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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Faculty of Language, Literature and Humanities

Distinguished W. E. B. Du Bois Lectures

To the same extent that the increasing integration of the European Union diminishes the role of nation-states and creates something like a new European identity, a self-critical and open exchange with an America whose culture seems so similar and so different at the same time becomes, especially in the aftermath of September 11th, ever more urgent. For the United States, Europe in the process of unification provides a strong challenge for comparison and self-reflection. Social and cultural developments that have often been experienced and denounced as effects of an "Americanization" of the world, can be seen in this wider comparative perspective as tendencies of globalizing postindustrial societies and their accompanying, locally very different processes of transculturation, which in many respects have most penetratingly been analyzed by American critics.

The Distinguished W. E. B. Du Bois Lectures offer new contributions to this intercultural dialogue by inviting outstanding American scholars and public intellectuals to give a lecture and teach a seminar addressing important issues of public culture, of the social and political role of cultural differences, of intercultural translation, and of the interactions between cultures, seen from a transatlantic perspective.

The lectures have been named to honor W. E. B. Du Bois as one of the most influential intellectuals, scholars, public figures, and writers of 20th century America. He was a doctoral student at Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität, the first African American to receive a PhD from Harvard University (in 1895), and was awarded an honorary doctoral degree from Humboldt-Universität in 1958.

 

October 19, 2017

Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak
University Professor and Founding Member of the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society, Columbia University

W.E.B. Du Bois in Today's World

 

In this lecture, I offer a new reading of _The Souls of Black Folk_, with reference to Antonio Gramsci and Tillie Olsen. My readings will be in the context of the largest sectors of the electorate in Africa and Asia today, and their relationship with Du Bois's struggles as they developed out of recognizable German contexts, Gramsci's invocation of the production of the subaltern intellectual, and Tillie Olsen's background in Rosa Luxemburg's Mass Strike.

In cooperation with the American Academy in Berlin.

Exact place and time to be announced.

 

June 27, 2017

Fatima El-Tayeb - poster
(University of California, San Diego)

“German” and “Ungerman”: Racial Crisis as the New Normal in the United Germany
Introduction: Maisha Auma

18:30 Uhr s.t.
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, KINOSAAL
Unter den Linden 6, 10117 Berlin (Hauptgebäude)


Fatima El-Tayeb, Professor of African-American Literature and Culture at the University of California San Diego, is the author of the ground-breaking study European Others (2011), translated into German as Anders europäisch. Her research shows that the predominant form racism takes in Europe is an ideology of 'racelessness' that externalizes racialized groups and questions of 'race' more generally. In order to contest such exclusion, she argues, People of Color mobilize queer strategies of resistance in cultural productions such as hip hop, video and performance art.

One of the foremost experts and most innovative scholars in Critical Race Theory and Critical Whiteness Studies with regard to Germany, Prof. El-Tayeb offers analyses and insights significantly advancing a critical engagement with racism and other social hierarchies both in Germany and the United States.

 

July 12, 2016

John B. Emerson (US-Ambassador)

The US Presidential Elections 2016

18:00 s.t., Unter den Linden 6 (Hauptgebäude), Audimax

Pressemitteilung (PDF file)

  • You can find pictures of the Distinguished W. E. B. Du Bois Lecture with John B. Emerson here on this page.

 

January 30, 2015

Kara Keeling (University of Southern California)
"A Now that can Breed Futures: Audre Lorde and the Cinematic Politics of Documentary Projects as Legacy Building"
6:30pm s.t.
Senatssaal (main building, Unter den Linden 6)

The lecture is part of the conference Audre Lorde’s Germany.

