worked at the University of Amsterdam, at New York University and at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Besides his book Subalterne Positionierungen he has published widely on the history of Zionism, German-Jewish history and the history of nationalism.
In this lecture, he will present his new book Subalterne Positionierungen: Der deutsche Zionismus im Feld des Nationalismus in Deutschland, 1890-1933, which investigates the relationship between German Zionism and German nationalism. German Zionism represented only a small part of the world Zionist movement, but was nevertheless one of the organizational and intellectual centers of the movement. It was characterized by a particularly pronounced tension between an affinity to the ideology of German nationalism, including its radical and even völkisch versions, and an inclination towards exceptionally moderate national politics.
November 17/18, 2016: Prof. Ivan Ilchev, Rector Sofia University: The Long and Winding Road: Bulgaria in the European Union
Poster 1 (pdf)
Poster 2 (pdf)
After attaining his Ph.D in History, Prof. Ivan Ilchev was member at the Faculty of History as Assistant Professor from 1978-1987. Later he became Associate Professor at the Sofia University and taught Early Modern and Modern History of the Balkan Peoples. He also acted as a visiting professor and lecturer for a number of leading universities and participated in numerous conferences. Among others at: Ohio State University (Columbus, USA); Maryland State University (College Park, USA); Woodrow Wilson Center (Washington, USA) and Chiba University (Japan). Furthermore Prof. Ilchev is the author of numerous articles, reviews, popular science film scripts and monographs. From 2003 to 2007 Prof. Ilchev was the Dean of the History Department at the Sofia University and Member of the Academic Council. In 2007 Prof. Ilchev became Rector of the Sofia University.
November 3, 2016 Michael Schindegger, movie director: Nr. 7 (movie)
Michael Schindegger has been living with his father and brothers in an apartment building in the second district of Vienna, Leopoldstadt, at house 'Nr. 7', for thirty years. However, he hardly knows any of his neighbors. He decides to change all that just before marrying his fiancée and moving out. Camera in hand he rings all of their doorbells and introduces himself to the building's multi-lingual, primarily Jewish residents.
Michael Schindegger was born and raised in a large family in Vienna. He studied at the Higher Technological College for Photography and the Film Academy Vienna in the Cinematography Class of renowned Austrian cinematographer Christian Berger. Movie duration is 87 min.
Academic Year 2015/2016
June 16, 2016: Dr. Angelika Timm: Politics and Memory. Israel, the two German states and Austria
Three states were established after World War II on the territory of the former Third Reich – the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany), the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) and the Republic of Austria. The very similar background encourages a comparison of their post-war politics and, especially, their approach towards the holocaust and the State of Israel.
The politics of the three successor states regarding Israel were quite different. While Austria recognized Israel de facto after the War of Independence in 1949 and established diplomatic relations already in 1956, West Germany and Israel exchanged ambassadors only in 1965; East Germany had never diplomatic relations with Israel.
The bilateral relations raise several questions: What role played the interests of the political elites and their allies during the Cold War? Why did the Israeli government ask the East and West Germans, but not the Austrians for reparations (shilumim)? What role played the Middle East policy of the two Germanys and Austria?
The lecture first analyzed the context of the West German, East German and Austrian policy towards Israel from 1948 to 1990. The second part of the lecture briefly addressed the main periods of bilateral relations and illustrated the different or similar attitudes with the help of relevant examples.
June 9, 2016: Dr. Clemens von Goetze: The Current Crises in Europe and Present and Future of German-Israel Relations
Dr. Clemens von Goetze is the current Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany in Israel. After completing his First and Second State Exam, he attained in 1990 at the Friedrich-Alexander-University of Erlangen-Nuremberg his doctorate in Law with the dissertation “Die Außenvertretung Berlins (West). Zugleich ein Beitrag zu den Rechten der Alliierten bei der deutschen Einigung”.
Dr. Clemens Goetze was the speaker for political, legal and consular affairs at the Embassy on the Philippines, the principal secretary to Federal Foreign Ministers Dr. Klaus Kinkel and Joschka Fischer, deputy chief of mission and head of the political section in Ankara, deputy head of the political staff in the German Federal Foreign Office, permanent representative to the political and security committee of the European Union and to WEU, director general and head of the Foreign Department in Germany and Ambassador, director general for Africa, Asia, Latin America, Near- and Middle East.
