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In this issue:

Daniel Albright
Sinan Antoon
J.M. Bernstein
David Ignatius
Batrice Longuenesse
Saba Mahmood
Lance Olsen
George Packer
Adam Posen
Karen Russell
Frank Stella
Daniel Tiffany
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A Magazine from the American Academy in Berlin | Number Twenty-Four | Spring 2013
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Spring 2013 | Number Twenty-Four | The Berlin Journal | 1
N1 On the Waterfront
The American Academys newsletter
features the latest on fellows, alumni,
and trustees, as well as recent events at
the Hans Arnhold Center.
Personal Politics
25 Family Ties
saba mahmood assesses sectarian
conict and sexuality between Copts and
Muslims in contemporary Egypt.
28 Radish Queen
george packer serves up an essay about
the restaurateur and organic-food pioneer
Alice Waters.
32 Marked by Caution
david ignatius lends insight into
President Obamas reticence and how it
might affect foreign policy over the next
four years.
CONTENTS
The Berlin Journal | Number Twenty-Four | Spring 2013
Truth in Art
04 To Be Frank
frank stella discusses New York in
the 1960s, his legendary black paintings,
and how Caravaggio and abstraction are
actually alike.
10 Poetry and Kitsch
daniel tiffany excavates the
foundations of modern kitsch from
eighteenth-century British poetry and
Mother Goose.
13 No Banal Tuesdays
karen russell talks ction, fantasy, and
the right note to skiddattle on.
16 Throwing Muses
daniel albright waxes philosophic
about Aristotle, Duchamp, and a unied
theory of the arts.
20 Haunted
lance olsen proffers the beginnings of
his next experimental narrative, Theories
of Forgetting.
24 New Poems
sinan antoon delivers three new poetic
constellations into the world.
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Old Specters
35 Bring Up the Body
j.m. bernstein revives the work of
Cesare Bessaria, an obscure political
philosopher whose writings helped
abolish torture in Europe.
39 Ghosts in the Machine
adam posen aims to allay two fears
guiding current German economic policy:
impending ination and the costs of
reunication.
44 I, Me, Mine
batrice longuenesse scrutinizes
the slippery phenomenology of the rst-
person pronoun.
WILLIAM CORDOVA, extended improvisations in time (despues de amiri baraka) (20112013), INK, GRAPHITE, COLLAGE, GOLD LEAF ON PAPER, 5' X 9'
With artwork by:
Monika Baer
Amy Bennett
Sibylle Bergemann
Michal Borremans
William Cordova
Kerstin Grimm
Sarah Illenberger
Maurice Weiss
2 | The Berlin Journal | Number Twenty-Four | Spring 2013
DIRECTORS NOTE
The Listing Boat
T
he occasion was the German publication of Prague
Winter, Madeleine Albrights memoir of her familys
experience in Europe during the war years and its
immediate aftermath. A remarkable book, not least due to
the privileged dual perspective of the historian and decision-
maker. The interlocutors, the former US Secretary of State and
her German counterpart Joschka Fischer, both key drivers of
the humanitarian intervention in Bosnia, dwelt upon lessons
drawn from the moral dilemmas of the past whether fatal
decisions such as the Munich Agreement, made by coun-
tries exhausted by wars and empty of resolve, or the pitfalls
of nationalist prejudice, illustrated by Chamberlains odious
query paraphrased by Albright: Why should we care about
people in faraway places with unpronounceable names?
The challenge of creating political will and maintaining
moral authority in the present era will depend upon the trans-
parent, consistent application of principles. The global order of
cosmopolitan law some imagined would arrive after the fall of
the Berlin Wall was a debate oft driven more by interests than
principles. Likewise, the recent and inconsistent application of
the Responsibility to Protect mandate conates moral imper-
atives with political strategy. It could prot from clearer think-
ing about myriad historical, local, and normative contexts.
We consider such normative shifts in this issue of the
Berlin Journal. Columnist David Ignatius looks at President
Obamas leadership quandaries, trapped in part by our own
national precariousness. Economist Adam Posen appeals for
less historical hubris from German economic policymakers
amidst the ongoing euro crisis. Saba Mahmood explains the
re-incitement of sectarian violence in Egypt partially through
the modern states intervention into the regulation of sexual
and gender difference. The abolition of torture in eighteenth-
century Europe is addressed by philosopher J.M. Bernstein,
while Batrice Longuenesse ponders our use of the rst-person
I in order to unravel the enduring philosophical enigma of
self-consciousness. And Daniel Tiffany excavates the origins of
morally derogated kitsch not in Germany, but in Britain.
Tiffanys inventive turn is a reminder of the occasional
imbrications of aesthetic and moral judgments. Most illustra-
tive of this fusion can be found here in an interview with the
energetic young writer Karen Russell, whose stories have been
crafted with a erce intelligence that, like the political norms
we seek, keeps correcting which way the boat is going to list.
g. s.
THE BERLIN JOURNAL
A magazine from the Hans Arnhold
Center published by the American
Academy in Berlin
Number Twenty-Four Spring 2013
PUBLISHER Gary Smith
EDITOR R. Jay Magill Jr.
MANAGING EDITOR Johana Gallup
ASSOCIATE EDITOR John-Thomas
Eltringham
ADVERTISING Berit Ebert,
Anika Kettelhake
DESIGN Susanna Dulkinys &
Edenspiekermann
www.edenspiekermann.com
LAYOUT Karen Schramke
PRINTED BY Ruksaldruck, Berlin
Copyright 2013
The American Academy in Berlin
ISSN 1610-6490
Cover: Diem Chau, The Raven and
the Sun, 2012, carved carpenters
pencil. Courtesy the artist and
Packer Schopf Gallery, Chicago
(packergallery.com)
THE AMERICAN ACADEMY
IN BERLIN
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Gary Smith
DEAN OF FELLOWS & PROGRAMS
Pamela Rosenberg
Am Sandwerder 1719
14109 Berlin
Tel. (49 30) 80 48 3-0
Fax (49 30) 80 48 3-111
www.americanacademy.de
14 East 60th Street, Suite 604
New York, NY 10022
Tel. (1) 212 588-1755
Fax (1) 212 588-1758

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4 | The Berlin Journal | Number Twenty-Four | Spring 2013
TO BE FRANK
A legendary American artist on galleries in the Sixties, painting it out, and Caravaggio
LAST SEPTEMBER, THE ILLUSTRIOUS AMERICAN MINIMALIST-CUM-MAXIMALIST FRANK STELLA SPOKE AT
THE AMERICAN ACADEMY ON THE OCCASION OF THE MOST COMPREHENSIVE RETROSPECTIVE OF HIS WORK
IN FIFTEEN YEARS, WHICH HAD JUST OPENED AT THE KUNSTMUSEUM WOLFSBURG. SEATED BEFORE A
STANDING-ROOM-ONLY AUDIENCE OF ART LOVERS AND LONGTIME DEVOTEES, STELLA WAS INTERVIEWED BY
HANNO RAUTERBERG, FEUILLETON EDITOR OF DIE ZEIT.
Spring 2013 | Number Twenty-Four | The Berlin Journal | 5
HANNO RAUTERBERG:
Now, Frank, wheres the cigar?
FRANK STELLA:
Um, its hidden. But its here. Dont worry.
HANNO RAUTERBERG:
Those are Cuban cigars?
FRANK STELLA:
When theyre available, yes.
HANNO RAUTERBERG:
Let me start with a current topic. Not long
ago you received a very important prize, the
National Arts Medal of the United States,
and it was handed over to you by the man
who is now trying to become president for a
second time, right?


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Well, the man who should be president a
second time.
HANNO RAUTERBERG:
That brings up an important question: Has
there ever been anything political about
your work, or is it purely art about color,
space, and form?
FRANK STELLA:
Well, its art about art. And you could
say that art and politics dont mix. You
know, its very difcult to say, because
abstract art, by its very nature, wouldnt
have very much political capital. But on
the other hand, the birth of abstract art
was as heavily political and social as it
could have been. And, by and large, with
terrible results for the artist. Society
survived it, but most of the artists didnt
do so well.
HANNO RAUTERBERG:
Were there revolutionary or rebellious
aspects to your black paintings of the
1950s?
FRANK STELLA:
No, not at all. I would have never thought
about making art if it were not for the
attraction to the energy of American post-
war painting. Its as simple as that.
HANNO RAUTERBERG:
Were they an act of braveness? What made
you do these works, after doing all those
expressionist, abstract pieces?

6 | The Berlin Journal | Number Twenty-Four | Spring 2013


interested in my paintings. On the other
hand, a perfectly decent gallery, the Tibor
De Nagy Gallery I used to go around to
galleries, and when I went to Tibors gallery,
which was run by a kind of interesting guy
named Johnny Myers when I went into
the gallery he was on the telephone explain-
ing to someone that, yes, it was possible
to buy a Larry Rivers painting or a Grace
Hardigan, but that it was really difcult
for him right now because, of course, they
were in the Hamptons and the summer
was their work period, and he wasnt sure
what theyd actually worked on. So he had
to wait until paintings came in from the
Hamptons before he could really, seriously
discuss with them the possibilities of buy-
ing a painting.
And then I talked with him a little bit,
and he knew about me from Bob all of
the people that I met were largely through
Bobby Rosenblum who was a teacher at
the time and then became a teacher at nyu,
ne art. We talked, and he said, Bobby
said you had some paintings that were
interesting. Im having a group show, and
Im showing other artists; Im showing
Edward Avedisian, Im showing young
artists. Why dont you send a painting up?
And I said, Fine. A couple of days later,
a guy bangs on my studio door a very kind
of gruff, big guy. Its Al Held. I know who
he is and everything. So, hes there, and he
says, Hey, I gotta bring this painting up
to Johnny Myers. I look outside, and I say,
Well, this is the smallest painting I have;
its seven-by-ve feet. He says, Thats not
going to t in my station wagon! So we
bring it downstairs and he straps it onto the
top of the station wagon. And its raining,
besides. He takes it up to Johnny Myers
gallery, and its in the group show. It didnt
end very well, either, because they put the
painting in the racks. Most of you wont
know Edward Avedisian hes not with
us anymore, as they say, but he painted
with these very interesting thick globs of
paint. My painting came back with a lot of
cadmium yellow smears all over it, which I
didnt really appreciate.
HANNO RAUTERBERG:
Was it a very competitive atmosphere? Its
always said that there was a rather small
art scene in the 1950s; everybody knew
everyone.
FRANK STELLA:
You know, its true. It was very small, and
everybody did know everybody, and it was
very competitive. But you had to experience
it. I hate to use athletic ideas in everything,
but its true that its competitive and every-
thing, but its competitive among people
who are playing the game. And theyre all
quite condent, and they all know how to
play. So, when youre playing with your
equals and your peers, you dont worry
about it too much. You just keep playing
and mind your own business and do the
best you can.
HANNO RAUTERBERG:
There were all these heroes around. Was
that something that impressed you?
FRANK STELLA:
Yes, all of the young artists well, most of
them were a tiny bit older than I was, but
Larry Poons was younger than I was. And
Roy Lichtenstein, though he was really
older, was considered a very young artist.
Rosenquist, and so on. Everyone looked up
to the Abstract Expressionists. Its just a
question of which one you looked up to. It
was pretty straightforward. The thing about
the galleries, I have to admit, for most of the
artists that I knew, the younger artists, there
were really only a small number of galleries
that counted. There were a lot of other gal-
leries, but you didnt really want to show at
them anyway. That wasnt the point.
HANNO RAUTERBERG:
Was Warhol someone that impressed you?
FRANK STELLA:
Well, I dont know yes. I knew Andy pretty
well, actually. When I wasnt doing so well,
he bought six of my paintings, for $50 each.
He paid $300 cash for a group of paintings.
Thats the way it was. People bought each
others paintings, and things changed
hands. It wasnt a very big deal. By the
end of the 1960s, it started to get, I guess
you could say, out of hand or whatever
you wanted to say about it. But for ve or
six years, the work was concentrated, and
the social distractions didnt signicantly
inuence what the artist made. In other
words, neither the critics, nor the collectors,
nor the dealers had much to say about what
actually got made. A typical artist during
that time would have said, Well, if you
know what to do, then go ahead and do it.
Nobodys stopping you.
HANNO RAUTERBERG:
You were very successful at a young age.
You had a retrospective at moma at 33.
FRANK STELLA:
No, no. Its so impossibly simple and ordi-
nary. Its an absolute act that almost every
painter follows. Almost every painting
reaches a point at which you dont like it,
and then you simply paint it out. This was
simply an act of painting out a painting
that I had been working on. And I painted
it out with the black paint. Unfortunately,
or fortunately, however you want to look at
it, when I saw it the next day, I had painted
it out, but it didnt seem so bad. There was
a possibility of something being completely
over-painted. So I began to think about it,
and I began to make drawings and started
to think about just doing it that way, rather
than making something and then painting
black on top of it; I might as well use the
black to begin with and spend a lot less
time.
HANNO RAUTERBERG:
Were you aware that Robert Rauschenberg
had already done these sorts of paintings?
FRANK STELLA:
I was actually well aware of that. Eleanor
Ward owned a gallery in New York called the
Stable Gallery, where Robert Rauschenberg
worked as a janitor; she elevated him after
a few years to the position of artist, and
she gave him an exhibition. When she
rst came to see my work, with Emile De
Antonio, I moved around and showed her all
these black paintings the studio was actu-
ally smaller than this room but anyway,
I showed her and she said, Ugh! Ugh! Ugh!
Bob Rauschenberg did that ten years ago.
And then she got up with D. and left. But she
almost fell down the stairs.
HANNO RAUTERBERG:
And you were frustrated by her reaction.
FRANK STELLA:
No, not at all, actually. I mean, what did
I care? It had nothing to do with Bob
Rauschenberg painting black paintings,
which I knew perfectly well. The paintings
were less like Rauschenberg than they were
like Newman and Rothko, the painters that
I liked.
HANNO RAUTERBERG:
How many galleries were in New York
when you were just starting out?
FRANK STELLA:
Not so many, but it depends. There werent
a whole lot of galleries that would have been
Spring 2013 | Number Twenty-Four | The Berlin Journal | 7
FRANK STELLA:
It was a good time to be young. Everything
is about opportunity. The abstract art-
ists had worked so hard and were nally,
really established during the 1950s. So
the youngest artists beneted from the
younger artists. The younger artists at that
time would have been Al Held, Ellsworth
Kelly, Sam Francis basically, they were
the second-generation artists Michael
Goldberg, Al Leslie, a lot of whom went
back to Europe after the war, and the G.I.
Bill, and everything. So they had con-
nections in Europe that blossomed quite
quickly. We were the third generation of
American artists to be successful. But you
may be successful and may still be the low-
man on the totem poll.
HANNO RAUTERBERG:
Doing abstract works of art, was that some-
thing you decided, or was it something that
came along with working in New York? At
what point did you start to specialize?
FRANK STELLA:
I was always painting. I was painting before
I went away to school. My mother was


A VIEWER LOOKS AT STELLAS JACQUES LE FATALISTE (1974), AT SOTHEBYS AUCTION HOUSE, IN MAY 2007


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be around, be on the scene for a while, and
if you were able to develop and to sustain
what you were doing, youd probably end up
with a gallery exhibition.
HANNO RAUTERBERG:
Why dont we jump to the year 2012. Youre
still working. Youre still going to the stu-
dio every day.
FRANK STELLA:
Dont overdo it.
HANNO RAUTERBERG:
Is it important for your daily routine to go
there? What do you do there, actually?
FRANK STELLA:
Thats a good question! Sometimes I do
absolutely nothing. And sometimes I sit
and wait for a delivery from Belgium or
Germany for something were going to work
on. I spend a lot of time talking to FedEx.
HANNO RAUTERBERG:
For your three-dimensional wall works you
work on in your studio, you start off with a
model, right? And then what happens?
FRANK STELLA:
The model has to be scanned. Then some-
one whos quite clever has to be able to fol-
low the leading and following edges, so that
you have a curvature over the top and the
bottom, like an airplane wing. Then take
that curvature and do what you dont want
to happen to an airplane wing when youre
ying: bend it in space. Were also talking
about three-dimensional printing, rapid
prototype.
HANNO RAUTERBERG:
Is your process in the studio playful? Or is
it really hard work, with crises and so forth?
FRANK STELLA:
No, there are not too many crises, but its all
a little hard to describe. And my attitude is
hardly playful.
HANNO RAUTERBERG:
And its what, if its not playful?
FRANK STELLA:
Well, Im looking for something. Inevitably
you see, and, after you see, you start to look,
and if you make things or you want them
to be expressive visually or have a kind of
visual impact, you are stuck with think-
ing about them and worrying about them.
I think for all art I cant speak for all art,
obviously things are visual. Certainly the
early paintings the stripe paintings and
the more severe geometric paintings were
about having a direct visual impact. You
wanted to imprint the image on your own
vision. I think that, later on, I became inter-
ested in tactility. I noticed it was always
there, important as the visual impact might
be, but without some sense of real tactile
quality if you didnt really want to touch it
or feel like you could touch it or even trace
the forms with your hands it was what
people said about abstract art: it was kind
of academic and maybe not that interesting.
So there was a kind of pressure to make the
things visual and tactile at the same time.
HANNO RAUTERBERG:
Is it important to you, this discussion, Is it
painting? Is it sculpture? Is it architecture?
These debates over genre?
FRANK STELLA:
No, it isnt. Just because I believe that
anybody can do it, as they say. If we take
an imaginary middle between, lets say,
Lascaux and today, with the imagined mid-
dle as the Renaissance, the idea of the ne
arts painting, sculpture, architecture is
good enough for me. In the Renaissance,
anyone who could do one could do the other,
so it was never that big a deal. Architects,
they make paintings, too. How good they
are, thats another matter. But theyre
engaged in the enterprise. Certainly
there are drawings, sketches, and things.
Corbusier painted almost daily.
HANNO RAUTERBERG:
Thats interesting, because you were
always someone who seemed to me to be
interested in crossing boundaries, trying
to nd new, divided forms not being just
painting but instead crossing over, mixing
a painter and a student in fashion at art
school. My father, although he eventually
ended up as a gynecologist, was a house
painter to work his way though school. And
so we painted in the house. The only thing
really to say about being an artist is that
its about the material. For me, paint was
always familiar. I didnt have to learn about
cadmium red, or tinting colors, or black
enamel, or linseed oil, or turpentine.
HANNO RAUTERBERG:
Were your parents happy that you decided
to become an artist?
FRANK STELLA:
They werent happy, but they werent
unhappy either. They thought it was OK to
have that as a hobby or something like that.
My father thought I could be an optom-
etrist, and then I would still have plenty of
time to paint at the end of the day.
HANNO RAUTERBERG:
But you didnt follow that course.
FRANK STELLA:
I would have, but it didnt work out that
way. Youve glamorized success in a certain
kind of way, but we were also working in
functional milieus the normal thing for
the artists of our time, since the amount of
money that youre talking about is relatively
small, and its expensive for anybody at
anytime to live in New York City. Basically
most artists were teachers. You would have
a teaching job, and work, and then have
exhibitions in galleries. I expected to do
something like that; I worked for a while
as a house painter because teaching jobs
werent available to me. I actually didnt
expect to have an exhibition until some-
thing normal, like in your thirties, or late
twenties, or something. Then you would
Unter den Linden 13/15, 10117 Berlin
Daily, 10 am8 pm
Mondays admission free
deutsche-bank-kunsthalle.com
at the new
Imran Qureshi, They Shimmer Still, 2012 (detail)
Imran Qureshi
Imran Qureshi
Artist of the Year 2013
Opening exhibition April 18August 4
u13_IQ_ANZEIGE_THEBERLINJOURNAL_4.indd 1 28.03.13 14:50
HANNO RAUTERBERG AND FRANK STELLA AT THE AMERICAN ACADEMY, SEPTEMBER 8, 2012
Spring 2013 | Number Twenty-Four | The Berlin Journal | 9
up the old ideas of what a picture is or what
a sculpture is.
FRANK STELLA:
Yes, but if you go just here in Berlin to the
Bode Museum and look at most medieval
and Renaissance sculpture, I mean, by and
large, beginning with medieval sculpture
it was polychrome sculpture and poly-
chrome relief. And what I do is polychrome
sculpture and polychrome relief. So I dont
see it as being so different.
HANNO RAUTERBERG:
Speaking of the Bode Museum: is old art
more interesting to you than modern art?
I know youve always had a fascination with
Caravaggio.
FRANK STELLA:
Its true. But I like Annibale Carracci
as much as I like Caravaggio, but no
one would believe that. The point about
Caravaggio was something I backed
into. I originally wasnt very taken with
Caravaggio; I used to nd him very annoy-
ing his popularity with the art histo-
rians and everything. But, you know, time
and experience changes your view. I did
become interested in the obvious part,
but its not my idea. The literature on
Caravaggio has always told the same story
about Caravaggio that I retell, which is
about the projected force of the painting.
They interested me in the sense that the
paintings gave the impression which is
really quite powerful of not only being
real but coming out towards you. Anyway,
in the words of our time, theyre in your
space. But the interesting thing to me was
the reality of the pieces. Formally abstract
art is seen as being here, and realistic art is
there, and that theyre really different, and
that is true. Theres nothing wrong with
that. But my experience of the realism, or
the reality of Caravaggio, was that, yes, it
was very real, and very there, and very pres-
ent, and incredibly powerful. But what I
was interested in was how it got to be that
way. And the reality of how it got to be that
way was that Caravaggio was interested in
making paintings. So that made it clear
to me, anyway, that as far as whether it is
a painting about St. Sebastian or whether
its a painting about a triangle, its the
same. Its making a painting, and you
have to apply what is necessary to make it
convincing.
HANNO RAUTERBERG:
Is it something that you envy, what
Caravaggio can do? To have these painterly
abilities?
FRANK STELLA:
No, I dont envy anything. I admire his
commitment to painting, to making a
pictorial statement, to wanting to make
something thats not real, real. The point is
to make it convincing and real as an experi-
ence as a visual and tactile experience.
Now, the question to which we may never
know the answer is, At what level is it art?
Thats always the issue. Its not about what
you represent. Its about what you can make,
what you can do.