 

November 22, 2013

Valerie Babb  (University of Georgia):
"The King and His Court: LeBron James, the New Othello"
6:30pm s. t., Festsaal, Luisenstr. 56, 10115 Berlin

Invitation A,B (download both for full flyer)

Conference Poster

 

December 4, 2012

Philip D. Murphy (The Ambassador of the United States of America):
"The Changing Face of Demographics in America: The Path to a More Perfect Union"
6:30pm s. t., Senatssaal, Hauptgebäude, Unter den Linden 6, 10099 Berlin

invitation to this lecture

 

February 11, 2009

Bharati Mukherjee (University of California, Berkeley):
"Towards a Post-Racial Society. An American Experiment"
6pm s. t., Reuter-Saal, Dorotheenstr. 24, house 2

 

June 25, 2008

Hortense Spillers (Vanderbilt University):
"The Idea of Black Culture. Some Aspects of Diaspora"
6pm, room 2003, main building

 

April 15, 2008

David Levering Lewis (New York University and American Academy Berlin):
"W. E. B. Du Bois in Germany and Germany in W. E. B. Du Bois"
6.30pm, Senatssaal, main building

 

February 12, 2008

Kevin Maynor with Eric Olsen:
"Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King. A Celebration of the Architects of Global Movements Towards Peace — with Music and Text"
6.30pm, Reuter-Saal, Dorotheenstraße 24, house 2

 

October 16, 2007

E. L. Doctorow:
"Notes on the History of Fiction"
introduction: Paul Nolte (History and Cultural Studies, Freie Universität Berlin) and Prof. Dr. Eva Boesenberg (American Studies, Humboldt-Universität)
moderation: Georg Diez, DIE ZEIT
6pm, Audimax, main building

 

October 30, 2006

Tony Robert Judt (Erich Maria Remarque Institute, New York University):
'"The World We Have Lost?' Some Transatlantic Reflections on European History Since 1945"
introduction: Paul Nolte (History and Cultural Studies, Freie Universität Berlin)
6pm, Senatssaal, main building

 

July 10, 2006

welcome address: Prof. Dr. Christoph Markschies (president of the Humboldt-Universität)
introduction: Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Kaschuba (Department of European Ethnology, Humboldt-Universität)
S. E. William R. Timken, Jr. (ambassador of the USA):
"Immigration in the 21st Century"
7pm s. t., Senatssaal, main building
invitation to this lecture

 

June 27, 2005

Nancy Fraser (New School University, New York):
"Parity of Participation. A View of Justice for a Globalizing World"
introduction: Renate Hof (Humboldt-Universität)
6pm, Senatssaal, main building

invitation to this lecture

 

May 31, 2005

K. Anthony Appiah (Princeton University):
"Ethics in a World of Strangers"
introduction: Gary Smith (American Academy Berlin)
6pm, Senatssaal, main building

invitation to this lecture

 

May 23, 2005

Seyla Benhabib (Yale University):
"Crises of the Republic. Reconfigurations of Sovereignty and Citizenship"
introduction: Günter H. Lenz (American Studies, Humboldt-Universität)
6pm, Audimax, main building

invitation to this lecture

 

July 15, 2004

Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett (Faculty of Arts and Sciences, New York University):
"From Memory Palace to Performance Space. The Development of the Museum as an Art Practice"
7.30pm, Senatssaal, main building

invitation to this lecture

 

June 24, 2004

Iris Marion Young (Dept. of Political Science, University of Chicago):
"Structural Injustice and the Politics of Difference"
6pm, Senatssaal, main building

 

February 11, 2004

Karsten D. Voigt (coordinator for the German-American cooperation in the Auswärtiges Amt):
"Transatlantische Beziehungen. Wertegemeinschaft oder 'Clash of Civilizations'?"
6pm, Senatssaal, main building

invitation to this lecture

 

December 1, 2003

Henry Louis Gates (W. E. B. Du Bois Professor of the Humanities & Director of the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute of Afro-American Research, Harvard University):
"W. E. B. Du Bois and the Encyclopedia Africana"
6pm, Senatssaal, main building

invitation to this lecture

 

June 24, 2003

Mark Poster (University of California, Irvine):
"Towards a Planetary Culture (and Its Discontents)"
6pm, Senatssaal, main building

invitation to this lecture

 

April 30, 2003

Hayden White (Stanford University, University of California):
"Historical Revisionism"
6pm, Senatssaal, main building

invitation to this lecture

 

January 20, 2003

Richard Sennett (New York University):
"Du Bois' Paradox. On Welfare, Racial Integration, and Resisting the State"
6pm, Senatssaal, main building

invitation to this lecture

 

June 17, 2002

Daniel R. Coats (Ambassador of the United States of America):
"American Cultural Diplomacy. A Transatlantic Perspective"
6pm, Senatssaal, main building

invitation to this lecture