June 2, 2016: Dr. David Ohana: Friedrich Nietzsche and Jewish Modern Thought
The six thinkers discussed in this study –Zeitlin, Rosenzweig, Buber, Scholem, Kurzweil and Eldad – had different degrees of “heretical religion.” The “Nietzschean revolution” held a central place in the crystallization of their religious and national outlooks. Zeitlin, Rosenzweig and Kurzweil in the final analysis remained faithful to the Jewish religion in the sense that Georg Simmel gave to the concept “religion” - the institutionalized structure of a system of belief with its institutions and ordinances; Buber and Scholem fall under the heading of Simmel's concept of “religiosity” with its broad horizons and variety of possibilities without a formal structure; Eldad thought in a sphere beyond “religion” and “religiosity” and saw himself as a “national” Jew sustained by the national traditions of his people. At the same time, the common feature of these figures (except for Kurzweil, who was orthodox) was their non-religious religiosity: a state of mind between an attitude of denial, skepticism and astonishment that undermined the foundations of the Jewish faith and the institutions of the Jewish religion, and an imminent longing, a yearning for the presence of God.
April 14, 2016: Doron Arazi: Ostracism, Acceptance, Admiration: German Brands in Israel between Holocaust Memory and Consumer Pragmatism, 1929-2016
Trade with Germany put Israelis on the horns of a dilemma - between economic necessity on one hand and a visceral aversion towards all things German, the natural response to the horrors of the holocaust, on the other. Consumer goods in the Israeli market projected this dilemma in their private lives in a much more intrusive way than the intergovernmental trade of the 'Shilumim' agreement could ever do. Thus, the evolution of their attitudes to German brands from widespread ostracism to enthusiastic acceptance is, in miniature, the story of Israeli society's evolution from ideological collectivism to individualistic affluence with many shades of ambivalence, hypocrisy and denial in between.
April 7, 2016: Dr. Uri Zilbersheidt: !מפגש אינטקלטואלי לכבוד ספרו של ד"ר אורי זילברשייד - "שוויון חברתי? לא בחוקתנו
On April 7, 2016 the School of Political Sciences and the Haifa Center for German and European Studies (HCGES) of the University of Haifa held a joint intellectual event in honor of Dr. Zilbersheidt’s new book “Social Equality? Not in Our Constitution!” The Struggle over the Social Character of the Israeli Constitution from the Declaration of Independence to “Constitution by Broad Consensus” (published 2015). The event was held in Hebrew and was publicized at the University of Haifa by the School of Political Sciences and the HCGES; it was also advertised in the leading daily newspaper Haaretz on April 5, 2016.
Dr. Zilbersheidt’s new book is a study of the legal-political development of the Israeli constitution in a broad sense. Methodologically, the study integrates political philosophy and empirical inquiry.
March 31, 2016: Dr. Giacomo Petrarca: The concept of silence in Franz Rosenzweig and Henri Bergson. A comparison.
Silence is the limit of the word. The philosophy has always struggled with the power of the silence
that reduces and contains the scope of the word. In his book The Star of Redemption (Der Stern der Erlösung, 1921) Franz Rosenzweig (1886-1929) locates this ‘opposition’ between silence and word in the central relation between paganism and creation/revelation. The silence of paganism is the silence of the tragedy, the silence of the ‘irrelation’ as Rosenzweig writes: «for that is the distinctive sign of the Self, the seal of its greatness, and the mark of its weakness: it is silent. The tragic hero has only one language that is in perfect accordance with him: precisely, silence» (tr. B. Galli, p. 85). On the contrary, the Creation is also creation of the ‘word’ and the Revelation is the opening of a dialogical form: the speech (true dialog). However, according to Rosenzweig, the silence conserves its fundamental place in the logic of speech. It is not only a limit against the word, but it is also its incessant and ‘potential’ spring. From Rosenzweig's point of view, this different concept of silence acquires a deeply importance into his philosophical and theological reflection.
The lecture tried to expose this different rosenzweighian vision of silence and attempted a comparison with the bergsonian conception of silence, especially shown in his text Essay on the immediate data of consciousness (Essai sur les données immédiates de la conscience, 1889) and in other texts in which Bergson (1859-1941) considers the problem of silence related to the limits of language.