Unter den Linden 13/15, 10117 Berlin
Daily, 10 am8 pm
Mondays admission free
deutsche-bank-kunsthalle.com
at the new
Imran Qureshi, They Shimmer Still, 2012 (detail)
Imran Qureshi
Imran Qureshi
Artist of the Year 2013
Opening exhibition April 18August 4
u13_IQ_ANZEIGE_THEBERLINJOURNAL_4.indd 1 28.03.13 14:50
10 | The Berlin Journal | Number Twenty-Four | Spring 2013
POETRY AND KITSCH
A secret history
By Daniel Tiffany
O
nce upon a time, long before
it had been reduced to a synonym
for mediocrity in the arts, the
term kitsch was deployed by the modernist
elite in Europe to classify (and deprecate)
certain kinds of artifacts associated with
mass culture. In the 1930s, the Austrian
writer Hermann Broch deemed kitsch
the element of evil in the value system of
art. Theodor Adorno wincingly referred
to kitsch as poison and, drawing upon
the German etymology of the term (from
the German verb kitschen, to smear or
scrape together), as artistic trash. In 1939,
Clement Greenberg famously denounced
the looting and traps associated with
kitsch its criminal nature.
The evil of kitsch thus acquired in
these foundational essays an array of sin-
ister qualities: kitsch is said to be parasitic,
mechanical, pornographic; it is condemned
as a decorative cult and a parody of
catharsis. Other modernists pointed to
kitschs spurious nature, its inseparabil-
ity from mimeticism, its aping of high art.
Objects and images identied as kitsch are
derivative, sentimental, trivial, and
stereotypical and therefore contrary to
the values of true art, with Greenberg
acerbically observing in his hallmark
Partisan Review essay that kitsch pre-
digests art for the spectator and spares him
effort, provides him with a shortcut to the
pleasure of art that detours what is neces-
sarily difcult in genuine art. Kitsch, in
other words, is fake art: a sham.
These inaugural essays accuse
Romantic poetry of being the garden from
which the weed of kitsch originally sprung,
yet kitsch today tends to be associated with
visual or material culture, not with poetry.
This shift is signicant in part because
kitsch looks different when it is viewed
from the perspective of poetry. We there-
fore tend to understand (or misunderstand)
kitsch in material culture today through
the garbled formula of its poetic origin.
As a result, because the precise nature of
poetrys role in the formulation of kitsch
has been largely forgotten, the denition
of kitsch today remains elusive in fun-
damental ways; it is commonly confused
with camp and occasionally even with art
itself. The term conveys a note of elitist
condescension or disdain, though the
people who enjoy what others call kitsch
have exactly the opposite opinion. As
such, kitsch remains a category suspended
between those who have seized possession
of its public name and those for whom it
has no name (or who prefer not to use its
name), between those who refer to it with
contempt and those who enjoy it without
irony, disdain, reservation, or shame. (This
ambivalence is reinforced by the fact that
kitsch has never been embraced as an
aesthetic category by any particular subcul-
tural formation unlike, for example, the
gay communitys adoption of camp.)
Such confusion results, in part, from
the failure of modernist critics to actu-
ally explain why poetry should be blamed
for the proliferation of spurious artifacts
associated with popular culture. And in
this failure, vital questions lie submerged:
What are the missing links between poetry
and fraudulence? Poetry and commodica-
tion? Poetry and popularity? How is poetry
implicated in the falsehood of kitsch, or the
confusion between art and kitsch?
Though the discourse about kitsch has
often been colored by elitist disdain (along
with assumptions that kitsch is grounded
in industrial culture and has a certain
Germanic inection), modernist critics
have failed, almost entirely, to provide a
concrete historical basis for linking their
own discussion of fraudulence directly to
early nineteenth-century Romantic poetry,
posited so often as kitschs murky prov-
enance. This gap can be attributed in part
to a mistaken chronology. Romantic poetry
came along many decades after poetry and
fraudulence had already been linked in the
public mind. The problematic of kitsch,
that is, actually started with the revival of
archaic ballads and folksongs in Britain
in the rst two decades of the eighteenth
century, a development that unsettled
and eventually transformed the diction of
English poetry. Kitsch thus rst emerged
as an aberration in the British poetic tradi-
tion almost a century before the develop-
ment of Romanticism.
S
ome would say that lyric poetry
in English fell asleep during the
eighteenth century (following the
heyday of John Donne, John Milton, and
George Herbert). But if that is true, poetry
certainly experienced some rather strange
dreams during its imaginative slumber:
dreams of an uncanny idiom for poetry, at
once common and obscure, familiar and
alien a language resisting the puried
diction of polite letters. Indeed, while
lyric poetry slumbered, the British read-
ing public became infatuated with archaic
ballads that yielded new constellations of
what one might call distressed genres
genres that aimed to appear older than they
were: nursery rhymes, made-up folksongs
and bardic fragments, melodramas, peas-
ant poetry, Gothic verse, and the triing
subgenre of the pet epitaph. Many of these
pseudo-vernacular genres of poetry some
of them quite innovative made a power-
ful impact on certain poets of the period,
combining to produce a cult of simplicity
and a vicious amalgam of poetic diction,
which would eventually propel kitsch well
into the Romantic period.
THE BASIC ASSOCIATION BETWEEN KITSCH AND FRAUDULENCE THAT
PREVAILS TODAY CAN BE TRACED TO THE FACT THAT MANY POETIC
RELIQUES WERE, QUITE LITERALLY, COUNTERFEIT.
Spring 2013 | Number Twenty-Four | The Berlin Journal | 11
SIBYLLE BERGEMANN, PORCELAIN FIGURINE, FROM THE FADING MEMORIES SERIES (2005), POLAROID PHOTOGRAPH


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The basic association between kitsch
and fraudulence that prevails today can
be traced to the fact that many of these
poetic reliques were, quite literally, coun-
terfeit. A series of controversial but inu-
ential literary forgeries occurred in the
mid-eighteenth century in Britain, most
notably the scandals surrounding James
Macphersons invention of the Ossian
fragments and Thomas Chattertons fab-
rication of the Rowley manuscripts, which
feigned respectively to offer long-lost
manuscripts of ancient Gaelic and late
medieval British verse. The distressed
genre of the counterfeit folk-poem made
available to poets a new palette of eccentric
and even spurious poetic diction but also a
new poetic commodity for cultivated read-
ers. Kitsch rst found its bearings, one
could say, during what Dwight Macdonald
once called the golden age of literary
hanky-panky.
One product of ballad imitation new
to the scene were the fractured and pro-
fane ballads gathered under the rubric of
Mother Goose, which targeted the new g-
ure of the child-reader a type resembling
in ways the gullible connoisseur of native
ballads, a consumer of potentially spuri-
ous artifacts. The child-reader became,
through an intricate web of verbal repeti-
tion, the subject of nonsense and enchant-
ment but also of various punitive scenes of
instruction.
The very rst edition of Mother Goose
rhymes was printed by John Newberry in
London in 1765, the same year that Thomas
Percy published Reliques of Ancient English
Poetry (the most historically inuential

12 | The Berlin Journal | Number Twenty-Four | Spring 2013
collection of English ballads) and in which
James Macpherson continued to publish
The Works of Ossian, later revealed to be
forgeries of poetic fragments by a ctive
Gaelic bard. Newberrys anonymously
composed collection of nursery rhymes
was entitled Mother Gooses Melody, or Songs
for the Cradle, and, aside from its obvious
debt to the oral poetics of the ballad, it also
adopted certain graphic features commonly
associated with printed street ballads.
Each of the 51 poems in Mother Gooses
Melody was accompanied by a tiny woodcut
illustration.
A preoccupation with the minuscule
and the triing marks the rst edition of
Mother Goose, whose anonymous edi-
tor describes himself as a very great
writer of very lit tle books. In
fact, this ambivalent concern with trivial
poems and little books manifests itself
concretely in the rst edition of Mother
Goose, which measured a mere 2.25 x 3.75
inches. The physical reduction of the book,
expressing the minor stature of the poems
contained within it, functions as one of the
most powerful symptoms of the changes
in our handling of poetry inaugurated
by the elevation of the trivial by the
poetics of kitsch. The pragmatics of the
miniaturization of the book turns on the
idea that the book must be scaled down to
suit the needs of its diminutive user, the
child, making the book awkward to handle,
or read, for adults: a toy-book modeling,
perhaps, the eventual conversion of the
physical book into a cult object of childish
pleasures.
The diminution of the physical book also
mirrors the propagation of the child-reader.
The Mother Goose book if indeed it may
be called a book and not a toy consists of
two parts: the rst, a rhapsody of anony-
mous nursery rhymes and, the second,
a haphazard and frequently garbled col-
lection of songs from Shakespeares plays.
The title page of the rst section promises
a selection of Lullabies of the old British
Nurses, calculated to amuse Children and
to excite them to Sleep; likewise, the title
page of the second part advertises a book
containing the lullabies of Shakespeare.
Yet each section of the book contains only
a single lullaby, properly speaking (verses
sung to put a child to sleep). One deduces
that the term lullaby here must refer to
all of the poems contained in this tiny tome.
This usage falls within the Oxford English
Dictionarys denition of the word lullaby,
which can mean any soothing refrain in
addition to songs associated specically
with nighttime rituals for children. If a
lullaby can be dened by its use of refrains
to soothe but also to excite the listener
a contradictory amalgam of sensations
then the diverse poems in Mother Gooses
Melody may indeed be accurately described
as lullabies.
Many of these lulling songs achieve
their polarizing effects through devices
of repetition especially the use of many
types of refrain: curses, counting songs,
vendors cries, cadences for walking, and
playground chants. The predominance
of the refrain emphasizes, moreover, the
degree to which all ballads (and their
spurious progeny) may be described as lul-
labies. As such, the lullaby logic of spuri-
ous ballads the very matrix of kitsch
anticipates the methods of enchantment
and indoctrination essential to modern
consumerism.
By scaling the book to the stature of
a small child, and by assimilating all of
its poems to the genre of the lullaby, the
makers of Mother Gooses Melody appear
to have created a book specically for
young children or, more radically, to have
contributed to the invention of something
one might call, paradoxically, the infant-
reader: a reader who is not yet able to read.
Yet even a cursory glance at Mother Gooses
Melody reveals that its child-reader is a most
unlikely gure: the rst book of childrens
verse is clearly a book made for adults. The
title page announces that these Sonnets
for the Cradle are illustrated with notes
and maxims, Historical, Philosophical,
and Critical. In fact, the elaborate textual
apparatus accompanying the rude sonnets
of Mother Goose quickly reveals itself to
be a work of pseudo-scholarship, outtted
with a mock introduction, facetious notes,
nonsensical maxims, and learned, but c-
tive, sources. The rst edition of Mother
Goose is therefore at once a product of the
ballad revival, steeped in archaic materi-
als, and a satire of antiquarianism, with its
pedantic dressing-up of vernacular poetry.
The ancient lullabies collected (or
fabricated) in Mother Gooses Melody offer a
variant of the nonsensical, or discoloured,
sources feeding what Joseph Addison
called in 1712 the Fairy Way of Writing.
Here is an alphabet song, for example:
great A, little a,
Bouncing B;
The cats in the cupboard,
And she cant see.
And here is a ditty called Caesars Song:
Bow, wow, wow,
Whose dog art thou
Little Tom Tinkers dog,
Bow, wow, wow.
In the curious, formal idiom of these
discoloured songs, a dog barks a hybrid
tongue of animals and humans, while
the very letters of the alphabet come to
life, puzzling or mocking an oblivious cat.
Delighted and dislocated by the jargon of
fairies, the man of good taste becomes, by
reveling in these dainty books, a prototype
of the modern consumer: a grown-up trans-
formed into the chimerical gure of the
infant-reader. The tiny volume of Mother
Goose depicts fanciful creatures, but it also
produced a kind of monster.
T
he peculiar language of the
nursery rhyme is a residue of poetic
experiments of ballad imitations
seeking to produce a synthetic vernacular,
a peculiar idiom that ultimately became
the hidden source of poetic kitsch. These
experiments in poetic diction in the
eighteenth century coincided with a sig-
nicant expansion of literacy, an increase
in the productivity of print culture, and
large-scale transformations of the literary
marketplace. All of these developments
supported the emergence of a new super-
genre called literature, which sought
not only to encompass other genres of
writing (including poetry) but to impose a
shared diction rooted in a puried version
of everyday speech. In opposition to these
developments, ballad imitators (enchanted
by the formulaic composition of archaic
songs) and elite poets (committed to the
insular phraseology of canonical verse)
forged an unlikely alliance to produce a
hyper-lyrical idiom resisting the bourgeois
category of literature (with its conversation-
al diction). From this perspective, kitsch
must be understood as a potent relique of
the historical rivalry between poetry and
literature a submerged antagonism that
continues to the present day.
Daniel Tiffanys fourth book of poetry
(Neptune Park) and his fourth book of
literary criticism (My Silver Planet) will
be published in 2013. A professor of
English and comparative literature at
the University of Southern California
in Los Angeles, he was the Anna-Maria
Kellen Fellow in fall 2012.
Spring 2013 | Number Twenty-Four | The Berlin Journal | 13
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THE BERLIN JOURNAL SPOKE RECENTLY WITH ALUMNA KAREN RUSSELL, AUTHOR OF ST. LUCYS HOME FOR
GIRLS RAISED BY WOLVES (2006), THE PULITZER-PRIZE-NOMINATED NOVEL SWAMPLANDIA! (2011), AND THE
RECENTLY RELEASED VAMPIRES IN THE LEMON GROVE, A COLLECTION OF SHORT STORIES SHE COMPLETED
WHILE A MARY ELLEN VON DER HEYDEN FELLOW IN FICTION AT THE AMERICAN ACADEMY IN SPRING 2012.
KERSTIN GRIMM, STUNDE DER DMONEN 5 (2007), DRAWING-COLLAGE ON PAPER, 100 X 120 CM
BERLIN JOURNAL:
Your writing is fantastical and whimsi-
cal and full of wild imaginings. How do
you suspend your own disbelief when it
comes to writing them?
KAREN RUSSELL:
You know, its funny, to get over the hurdle
of your own disbelief as a writer is always
really difcult, I think. And when the
writing is not going well, to me it can feel
like youre just some awkward puppeteer
woodenly clacking these characters around.
And for whatever reason, I actually think
I do a much better job at getting inside a
characters personality, the mystery of


14 | The Berlin Journal | Number Twenty-Four | Spring 2013
their personality is often revealed to me
when Ive lodged them in a monstrous body
or when I have something that feels a little
off-kilter inside the story. And readers, if
theyre going to be able to live in that world,
you want to feel that there is a coherence
to it, or that there are laws that govern that
reality, no matter how wacked out and crazy
it initially appears to be that there is some
order, some center of gravity. Or that there
is an acknowledgement that this world,
though it might be a mad creation, is reas-
sembled from the stuff of our world. Its
still going to be like the hourglass sand of
your own daily life, your lived experience,
which is making this place.
BERLIN JOURNAL:
Does humor require a similar kind of dis-
cipline, prevent you from self-indulgence,
from having those tiny violins playing?
KAREN RUSSELL:
I think its another danger, too, just speak-
ing of indulgence. Thatll be the gentle
edit, where a friend would say, What
would this read like if you got rid of all the
bad jokes? Inevitably, I would be like, It
would be 40 percent shorter! It would be
a haiku! But, yes, its a danger, too. But
thats the opposite; thats the other hole I
feel I am always in danger of stumbling
into: goofus, bad joke, Ill-be-playing-at-
Vegas-all-week attitude. But I do think that
it is a constraint or a check. I have a friend
who says his editing process is, rst hell
do one pass for sense. Then hell do a pass
to see how the humor is working. Then
hell do a pass to see how the emotion is
working. Ive never been able to be that
schematic about it. But I like the idea that
there are these ways where you can keep
correcting which way the boat is going to
list either into melodrama or hysterical
lyricism or sentiment or just bad Saturday
Night Live parody.
BERLIN JOURNAL:
Speaking of editing: do you know when
somethings done?
KAREN RUSSELL:
Oh, gosh. I guess I always feel like its
a happy defeat. I dont know that I have
ever in my life nished something and
felt euphoric. You know, Every word is
in place! Cant breathe on this! I wouldnt
change a word! But I do get to a place
where usually Ive just gone cross-eyed,
and Im moving prepositions around, or
Im debating things like, Should it be
scarlet or red? Or crimson? Things have
gotten that ocd, and then I feel like I have
hit the ceiling of my own intelligence, and
then its time to turn it over to some other
brain. So, thatll happen. Or, with stories
especially, sometimes Ill have without
wanting to sound super-pretentious about
it like a musical sense that thats the
right note to end on. So itll feel like Ive
arrived at an image that maybe gathers up
a lot of themes from the story, or a way of
opening out to some future implication.
Then that seems like a good stopping
place. Usually it will be an image or a line
that feels like, Yes, thats the right note to
skiddattle on.
BERLIN JOURNAL:
How does desire work in your stories?
KAREN RUSSELL:
Just now am I beginning to write stories
with adult characters. I loved or capitulat-
ed to writing about these adolescents for
such a long time. Its funny, because Ill do
interviews like this and you sort of develop
your PR talking points for why you would
have ever made that decision. The truth is
that it is mysterious to me as well. But I do
KERSTIN GRIMM, STUNDE DER DMONEN 3 (2007), DRAWING-COLLAGE ON PAPER, 100 X 150 CM
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Given the simultaneously dreamlike and threatening quality of Kerstin Grimms draw-
ings, she certainly could be descended from the famous fairytale-collecting brothers.
Born in 1956, in the city of Oranienburg, just north of Berlin, Grimm grew up inu-
enced by the East German gurative tradition, which is apparent in her small bronze
sculptures, as well as in the three works featured here, from her expansive series
Kinderspiele (Childrens Games), made between 20042013. These large-format,
combination drawing-collages, held in the Dorothea and Rudolf Zwirner Collection, in
Berlin, are drawn on multiple single sheets of transparent paper with chalk, ink, char-
coal, watercolor, varnish, and acrylic paint, then laminated together to form one mes-
merizing multilayered work. Throughout the series we see children who seem to sink
ever deeper into trivial yet puzzling activities or become locked in ostentatious poses,
staring out at the viewer; or animals who seem to speak; or antiquated technologies
come to life again. Works from the Kinderspiele series have been published in two
catalogues, one from Galerie Pankow, in 2010, and the other from Galerie Michael
Haas, in 2012, both of which have exhibited Grimms works.
KERSTIN GRIMM, KINDERSPIELE (2008), DRAWING-COLLAGE ON PAPER, 118 X 160 CM
think that desire is so turbulent and keen at
that age. If youre writing about new ways
of seeing, I just thought, day-to-day from
the age of 12 to 17 what an incredible ux!
What a seismic time. On the one hand, you
really are metamorphosing; your body is
changing in these insane ways. You are in
hormonal hyper-drive, but you are also get-
ting all this new information and youre
also kind of left alone. We were talking
about belief and doubt, and thats a kind of
private calculus that kids and adolescents
are doing constantly. You can easily forget,
as an adult, how troubling certain rst
experiences can be. How shockingly differ-
ent the world can seem from one day to the
next at that age.
BERLIN JOURNAL:
Youve said that audiences in California
responded much differently to details in
your writing than audiences in Florida, for
whom alligator wrestlers and swamp crea-
tures are an everyday fact. Does anything
you have experienced in Germany strike
you as equally alien?
KAREN RUSSELL:
What a great question. Its funny, a friend
just emailed and said, Send me a list of
three strange things and one ordinary
thing that you saw this week. And I didnt
even know how to make that distinction.
I think a German would draw the lines
really differently. This is a silly example,
but here at the Academy we had octopus
and blood-sausage risotto. It was like this
epic marine battle on the plate. I was at a
loss to know how frequently this dish is
consumed anywhere in the world I really
dont know. Or the Wannsee, where we live.
I guess this was a spectacularly cold season,
so the whole lake froze, which was beauti-
ful. Im from Miami, so that continues to
feel like Alien Planet to me. Ive lived on the
ocean, but Ive never lived on a lake before,
so that was strange in itself. Then peoples
reactions to this dramatic change in the
landscape were surprising to me. I mean,
I was terried to stand on the ice, but there
were women rolling their babies in their lit-
tle strollers really, any verb that could be
done on that ice: dogs were running around
catching frisbees; people clogging; we saw
everything out there. I thought that was
remarkable. But it was also sort of matter-
of-fact. Its interesting to try to gauge what
is astonishing and unusual and what is nor-
mal in a foreign place.
And the moment youre mentioning:
I got a lot of false cred for being really
imaginative in California for this book
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about a family of alligator wrestlers in a
mythic swamp in the Everglades. Everyone
on the West Coast seemed to think it was
magical realism, and theyd say, Oh, how
bizarre! How did you come up with this
fabulous place? Then I would get all these
chain-smoking, jaded folks in Florida who
said they had to step over an alligator to get
to the reading. They all thought the char-
acters in the book had analogs in the world,
so theyd be like, Oh yeah, the Chief. That
guy is Jungle Larry. I remember meeting
him once. I recognized him. You know?
They all had their own experiences of
going to Swamp Bobs Gator Cafe or Weeki
Wachee Mermaid Paradise these sort of
articial worlds. Its interesting that what
is someones banal Tuesday is somebody
elses science-ctional alternate reality.
BERLIN JOURNAL:
Are you glad to be back to short stories?
KAREN RUSSELL:
What feels really nice about it is that it is
easier to be in control of your own effects
in that space. You have made a corral, or
there is some kind of productive con-
straint, and so you can hold the whole
story in your head. I really learned a lot,
and I really enjoyed writing Swamplandia!,
but what was really challenging for me
was having multiple worlds going at once.
And at some point you can no longer hold
the whole thing in your head. There was
no way for me to experience it as this
seamless dream bubble the way you can
with a story.

