During the semester the Haifa Center for German and European Studies offers colloquia that take place on a frequent basis. The seminars are scheduled every Thurday from 2.30 pm to 4 pm different locations at the University of Haifa. The following lectures will take place in the academic year 2016/2017. If you want to access events that happened before that time, scroll down to our link list.
Academic Year 2016/2017
June 15th, 2017, Room 101 (Auditorium), 1st Floor, Student Building
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 8th, 2017, Library Auditorium, Room 146, Library Building
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, Library Auditorium, Room 146, Main Building
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, Library Auditorium, Room 146, Main Building
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, Library Auditorium, Room 146, Main Building
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 • Rabin Observatory, Rabin Building
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 • Room 146, Library Auditorium, Main Building
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 • Room 146, Library Auditorium, Main Building
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 • Room 570, Floor 5, Education Building
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.
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.
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?
Dr. Stefan Vogt, Goethe University Frankfurt am Main: Subaltern Positioning: German Zionism in the Field of Nationalism in Germany, 1890- 1933 December 1, 2016 • Library Auditorium, Room 146, Main Building
Stefan 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.
Library Auditorium, Room 146, Main Building
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.
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
Dr. Angelika Timm: Politics and Memory. Israel, the two German states and Austria
June 16, 2016 • Library Auditorium, Room 146, Main Building
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.
Dr. Clemens von Goetze: The Current Crises in Europe and Present and Future of German-Israel Relations
June 9, 2016 • Library Auditorium, Room 146, Main Building
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.
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.
Doron Arazi: Ostracism, Acceptance, Admiration: German Brands in Israel between Holocaust Memory and Consumer Pragmatism, 1929-2016
April 14, 2016 • Library Auditorium, Room 146, Main Building
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.
Dr. Uri Zilbersheidt: !מפגש אינטקלטואלי לכבוד ספרו של ד"ר אורי זילברשייד - "שוויון חברתי? לא בחוקתנו
April 7, 2016 • Room 4026, School of Political Science
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.
Dr. Giacomo Petrarca: The concept of silence in Franz Rosenzweig and Henri Bergson. A comparison.
March 31, 2016 • Library Auditorium, Room 146, Main Building
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.
Prof. Derek Penslar: Theodor Herzl, Race and Empire
March 17, 2016 • Library Auditorium, Room 146, Main Building
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.
Prof. Eli Salzberger: The German influence on the Israeli legal system
March 3, 2016 • Room 570, Education Building
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.
Prof. Richard Wolin: ’Metapolitics’. Anti-Semitism and the History of Being in Heidegger's Black Note Books
January 7, 2016 • Room 570, Education Building
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”?
Dr. Christian Thauer: VW and the Emission Scandal - Political-Economy Implications
December 10, 2015 • Room 646, Library Auditorium
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.
Dr. Tamer Gazit: The Work of Dr. Willy Cohen
November 26, 2015 • Room 646, Library Auditorium
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.
Dr. Karin Kneissl: The View of the Middle East from Europe
October 29, 2015 • Room 146, Library Auditorium
In cooperation with 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.