March 17, 2016: Prof. Derek Penslar: Theodor Herzl, Race and Empire
This lecture examined feuilletons that Herzl wrote for the “Neue Freie Presse” and that flesh out ideas about colonialism, race and empire that can be only deduced from the diaries or his explicitly Zionist writings. The feuilletons are at times formulaic and mannered, yet they are also capable of expressing unguarded sentiment. Prof. Penslar juxtaposes Herzl's diaries, written in private, but intended eventually for the public, different from his journalistic writings, which were written expressly for the public yet at times reflected Herzl's private feelings. The interplay between diary and feuilleton confirms that Herzl was deeply imbedded in fin de siècle colonial and racial discourse but also reveals a complex blend of sympathy and antipathy towards colonized peoples, and a stark difference between Herzl’s views of the Orient and Africa.
March 3, 2016: Prof. Eli Salzberger: The German influence on the Israeli legal system
Prof. Eli Salzberger is the Director of the Haifa Center for German and European Studies and the Minerva Center for the Rule of Law under Extreme Conditions.
Salzberger is a graduate of the Hebrew University Faculty of Law and wrote his doctorate at Oxford University on the economic analysis of the doctrine of separation of powers. The lecture discussed the implicit and the explicit influence of German law and jurisprudence on the Israeli legal system, and particularly on the Israeli Supreme Court, through the German born and educated judges who comprised half of the Supreme Court bench in the first three decades of Israel’s history.
January 7, 2016: Prof. Richard Wolin: ’Metapolitics’. Anti-Semitism and the History of Being in Heidegger's Black Note Books
Richard Wolin is a distinguished Professor of History, Political Science and Comparative Literature at the CUNY Graduate Center. Among his books, which have been translated into ten languages, are: Heidegger’s Children and The Wind from the East: French Intellectuals, the Cultural Revolution and the Legacy of the 1960s.
Heidegger’s Black Notebooks represent, among other things, a stark reaffirmation of his philosophical commitment to National Socialism – and, as such, a point of no return for Heidegger’s scholarship. But what the Black Notebooks also disturbingly reveal is Heidegger’s obsession with “World Jewry” in the most negative and cliché-ridden terms: as a pivotal source of cultural and social dissolution that must be eliminated in order to realize National Socialism’s “inner truth and greatness” –as Heidegger put it in 1935. In his lecture, Prof. Wolin addressed the question how one should go about resolving the conundrum of a “great thinker” who remained convinced that the Nazi regime, with its unbridled racism and destructive militarism, represented an adequate solution to the “decline of the West”?
December 10, 2015: Dr. Christian Thauer: VW and the Emission Scandal - Political-Economy Implications
Dr. Christian Thauer is a political scientist and Senior Lecturer in International Relations at the DAAD Center for German Studies. Since his main research interests concern questions of business and governance he was asked to give a lecture about VW and the Emissions Scandal.
In his lecture, he presented a political and economic interpretation of the recent events in relation to the VW scandal.
November 26, 2015: Dr. Tamer Gazit: The Work of Dr. Willy Cohen
The historian Dr. Willy Cohn was a Jew, a Zionist, a German patriot, a social-democrat and a humanist. His granddaughter, Dr. Tamer Gazit, was invited within the lecture series of the HCGES, in co-operation with the Bucerius Institute, to hold a lecture about her grandfather’s diary which was part of the research conducted by Dr. Gazit on the Jewish community of Breslau in the years 1933-1941. The Hebrew translation of the diary, edited by her, has recently been published.
The issue of preservation of Jewish identity in the changing modern world, where equal rights and civil status are an integral part of the nations’ constitutions, the relationship between keeping one’s Jewish identity and Jewish solidarity and loyalty to the motherland, the European state of residence, was the focus of attention for Western and Central European Jewry during the 19th and 20th centuries. Following the Nazi ascent to power, the issue of identity was forced upon the Jewish community in Germany. Dr. Willy Cohn’s diary reflects these dilemmas.
October 29, 2015: Dr. Karin Kneissl: The View of the Middle East from Europe
In cooperation with Acad the Austrian Cultural Forum Tel Aviv, the HCGES invited Dr. Karin Kneissl to speak about the Middle East from a European perspective. She studied Law as well as Arabic Studies; in her dissertation, she focused on the limit-concept of the opposing parties in the Middle East.
Topics such as how geopolitics affect the Middle East and how to drill fossil resources of the Middle East remains on the agenda, now eventually written by Eastern not Western academics, were addressed in this lecture.
Academic Year 2014/2015
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Academic Year 2009/2011