16 | The Berlin Journal | Number Twenty-Four | Spring 2013


JEAN-LON GRME, PYGMALION AND GALATEA (CIRCA 1890), OIL ON CANVAS, 90 X 68 CM


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Spring 2013 | Number Twenty-Four | The Berlin Journal | 17
vigorous, expressive so it is appropriate
that, in the Aeneid, Virgil depicts Laocon
as raising a clamor to the stars but art-
works in a spatial medium pertain to stasis
and should be decorous, calm, poised so
it is right that a statue should strive for bal-
ance, beauty, even if it depicts a man dying
horribly. A work of visual art is an immo-
bile noun, or a collection of immobile
nouns; a poem, a novel, a piece of music is
all verb. In this way the arts diversify, even
show a certain hostility to one another.
Others who agreed with Lessing include
Irving Babbitt, Clement Greenberg,
Theodor Adorno, and the Victorian critic
W. J. Courthope, who dened decadence in
art as a quest for originality achieved when
each of the arts borrows some principle
from the others.
T
here is, however, a false assump-
tion built into this whole parsing-out
of the eld of the comparative arts:
that there exists such a thing as an art-
work that exists in one medium and one
medium alone. My own view is that the arts
themselves have no power to aggregate or
to separate. They are neither one nor many,
but will gladly assume the poses of unity or
diversity according to the desire of the artist
or the thinker. But the story of their com-
ings-together and splittings-asunder is one
of the great stories in the intellectual his-
tory of the West. There are those who have
insisted that every artwork is, or should be,
conned to the medium in which it was cre-
ated that an artwork that tries to wriggle
free from the enclosure of its subsistence is
inherently awed, incapacitated. Lessing,
Adorno, and Babbitt argue exactly this,

M
usic. Musik. Musique.
Musica. Msica. Muzyka.
These words mean the same
thing, and pretty well cover Europe and
the Western hemisphere. All are derived
from mousik but this Greek word doesnt
mean music. It is related to the word for
Muse and means anything pertinent to
the Muses; therefore, it includes not only
music but also dance, mime, epic poetry,
lyric poetry, history, comedy, tragedy, even
astronomy. In Roman times the nine
Muses were parceled out neatly among
these nine arts, one Muse to one art. But
earlier, the boundaries of the areas over-
seen by each Muse were unclear and over-
lapping. Greek mythologizing of the arts
tended to confuse and unify the arts; an
artistic medium was not a distinct thing
but a kind of proclivity within the general
domain of art.
On the other hand, the founding text
of academic study of the arts is Aristotles
Poetics, a book with a strong appetite for
division. Aristotle isolates six distinct
aspects of dramatic art: plot (mythos),
character (ethe), thought (dianoia), diction
(lexis), music (melos), and spectacle (opsis).
Far from blurring these categories, he
ranks them in value, with plot as the most
important, music much less, and spectacle
the least of all. For Aristotle, it seems that
verbal art takes precedence over all others
and indeed the visual arts seem so ancil-
lary in Greek culture that neither painting
nor sculpture is dignied with a Muse of
its own.
And yet, the Poetics does not exalt the lit-
erary as much as it seems to. Nowadays we
hear the word plot and may think of a verbal
summary of a story, but for Aristotle the
plot is as much a matter of bodies moving
on a stage as a matter of words. In Greek
thought, verbal art spills out of the purely
textual in all directions: into mime, into
chant, into elocution. The very word poetics
refers to making, not to any specically ver-
bal craft. We might speak of the poetics of a
sonnet, and we might speak of the poetics
of a sofa.
The central question to the study of the
comparative arts is: are the arts one, or are
they many? This question vexed the Greeks
and continues to vex us today. Ringing
afrmations that the arts are one are easy
to nd throughout history. As a summary
of classical thought (written in the seven-
teenth century by Franciscus Junius) put
it: All arts, sayth Tullie [Cicero] that doe
belong to humanitie, have a common band,
and are allyd one to another, as by a kind of
parentage. Tertullian speaketh to the same
effect, when he sayth; there is no Art, but
shee is the mother of another Art, or at least
of a nigh kindred. And innumerable writ-
ers cite Horaces line ut pictura poesis: the
poem should be like a picture.
Strong assertions of the essential
disunity of the arts, however, are hard to
nd before early modern times. But the
discipline of comparative arts arises from
the work of just such a divider, Gotthold
Lessing, who argued in Laokoon (1766) that
the temporal arts, such as music and lit-
erature, had protocols wholly distinct from
those of the spatial arts, such as sculpture
and painting. He began by asking him-
self a question that the great art historian
Winckelmann had asked before him: why
isnt Laocon screaming? In the famous
Roman statue, excavated in Michelangelos
time, Laocon and his children are being
squeezed to death by an enormous snake;
but Laocons mouth is a tight stoic line,
and his face is curiously impassive. Lessing
argued that artworks in a sequential medi-
um pertain to action and should be loud,
THROWING MUSES
On the inextricability of the arts
By Daniel Albright
THE ARTS THEMSELVES HAVE NO POWER TO AGGREGATE OR
TO SEPARATE. THEY ARE NEITHER ONE NOR MANY, BUT WILL GLADLY
ASSUME THE POSES OF UNITY OR DIVERSITY ACCORDING TO THE
DESIRE OF THE ARTIST OR THE THINKER.
18 | The Berlin Journal | Number Twenty-Four | Spring 2013
but the strongest statement of this position
was Greenbergs:
Shelley . . . exalted poetry above the
other arts because its medium came
closest, as Bosanquet put it, to being no
medium at all. In practice this aesthetic
encouraged that particular widespread
form of artistic dishonesty which con-
sists in the attempt to escape from the
problems of the medium of one art by
taking refuge in the effects of another.
Painting is the most susceptible to
evasions of this sort. . . . Painting and
sculpture in the hands of the lesser
talents . . . become nothing more than
ghosts and stooges of literature.
But he did not, of course, stop there.
Greenbergs ultimate program was one of
remedy:
To restore the identity of an art the opac-
ity of its medium must be emphasized.
The history of avant-garde painting
is that of a progressive surrender to
the resistance of its medium; which
resistance consists chiey in the at
picture planes denial of efforts to
hole through it for realistic perspec-
tival space.
Though his programmatic inuence upon
mid-twentieth-century art and criticism
was immense, Greenbergs argument is, in
the end, an untenable one. An artwork has
little power of resistance to description or
interpretation. A at picture plane is in a
poor position to deny anything whatsoever,
including efforts to hole through it. If I
ask a sculpture to be a ghost or stooge
of literature, it has no choice but to comply.
An artwork is an artwork precisely because
it is especially susceptible to translation
into an alien medium, and because those
translations have a certain captivating
aspect. If Greenberg had been correct, he
would have had to abandon his career as an
art critic altogether and become a special-
ist in metallurgy. Every act of art criticism
is a hauling of the criticized thing into
the eld of the verbal, where, according to
Greenberg, it has no home.
A urinal (to take a famous example) is
not normally considered an artwork, an
adventure in ceramic. If someone asks me
to describe or interpret a urinal (not that
this request comes up every day), I can
speak of its half-cylindrical aspect, its
glazed white surface, the fragrant hockey
puck often thrown into it, its happy useful-
ness at catching and disposing of urine.
I have taken a material object and made a
parallel to it in another medium: language.
I could even make a narrative. I could speak
of what little I know of the history of the
urinal, from the vespasienne to the pres-
ent; I could speak of memorable urinals
Ive used, from Tibet to Peru to New York.
These are brief and boring stories. But if I
think of a urinal promoted to an art object,
as in Duchamps famous ploy in New York
in 1917, suddenly I can say a great deal
more, indeed I can gabble about it for hours.
Insofar as I see it as art, a urinal becomes a
gure of power. It compels me to think and
speak.
By decontextualizing it from the
single context it once occupied, a lavatory,
Duchamp liberated it to be recontextual-
ized in a thousand different contexts. It
is now sculpture, and precisely because
it is sculpture, it becomes the ghost or
stooge of literature. Its title, Fountain,
permits, even demands, comparison with
the fountain of Arethusa or other classical
fountains; the fact that a urinal is a kind of
upside-down fountain, spraying into the
earth, makes for speculation on the ways
in which art is a reversal of nature, a mirror
image in which everything is backwards.
Its signature, R. Mutt, opens up multiple
vistas: not only the urinals status as a mutt,
a mongrel of high art and humble call of
nature, but also the German word Armut,
poverty, and, still further, the comic strip
Mutt and Jeff, begun in 1907 and rst
entitled A. Mutt with Mutt a gambler on
horse races and Jeff a former inmate of an
insane asylum. These are only some of the
more obvious stories that can be scooped
out of the urinal: stories concerning des-
titution, insanity, games of chance, and
ironic cooptation suddenly spurt. Just as in
Heideggers essay on the origin of the work
of art, a whole world emerges from the
splayed-open boots in van Goghs painting.
One dening characteristic of the
artwork is this ease of what may be called
intermedial manipulation, or, the tran-
sient complex thing that is assembled in
each spectators mind through attention
to elements in different media. (This is, of
course, the exact opposite of Greenbergs
denition.) This transit can go in any direc-
tion; music can open itself to visual expres-
sion, as in Klimts Beethoven-frieze, and a
sculpture can open itself to musical expres-
sion, as in Liszts Il penseroso, and so on.
Creative work manifests its creativeness by
inspiring creativity in others. An artwork
from which no story or other homologue /
analogue / metalogue could be educed
would not be an artwork, indeed would
have only the feeblest hold on existence.
By far the most common destination
of intermedial thrust is language. We
are used to mapping artworks in every
medium onto language. Indeed a sensuous
object is an aesthetic object to the degree
that it demands to be interpreted that is,
to be talked about. A newly made thing is
only potentially an artwork; it realizes itself
as art not in the act of its being-painted or
being-composed but in the act of submit-
ting itself as a subject for talking. It needs
to nd word-threads that tie it to other
works in its genre, to its possible use (even
if its use consists only of display in some
appropriate venue), to the culture-scape of
the objects the artist intends to represent (if
it is representational in character). These
threads reach to the most distant and tenu-
ous regions of the universe of discourse.
The best art often has the most intricate
network of such strands; one might fear
that a superlative artwork might get buried
under its own quotedness, but that seems
not to happen, even to Shakespeare.
D
uchamp and Cage were right:
every thing is art; every sound is
music. Even natural phenomena,
such as shells or ravines, are aesthetic
objects to the degree that they invite a play
of contexts. The Grand Canyon is aesthetic
to me because the muscles around the small
of my back grow tense as I imagine that Im
falling into it; the banks of the Mississippi
are aesthetic to me because they hold the
memory of Huck Finn drifting at night.
A conch shell is aesthetic to me, partly
because I can imagine the brilliant blare
that a conch-shell trumpet would make.
A cowrie shell is aesthetic too, but in a dif-
ferent way, because I remember that cowries
were once used as money; and I remember
that cowrie shells are smooth because the
mantle, the shell-making organ, is outside
the shell instead of inside, so that a cowrie is
a sort of everted gastropod; and I remember
Yeats idea that God toils more in making
a little shell than in making a thunderclap;
and I toy with the notion that shells might
be readable, because certain designs look
like letters in some unknown alphabet.
Anything can be lifted (lowered?) into
the domain of art simply by the effort of
imagination. We live in a world where every
object compels imagining and re-imagin-
Spring 2013 | Number Twenty-Four | The Berlin Journal | 19
ing, because nothing exists entirely where
it happens to be. Much of this wonder is
pre-verbal; but wonder is a little scary, and
we need to relieve ourselves of wonder by
verbalizing it, whether in formal criticism
or in subvocal comings-to-term.
Still, those who try to eliminate stories
and other forms of intermedial translation
from the universe of discourse have a point.
The effort of New Criticism to eliminate
biography, parallel texts, and everything
else not contained in the poem itself could
not go far but was an homage to something
real and important about poetry. In the
original artwork (any artwork, not just a
poem) there is a residue of the untranslat-
able left behind after every act of transla-
tion. The translation is a falsication but
a falsication without which art could not
exist. By residue I mean something like
what Adorno means in his description of
negative dialectic: the X that critics and
intermedial artists keep trying to elucidate,
to bring into the eld of the comprehended,
but that will always remain untouched, or
touched only glancingly, obliquely. This
residue is where Greenberg is right. Here
the original medium is everything; here
the signiers in the artwork point to sig-
nieds that can exist only in the original
medium, indeed only in the original art-
work, triumphant in its autotelic solitude.
The deepest art in the artwork lies in this
volute in this closed whorl of signier and
signied that cant be pried apart, loosened
for public inspection.
But any nite work of art also contains
signs that arent at all like this signs that
can be carried across, with more or less
precision, into other artistic media, includ-
ing critical discourse. It is in the region of
such playful, extraverted, easy, and accom-
modating signs that the possibility for a
discipline of comparative arts exists. I may
marvel at how richly an artwork compels a
whole environment to take shape around it,
as iron lings take shape around a magnet.
But there is something else beneath this
richness. In an artwork there is matter like
dark matter in the galaxies, unavailable to
scrutiny because impossible to articulate
or paraphrase or in any way transpose, in
the strictest sense ineffable. So we can
interpret a poem, but we can never crack its
shell, extract the poem-ness hidden in the
words, let out the massed dark. The name
that we give to this left-behind is wonder,
and through wonder we know it is there.
I remember listening to my mother
reading The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
aloud to me before I even knew how to
read, and I remember that I felt the miracle
inside it, and I know that no account or
interpretation, however subtle or penetrat-
ing or beautifully written, has touched that
rst shiver.
Daniel Albright is the Ernst Bernbaum
Professor of Literature at Harvard
University and was a Nina Maria
Gorrissen Fellow at the Academy in
fall 2012.
Print and more.
www.ruksaldruck.de
Better is the enemy of good.
Voltaire
IN THE ORIGINAL ARTWORK (ANY ARTWORK, NOT JUST A POEM)
THERE IS A RESIDUE OF THE UNTRANSLATABLE LEFT BEHIND
AFTER EVERY ACT OF TRANSLATION.
20 | The Berlin Journal | Number Twenty-Four | Spring 2013
HAUNTED
Uncertain scenes from an early morning encounter
By Lance Olsen
AMY BENNETT, WAITING (FROM THE NEIGHBORS SERIES) (2007), OIL ON PANEL, 41 X 76 CM
THE AUTHORS EXPERIMENTAL NOVEL-IN-PROGRESS, THEORIES OF FORGETTING, IS BASED ON ROBERT
SMITHSONS 1970 EARTHWORK THE SPIRAL JETTY. HEREWITH, AN EARLY EXCERPT.
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Spring 2013 | Number Twenty-Four | The Berlin Journal | 21
A
nd then the man opens his
eyes to nd himself standing at
the kitchen island. He is studying
the cereal bowl on the granite countertop
before him through light textured like
the static on a rabbit-eared TV set. It
must be morning 4, 4:30; thats what
he would guess. The cereal bowl, black,
black or gray, is half full of granola and
the man realizes there is something in
his left hand and something in his right.
An open carton of strawberry yogurt.
A spoon with aerodynamic design. To
the best of his knowledge, he is making
breakfast.
This thought happens to him and the
man hears a noise and raises his head. He
thinks cat before he remembers there isnt
any cat before he remembers there was no
cat, but maybe now there is. A few seconds,
and he settles on the idea of oorboards
adapting, a breeze bothering things outside,
even though it is summer and he knows
there arent many breezes at this time of
day at this time of year.
He scoops the yogurt from carton into
bowl and stirs the granola from the bottom
up. On the counter beneath the paper towel
holder is a large fruit dish, except it is a dif-
ferent one, chrome grid, not glossy Norway
maple, maple or maybe it was r, with dif-
ferent kinds of fruit in it. A pale white apple,
which would appear green in daylight. One
orange, which the man picks up, palms,
sniffs, puts back down. Two bananas, one
splotched with biomorphic stains, and he
chooses the other. Opening drawers, clos-
ing drawers, opening drawers, he locates
the silverware and selects a knife, a steak
knife, no, just a regular blunt-end one, with
which he cuts up the peeled banana over
the yogurt and granola and listens to the
wet sound of slices tlicking into the mix.
This is when he becomes aware of the
spiky scent of ground coffee. He discovers
a coffeemaker beneath the cabinets near
the microwave, and the machine must be
black because it blends in almost entirely
with the countertop. He can see it and then
he cant and then he can. The one they had
was black, too. No, brushed aluminum. He
would gure two tablespoons of ground
beans in the wire-mesh lter. He would g-
ure the timer was set last night.
This thought happens to him and the
man hears someone take a quick breath
across the room and he raises his head:
a stranger suspended in the doorway
between the hall to the bedrooms and
this place, the one the man nds himself
occupying.
He is in the process of lifting a spoonful
of granola and yogurt and banana slices to
his lips, semi-thinking about how a glass of
orange juice would taste good with it, pos-
sibly recalling and possibly misrecalling
seeing a carton on the shelf in the refrigera-
tor among the calamity of white light, pos-
sibly behind a yellow plastic mustard bottle,
a pickle jar with two pickles in it wafting
in cloudy pea-green brine, an open can of
peaches in sugar water covered loosely with
a sheet of Saran wrap.
A woman. The woman. She is scrutiniz-
ing the stillness the man has become. He
wonders if she can really see him or if she
can only sense the accumulation of his
body in space. The certain density. Second
sight. Should he remain motionless?
Continue eating?
AMY BENNETT, WAITING (FROM THE NEIGHBORS SERIES) (2007), OIL ON PANEL, 41 X 76 CM
HE WONDERS IF SHE CAN REALLY
SEE HIM OR IF SHE CAN ONLY
SENSE THE ACCUMULATION OF
HIS BODY IN SPACE. THE CERTAIN
DENSITY. SECOND SIGHT. SHOULD
HE REMAIN MOTIONLESS?

22 | The Berlin Journal | Number Twenty-Four | Spring 2013
Martin-Gropius-Bau Berlin
Eintritt
frei bis
16 Jahre
Niederkirchnerstr. 7, D-10963 Berlin
Mi Mo 10 19 Uhr, Di geschlossen
Online-Tickets: www.gropiusbau.de
Gruppenpreise ab 5 Personen
18. Mai 24. November 2013
Anish Kapoor
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16. August 1. Dezember 2013
Meret
Oppenheim
Retrospektive
14. Juni 16. September 2013
Horst Antes
Malerei 1958 2010
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She is smallish and several years older
than he is and maybe she wears glasses
and maybe she has left them on the bed-
side table when she got up to investigate
the noises coming from her kitchen. His
kitchen. Her kitchen. It used to be his. Now
it is this gray hair, this shoulder-length gray
hair, and he thinks, kindergarten teacher in
a pink quilted robe. He thinks: I can easily
take her.
He feels rather than sees her part her
lips to speak and recalls he is wearing a
t-shirt, a plain white t-shirt, and saggy worn
jeans and a pair of new white sneakers. The
t-shirt and sneakers glow in the dimness,
giving away his position, and she is saying:
Youre doing exactly what here?
She adds something he cant make out.
What? he says.
The noise, she says.
Her voice is younger than she looks.
Someone in her thirties. Forties.
Im not the noise, he says. Youre the
noise.
I hear things. I come out to check. Only
theres never anything.
She is holding an object in her hand.
A modest pistol. What they call a, what is
the word, subcompact, with names like
Bobcat, Cobra, and the way she annunci-
ates makes him wonder how many bridges
and crowns and caps have reorganized her
mouth. The pistol is pointed at him.
Im thinking: mice, she says. Squirrels.
Animal sounds. Im thinking maybe my
house wears down around me a little every
time I go to sleep. I know it does, but Im
thinking maybe I can actually hear it as its
happening.
No, he decides, a pack of cigarettes.
Its been months, she says. How many
months has it been?
No, a pistol.
When did you buy? he says.
Buy?
The house. When did you buy the house?
Youre asking me the questions? Im ask-
ing you the questions.
They are both quiet, he recalling his den-
tist once explaining to him that teeth are
perpetually adrift in your gums, migrating
and modifying continuously, no matter
who you are, what you try to do about it.
Three months, she says. Three and a
half.
No, a cellphone.
Three and a half, he says. Five, six. Its
April, right?
He steps over to the sink, spoons the
contents of the black or gray bowl down
the drain, ips on the water, the garbage
disposal; ips off the garbage disposal, the
water.
You just come in? she says to his back.
You just do this?
I dont take anything.
Food. You take food. And then what?
You eat? Clean the plates? Put them away?
What sort of burglary is this?
The man dries the bowl and spoon with
the luminous dishtowel on the stove front,
replaces the bowl in the cabinet, the spoon
in the drawer.
I eat off the plates youve eaten off? she
asks. Adds: The doors are locked. The
windows.
The one that looks onto the deck? he
says, facing her again, leaning back against
the granite countertop. The lock only feels
like it locks.
You know this?
The catch.
He is moving effortlessly. Her kitchen.
His. He squints and she grows younger.
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Spring 2013 | Number Twenty-Four | The Berlin Journal | 23
THE LIGHT SURROUNDING HIM IS
RESOLVING TOWARD LEGIBILITY.
COLORS RISING OUT OF THE
ROOMS COMPLEX ASPECTS.

Squints and she grows older. He experi-
enced the same effect when he hovered
over her sleeping body in her bed. Her
face kept changing. He couldnt get over
it. Her face kept becoming other peoples
faces as he watched. He remembers being
mildly impressed by the resonance, the
tenacity, of her snore. It wasnt loud, just
persistent. She had a white scar over her
left eyebrow suggesting a grain of rice
or a atworm. He cant make it out now,
which is when he becomes aware that
the light surrounding him is resolving
toward, what is the word? Legibility. The
light surrounding him is resolving toward
legibility. Colors rising out of the rooms
complex aspects.
No, her robe isnt pink. It is a difcult
shade of blue. Blue or gray, but not pink or
quilted.
WilmerHale provides legal counsel to clients in and around Germanys
key nancial, political and industrial centers. With ofces across the
globe, we are strategically positioned to provide counsel on complex
international matters affecting your business.
Locally Based.
Globally Connected.
BEIJING BERLIN BOSTON BRUSSELS DAYTON FRANKFURT LONDON LOS ANGELES NEW YORK OXFORD PALO ALTO WALTHAM WASHINGTON DC
wilmerhale.com
Berlin, Friedrichstrasse 95: +49 30 20 22 64 00
Frankfurt/Main, Ulmenstrasse 37-39 : +49 69 27 10 78 000

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Terrycloth.
The word for what it is is terrycloth.
He wants to say the woman is wearing
matching slippers and all at once she isnt
suspended anymore. She is planted on the
oor just like he is, planted in this room,
this neighborhood, speaking to him like he
is speaking to her.
Ive already called the police, she is say-
ing. Just so you know.
Do you like the house? he asks.
Before I came out. From the bedroom.
Its character. What do you think of its
character?
Theyll be here any minute. Like on one
of those reality cop shows. And its June.
June? he says.
Im a orist. I make owers look owery.
I bother exactly no one. What have I got you
could possibly want?
The word bungalow.
Her face, he sees: she is wearing a surgi-
cal mask.
No: that was someone else.
I love its attention to detail, he says. You
dont get that anymore, do you. The twen-
ties. The thirties. But not these days. Crown
moldings. Wall niches. The, what do you
call them? Corbels. Not in this price range
anyway.
He sees the womans cellphone is on.
A fuzzy, radiant phosphorescence meaning
the line is open, meaning somewhere out
there a 911 operator is listening in on their
conversation, recording, evaluating whats
being said, which is when he understands
he no longer has anything to add.
He does have something to add and then
he doesnt and in a quick relaxed series of
gestures he pivots, cuts across the kitchen,
unlocks the sliding glass door, glances back
at the woman who is now raising the phone
to her ear and parting her lips to speak.
See you soon, he mouths, models her a
smile, and steps through.

Lance Olsen is a professor of experi-


mental narrative theory and practice at
the University of Utah and the spring
2013 Mary Ellen von der Heyden Fellow
in Fiction at the American Academy.
24 | The Berlin Journal | Number Twenty-Four | Spring 2013
A BUTTERFLY IN NEW YORK
I chased it so often
in our Baghdad garden
But it would always y away
Today
Three decades later
In another continent
It perched on my shoulder
Blue
Like the seas thoughts
Or the tears of a dying angel
Its wings two leaves
falling from heaven
Why now?
Does it know
that I no longer run
after butteries?
Just watch them in silence
That I live
Like a broken branch
FALL IN HEAVEN
Trees are evergreen
Gentle winds
tickle their branches
The elders read newspapers
Children play
Their mothers watching
There are whispers
that another angel
committed suicide
last night
IN MY NEXT LIFE
In my next life
I will not be
I
I will be a wild ower
Lying on a distant slope
Where butteries rest
A child
who has never known wars
might pluck it
And take it to his mother
Placing it between her breasts
She kisses him
And smells me
Just as I smell her
. . .
In my next life
I will not be
NEW POEMS
By Sinan Antoon
Sinan Antoon is a novelist, poet, and associate professor at the Gallatin School of New York
University. He is the Anna-Maria Kellen Fellow at the Academy in spring 2013.
Notebook of the American Academy in Berlin | Number Twenty-Four | Spring 2013
ON THE WATERFRONT
NEWS FROM THE HANS ARNHOLD CENTER
N2 Academy Notebook: The
American Academy welcomes
publisher Dirk Ippen as the
newest member of its Board
of Trustees
N10 Life & Letters: An
introduction to the spring
2013 fellows, alumni
books, a sneak preview,
and a call for applications
N5 Sketches & Dispatches: Susie
Lineld on photography and
democracy; Richard Hawkins
subversive scrapbooks; Gene
Coleman on image and sound
N3 Academy Notebook: Academy
Trustee Ambassador Wolfgang
Ischinger honors the
remarkable life of Ewald-
Heinrich von Kleist
A
n electrifying
benet auction held on
November 30, 2012 at the
Villa Grisebach saw celebrated
contemporary artists from the
United States and Germany
pledge outstanding works to help
fund the American Academys
Max Beckmann Distinguished
Visitorship. The all-star list
included works by Richard
Artschwager (19232013), Georg
Baselitz, Francesco Clemente,
George Condo, Thomas Demand,
Anselm Kiefer, Barbara Kruger,
Louise Lawler, Barry Le Va, Matt
Mullican, Alice Neel (1900
1984), Raymond Pettibon, Jessica
Rankin, Anselm Reyle, James
Rosenquist, and Edward Ruscha.
Academy alumni were well repre-
sented, too, with works by Aaron
Curry, Mitch Epstein, Jenny
Holzer, Paul Pfeiffer, and Xu
Bing. Artworks created specical-
ly for the auction were generously
Art for Arts Sake at Villa Grisebach
German and American artists donations raise over a million dollars for a new Academy initiative
I
t is with the great-
est appreciation that I
write this letter to thank
you for your most generous
contribution to the American
Academy in Berlin, began
Academy Chairman A. Michael
Hoffman in a letter addressed
to the Honorable Michael
Bloomberg, Mayor of New York
City. His foundation, Bloomberg
Philanthropies, had just endowed
the Henry A. Kissinger Prize
with a decisive $2.5 million
gift. Hoffman continued, You
make it possible for us to recog-
nize men and women who, like
Henry, work tirelessly to foster
US/German and transatlantic
relationships.
It has indeed been this spirit
of private generosity from
Bosch GmbH, eads, Cerberus
Deutschland GmbH, and Dr. Pia
and Klaus Krone that has made
the Henry A. Kissinger Prize
possible since its establishment,
in 2007. The Henry A. Kissinger
Kissinger Prize
Endowed
Bloomberg Philanthropies gives $2.5 million
New Composition
Fellowship
Inga Maren Otto sponsors Berlin Prize in music
CONTINUED ON PAGE N7 CONTINUED ON PAGE N2
CONTINUED ON PAGE N4 JULIE MEHRETUS FOUR FOLD LED AUCTION SALES
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he American Academy
in Berlin is delighted to
announce the inaugura-
tion of the Inga Maren Otto
Fellowship in Music Composition.
Musical performances
are an important pillar of the
Academys programming,
and Inga Maren Ottos gener-
ous support ensures that the
Academy will be a home to
and workspace for innovative
American composers for years
INGA MAREN OTTO
N2 | Academy Notebook | News from the Hans Arnhold Center
Academy Notebook
HENRY KISSINGER AND MICHAEL BLOOMBERG
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he American Academy
is delighted to welcome
Dr. Dirk Ippen as the
newest member of its Board of
Trustees. Known throughout
Germany as an inuential and
innovative businessman and
opinion leader, Ippen has com-
bined a dedication to sustainabil-
ity with entrepreneurial creativity
in becoming one of Germanys
most respected publishers.
Born in Rdersdorf, near
Berlin, Ippen received a doctor-
ate in law before beginning
his career in publishing. After
assuming control of his fam-
ilys newspaper in Hamm, the
Westflischer Anzeiger, he suc-
cessfully expanded his holdings
by acquiring small-to- medium-
sized papers throughout
Germany and building relation- TRUSTEE DIRK IPPEN
New Trustee on Board
Publisher and philanthropist Dirk Ippen joins the Board of the American Academy in Berlin
Kissinger Prize Endowed
ships with readers at the commu-
nity level.
Today his Mnchener
Zeitungs-Verlag oversees dailies
ranging from the Mnchener
Merkur and tz, in Munich, to
Hessische/Niederschsische
Allgemeine, in Kassel, and
Allgemeine Zeitung der Lneburger
Heide, in Uelzen, among oth-
ers, making it the fth-largest
newspaper publisher in Germany,
with a total circulation of over
one million. In addition to pub-
lishing newspapers, Ippen has
published a number of antholo-
gies of German poetry and is a
member of the literary society of
Grfelng.
Ippen has also made his mark
through philanthropic activities.
A member of the Board of Trust-
ees of the Ludwig-Maximilians
University Mnchen, he inau-
gurated the Dirk Ippen Berlin
Prize Fellowship at the American
Academy in fall 2012. Moreover,
his nonprot Ippen Foundation,
founded in 2000, supports civic
engagement, including educa-
tion, history, science, and conser-
vation programs, in communities
where his newspapers appear.
For this longstanding com-
mitment to social responsibility
and entrepreneurial courage,
Ippen was honored with the
2011 Luther Rose, a recognition
awarded by the Internationale
Martin Luther Stiftung. Praising
Ippen upon his acceptance of the
award, Academy trustee and co-
secretary John C. Kornblum said,
To observe Dirk Ippen at work is
like observing a rst-rate athlete.
He does not merely tie together
many different threads but
also acts with an almost artistic
ease. . . . In America, we call such
people Naturals.
r.j.m.
Prize, which each year honors a
renowned American or European
gure in international diplomacy
for outstanding services to the
transatlantic relationship, will be
awarded for the seventh time on
June 10, 2013, this year posthu-
mously, to Ewald-Heinrich von
Kleist, founder of the Munich
Security Conference. Past recipi-
ents include former US President
George H.W. Bush and former
German Chancellor Helmut Kohl.
The endowment by Bloomberg
Philanthropies evidences the
close relationship between Mayor
Bloomberg and Dr. Kissinger,
who have known and admired
one another for decades. I dont
know that anybody has enunci-
ated a worldview the way that
Henry Kissinger did in his day,
Bloomberg recently told the
Atlantic.
In 2010, Dr. Kissinger, who
served as one of the founding
chairmen of the American
Academy, said of the New York
mayor, We all know of his
tremendous achievements, but
the quality that I admire most
in him is his ability to view the
future, his willingness to go in
directions that are not clear when
they are undertaken. Thanks
to Bloomberg Philanthropies
immense support, the future of
the Henry A. Kissinger Prize is
clearer than ever before.
r.j. m. & p.r.
CONTINUED FROM N1
News from the Hans Arnhold Center | Academy Notebook | N3
AMBASSADOR WOLFGANG ISCHINGER, HENRY KISSINGER, AND EWALD-HEINRICH VON KLEIST
W
ith the death of
Ewald-Heinrich von
Kleist we have lost
a truly remarkable German
patriot.
Ewald-Heinrich von Kleist
was born in Gut Schmenzin, in
Pomerania, on July 10, 1922.
As a young lieutenant of the
Wehrmacht, he joined the resis-
tance movement of Col. Graf
Claus von Stauffenberg. After
the failed assassination plot of
July 20, 1944, he was arrested
by the Gestapo und detained
in the concentration camp
Ravensbrck. His father, well
known for prior resistance
activities, was charged as co-
conspirator and murdered by the
NS regime in Pltzensee Prison
on April 9, 1945.
After World War II, Ewald-
Heinrich von Kleist became a
publisher in Munich. In 1952,
he was one of the founding
members of the Gesellschaft fr
Wehrkunde, an association devot-
ed to defense issues.
During the Cold War, espe-
cially in the course of the Cuba
crisis and the Berlin crises, the
lack of an independent transat-
lantic forum to discuss pressing
issues of security and defense
policy outside ofcial channels
became apparent.
Ewald-Heinrich von Kleist
was the man behind the
1. Inter nationale Wehr kunde-
begegnung, which took place
in Munich on November 30 and
December 1, 1963. Participants
included political leaders, senior
ofcials, military ofcers, aca-
demics, and writers. Henry
Kissinger and Helmut Schmidt
were among this initial group.
With the establishment of the
Wehrkundetagung and its subse-
quent evolution into the current
Munich Security Conference,
Ewald-Heinrich von Kleist has
generated a unique international
forum on security, defense, cri-
sis management, and conict
prevention.
Based on his experiences
in World War II and his active
resistance against the National
Socialist regime, it was Ewald-
Heinrich von Kleists deep moral
conviction that the central objec-
tive of security policy should
always be to protect lives and to
avoid bloodshed.
On the occasion of a ceremo-
ny commemorating the 66th
anniversary of the failed assassi-
nation plot against Adolf Hitler,
Ewald-Heinrich von Kleist deliv-
ered a keynote speech in front
of the Reichstag building and
once again emphasized: We
have had a period of 65 years of
peace in Central Europe. . . . It is
not to be taken for granted and
this oasis does not bring peace
to people all over the world.
Peace and freedom, these two
are interlinked. . . . It has to be
the goal of security policy to
protect that.
Ewald-Heinrich von Kleist, 19222013
Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger mourns the loss of the 2013 recipient of the Henry A. Kissinger Prize
The Munich Security Confer-
ence will continue to be, in the
spirit of Ewald-Heinrich von
Kleist, a forum for independent
dialogue on security and peace as
well as on cooperation and con-
ict prevention.
Our thoughts and prayers are
with his wife and his family.
Obituary published on
the Munich Security
Conference website on
March 13, 2013
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On Monday, June 10, 2013, the American Academy in Berlin will cel-
ebrate the extraordinary life of Ewald-Heinrich von Kleist at a ceremony
conferring the seventh Henry A. Kissinger Prize. Von Kleist, who passed
away on March 8 at the age of ninety, was deeply honored when the
Academy contacted him last fall to inform him that he would be pre-
sented with this years Kissinger Prize. On behalf of everyone involved
in the Henry A. Kissinger Prize, the American Academy offers its deep-
est condolences to the widow and family of Ewald-Heinrich von Kleist.
Comtesse Vera de Lesseps, von Kleists daughter, has graciously agreed
to accept the award for her late father.
United States Senator John McCain and German Minister of
Defense Thomas de Maizire will both honor von Kleist with lauda-
tions. I learned a great deal over the years from his wise counsel and
statesmanship, said Senator McCain in a recent statement. I enjoyed
the great pleasure of his company and the privilege of his friendship, for
which I will always be grateful.
The American Academy is grateful to our major sponsors, the Robert
Bosch GmbH and eads, as well as to Cerberus Deutschland GmbH
and the Waldorf Astoria Berlin for their generous support.
N4 | Academy Notebook | News from the Hans Arnhold Center
Lieber John,
Tammy und ich und alle Mitarbeiter
der Botschaft gratulieren Dir sehr
herzlich zum Geburtstag.
You have been a source of
inspiration for many of our
career Foreign Service Ofcers,
and I can speak personally in
saying that you have inspired
me. The stages of your career
as a diplomat and your many
achievements in service of the
transatlantic and, in particular,
the German-American part-
nership are well known. You
were part of the negotiations
around the rst major open-
ing of the East-West divide, the
Quadripartite agreement, as
well as the Helsinki Final Act.
You were the representative
to the osce in both Helsinki
and Vienna. In 1985, you
served as the US Minister and
Deputy Commandant in Berlin,
a period of enormous change.
And you saw the results of those
changes as Deputy Permanent
Representative to nato after
the fall of the Wall. As Assistant
Secretary for European and
Canadian Affairs, you worked
directly on the evolution of the
American role in Europe in the
post-Cold-War era.
You returned to Germany as
Ambassador in 1997 and made
an indelible impact on the role
that Germany and the United
States play in the world today.
Symbolic of that partnership is
our wonderful embassy building
on Pariser Platz. The construc-
tion of the embassy was no easy
task. But every morning when I
come in and shake the hands of
the Marines at Post One, I think
of you.
Despite your retirement from
diplomatic service, you continue
to contribute tremendously to
our work as Diplomat Emeritus.
You can say what you really mean.
And you do. And we thank you
for that.
I have it in writing in our
embassy les that you didnt
exactly know what you were sup-
posed to do at your rst posting,
at the Consulate in Hamburg.
But you learned fast. You learned
by talking to people, by engaging
them in dialogue and conversa-
tion. That is the most important
lesson in diplomacy. You also
learned and demonstrated to your
The Best Is Yet to Come
Ambassador Philip D. Murphy lauds predecessor John C. Kornblum on his seventieth birthday
colleagues that sometimes it is
OK to go off the talking points
and take a stand.
How could we forget, for
example, your appearance as a
cowboy at the awarding of the
Orden wider den tierischen Ernst
in Cologne in 1999. Or in 1981,
when Horst Milde, founder of
the Berlin Marathon, asked
for your help in making sure
the marathon could pass by
Checkpoint Charlie. The confron-
tation between communism and
democracy was making its pres-
ence felt even in the planning of
a marathon route. But, working
together, you and Milde and oth-
ers worked to overcome all resis-
tance and let the race follow its
natural course. It was one small
example among many others of
how Germans and Americans
together can reach pragmatic
solutions.
Then, as now, it can be said of
the German-American partner-
ship that the best is yet to come.
Tammy and I wish you and Helen
all the best and hope that for you,
too, the best times lie ahead.
Remarks by US Ambassador
Philip D. Murphy at the
American Academy on
February 17, 2013
JOHN C. KORNBLUM


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The Max Beckmann
Distinguished Visitorship is
supported by Mayen Beckmann,
who donated her grandfathers
1950 charcoal drawing of Henry
R. Hope to the auction. She and
Executive Director Gary Smith
have worked together to estab-
lish a meaningful visitorship
that, according to Smith, is
committed to facilitating the
exchange of ideas by creating
contexts wherein Germans,
whether peers or students, can
donated by Berlin-based British
artist Tacita Dean, American
painter Alex Katz, German
artist Gnther Uecker, and
American painter Julie Mehretu,
an Academy alumna now on the
Academys Board of Trustees.
The auction, which raised
approximately $1 million in forty
minutes, was led by Mehretus
painting Four Fold, which sold for
$220,000.
CONTINUED FROM N1
Art for Arts Sake at Villa Grisebach
spend time with our American
guests.
In the spirit of Max Beck-
manns tireless dedication to
teaching during his last years in
the US, the American Academy
will bring a renowned artist
from the United States to Berlin
for direct and sustained inter-
action with German students.
While at the Academy, the Max
Beckmann Distinguished Visitor
will prepare an artist as curator
exhibition drawn from the collec-
tion of one of Berlins museums.
Intensive planning is already
underway, and the American
Academy and the Stiftung
Preuischer Kulturbesitz have
agreed to host the rst Max
Beckmann Distinguished Visitor
in 2015. The American Academy
once again extends its gratitude
to all the artists who so gener-
ously contributed to this success-
ful auction, as well as to Villa
Grisebach and Mayen Beckmann.
r.j.m.
News from the Hans Arnhold Center | Sketches & Dispatches | N5
Sketches & Dispatches
W
eimar Germany was
modernitys workshop,
and Berlin was its hot-
bed of experimentation, whether
in sexuality or psychoanalysis,
literature, theater, or the arts writ
large. At her February 21 lecture,
Holtzbrink Fellow Susie Lineld,
who teaches cultural reporting at
New York University, reminded
the audience that in journalism
and press photography, too, novel
developments were underway: a
torrent of newspapers, tabloids,
broadsheets, and magazines
ooded readers with images
of social injustices, war, police
actions, demonstrations, working
conditions, and the vagaries of
everyday life.
The new prominence of news
photography was met with skep-
ticism on the part of Frankfurt
School theorist Siegfried
Kracauer, who criticized the
inability of newspaper photo-
graphs to generate meaning,
denouncing the sensationalism
that accompanied their prolif-
eration. They changed the ways
readers looked at the world, he
wrote, causing political events
[to] become more like news and
less like history and creating
an indifference to what things
mean.
His colleague Walter
Benjamin, however, hailed
photographs for their liberating
potential. Benjamins 1931 essay
A Short History of Photography
claimed that the medium held
out a new way of seeing and
would allow people to achieve
control over works of art. Yet
Lineld notes that Benjamin was
also suspicious of photographys
creation of a passive, image-
consuming society that became
WOLFF & TRITSCHLER, TREPPE ZUM KESSELBEHLTER (1932)
Confused About Photography
Holtzbrinck Fellow Susie Lineld explains why the revolution will not be tweeted


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subject to the spectacles of mas-
sive political rallies, sports events,
and war itself. Photography
aestheticized the world, turning
even abject poverty and its hard-
ships into an object of enjoyment.
Through its claims to facticity
what Benjamin called appeals
to the lens photographs threat-
ened dialectical and political
thought, as well as ones own
perceptions. The simplicity of
the photographic world, Lineld
said, would obscure the com-
plexity of the human world.
Today, of course, digital pho-
tography and Photoshop have
made viewers even more dis-
trustful of images. And yet never
before have photographic produc-
tion, reproduction, and distribu-
tion been cheaper or faster. This
ease has given rise to hundreds
of organizations that use photog-
raphy and lm as, among other
things, weapons against human
rights violations. Yet Lineld
thinks that to characterize the
most recent deployment of imag-
ery against injustice, the Arab
Spring, as a Twitter revolution, a
YouTube revolution, a Google rev-
olution, an Internet revolution is
premature, vastly overblown,
and just plain wrong, for a host
of reasons.
Huddling anonymously with
so-called friends whom you
have never met is advantageous,
indeed necessary, in a police
state, Lined says, but it should
not be romanticized as some
kind of great leap forward, and
it doth not a democracy make.
Democracy ultimately requires
trust, she reminds, not anonym-
ity and secrecy. It also requires
leadership and hierarchies, not
crowdsourcing and the faux
egalitarianism that the techno-
Utopia promises. One need only
look at the failure of democratic
constitutional reforms following
the demonstrations in Egypt as
evidence of the limits of the wis-
dom of the crowd.
Like the critics of the Weimar
period, Lineld worries that the
current xation on new media
and sensationalist imagery
obscures the fact that neither is
inherently democratic or can
block political thinking. The
Tahrir demonstrations, she notes,
were less the result of the spon-
taneous forces of Facebook and
Twitter and more the result of a
small group of activists, schooled
in organization and non-violence,
who had been planning the dem-
onstrations for years and who
led smaller Egyptian labor and
service-sector demonstrations for
a decade before piquing the inter-
est of Western media.
The core of political change,
in other words, was patient politi-
cal thought, strategic planning,
and careful attention to the true
meaning of things, not the result
of posting images on Facebook.
In the end, The medium isnt
the message, Lineld quips.
The message is the message.
r.j.m.
N6 | Sketches & Dispatches | News from the Hans Arnhold Center
SUMMER BANKS: And how did the
ideas of Buckminster Fuller lead
to the creation of Spiral Network?
GENE COLEMAN: Fuller was
famous for giving really long
talks. His Philadelphia lecture
series Everything I Know was
that idea taken to an almost mad
extreme. But Fullers proposition
of everything I know is a little
bit frightening. Youre going to
take everything in that brain and
externalize it?
I really loved the idea. What it
conjured for me was this notion
of a Tower of Babel: an extremely
complex, maze-like thing being
exteriorized. Ive been interested
for a long time in spirals and vor-
texes as formal devices in com-
positions, so I thought I could
use the idea as a formal model
to represent Fullers attempt to
go from the inside to the outside.
Spiral Network greatly expands
my efforts to apply geometry in
various ways to my compositions.
The lm and music make use
of spoken and written language in
several ways. We see and hear text
in Japanese and English a text
composed by me along with some
quotes from Fuller. Sometimes we
see the text before we hear it, other
times the opposite, and in this
Changing the Dynamics
Fellow in Music Composition Gene Coleman discusses new paradigms of creative collaboration
GENE COLEMAN AND LYDIA RILLING AT HIS MARCH 18 CONCERT


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E
xperimental cl assical
music often brings to
mind boring, cold, and
painfully dissonant evenings
of academic works, far from the
world of Mozart or music videos.
Philadelphia-based composer
and director Gene Coleman, the
Academys spring 2013 fellow
in music composition, is try-
ing to shift that reputation by
furthering possibilities for the
simultaneous presentation of
music and moving images as one
Gesamtkunstwerk. His new score
for the 1926 silent lm A Page
of Madness by Japanese direc-
tor Teinosuke Kinugasa, and
the world premiere of his own
Buckminster Fuller-inspired
lm Spiral Network highlight
possibilities for manipulating
the diverse relationships that
connect sound, text, and mov-
ing images. The two pieces were
performed together at this years
MaerzMusik festival by the
Vienna-based phace Ensemble.
SUMMER BANKS: What makes
A Page of Madness special in terms
of creating a musical score?
GENE COLEMAN: Most of it centers
around Kinugasas efforts to
portray madness in visual terms.
You see a woman, who is one of
the main characters, and her
husband, and shes looking at
him. There is a cutaway to him,
and the image is out of focus, and
you can only barely make out that
its him.
On the other hand, there are
scenes in it that look like some-
thing Stan Brakhage would have
done. So it uses these very experi-
mental techniques, but, on top
of that, its actually completely
coherent as a narrative lm. The
most interesting thing for me
was trying to deal with these dif-
ferent modalities.
News from the Hans Arnhold Center | Sketches & Dispatches | N7
CONTINUED FROM N1
way another kind of audio-visual
counterpoint is created.
SUMMER BANKS: Why did you
decide to show these two works
together?
GENE COLEMAN: The idea I had for
this program was to ask the ques-
tion: what can and what should
the composer do at this point in
time with moving images? This
is an important question for the
twenty-rst century, as we see a
proliferation of work by compos-
ers that combines sound and
vision.
One of the possibilities is to
create music for an established
historical object, like A Page of
Madness. Of course, theres too
much conservative thinking
about what music is appropriate
for a silent lm. There is a lot of
space to blow those conventions
away, which is what Im trying to
do: to modernize the experience,
but also to greatly expand the
emotional and expressive range
of what the sound and the image
can do.
The other way is actually
directing the lm and composing
the music, as with Spiral Network.
This leads to a more integrated
approach where you dont start
with the image or the sounds but
try different sorts of congura-
tions. It is a process of designing
and constructing compositions
that fully account for all the mate-
rial and structure what is heard,
what is seen, and what is read.
SUMMER BANKS: There is this
thought that postwar European
modernism made new music
inaccessible to a wider audience,
but thats been shifting over the
past decade. Why do you think
that is?
GENE COLEMAN: As practicing
artists who do things that are not
mainstream, we have to constant-
ly evaluate how we can change
New Composition
Fellowship
the dynamics of this game and
not just accept this ghetto that
were put in: the idea that theres
no possible way that people who
are outside of our framework can
enjoy, embrace, and get excited
about the things that we do.
Younger musicians coming
out of conservatories now have
to think differently about what
they can do with the skills theyve
obtained. In a number of ways,
this is driving change.
There are still classical music
gigs, but musicians may also be
faced with the prospect of playing
for a rock band or collaborating
with living composers. There
are little funding pools for such
things, so younger classical
musicians are realizing that they
have to freelance and acquire
piecemeal funding like visual
artists do, instead of thinking
that they can go out and get one
gig and their problems are solved:
Now Im a professional musician
for the next thirty years.
SUMMER BANKS: How have you
managed to create such a global
network?
GENE COLEMAN: By forging per-
sonal relationships with indi-
vidual musicians and inviting
them to collaborate. Its both an
economic and an artistic proposi-
tion. Artists now have to create
their own global network, which
they can use to some extent to
sustain themselves.
Perhaps this will be the basis
for artistic practice in the twenty-
rst century: the evolution of
these different networks of
people collaborating. There will
be individual voices, but probably
much more collective art making.
Theres a lot to look forward to.
Interview by
Summer Banks
from exberliner
March 5, 2013
to come. From her patronage
of the Konzerthaus Berlin to
her support of the Festspiele
Mecklenburg-Vorpommern,
Inga Maren Otto has long been
dedicated to sponsoring world-
class musical programs. We look
forward to realizing her vision
in expanding and deepening
the Academys cooperation with
eminent musicians and institu-
tions, such as the Konzerthaus
Berlin.
Inga Maren Ottos sponsor-
ship of the Berlin Prize in Music
Composition not only allows the
Academy to bring American com-
posers to Berlin for one semester
each spring but also to organize
for them a portrait concert, fea-
turing original work composed at
the American Academy.
Together with their residency
at the Academy, these public
concerts, such as the Portrait
of Gene Coleman held in coop-
eration with Maerzmusik this
spring, provide the Academys
composers with a unique plat-
form for presenting their work
to German audiences, the pos-
sibility to collaborate and network
with German colleagues, and an
opportunity to experience and
participate in the extremely lively
new music milieu that has
grown up in Berlin.
The Inga Maren Otto Berlin
Prize in Music Composition was
inaugurated at the American
Academy on May 16. The rst
Inga Maren Otto Fellow in
Music Composition will reside
at the Hans Arnhold Center in
spring 2014.
j.t.e.
The phace Ensemble of Vienna debuted two compositions by
Academy fellow Gene Coleman at the former silent-lm cinema
Delphi in Berlin Weiensee on March 18, 2013, bringing the tradition
of silent lm music back to a neighborhood once nicknamed Little
Hollywood. Built in 1929, the Delphi was one of the last theaters
designed specically for the live musical accompaniment of silent
lms. It was closed in 1959 due to structural damage and then served
as a vegetable storeroom, a laundry, a stamp shop, and a warehouse
for the gdr Civil Defense, before being restored in 2008. Gene
Colemans lecture-concert was one of the rst public events held at the
cinema since its restoration.


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N8 | Sketches & Dispatches | News from the Hans Arnhold Center
RICHARD HAWKINS, URBIS PAGANUS IV.9.1. (2009), MIXED MEDIA ON MATTE BOARD, 51 X 38 CM
Betrayals of the Image
On the scrapbooks and collages of Academy alumnus Richard Hawkins
S
crapbooks are tradi-
tionally the repositories
of old bus passes, cinema
ticket stubs, and faded postcards,
cataloguing personal preoc-
cupations and obsessions. They
form a central concern for both
Richard Hawkins research
and his artistic practice. In his
November 5 lecture, the fall 2012
Guna S. Mundheim Fellow in
the Visual Arts ranges over scrap-
book practices from Paul Gaugin,
Tom of Finland, Georg Grosz,
Butoh dancer Tatsumi Hijikata,
and lesser-known 1960s queer
practitioners.
Scrapbooks, for Hawkins,
are treacherous due to their
disregard of hierarchies. They
unite mass-production, appro-
priation, and the hand-drawn or
inscribed, assembling anything
that titillates the viewer. They
are retrieved as artifacts whose
original instigators are long
dead, but they resonate with and
reactivate their preoccupations,
gestures, and fetishes. One guy
was taking images from Florine
Stettheimer but would stick pho-
tographs from Blue Boy maga-
zine over the top. The ordinarily
onanistic guy thus turns to edit-
ing, discarding the less titillating
material, cruising, in another
word, selecting memorials and
trophies, he points out.
Neither a Japanologist nor
particularly knowledgeable about
Butoh dance practice, Hawkins
found himself fascinated by
Hijikatas scrapbooks. Ive never
been able to explain my attrac-
tion, but something changed in
me when I came across one of
his cascading-image scrapbooks.
They had neither been investi-
gated nor translated.
Hijikatas scrapbooks feature
decoupages of icons of early
twentieth-century art, rang-
ing from Picassos Guernica to
Klimts Shower of Danae. He
was particularly fascinated by
Hijikatas obsession with muta-
tions and aberrations of the
human body and with different
states of matter as they trans-
late to dance, for instance in
Klimts Danae, with its god that
is transformed into a shower of


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News from the Hans Arnhold Center | Sketches & Dispatches | N9
Michael Wachtel, Professor of
Slavic Languages and Literatures
at Princeton University, received
the Ellen Maria Gorrissen Berlin
Prize in fall 2012 and worked on
a biography of the Russian poet,
philosopher, and scholar Viacheslav
Ivanov (18661949).
B
eginning in 1886,
Viacheslav Ivanov spent
nine semesters in Berlin
studying ancient history at the
Friedrich-Wilhelms Universitt
(today the Humboldt-Universitt).
These studies were the subject of
an essay I wrote two decades ago
based on documents I received
from the Humboldt archive in
1990.
Knowing the widespread East
European tendency to ignore
young scholars, I mailed my
inquiry on university letterhead,
signing off as Herr Professor
Doktor. It was a bit of an exag-
geration for a newly minted PhD,
but it worked.
I received three letters Ivanov
had written to his doctoral advi-
sor, a complete list of his courses,
and some other pertinent mate-
rial. But the holy grail was
missing: Theodor Mommsens
Gutachten on Ivanovs disserta-
tion. I presumed it lost and said
as much in my essay.
Back in Berlin as a fellow of
the Academy, I felt compelled
to make a nal effort to locate it.
Pointless as it seemed, I wrote to
the Humboldt archive once again.
I received a reply from the very
same curator who had sent me
documents twenty-odd years ago.
The Gutachten was there and I
could come see it any time.
Like the rest of Ivanovs
student records, it had survived
the Nazi dictatorship, the Allied
bombing of the university (the
archive was in the basement;
everything else was reduced
to dust), and the East German
regime.
When I nally met the cura-
tor, he turned out to be exceed-
ingly friendly and knowledge-
able, hardly the communist
bureaucrat I had imagined. We
had a nice chat, and he expressed
surprise that he had not sent the
Gutachten decades ago.
It was still the gdr, he
explained. We probably ran out
of Xerox paper that day. THEODOR MOMMSEN, PORTRAIT BY FRANZ VON LENBACH, CIRCA 1898
Notes, from the Underground
Academy alumnus Michael Wachtel reects upon a fortuitous nd
coins, attacking the sleeper from
behind.
Hawkins has produced
over 150 collages, all borne of
Hijikatas scrapbooks. What
his scrapbooks were meant to
do, as I eventually found out, was
something quite amazing. Take
Picassos Guernica for example:
Hijikata eviscerates the piece,
ignoring the painters original
intentions, cutting out the parts
he likes, tossing the parts he
doesnt, and making a story.
Through reconstructing the
omitted fragments in his own col-
lages, Hawkins was able to trace
Hijikatas choreographic narra-
tive, which operates through a
series of debasements of the orig-
inal image. It took seeing things
I was very familiar with through
Hijikatas eyes to become aware
of them. For instance, you never
see ngers in Francis Bacons
paintings, and youll never
see a standing gure theyre
always crouching, squatting or
recumbent, so theres always a
gravitational pull. New meanings
are generated, launched a little
off-kilter to reveal a previously
unseen thing. Theyre betrayals
of the original image, really, and
Hijikata took great pleasure in
betrayal.
By Jeni Fulton
From Sleek online
November 8, 2012
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Renowned British sculptor and
director of the Kunstakademie
Dsseldorf Tony Cragg vis-
ited the Academy Academy on
April 23, 2013 for a public dis-
cussion of his work with Ulrich
Krempel, director of the Sprengel
Museum in Hannover.
Reinhard M. Schlegel, the
Berlin-based collector known
for his comprehensive collec-
tion of the work of Joseph Beuys,
generously loaned the Academy
a work from Craggs Rational
Being series in 2011. The sculp-
ture, entitled Bronze, 2011, can
be seen next to the entrance of
the Hans Arnhold Center.
N10 | Life & Letters | News from the Hans Arnhold Center
Life & Letters
SINAN ANTOON
What would the great Jewish
intellectual Walter Benjamin
(18921940) have said to
Mahmoud Darwish (19412008),
regarded as Palestines national
poet, had they met? What did
Benjamins texts already say
to Darwishs poems, and how
did the latter respond? These
are the questions with which
Anna-Maria Kellen Fellow Sinan
Antoon grapples in his mono-
graph Before the Ruins: When
Darwish Met Benjamin. Therein,
Antoon imagines a subtle conver-
sation between these two unlikely
interlocutors, tracing echoes of
Benjamins notions about history,
time, and dynamic remembering
in some of Darwishs late exile
poems.
Antoon is an associate profes-
sor at the Gallatin School at New
York University whose research
focuses on classical and modern
Arabic poetry and contemporary
Arab politics. His scholarly works
include The Poetics of the Obscene:
Ibn al-Hajjaj and Sukhf (Palgrave-
Macmillan, 2013) and numerous
essays on the poetry of Mahmoud
Darwish. Antoon is himself a
poet and a novelist. He has pub-
lished two collections of poetry
in Arabic and one collection in
English, entitled The Baghdad
Blues (Harbor Mountain Press,
2007). His novels include Ijaam:
An Iraqi Rhapsody (City Lights,
2007) and The Pomegranate
Alone (Yale University Press,
2013). He recently published a
third novel in Arabic entitled Ya
Maryam (Beirut, 2012). Antoons
translations from Arabic include
Mahmoud Darwishs In the
Presence of Absence (Archipelago,
2011), for which he received
the 2012 National Translation
Award, and Nostalgia, My Enemy
(Graywolf, 2012), a selection of
Iraqi poet Saadi Youssefs late
work.
J.M. BERNSTEIN
J.M. Bernstein considers three
claims to be constitutive of moral
modernity: the claims to the
moral inviolability of the body
and the dignity of the self and
the claim that the pains of the
body are mine. In his project
Torture and Dignity: Founding
Modern Ethical Life, the John P.
Birkelund Fellow seeks to provide
a philosophical excavation of
moral modernity by investigating
the emergence of these claims
on the basis of bans on torture
throughout Europe beginning in
the middle of the eighteenth cen-
tury. Bernstein describes what he
sees as oversights in some afr-
mative moral theories, such as
in Kants Categorical Imperative,
the Utilitarian greater-happiness
principle, and Aristotelian virtue
theory.
Bernstein is a University
Distinguished Professor of
Philosophy at the New School
for Social Research. After receiv-
ing his PhD from the University
of Edinburgh, Bernstein
taught for nearly 25 years at
the University of Essex before
returning to his native New York.
His work in the areas of ethics,
critical theory, aesthetics, and
German Idealism has resulted
in books including Adorno:
Disenchantment and Ethics
(Cambridge University Press,
2001) and Against Voluptuous
Bodies: Late Modernism and the
Meaning of Painting (Stanford,
2006). The editor of Classic and
Romantic German Aesthetics
(Cambridge University Press,
2003), Bernstein also edits
the journal Critical Horizons:
A Journal of Philosophy and Social
Theory and assists in editing the
British Journal for the History of
Philosophy.
GENE COLEMAN
I rst saw A Page of Madness
more than 25 years ago in
Chicago and remember immedi-
ately thinking I should compose
sounds for it, recalls Fellow
in Music Composition Gene
Coleman. What impresses me
most about this lm is the radical
nature of its cinematic language.
At the American Academy in
Berlin, Coleman has fullled
this long-held wish by working
on compositions for the 1926
Japanese silent lm A Page of
Madness, as well as his own lm
Spiral Network, inspired by the
work of Buckminster Fuller. Both
compositions were performed
to great fanfare this semester at
the recently refurbished former
silent-lm theater Delphi, located
in the Berlin neighborhood of
Weiensee.
Gene Coleman studied paint-
ing, music, and lmmaking at
the School of the Art Institute of
Chicago. The composer of over
fty works for various instru-
mentation and media, Coleman
has focused since 2001 on global
culture and musics relationship
to architecture, video, and dance.
He has received numerous grants
and awards for his composi-
tions, completing a fellowship as
a composer-in-residence at the
American Academy in Rome in
fall 2011. Throughout his career,
Coleman has collaborated with
a wide range of musicians and
composers, among them Jim
ORourke, Otomo Yoshihide,
Helmut Lachenmann, and
George Crumb.
WILLIAM CORDOVA
William Cordova, an interdis-
ciplinary cultural practitioner
who divides his time among
Lima, Miami, and New York
City, is developing and expand-
ing upon six unique projects
during his time as the Guna S.
Mundheim Fellow in the Visual
Arts at the American Academy
in Berlin. The various projects
explore vernacular architecture,
landscapes, and monuments
in Germany, Israel, Algiers,
India, UK, Australia, and the
Polynesian Islands. His book
project, chapters: making the invis-
ible visible, evolved out of a need
to recognize and archive histori-
cal events and places that have
subsequently, in most cases, been
forgotten or removed. It aims at
revealing the constructive steps
that contributed to the inner
transformation of class and eco-
nomic and racially marginalized
communities. Points of reference
for Cordovas book project are
photographers James Van Der
Zee, Martin Chambi, and Debra
Willis. Cordova is also working
on a feature-length lm, dwell-
ings (sculpting elsewhere in time),
which creates a historical paral-
lel bridging German electronic
Proles in Scholarship
Presenting the spring 2013 fellows and distinguished visitors
News from the Hans Arnhold Center | Life & Letters | N11
music pioneers Kraftwerk (1970)
with Halim El Dabhs electronic
composition The Expression of
Zaar (1944).
Cordova graduated with a
bfa from The School of the Art
Institute of Chicago in 1996
and earned an mfa from Yale
University in 2004. The installa-
tions he creates have integrated
performance, sculpture, lm,
photography, and drawing as
constitutional parts of their over-
all presentation. In so doing, he
seeks to expand the experience
of the visual arts as a platform for
discussing social commonalities
and struggles through architec-
ture, landscapes, and history,
reconnecting past events to reveal
their relevance to todays world.
Cordovas work has been exhib-
ited in the United States, Latin
America, Europe, and Asia, and
is in the public collections of the
Whitney Museum of American
Art, the Guggenheim Museum
in New York, Harvard University,
and the Yale Art Gallery, among
others.
CHARLES HIRSCHKIND
How do the historical sensibili-
ties, attitudes, and practices that
ambivalently link the Spanish
nation to its Muslim past open
up a unique set of possibilities
for conceptualizing and address-
ing the so-called Muslim prob-
lem in Europe today? Bosch
Fellow in Public Policy Charles
Hirschkind investigates the
shifting space of Spains Islamic
past within contemporary
debates about Spanish national
identity, paying particular
attention to the impact of these
debates on the lives of Muslim
immigrants. He focuses on
social and political processes that
mediate and sustain an active
relation to Europes Islamic heri-
tage and on the potential impact
of these processes on the lives
and political status of Muslim
minorities in Spain.
Hirschkind is an associate
professor of anthropology at
the University of California,
Berkeley. His research interests
concern religious practice, media
technologies, and emergent
forms of political community
in the urban Middle East and
Europe. His book The Ethical
Soundscape: Cassette Sermons and
Islamic Counterpublics (Columbia
University Press, 2006) received
the Sharon Stephens First Book
Award from the American
Ethnological Association and
an Honorable Mention for the
Clifford Geertz Prize in the
Anthropology of Religion. The
book explores how a popular
Islamic media form, the cassette
sermon, has profoundly trans-
formed the political geography
of the Middle East over the last
three decades. Hirschkind is
also co-editor (with David Scott)
of Powers of the Secular Modern:
Talal Asad and his Interlocutors
(Stanford University Press,
2006).
DONALD L. HOROWITZ
Severe ethnic conict has seri-
ous implications for democracy,
human rights, and peace, yet
there is no consensus on the
institutional arrangements most
conducive to inter-ethnic accom-
modation in divided societies.
Donald L. Horowitzs Academy
project, Constitutional Design
for Severely Divided Societies,
examines the effects of these
arrangements on the basis of
detailed case studies of Bosnia,
Northern Ireland, Cyprus, and
Fiji. Horowitz, this semesters
Siemens Fellow, distinguishes
between two main prescriptions
that contend for predominance
in constitutional design: conso-
ciational institutions which
provide a regime of guaranteed
CLASS OF SPRING 2013 (LEFT TO RIGHT): SINAN ANTOON, DONALD L. HOROWITZ, CHARLES HIRSCHKIND, BATRICE LONGUENESSE,
WILLIAM CORDOVA, SABA MAHMOOD, THOMAS DACOSTA KAUFMANN, J.M. BERNSTEIN, GENE COLEMAN, SUSIE LINFIELD, FRANCESCA
TRIVELLATO, AND LANCE OLSEN
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minority participation in govern-
ment, proportional group quotas,
and policy vetoes and centrip-
etal institutions, which induce
politicians to behave moderately
toward members of other groups
and move politics toward an inter-
ethnic center. The project assess-
es the effects of the prescriptions
where adopted and the obstacles
to widespread implementation
of coherent packages of conict-
reducing institutions.
Horowitz is the James B. Duke
Professor of Law and Political
Science at Duke University. He
is the author of seven books,
including The Courts and Social
Policy (Brookings Institution
Press, 1977), which won the
Louis Brownlow Award of the
National Academy of Public
Administration; A Democratic
South Africa? Constitutional
Engineering in a Divided Society
(University of California Press,
1991), which won the Ralph
Bunche Prize of the American
Political Science Association;
and Constitutional Change
and Democracy in Indonesia
(Cambridge University Press,
2013). He has held fellowships
and visiting professorships at
a variety of institutions and
was a member of the Secretary
of States bipartisan Advisory
Committee on Democracy
Promotion from 2007 to 2009.
Horowitz has also has recently
contributed to successive drafts of
Kenyas new constitution for the
Kenyan Committee of Experts.
THOMAS DACOSTA KAUFMANN
In his American Academy project,
Thomas DaCosta Kaufmann has
taken on a herculean task: writ-
ing a new world art-history book
that encompasses the human
production or transformation
of objects from the beginnings
of material culture to the pres-
ent. The Nina Maria Gorrissen
Fellow of History considers the
art and architecture birthed by
interactions between Europeans
and non-Europeans, as well
as those interactions among
non- Europeans mediated by
Europeans in the time of Western
voyages and empire building.
Kaufmann is pursuing his expan-
sive project on three levels: the
accumulation of historical infor-
mation, the analysis of geographi-
cal methods and insights, and
theoretical reection.
Kaufmann, the Frederick
Marquand Professor of Art
and Archaeology at Princeton
University, has long focused
upon European art and archi-
tecture from 1500 to 1800 in a
global context, world art history,
and the geography and histori-
ography of art. He is the author
of abundant scholarly articles
and several books, the most
recent among them Arcimboldo:
Visual Jokes, Natural History, and
Still-Life Painting (University of
Chicago Press, 2010). Kaufmann
is a member of the Swedish,
Polish, and Flemish Academy
of Sciences and has received the
Palacy Medal from the Czech
Academy of Sciences, among
other honors. Most recently
he was awarded an honorary
doctoral title by the Technische
Universitt Dresden in May 2011.
SUSIE LINFIELD
In her Academy project, Israel
and the Left: A History in
Fragments, Holtzbrinck Fellow
Susie Lineld examines the
long, thorny, tempestuous, and
complex relationship between
Zionism and socialism. While
many socialists were traditionally
anti-Zionist, Zionism was a child
of the Enlightenment, of liberal-
ism, and of the revolutionary left.
Today Zionism is perhaps the
dirtiest word in left-wing dis-
course. In order to nd out why,
Lineld looks beyond uni-causal
analyses, which date the inter-
national lefts rejection of Israel
to the year 1967, to examine the
dialectical relationship between
Israels actions and internal devel-
opments within the left, such as
its turn toward Third-Worldism
and Maoism in the post-1968
period. She also examines views
of Israel propounded by of a
variety of intellectuals, among
them Hannah Arendt, Maxime
Rodinson, Fred Halliday, and
Claude Lanzmann.
Lineld is an associate profes-
sor of journalism at the Arthur
L. Carter Journalism Institute at
New York University, where she
directs the Cultural Reporting
and Criticism program. She is
the author of The Cruel Radiance:
Photography and Political Violence
(University of Chicago Press,
2010), which was a nalist for
the National Book Critics Circle
Award for Criticism. She writes
about politics and culture for
publications including the
Washington Post, New Republic,
Boston Review, Bookforum, Dissent,
and the Nation. Lineld is a for-
mer arts editor of the Washington
Post, editor-in-chief of American
Film, and deputy editor of the
Village Voice.
BATRICE LONGUENESSE
Self-consciousness and our uses
of I rest on two quite different
kinds of self-consciousness,
explains Batrice Longuenesse,
whose yearlong residency was
split between a Siemens fellow-
ship, in fall 2012, and John P.
Birkelund fellowship this spring.
The dual-consciousness she is
describing includes conscious-
ness of oneself as an embodied
entity and consciousness of
oneself as the agent of ones
own mental unity, a duality
Longuenesse examines in her
book project I, Me, Mine. Back
to Kant, and Back Again, an
extended investigation of the
rst-person pronoun, beginning
with contemporary discussions
of our uses of I and going back
in time to explore both Kants
and Freuds analyses of the sub-
ject. Longuenesse suggests that
attending to the similarities and
tensions between Kants and
Freuds views might contribute
to a better understanding of the
relations between rst-person
and third-person descriptions of
our thoughts and actions.
Longuenesse is the Silver
Professor of Philosophy at
New York University. She
received her education at the
Ecole Normale Suprieure, in
Paris, the University of Paris-
Sorbonne, and at Princeton
University. A fellow at the
Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin
in 2006 and elected to the
American Academy of Arts
and Sciences in 2011, she is the
author of Kant and the Capacity to
Judge (Princeton University Press,
1998), an expanded English
version of Kant et le Pouvoir de
juger (Presses Universitaires
de France, 1993); Kant on the
Human Standpoint (Cambridge
University Press, 2005); and
Hegels Critique of Metaphysics
(Cambridge University Press,
2007), an expanded English
translation of Hegel et la Critique
de la mtaphysique (Vrin, 1981).
She also co-edited, with Daniel
Garber, Kant and the Early
Moderns (Princeton University
Press, 2008) and has authored
over fty articles on the history of
modern European philosophy.
SABA MAHMOOD
Conventional wisdom has it that
religious liberty is a universally
valid secular-liberal principle
whose proper implementation
continues to be thwarted by
intransigent forces in society
(illiberal governments, religious
fundamentalists, and traditional
norms). Axel Springer Fellow
Saba Mahmoods project radi-
cally challenges such an account
by showing that religious liberty
is not simply a neutral principle
for accommodating religious
difference. Rather, as a key
mechanism of modern statecraft,
it also denes and constitutes
differences at the heart of the
identity of religious minorities
and majorities alike. Mahmood
claims that its meaning and prac-
tice vary widely in response to the
shifting regulation of religious
and political life, local regimes of
religious inequality, and geopo-
litical developments.
An associate professor of
anthropology at the University of
California, Berkeley, Mahmood is
the author of Politics of Piety: The
News from the Hans Arnhold Center | Life & Letters | N13
Islamic Revival and the Feminist
Subject (Princeton University
Press, 2004), which received
the 2005 Victoria Schuck award
from the American Association
of Political Science. She is also
the co-author of Is Critique
Secular? Blasphemy, Injury, and
Free Speech (2009), published
by the University of California
Press. In 2007 Mahmood
received the prestigious Carnegie
Corporations Scholar of
Islam award and, in 2009, the
Frederick Burkhardt Fellowship
from the American Council of
Learned Societies. Mahmood is
also the co-principal investiga-
tor of a three-year project that
focuses on a comparative study
of the right to religious liberty in
Western and non-Western politi-
cal contexts. Her broader work
centers on issues of secularism,
religion, gender, and post-colo-
nialism in the Middle East.
LANCE OLSEN
Theories of Forgetting will be Mary
Ellen von der Heyden Fellow
Lance Olsens twenty-rst book.
The novel, developed during
Olsens time in Berlin, centers
around a narrative composed
of three parts: the story of a
middle-aged lmmaker, Amelia,
struggling to complete a short
experimental documentary
about Robert Smithsons famous
1970 earthwork, Spiral Jetty;
the story of Amelias husband,
Hugh, owner of a rare-and-used
bookstore in Salt Lake City, and
his slow disappearance in the
aftermath of Amelias death; and
footnotes added to Hughs section
by his daughter, Aila, an art critic
living in Berlin who discovers
her fathers manuscript after his
disappearance.
Olsen is a professor of
experimental narrative theory
and practice in the English
Department at the University of
Utah. He also serves as Chair of
the Board of Directors at Fiction
Collective Two, one of Americas
best-known ongoing literary
experiments and progressive art
communities (founded in 1974).
Olsen has written eleven novels,
one hypertext, four critical stud-
ies, four short-story collections,
a poetry chapbook, and two anti-
textbooks about innovative writ-
ing, in addition to being the editor
of two collections of essays about
innovative contemporary ction.
His short stories, essays, poems,
and reviews have appeared in
Conjunctions, Black Warrior
Review, Fiction International,
Iowa Review, Hotel Amerika,
Village Voice, Time Out New York,
bomb, Gulf Coast, McSweeneys,
and Best American Non-Required
Reading, among many others.
The recipient of Guggenheim,
Fulbright, and nea fellowships
and a Pushcart Prize, Olsen is a
former governor-appointed Idaho
Writer-in-Residence and the
current ction editor of Western
Humanities Review.
FRANCESCA TRIVELLATO
While concerns about usury and
the corrupting power of credit
are generally believed to have
abated after the Middle Ages,
Axel Springer Fellow Francesca
Trivellato seeks to show how old
and new anxieties about credit
have coexisted alongside newer,
more complex nancial tools
and institutions. The legend she
uncovers about the alleged medi-
eval Jewish origins of two key
European nancial instruments
(marine insurance and bills of
exchange) allow her to analyze
Christian ideas about Jewish
economic life and offer new per-
spectives on important facets of
European history.
Trivellato, a social and eco-
nomic historian of early modern
Europe, is the Frederick W.
Hilles Professor of History at
Yale University. In her recent
work she has turned her atten-
tion to Jewish-Christian relations
as a manner of examining the
interplay of material and sym-
bolic changes that occurred in
Old Regime societies. Her most
recent book, The Familiarity of
Strangers: The Sephardic Diaspora,
Livorno, and Cross-Cultural Trade
in the Early Modern Period (Yale
University Press, 2009), won
the 2010 aha Leo Gershoy
Award for most outstanding
work published in English on
any aspect of seventeenth- and
eighteenth-century European
history; was co-recipient of the
Jordan Schnitzer Book Award for
the best book in Early Modern
and Modern Jewish History pub-
lished in English between 2006
and 2010; and was selected for
the long list for the 2010 Cundill
Prize in History. Trivellatos pub-
lications also include a book on
Venetian glass manufacturing,
two co-edited volumes of essays,
and numerous articles on craft
guilds, merchant networks, and
Jewish commercial activities.
She is the recipient of fellowships
from the Radcliffe Institute of
Advanced Study, the American
Council of Learned Societies, the
Institute for Advanced Study, and
the John Simon Guggenheim
Foundation.
Distinguished Visitors
LIAQUAT AHAMED
Pulitzer Prize-winning author
and Allianz Distinguished
Visitor Liaquat Ahamed explores
the history of European unity
starting in the 1950s, the
dynamic between weak and
strong economies within the
Eurozone, and prospects for the
future of the euro.
NIALL FERGUSON
The inaugural Marcus Bierich
Distinguished Visitorship is
held by Niall Ferguson, Laurence
A. Tisch Professor of History at
Harvard University. Ferguson
discusses his book The Great
Degeneration and his thesis that
drastic reform and heroic leader-
ship are necessary to halt the
decay of Western institutions.
DEREK GILLMAN
Marina Kellen French
Distinguished Visitor Derek
Gillman is the Executive Director
and President of the Barnes
Foundation in Philadelphia. At
the Academy, the prominent
museum director explains his
work on the concept of cultural
heritage and the role it plays in
debates on the ownership and
value of art.
MICHAEL IGNATIEFF
As a member of the International
Commission on Intervention
and State Sovereignty (iciss)
that developed the concept of
the responsibility to protect,
Michael Ignatieff, the Richard
C. Holbrooke Distinguished
Visitor, reects on the important
changes that have occurred in
the debate about intervention
in sovereign states, the interna-
tional will to intervene, and the
differing global interpretations
of sovereignty.
DAVID R. IGNATIUS
Allianz Distinguished Visitor
and renowned Washington Post
journalist and columnist David
R. Ignatius discusses the urgent
foreign policy issues facing the
Obama administration in its sec-
ond term.
HAROLD HONGJU KOH
Lloyd Cutler Distinguished
Visitor and Former Legal Adviser
to the US Department of State
Harold Hongju Koh, now back
at Yale Law School, is a leading
expert on public and private inter-
national law, national security,
and human rights. He discusses
the Obama Administrations
smart power approach to foreign
policy, a blend of principle and
pragmatism, and its relation to
international law.
ADAM S. POSEN
In his lecture at the American
Academy, Kurt Viermetz
Distinguished Visitor Adam S.
Posen argues that exaggerated
memories of hyperination and
unication distort current eco-
nomic policy decisions and inhib-
it more pro-growth approaches
in Germany and its southern
neighbors.
j.t.e.
N14 | Life & Letters | News from the Hans Arnhold Center
Andrew Nathan, Class of 1919
Professor of Political Science
at Columbia University, will
explore the past, present, and
future of the global struggle
over human rights in his book
project, The Struggle Over Human
Rights: Norm Creation and Norm
Change in the International
System. Kiran Desai, author of
the Man Booker Prize-winning
novel The Inheritance of Loss, will
work on her novel The Loneliness
of Sonia and Sunny, examining
Western and Eastern notions and
manifestations of solitude as they
play out across the geographical
and emotional terrain of todays
globalized world. Figurative art-
ist Huma Bhabha is known
for her use of found items and
materials like Styrofoam and
clay in the creation of sculptures
reminiscent of the human form.
David Scheffer, the Mayer
Brown / Robert A. Helman
Professor of Law and the Director
of the Center for International
Human Rights at Northwestern
University, will examine
American policymaking during
the Yugoslav wars, 19931996.
James Brophy, Francis H.
Squire Professor of History at the
University of Delaware, will work
on his monograph Markets of
Knowledge: Publishers and Politics
in Central Europe, 18001870,
which draws on censorship
records in Prussia, Saxony, Baden,
and Bavaria to examine how pub-
lishers worked under and around
state censorship to publish oppo-
sitional literature. Ben Marcus,
author of The Flame Alphabet
and associate professor at the
Columbia University School of
the Arts, will develop a novel
about surveillance and secrecy,
the pain of being known and
the sorrow of being misunder-
stood. Tara Zahra, Associate
Professor of Eastern European
History at the University of
Chicago, will continue her
project, Exodus from the East:
Emigration and the Making of the
Free World, 18891989, which
suggests that East European
concerns about emigration, as
much as Western xenophobia and
restriction, propelled the forti-
cation of borders in the twentieth
century. Dietrich Neumann,
Royce Family Professor for the
History of Modern Architecture
and Urban Studies at Brown
University will work on his criti-
cal biography Ludwig Mies van
der Rohe in Context, which places
Mies buildings, furniture, and
projects in their contemporary
contexts, with particular atten-
tion to the conditions of archi-
tectural production, structural
innovation, the work of his peers,
and the critical discourse sur-
rounding particular designs.
Felicit y Scot t, Associate
Professor of Architectural
History and Theory at Columbia
University, will work on her book
Outlaw Territories: Environments
of Insecurity/Architectures of
Counter-Insurgency, 19661979,
a history of the variegated rela-
tions of architecture and urban-
ism to the interdependent condi-
tions of human unsettlement and
territorial insecurity: migration,
urbanization, environmental
catastrophe, warfare, territo-
rial disputes, statelessness, and
refugee status. Wolf Schfer,
Associate Dean for International
Academic Programs and Services
and Professor of History at Stony
Brook University, will work on
his book Finalization and Failure:
A Comparative Management
Study of Big Weapons Programs in
World War II, which relates the
management of the Manhattan
Project to the organizational
structures of Nazi Germanys
advanced rocket program and
nuclear bomb projects. Thomas
Schestag will prepare a critical
facsimile edition of the collected
225 manuscript pages and type-
scripts of an unpublished dossier
Le soleil (The Sun) by the French
poet Francis Ponge (18991988),
which includes transcriptions,
translations, a philological com-
mentary, and a critical essay.
Sneak Preview
The American Academy is proud to welcome another outstanding class of fellows to the Hans Arnhold Center
The American Academy in Berlin invites applications for its resi-
dential fellowships for 2014/15, as well as early applications for the
academic years 2015/16 and 2016/17.
The deadline is Monday, September 2, 2013. Applications may
be submitted online or mailed to the Berlin ofce.
The Academy welcomes applications from emerging and estab-
lished scholars and from writers and professionals who wish to
engage in independent study in Berlin. Approximately 26 Berlin
Prizes are conferred annually. Past recipients have included histo-
rians, economists, poets and novelists, journalists, legal scholars,
anthropologists, musicologists, and public policy experts, among
others. The Academy does not award fellowships in the natural
sciences.
Fellowships are typically awarded for an academic semester
or, on occasion, for an entire academic year. Bosch Fellowships
in Public Policy may be awarded for shorter stays of six to eight
weeks. Fellowship benets include round-trip airfare, partial
board, a $5,000 monthly stipend, and accommodations at the
Academys lakeside Hans Arnhold Center in the Berlin-Wannsee
district.
Fellowships are restricted to individuals based permanently in
the United States. US citizenship is not required; American expatri-
ates are not eligible. Candidates in academic disciplines must have
completed a PhD at the time of application. Applicants working in
most other elds such as journalism or public policy must have
equivalent professional degrees. Writers should have published at
least one book at the time of application. The Academy gives prior-
ity to a proposals scholarly merit rather than any specic relevance
to Germany.
Please note that the Guna S. Mundheim Fellowship in the
Visual Arts is an invitation-only competition. The Inga Maren Otto
Fellowship in Music Composition has been awarded for 2013/14
and 2014/15; competition details for 2015/16 will be announced in
spring 2014.
Following a peer-reviewed evaluation process, an independent
Selection Committee reviews nalist applications. The 2014/15
Berlin Prizes will be announced in late February 2014.
For further information and to apply online, please visit the
Academys website, americanacademy.de.
Call for Applications
News from the Hans Arnhold Center | Life & Letters | N15
Alumni Books
New releases by Academy fellows
JOCHEN HELLBECK
Die Stalingrad-Protokolle:
Sowjetische Augenzeugen berichten
aus der Schlacht
S. Fischer Verlag, October 2013
BEN KATCHOR
Hand-Drying in America and
Other Stories
Pantheon, March 2013
DAVID MAYERS
fdrs Ambassadors and the
Diplomacy of Crisis:
From the Rise of Hitler to the End of
World War II
Boston University Press,
January 2013
MITCHELL B. MERBACK
Pilgrimage and Pogrom: Violence,
Memory, and Visual Culture at the
Host-Miracle Shrines of Germany
and Austria
University of Chicago Press,
April 2013
RICK ATKINSON
The Guns at Last Light: The War in
Western Europe, 19441945
Henry Holt, May 2013
LEONARD BARKAN
Mute Poetry, Speaking Pictures:
(Essays in the Arts)
Princeton University Press,
November 2012
BENJAMIN BUCHLOH
Gerhard Richter: Strip Paintings
Cornerhouse, November 2012
ANNE CARSON
Red doc
Knopf, March 2013
RICHARD DEMING
The Gallows in My Garden
Prologue Books, October 2012
EDWARD DIMENDBERG
Diller Scodio + Renfro:
Architecture after Images
University of Chicago Press,
March 2013
MICHAEL DOBBS
Six Months in 1945: From World
War to Cold War
Knopf, October 2012
NICHOLAS EBERSTADT
A Nation of Takers: Americas
Entitlement Epidemic (New
Threats to Freedom)
Templeton Press, October 2012
MITCH EPSTEIN
New York Arbor
Steidl, March 2013
JOEL HARRINGTON
The Faithful Executioner: Life and
Death, Honor and Shame in the
Turbulent Sixteenth Century
Farrar Straus and Giroux,
March 2013
GEORGE PACKER
The Unwinding: An Inner History
of the New America
Farrar Straus and Giroux,
May 2013
JED RASULA
This Compost: Ecological
Imperatives in American Poetry
University of Georgia Press,
September 2012
KAREN RUSSELL
Vampires in the Lemon Grove
Knopf, February 2013
AMITY SHLAES
Coolidge
Harper, February 2013
JAMES WOOD
The Fun Stuff and Other Essays
Farrar Straus and Giroux,
October 2012
PETER WORTSMAN
Tales of the German Imagination
from the Brothers Grimm to
Ingeborg Bachmann
Penguin, February 2013
N16 | Private Initiative Public Outreach | News from the Hans Arnhold Center
Private Initiative Public Outreach
CORPORATIONS AND CORPORATE FOUNDATIONS
PRESIDENTS CIRCLE
$25,000 and above
Bank of America Merrill Lynch
BASF SE
Robert Bosch GmbH
Robert Bosch Stiftung
Cerberus Deutschland
Beteiligungsberatung GmbH
Daimler AG
Daimler-Fonds im Stifterverband fr
die Deutsche Wissenschaft
Deutsche Lufthansa AG
EADS
Freshelds Bruckhaus Deringer LLP
GIESEN HEIDBRINK Partnerschaft von
Rechtsanwlten
GRG Partnerschaft von Rechts-
anwlten
Fritz Henkel Stiftung
Hewlett-Packard GmbH
JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A.
KPMG AG Wirtschaftsprfungs-
gesellschaft
Marsh GmbH
Pzer Pharma GmbH
Porsche AG
Susanna Dulkinys & Erik Spiekermann
Edenspiekermann
Telefnica Deutschland Holding AG
Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP
White & Case LLP
BENEFACTORS
up to $25,000
Audi AG
Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals
Deutsche Bundesbank
Drr AG
Dussmann Stiftung & Co. KGaA
FAKTOR 3 AG
Fleishman-Hillard Germany / Public
Affairs & Gov. Relations
Google Germany GmbH
Hotel Adlon
Investitionsbank Berlin
Berthold Leibinger Stiftung
MSD Sharp & Dohme GmbH
Waldorf Astoria Berlin
INDIVIDUALS AND FAMILY FOUNDATIONS
FOUNDERS CIRCLE
$1 million and above
Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen
Foundation and the descendants of
Hans and Ludmilla Arnhold
CHAIRMANS CIRCLE
$ 100,000 and above
Betsy Z. & Edward E. Cohen
Mercedes & A. Michael Hoffman
Estate of Richard C. Holbrooke
Anne & Vincent A. Mai
Nina & Lothar von Maltzahn
Kati Marton
Inga Maren Otto
DIRECTORS CIRCLE
$ 25,000 and above
Henry Arnhold
Werner Gegenbauer
Richard K. Goeltz
C. Boyden Gray
Stefan von Holtzbrinck
TRUSTEES CIRCLE
$10,000 and above
Georg Gafron
Almut & Hans-Michael Giesen
August J. P. von Joest
Wolfgang Malchow
Erich Marx
Alfred Freiherr von Oppenheim-
Stiftung im Stifterverband fr die
Deutsche Wissenschaft
Philipp von Randow
Kurt F. Viermetz
Barbara & Jrg Zumbaum
PATRONS
$2,500 and above
Robert Z. Aliber, Anonymous, Heinrich
J. Barth, Volker Booten, Gahl H. Burt,
Georg Graf zu Castell-Castell, Norma
Drimmer, Thomas Eller, Jutta von
Falkenhausen & Thomas van Aubel,
Julie Finley, Inge Groth-Fromm
& Hartmut Fromm, Edith & Egon
Geerkens, Clare R. & Vartan Gregorian,
Lily & Klaus Heiliger, Dorothee &
Tessen von Heydebreck, Ulrich Kissing,
Henry A. Kissinger, John C. Kornblum,
Renate Kchler, Jutta & Hans-Joachim
Prie, Katharina & Wolf Spieth, Gesa
B. & Klaus D. Vogt
FELLOWSHIPS AND DISTINGUISHED
VISITORSHIPS ESTABLISHED IN PERPETUITY
John P. Birkelund Berlin Prize in the Humanities
Daimler Berlin Prize
German Transatlantic Program Berlin Prize
supported by European Recovery Program funds
granted through the Transatlantic Program of the
Federal Republic of Germany
Nina Maria Gorrissen Berlin Prize in History
Mary Ellen von der Heyden Berlin Prize in Fiction
Holtzbrinck Berlin Prize
Dirk Ippen Berlin Prize
Guna S. Mundheim Berlin Prize in the Visual Arts
Marcus Bierich Distinguished Visitorship
Lloyd Cutler Distinguished Visitorship
EADS Distinguished Visitorship
Marina Kellen French Distinguished Visitorship
for Persons with Outstanding Accomplishment
in the Cultural World
Richard C. Holbrooke Distinguished Visitorship
Stephen M. Kellen Distinguished Visitorship
Kurt Viermetz Distinguished Visitorship
Richard von Weizscker Distinguished Visitorship
ANNUALLY FUNDED FELLOWSHIPS AND
DISTINGUISHED VISITORSHIPS
Bosch Berlin Prize in Public Policy
Ellen Maria Gorrissen Berlin Prize
Anna-Maria Kellen Berlin Prize
Berthold Leibinger Berlin Prize
Inga Maren Otto Berlin Prize in Music Composition
Siemens Berlin Prize
Axel Springer Berlin Prize
Allianz Distinguished Visitorship
ENDOWMENT GIVING
Max Beckmann Distinguished Visitorship in the
Visual Arts
Richard Artschwager, Mayen Beckmann,
Francesco Clemente, George Condo, Aaron Curry,
Thomas Demand, Tacita Dean, Deutsche Brse
AG, Mitch Epstein, Galerie Max Hetzler & Andr
Butzer, Jenny Holzer, Alex Katz, Louise Lawler,
Andrea Lawrence & Jaroslav Marak, Barry Le
Va & David Nolan, Julie Mehretu, Matt Mullican,
Alexander Ochs, Paul Pfeiffer, Anselm Reyle,
James Rosenquist, Ed Ruscha, Bernd Schultz
and the partners of Villa Grisebach Auktionen
GmbH, Berlin, Philomene Magers & Monika
Sprth, Sprth Magers Berlin / London,
Christine & Gnther Uecker, Xu Bing
Marcus Bierich Distinguished Visitorship
Robert Bierich, Deutsche Bank AG
Henry A. Kissinger Prize
Bloomberg Philanthropies
The American Academy in Berlin is funded almost entirely by private donations from individuals, foundations, and corporations. We depend on the generosity of
a widening circle of friends on both sides of the Atlantic and wish to extend our heartfelt thanks to those who support us. This list documents contributions and
pledges made to the Academy from April 2012 to April 2013.
FRIENDS up to $2,500 Johannes Altincioglu, Hans Amann, American International Yacht Club Berlin, Anonymous, Barbara Balaj, Elizabeth Barlow, Manfred
Bischoff, Diethart Breipohl, Eckhard Bremer, Irene Bringmann, Ellen C. & Stephen B. Burbank, Hon. Arthur J. Collingsworth, Georg Crezelius, Christian Crones,
Rudolf Delius, Barbara & David Detjen, Astrid & Detlef Diederichs, Margrit & Steven Disman, Brigitte Dring, Andreas Dombret, Brbel & Ulrich Gensch, Marie
Louise Gericke, Golf- und Land-Club Berlin-Wannsee e.V., The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., Jan Groscurth, Nancy & Mark Gruett, Ralf Gtersloh, Thomas Guth,
Marisa & Carl H. Hahn, Brigitte & Bernd Hellthaler, The Hermes Foundation, Roe Jasen, Isabel & Peter von Jena, KfW Bankengruppe, Marion Knauf, Regine
Leibinger & Frank Barkow, Nina & Daniel Libeskind, Quincy Liu, Macys, Beate & Wolfgang Mayrhuber, Michael Mnchehofe, Jan-Daniel Neumann, Wolfram Nolte,
Axel Osenberg, Susan Rambow, Beatrice Reese, Christa Freifrau & Hermann Freiherr von Richthofen, Rafael J. Roth, Irene J. & Frank E. Salerno, Henry Sapparth,
Volker Schlndorff, Harald Schmid, Bjrn Schmidt, Kerstin von Schnakenburg, Manfred von Sperber, The Fritz Stern Fund of the Princeton Area Community
Foundation, Maren & Joachim Strngmann, The Teagle Foundation, Thomas von Thaden, Lutz Weisser, Richard von Weizscker, Linda and Tod White Charitable
Fund, Margaret & Hayden White, Sabine & Edwin Wiley, Jill J. & Roger M. Witten, Pauline Yu
Spring 2013 | Number Twenty-Four | The Berlin Journal | 25
FAMILY TIES
Assessing sectarian conict and sexuality in contemporary Egypt
By Saba Mahmood
S
ince the overthrow of the
Mubarak regime, in February 2011,
Egypt has witnessed a number of sec-
tarian clashes between Coptic Christians
and Muslims that challenge the much
celebrated national unity on display at
the time of the January 25 revolution.
Accounts of the revolution proudly recount
how Muslims and Copts came together
to topple the thirty-year-old authoritarian
regime in a manner not seen since the
founding of the republic. The eruption
of interreligious sectarian violence over
the last two years, however, has dashed
all hopes that sectarian conict is a thing
of the past. The most recent attack on the
Coptic patriarchate in Cairo, in April, sug-
gests that the post-revolutionary govern-
ment is incapable of protecting the largest
Christian minority of the Middle East or of
reigning in extremist elements of the soci-
ety emboldened by the collapse of law and
order in the country.
In this brief essay I would like to focus
on one of the key causes of sectarian con-
ict that continue to disrupt the possibility
of peaceful co-existence between Copts and
Muslims: the issue of interreligious mar-
riage and conversion. A cursory glance at
the last ten years of Muslim-Coptic conict
reveals that a vast number of sectarian inci-
dents are set off by rumors about interfaith
romantic liaisons and marriages. Why this
cathexis between sectarian violence and
interfaith romance? The answer lies in part
in the religion-based family laws of Egypt.
Like other Middle Eastern states (such as
Israel, Syria, Jordan, and Morocco), each
religious community commands its

MAISON BONFILS (BEIRUT, LEBANON), REMAINS OF STATUES FOUND IN PALMYRA, SYRIA, (BETWEEN 1867 AND 1899), ALBUMEN PRINT
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26 | The Berlin Journal | Number Twenty-Four | Spring 2013
own family law (issues concerned with
marriage, inheritance, child custody, and
divorce) grounded in the religious tradi-
tion of each community. Coptic Orthodox
Christians, as a result, have their own
family law that is distinct from Muslim per-
sonal status law as well as from that of ve
other Christian denominations in Egypt.
Because Coptic Orthodox family law pro-
hibits divorce and remarriage other than
in cases of adultery and religious conver-
sion, Coptic men and women sometimes
convert to Islam to get out of bad marital
situations. This impetus to religious con-
version is further encouraged by unfair
state regulations that favor religious con-
version from Christianity to Islam while
making the reverse far more difcult. As
a result, not only are Muslim conversions
to Christianity rare, but when they happen,
the Egyptian government refuses to for-
mally acknowledge and record them.
Given these conditions, it is not sur-
prising that the Coptic Orthodox Church
is anxious about losing its followers to
Islam. Not only is there an attempt by the
Coptic Church to increase its oversight over
conversions to Islam, but the community
is now rife with rumors about a global
Muslim plot to abduct and forcefully con-
vert Coptic girls to Islam. Despite incon-
clusive evidence, the American evangelical
movement has recently stepped into the
fray, amplifying the abduction claim and
elevating it to the charge of sexual slavery
in order to have it condoned and regulated
by the US and United Nations protocols
against human and sexual trafcking
(passed in 2000).
Many scholars and activists argue that
the rst step in resolving this situation is to
abolish the religion-based family laws par-
ticular to each community and to replace
it with a uniform secular civil code that
applies to all citizens regardless of their
religious afliation. Attempts to do so, how-
ever, have historically met with strong resis-
tance not only from the Muslim majority
but also the non-Muslim minority who do
not want to give up their juridical autonomy
over family affairs. The Coptic Church has
mounted one of the strongest campaigns
to keep Egyptian state attempts to reform
Coptic family law at bay. This reaction is
often understood as an expression of the
religious fervor of the inhabitants of the
Middle East (Muslims and non-Muslims
alike), a problem that needs to be solved by
secularizing the societies and abolishing
the force of religion enshrined in the family
laws of the region. One might ask, however,
if this diagnosis is correct. Is religion the
only culprit, or is the modern state equally
to blame in creating and exacerbating this
impasse?
Consider, for example, the fact that
religion-based family law (whether of
Christians, Jews, or Muslims) is a modern
invention in the Middle East, cobbled
together from a variety of juridical
domains and given an autonomous status.
Neither family law nor the object to which
it is applied (the family) has remained
historically the same, transformed once
subjected to the regulatory ambit of the
modern state. The concept of the fam-
ily in the Middle East, as elsewhere in
the modern world, has been transformed
from a loose network of kin relations
and afnes to the nuclear family, with it
attendant notions of conjugality, compan-
ionate marriage, and bourgeois love. Even
extended-kin relations in the Middle East
are now organized around this hegemonic
concept of the family. Family in the mod-
ern period, as feminist historians have
pointed out, has become one of the central
structural units on which the project of
the nation-state is built. Perhaps what
is most striking is that both family and
religion are administered and adjudi-
cated under the domain of private law in
modern societies, thereby indelibly inter-
twining religion and sexuality and often
creating a noxious cathexis between them.
This cathexis is apparent not only in the
family-law debate in the Middle East but
also in the Christian opposition to gay
marriage in the United States and in the
evangelical mobilization against popula-
tion planning and hiv-aids programs
worldwide.
While the religious basis of Middle
Eastern family law is certainly distinct
from secular family law in Western liberal
societies, there are paradigmatic features
that cut across this divide. Religion-based
family laws of postcolonial societies
share a global genealogy that has been
recently analyzed by legal theorists Janet
Halley and Kerry Rittich (2010). Halley
and Rittich show that modern family law
emerged in the eighteenth century as an
autonomous juridical domain distinct
from other regulatory spheres and came
to be adopted globally. Modern family
law, when compared with other juridical
domains, exhibits, they note, exceptional
qualities. First, even though family law
purports to be descriptive, it enfolds
normative claims about cohabitation,
marriage, sexuality, and sexual division
of labor that pertain to the domain of obli-
gation, status, and affect (in contrast to
the domain of rights, will, and rationality).
Second, family law is exceptional in that it
is supposed to emanate from and express
the spirit of the people their traditions,
particularity, and history.
In this important sense, family law is
distinct from contract law, against which
it is juxtaposed and which is understood
as the real domain of universality. In the
words of Halley and Rittich, It is in the
nature of contract law to become the same
everywhere, and in the nature of family
law to differ from place to place. Pursuant
with this logic, while European colonizers
imposed their own forms of commercial,
criminal, and procedural codes in the
colonies, the family laws they devised were
understood to emanate from the religious
and customary laws of the native peoples.
Insomuch as religion was understood to
embody the true spirit of the colonized
people (recall the orientalist construction
of the East as essentially religious and
spiritual), it is not surprising that family
law came to be grounded in the religious
traditions of the communities the colonial
powers ruled over a period of 150 years.
Notably, just as family law was invented
from fragments of various juridical and
customary traditions, so was the univocali-
ty and unanimity of the religious traditions
to which the newly formulated family law
was supposed to correspond.
So how do the religious-based family
laws of contemporary Middle Eastern soci-
eties t into this global genealogy? First of
all, as mentioned earlier, it is important
to realize that family law in the Middle
PERHAPS WHAT IS MOST STRIKING IS THAT BOTH FAMILY AND
RELIGION ARE ADMINISTERED AND ADJUDICATED UNDER THE
DOMAIN OF PRIVATE LAW IN MODERN SOCIETIES, THEREBY INDELIBLY
INTERTWINING RELIGION AND SEXUALITY AND OFTEN CREATING
A NOXIOUS CATHEXIS BETWEEN THEM.

Spring 2013 | Number Twenty-Four | The Berlin Journal | 27
East is a modern invention that did not
exist as an independent juridical domain
in the pre-modern period. Secondly, the
juridical autonomy accorded to religious
communities over family law is a legacy
from the Ottoman period when religious
difference was conceptualized and orga-
nized in a manner distinct from the system
of modern nation-states in which it is now
inserted. As is well known, the Ottoman
Empire under the millet system accorded
various non-Muslim religious communi-
ties known juridical autonomy over aspects
of their internal affairs, including marriage
but other relations as well. This juridical
autonomy was one of the primary ways in
which the Ottomans managed to rule over
an immense diversity of religious faiths
for over six centuries. Various aspects of
this older arrangement were slowly trans-
formed over the course of the nineteenth
century, and the millet system was replaced
with that of the nation-state predicated on
the principle of civil and political equal-
ity with one key exception: the legislative
autonomy of religious communities over
family affairs. This parsing was consistent
with the genealogy traced by Halley and
Rittich in that family law was supposed to
correspond to and reect the true spirit of
the people and their traditions.
One paradoxical consequence of the
secularization of Middle Eastern societ-
ies is that, just as religious authority
becomes marginal to the conduct of civil
and political affairs, it simultaneously
comes to acquire a privileged place in the
regulation of family and sexual relations.
To put it another way: one of the results of
the simultaneous privatization of religion
and sexuality in the Middle East is that the
two have come to be ineluctably conjoined.
One explosive consequence of this in the
contemporary Middle East is that politi-
cal conict over religious difference often
unfolds on the terrain of sexual and gender
difference. Hence the importance of inter-
religious marriages in igniting sectarian
conict. While religion is in part respon-
sible for this impasse, so is the modern
states regulation of sexual and religious
difference. By simultaneously privatizing
religion and sexuality, making it a matter
of family law, modern states have created
and exacerbated this volatile cathexis in
postcolonial societies. Modern state regula-
tion has, in the process, transformed both
religion and family and realigned them in
unique and contradictory ways. Whether
religion-based family laws are abolished or
transformed in post-revolutionary Egypt,
one thing is clear: secular activists must
contend with the transformative and regu-
lative dimensions of modern political rule
so as to create a future different from the
one they now face.


Saba Mahmood is an associate profes-
sor of anthropology at the University of
California, Berkeley, and a spring 2013
Axel Springer Fellow at the Academy.
This essay is based on a longer ver-
sion of her essay Sectarian conict
and family law in contemporary
Egypt, which appeared in the journal
American Ethnologist, 39.1 (2012).
POLITICAL CONFLICT OVER
RELIGIOUS DIFFERENCE OFTEN
UNFOLDS ON THE TERRAIN OF
SEXUAL AND GENDER DIFFERENCE.

Anz-40Jahre-final.indd 1 23.04.13 13:19
28 | The Berlin Journal | Number Twenty-Four | Spring 2013
C
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R
T
E
S
Y

T
H
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A
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SARAH ILLENBERGER, SALATKLEID (2009), FINE-ART PRINT ON LITHO PAPER, EDITION OF 25, 90 X 130 CM
Spring 2013 | Number Twenty-Four | The Berlin Journal | 29
A
lice was passionate about
beauty she wanted it around her
all the time. She lived intensely
through her senses and arranged fresh
owers everywhere and knew to leave the
western windows uncurtained to ood
the restaurant with golden afternoon light.
Her palate was infallible, her food memory
indelible. If she said, This needs a little
more lemon, it did. And the dishes were
pure simplicity and delight: winter root-
vegetable soup, mesclun salad with goat
cheese, roast pork, asparagus vinaigrette,
tarte tatin.
Her favorite word was delicious, and her
favorite poem, which once hung above her
kitchen table in Berkeley in the 1960s, was
by Wallace Stevens: while Huns are slaugh-
tering eleven thousand virgins and her
own martyrdom is imminent, Saint Ursula
makes an offering of radishes and owers
to the Lord, who
felt a subtle quiver,
that was not heavenly love,
or pity.
Instead of the slaughter, Alice, too, saw
radishes and owers, and in them she saw
her hearts desire. She was always falling
in love with a dish, a coat, a man, an
idea and she seldom failed to get what
she wanted, sparing no expense (she was
forever careless about money), because the
tiny frame and rushed-off-her-feet manner
and nervous girlish voice and hands on
your arm concealed an iron will.
There were two major epiphanies in
Alices life. The rst was about beauty, and
it came to her in France, the country that
represented everything that was pleasing
to the senses. In 1965, she took a semes-
ter off from Berkeley just after the heady
rush of the Free Speech Movement and
went with a friend to study in Paris, where
RADISH QUEEN
Alice Waters and the politics of food
By George Packer
they soon drifted away from their course-
work and lost themselves in onion soup,
Gauloises cigarettes, outdoor markets, and
Frenchmen. On a trip to Brittany, Alice
and her friend dined in a little stone house
with a dozen tables upstairs under pink
tablecloths. The windows gave out onto a
stream and a garden that had just yielded
their trout and raspberries. At the end of
the meal, everyone in the restaurant burst
into applause and cried out to the chef,
Cest fantastique!
That was how Alice wanted to live
like a Frenchwoman, in a tightly wound
cloche from the 1920s, baguettes with
apricot jam and caf au lait in the morn-
ings, long afternoons in a caf, spec-
tacularly fresh dinners like the one in
Brittany. In fact, she wanted to run the
restaurant herself, feeding her friends
while they sat for hours and talked about
lm, irted, laughed, danced. But she
would bring her Francophilic dreams
back to puritanical, mass-produced
America.
Alice loved the revolutionary atmo-
sphere of Berkeley in the late 1960s, but
hers was going to be a revolution of the
senses, a communal experience of plea-
sure. Around 1970, eating in America
was a mix of fussy French restaurant
cuisine and Swansons frozen dinners.
McDonalds served its ve billionth burg-
er in 1969, its ten billionth in 1972. And
between those landmarks, in the sum-
mer of 1971, Chez Panisse, named for a
character in an old Marcel Pagnol lm,
opened its doors on Shattuck Avenue in
Berkeley.
The menu offered only one choice of
meal, written on a blackboard:
Pt en crote
Canard aux olives
Plum tart
Caf
$3.95
The line stretched out the door. Some peo-
ple had to wait two hours for their entre.
Others were never seated that night. Inside
the kitchen all was chaos, but the dining
room was gastronomic heaven. All the
ingredients came from local sources the
ducks from Chinatown in San Francisco,
the produce from a Japanese concession
and the plums, from local trees, were at
their ripest. Alice, at age 27, had started
something.
C
hez Panisse was an ongoing
celebration of food of a particular
kind grown locally and seasonally.
Alice and her staff foraged around the Bay
Area for ingredients, sometimes literally in
streams and along railroad tracks for the
greens and berries they wanted. She was
appalled by the thought of serving food that
had been frozen or trucked-in from out of
state. Once, the frozen-food industry held
a contest to see if expert panelists could tell
fresh from frozen twenty versions of the
same ingredient, fresh or frozen, cooked in
various dishes. Alice got every single one
right.
The restaurant celebrated something
else: bohemia. The atmosphere was open
and informal, within the extreme


ALICE LOVED THE REVOLUTIONARY ATMOSPHERE OF BERKELEY IN
THE LATE 1960S, BUT HERS WAS GOING TO BE A REVOLUTION OF THE
SENSES, A COMMUNAL EXPERIENCE OF PLEASURE.
30 | The Berlin Journal | Number Twenty-Four | Spring 2013
people who could afford to care, no word
was held in higher esteem than organic. It
carried a sanctifying power.
In the mid-nineties, Alice had her sec-
ond epiphany. This one began with ugli-
ness. One day, a local reporter interviewed
her at Chez Panisse, and as they discussed
agriculture in empty urban lots, she sud-
denly said, You want to see a great example
of how not to use land? You should come
look at this enormous school in my neigh-
borhood that looks like nobody cares about
it. Everything wrong with our world is
bound up in that place. It was the Martin
Luther King Middle School, whose concrete
buildings and blacktop playground she
drove past every day, thinking they might
be abandoned. The quote made it into the
paper, the principal saw it, and before long
Alice was invited to see the school, and
maybe do something about it.
What Alice did was to ask if she could
plant a vegetable garden on a neglected acre
of land at the edge of the school grounds.
She had seen the food sold to the kids
something called a walking taco, a plas-
tic bag full of corn chips drowned in a beef-
and-tomato mess spooned from a can and
to her it symbolized a completely broken
culture. Fast food wasnt just unhealthful,
it spread bad values. She had a grand idea:
the students would grow kale and bok choy
and dozens of other things in the garden;
prepare a nutritious, delicious meal in a
school kitchen (currently closed for lack
of repair money); and sit down together to
eat it in the communal way that had disap-
peared from their hectic, dysfunctional
homes, learning basic table etiquette as
they ate and awakening their senses to a
new relationship with food.
Alice believed nothing could improve
what was wrong with Californias miser-
able public schools so radically as a veg-
etable garden, and if there was something
of the temperance crusader in her, walking
through the slums asking why the men
drank so much, Alice didnt let the thought
trouble her for a moment. If a question
about priorities was raised should schools
that didnt have funds for substitute teach-
ers and classroom supplies spend money
on sustainability education? Alice got a
steely look in her eye. It can be done, it will
be done, its going to happen, youll see.
T
his was the start of her transfor-
mation from restaurateur to evange-
list. It took a couple of years to raise
the money privately and get the ofcial
approval, the personnel, and hardest of
all the participation of the students. But
once the Edible Schoolyard got going, it was
such a success that other cities around the
country adopted the idea. In 2001, Alice
brought it to Yale, where her daughter was
an entering freshman. Four years later,
Alices idea took root on the National Mall.
And when Barack Obama arrived at the
White House, Alice immediately wrote to
him: At this moment in time, you have a
unique opportunity to set the tone for how
our nation should feed itself. The purity
and wholesomeness of the Obama move-
ment must be accompanied by a parallel
effort in food at the most visible and sym-
bolic place in America the White House.
When Michelle Obama announced in May
2009 that there would be a vegetable gar-
den on the White House grounds, everyone
regarded Alice as its godmother.
I
n the 1960s, most Americans
ate more or less the same, bad things.
Chicken la king with a wedge of ice-
berg lettuce was a popular dish, while fon-
due made its way among the more daring.
But in the new millennium, food divided
Americans as rigidly as just about every-
thing else. Some people ate better, more
carefully than ever, while others got grossly
overweight on processed foods. Some fami-
lies, usually intact, educated, prosperous
ones, made a point of sitting down together
to a locally sourced, mindfully prepared
dinner at home several nights a week.
Others ate fast-food takeout together in the
car, if at all. Alice helped make food into a
political cause, a matter of social change
and virtuous lifestyles, but in the age of
Chez Panisse, food could not help being
about class. Her refusal to compromise her
own standards led others to turn her revolu-
tionary spirit on its head.
For some Americans, the local, organic
movement became a righteous retreat
snobbery of fresh ingredients and simple
cooking. The staff had affairs with one
another (none more than Alice she liked
her attachments without obligations), the
restaurant was nanced with hippie drug
money, chefs did coke to keep themselves
going, waiters took a toke on their way into
the dining room, busboys stuffed opium
up the ass before their shift (to avoid nau-
sea), and at the end of the night there was
dancing in the dining room. Alice was an
inspiring, critical, and chaotic leader, and
years went by in the red, and several times
the whole thing nearly came crashing
down, but always the little delicate-featured
woman with the hair cut short would say,
It can be done, it will be done, its going to
happen, youll see.
And Chez Panisse celebrated one other
thing: itself, endlessly.
I
t took years for Chez Panisse to
become the best-known restaurant in
America. In the 1980s, the food scene
took off around the country, and young
people with new money wanted to eat only
the best things, or at least be told they were
doing so. Alices restaurant became a place
where wealth and celebrity went to be
seen. By the 1990s she was a national g-
ure. She embraced the gospel of virtuous
food, insisting that her produce be strictly
organic and that her meat come from
animals that had been reasonably happy
before their slaughter. She spread the
good news of sustainability everywhere
she went, telling anyone who would lis-
ten, Good food is a right, not a privilege,
and How we eat can change the world,
and Beauty is not a luxury. Alice became
a moralist of pleasure, a bohemian scold,
holding delicious fundraising dinners
for Bill Clinton, then following up with
hectoring letters to the young president
and First Lady urging them to plant a veg-
etable garden on the White House lawn as
a model for America. To her dismay, they
never did, but the country seemed to be
catching up with her message as couples
in big cities frequented farmers markets
on Saturdays to buy their heirloom toma-
toes and porcini mushrooms. Among
SOME FAMILIES, USUALLY INTACT, EDUCATED, PROSPEROUS ONES,
MADE A POINT OF SITTING DOWN TOGETHER TO A LOCALLY SOURCED,
MINDFULLY PREPARED DINNER AT HOME SEVERAL NIGHTS A WEEK.
OTHERS ATE FAST-FOOD TAKEOUT TOGETHER IN THE CAR, IF AT ALL.
AMONG PEOPLE WHO COULD
AFFORD TO CARE, NO WORD
WAS HELD IN HIGHER ESTEEM
THAN ORGANIC. IT CARRIED A
SANCTIFYING POWER.
Spring 2013 | Number Twenty-Four | The Berlin Journal | 31
energy to bring home kale with the right
pedigree, or share Alices sublime faith in
its benecence.
A
lice wanted to bring people
to a better life, but she had trouble
imagining that the immediate
comfort of a walking taco might be exactly
what a twelve-year-old wanted. When she
heard the criticisms, she turned away, to
the radishes and owers. Anyone who was
passionate enough about organic strawber-
ries, she believed, could afford to buy them.
We make decisions every day about what
were going to eat. And some people want
to buy Nike shoes two pairs! and other
people want to eat Bronx grapes, and nour-
ish themselves. I pay a little extra, but this
is what I want to do.

George Packer is a staff writer at


the New Yorker and was a fall 2009
Holtzbrinck Fellow at the American
Academy. This essay is from his new-
est book, The Unwinding: An Inner
History of the New America, published
in May by Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
into an ethic dened by consumer choices.
The movement, and the moral pressure
it brought to bear in parts of society,
declared: Whatever else we cant achieve,
we can always purify our bodies. The evi-
dence lay in the fanaticism of the choices.
A mother wondered aloud on a neighbor-
hood Listserv whether it was right to let
her little girl go on being friends with
another girl whose mother fed them hot
dogs. This woman was sanitizing herself
and her daughter against contamination
from a disorderly and dangerous society
in which the lives and bodies of the poor
presented a harsh example. Alice hated the
word elitist, but these were elite choices,
because a single mother working three
jobs could never have the time, money, and
ALICE WANTED TO BRING PEOPLE
TO A BETTER LIFE, BUT SHE
HAD TROUBLE IMAGINING THAT
THE IMMEDIATE COMFORT OF A
WALKING TACO MIGHT BE EXACTLY
WHAT A TWELVE-YEAR-OLD
WANTED.
Sources:
Thomas McNamee, Alice Waters and Chez
Panisse: The Romantic, Impractical, Often
Eccentric, Ultimately Brilliant Making of a Food
Revolution (New York: Penguin, 2008).
Alice Waters with Daniel Duane, Edible
Schoolyard: A Universal Idea (San Francisco:
Chronicle Books, 2008).
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32 | The Berlin Journal | Number Twenty-Four | Spring 2013
In foreign policy, Obama has moved
away from the independent team of
rivals of his rst term: Robert Gates at
the Pentagon and Hillary Clinton at State.
Instead, he has chosen a new team whose
members share his basic outlook espe-
cially his desire not to ght more wars like
Iraq and Afghanistan. This is an adminis-
tration that speaks for a war-weary nation.
Todays America is a bit like a wounded ani-
mal; it doesnt want to get bitten again. So
they will avoid conict, wherever possible,
as has been obvious in Obamas handling
of Iran, Egypt, and Syria.
Obama and his team have ambitions, to
be sure: Secretary of State John Kerry has
been waiting throughout his career for this
chance to shape global affairs. Hes off to a
strong start, and its obvious that he wants
to use his diplomatic skills not simply to
represent America, as Hillary Clinton did,
but to make transactional agreements with
leaders in Iran, Palestine, even Syria.
One early theme for the Obama team
has been its reconnection with Europe.
That was the importance of Vice President
Joe Bidens speech at the Munich Security
Conference. If you think of Europe in 2013
as recovering from a near-death experience,
its touching to think of the vice president
traveling to Bavaria to express Americas
enduring true love for the transatlantic
partnership. The president followed up
this Europe reset by announcing in his
State of the Union speech his support for
the Transatlantic Trade and Investment
Partnership. Who would have imag-
swing states. They put most of Obamas
campaign resources money, travel, and
stafng into these key states, and they
won eight of the nine. They did it using
the most sophisticated social media and
messaging techniques for targeting and
inuencing voters that American politics
has ever seen. A top Republican strategist
admitted to me a few weeks after the elec-
tion: Were trying to reverse-engineer
what the Obama campaign did, because it
was so revolutionary. We have to gure it
out or were going to get clobbered again
and again.
If Obama could govern during his sec-
ond term with as much strategic focus and
clarity as he campaigned, he would have a
shot at being the great president America
needs identifying the specic problems
he wants to address and then systematically
working to solve them.
H
is success depends primarily
on his handling of domestic issues,
but hes off to a bad start, frankly.
In the rst weeks of his second term, he
seemed to want Republicans to come to
him, as the victor, rather than to reach out
to them or, perhaps better, to reach over
them, to the country. To succeed more
broadly, Obama has to x a political system
that is basically broken. Our Congress cant
pass budgets; it cant pass fundamental
legislation on immigration; it cant address
the big problems the country cares about.
Obama must discover the political dyna-
mism that powered Lyndon Johnson, Bill
Clinton, Ronald Reagan the recent presi-
dents who were able to govern over the top
of what is always a somewhat dysfunctional
Washington system.
F
or a very successful politician
successfully elected and reelected
Barack Obama is not a very political
person. Presidents like Lyndon Johnson
or Bill Clinton, hungry for attention, fed
off of their connection with an audience
and then played it back with an almost
animal magnetism. Barack Obama is
very different. There is a dryness about
him; his personality remains hidden and
mysterious, even under the most intense
public scrutiny. He is a reticent man, the
modern, multicultural version of what we
once described as a gentleman. One of
his most senior aides told me he thought
Obama might have been happier as a
Supreme Court justice than as presi-
dent. And it is said that in his Principals
Committee meetings, with his most senior
nsc advisers, Obama often just listens.
Sometimes at the end of those meetings,
people arent even sure what the presi-
dents views are. Hell wait until the next
morning to explain them.
When Obama was elected in 2008, I felt
he had the opportunity to be a great presi-
dent in the sense that he might fulll the
true challenge of his time, which is to pull
together a divided country. His rst term,
sadly, was a lesson in his inability to forge
consensus legislation and transcend party
lines. The challenge of greatness eluded
him.
Y
et Obama was reelected in one
of the most brilliant pieces of political
strategy Ive seen in my three decades
of political reporting. His top advisers, led
by David Plouffe, understood from the
beginning that this was not a campaign
about fty states but rather about nine
WHEN OBAMA WAS ELECTED IN 2008, I FELT HE HAD THE
OPPORTUNITY TO BE A GREAT PRESIDENT IN THE SENSE THAT HE
MIGHT FULFILL THE TRUE CHALLENGE OF HIS TIME, WHICH IS TO
PULL TOGETHER A DIVIDED COUNTRY.
TODAYS AMERICA IS A BIT LIKE
A WOUNDED ANIMAL; IT DOESNT
WANT TO GET BITTEN AGAIN.
SO THEY WILL AVOID CONFLICT,
WHEREVER POSSIBLE,
AS HAS BEEN OBVIOUS IN
OBAMAS HANDLING OF
IRAN, EGYPT, AND SYRIA.
MARKED BY CAUTION
The emergence of a once-bitten, twice-shy foreign policy
By David R. Ignatius
Spring 2013 | Number Twenty-Four | The Berlin Journal | 33
as in the aftermath of the 2008 global
economic crisis. And the United States,
for all its angst about a rising China, has a
similar interest in a strong and stable Asian
partner. Certainly, Obama has been careful
not to exploit Beijings weaknesses. Recall
that last year, Washington kept mum for
months about the details of the corruption
and murder scandal involving Bo Xilai, a
very senior party ofcial. This was a period
of maximum vulnerability for the Chinese
leadership, who knew all too well that Bos
corruption was mirrored throughout the
country by party ofcials. Although the
United States knew, chapter and verse,
what had happened the moment Bos
police chief walked into the US consulate
in Chengdu asking to defect, it kept quiet.
This suggests an American policy that is
protective, in a way, of China recognizing
that America doesnt want this rising Asian
power to shake too violently as it grows and
develops.
T
he hardest problem facing
Obama during his second term may
be Syria. In October 2012, I travelled
for several days with the Free Syrian Army
to Aleppo and other battlefronts. I came
away with three conclusions, which I saw
with my own eyes. First, the rural north
of Syria is gone. A visitor travels for hours
without encountering the Syrian army.
The idea that the regime of President
Bashar al-Assad can ever govern again is
not plausible. Second, the opposition,


THE UNITED STATES, FOR ALL ITS ANGST ABOUT A RISING
CHINA, HAS A SIMILAR INTEREST IN A STRONG AND STABLE
ASIAN PARTNER. CERTAINLY, OBAMA HAS BEEN CAREFUL NOT
TO EXPLOIT BEIJINGS WEAKNESSES.


R
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US PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA ATTENDS A MEMORIAL SERVICE FOR US AMBASSADOR RICHARD C. HOLBROOKE AT THE KENNEDY CENTER IN
WASHINGTON, DC, JANUARY 14, 2011
ined that trade agreements could be so
galvanizing.
I hope Europeans realize better now
that much of their anxiety about last years
pivot to Asia was misplaced. America isnt
abandoning Europe; quite the opposite. As
for the rise of China, its obviously a prima-
ry strategic concern for the United States,
just as it is for Europe. But I see an identity
of US-European interest in Asia rather than
a conict.
I also discount much of the anxiety
about the inevitability of conict with a
rising China. Most prominent American
strategists, starting with Henry Kissinger,
would argue that China decided under
Deng Xiaoping (and perhaps even under
Mao) that its interests were best served by
following the global leadership of a power-
ful America. Think of how Grand Prix race
cars gain extra speed by following in anoth-
er cars draught: thats what China has been
doing with the United States. China wants
a strong America; it becomes anxious when
American leadership seems to be failing,
34 | The Berlin Journal | Number Twenty-Four | Spring 2013
for all its recent success, is a mess. Syria is
experiencing a bottom-up revolution that
has created a multitude of diverse groups
competing for power. In some liberated
areas, the rebels have become little more
than warlords. Third, and most worrying,
I saw the rise of extremist groups, espe-
cially the al-Nusra Front, which is a direct
offspring of al-Qaeda in Iraq. They have
probably been the most effective rebel
ghters in this war. Try to get your mind
around that anomaly: the West is support-
ing an opposition whose strongest element
is explicitly linked to al-Qaeda. I suspect
that this conundrum will vex John Kerry,
and all of us, for years to come. How can
US policy increase the leverage of more
responsible Syrians? Can the specter of
extremist Muslim power nally draw the
Russians into helping broker a political
settlement in Syria?
From what weve learned of Barack
Obama, we can be condent that his for-
eign policy during the second term will be
marked by caution. And watching Obama,
I have been impressed by the virtues of
what is sometimes derided as leading
from behind. Theres a lot to be said for
not taking big policy risks when the out-
come is so hard to predict. But reticence is a
luxury; Obama is facing problems that may
require a hard choice, even when he has
only soft information. He must decide in
2013 whether to accept an ugly deal with
Iran, as Harvards Graham Allison puts
it; he must decide in 2013 how to project
American power in a Syria that, on present
evidence, is heading toward being a failed
state; he must decide in 2013 whether he
wants to continue to bet on the idea that the
experience of democratic government will
transform Egypts Muslim Brotherhood.
O
bama is the sort of American
leader that Europeans a decade
ago might have dreamed of. He is
not arrogant; he is not unilateral; he does
not appear to seek hegemony. But is he
effective in the exercise of power. Do his
admirable personal qualities open the way
for him to be the great president who would
play a truly transformative role at home and
abroad? Or are these qualities limiting fac-
tors that are perceived by Americas friends
and enemies as weakness? Its a measure
of the mysterious and unnished aspect
of Obamas leadership that its still hard to
give a condent answer. As golfers like to
say, this is a makeable putt. But rst you
have to step up and hit the ball.


David R. Ignatius is an award-winning
novelist and a columnist for the
Washington Post. This essay is adapted
from a public interview with televi-
sion moderator Theo Koll in February
2013, when Ignatius was an Allianz
Distinguished Visitor at the Academy.
HOW CAN US POLICY INCREASE THE LEVERAGE OF MORE RESPONSIBLE
SYRIANS? CAN THE SPECTER OF EXTREMIST MUSLIM POWER
FINALLY DRAW THE RUSSIANS INTO HELPING BROKER
A POLITICAL SETTLEMENT IN SYRIA?
Mehr ZEIT fr Sie!
Genieen Sie anspruchsvollen Journalismus.
www.zeit.de
11774_ZT_AWP_BerlinJourn_185x124.indd 1 27.03.13 10:02
Spring 2013 | Number Twenty-Four | The Berlin Journal | 35
BRING UP THE BODY
How a little Italian book helped abolish torture in Europe
By J.M. Bernstein
MONIKA BAER, ROTE WAND (3) (2012), OIL ON CANVAS
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36 | The Berlin Journal | Number Twenty-Four | Spring 2013
A
n armed intruder enters
my home and threatens to kill me,
my wife, and my small children
unless we do as he demands. Under United
States law, I would be entitled to kill the
intruder in self-defense. What I would not
be entitled to do, legally or morally, is to
disarm him, drag him into my basement,
and torture him nor would I be entitled
to sexually abuse him. Although torturing
and sexually abusing the intruder would
leave him alive, both are regarded as mor-
ally and legally worse than killing. What
must a human being be such that torture
and rape can be regarded as morally and
legally worse than killing?
I am tempted to say that the moral atro-
ciousness of torture and rape is a, if not
the, founding fact of modern moral rea-
son. Human beings are not only capable
of being killed, they are also capable of
being devastated, of having their status
as human not merely infringed upon but
entirely undone, decimated, wiped out.
Modern torture is the effort to devastate
the victim, to break him or her. Even
those who are willing to now defend tor-
ture for reasons of state, like the Harvard
legal scholar Alan Dershowitz, agree that
legally warranted acts of torture are mor-
ally atrocious.
But all this rushes past one glaringly
obvious fact: for ve hundred years, torture
played a central role in all European legal
systems rst, as an element in the law of
evidence; and second, as the primary com-
ponent of the system of punishment. In
the Roman-canon legal system that began
emerging in the twelfth century, crimes
punishable by the death penalty, or by
severe mutilation or maiming, required
either the testimony of two eyewitnesses or
a confession. This was a hard standard to
satisfy, of course, as murderers tend not to
commit their deeds in front of eyewitness-
es, nor do they readily confess them when
theyre done. Ergo, torture became a vital
supplement to interrogation procedures,
helping to prompt confessions. Without
torture, the law of evidence would have
been unusable for serious crimes.
Yet, with breathtaking rapidity, torture
was abolished throughout Europe in the
second half of the eighteenth century. So
powerful was this revulsion against tor-
ture as a symbol of the enormities of the
ancien rgime, writes the historian Edward
Peters, that not even the moral passion of
the Revolution [with its murderous Terror]
and the reaction that followed it inspired a
return to torture. . . . [The] real inuence
of writers like Voltaire and Beccaria: their
work simply made torture unthinkable.
Who, you may ask, is Beccaria? Though
virtually forgotten today, Cesare Beccaria
was a diminutive Italian man born in
Milan in 1738 who went on to become one
of the most inuential philosophers of
the eighteenth century. His mind was cel-
ebrated and everyone read his books, par-
ticularly his enormously inuential 1764
work Dei Delitti e Delle Pene (On Crimes
and Punishments), which was immediately
translated in 22 European languages and
soared through 28 Italian editions and nine
French ones before 1800. It was translated
into English in 1767 (Jeremy Bentham
becoming Beccarias apostle), with
multiple editions in both Britain and the
United States. Beccarias little book played
a direct role in late eighteenth-century
legal reforms initiated by Catherine II in
Russia, Frederick the Great in Prussia,
and those carried out in France before
and during the Revolution. Moreover, his
arguments against the death penalty are
the rst by a signicant European philoso-
pher, and his treatise helped to bring about
the moral, legal, and political fulllment
of the eighteenth-century humanitarian
revolution borne of Enlightenment notions
of progress. In fact, it is conceivable that
without Beccaria, moral modernity would
not have come to be. These are some bold
claims, but diving into Beccarias era will
help illuminate the reasons for his zeal for
reform.
T
he penally violent world into
which Beccaria was born is perhaps
best illustrated by a gure prone to
colorful reminders of tortures past, Michel
Foucault. The opening pages of Discipline
and Punish (1975) memorably contrast the
March 28, 1757 execution by torture of the
regicide Robert-Franois Damiens with
a terse list of rules that made up the daily
timetable of a prison for young Parisian
offenders in 1838. For his attempted mur-
der of King Louis XV, Damiens was to be
placed on a scaffold, where the esh will
be torn from his breasts, arms, thighs and
calves with red-hot pincers . . . his right
hand, holding the knife with which he com-
mitted the said parricide, burnt with sul-
fur . . . and then his body drawn and quar-
tered by four horses and his limbs and body
consumed by red, reduced to ashes and
his ashes thrown to the winds. Foucault
continues the quoted description of this
notoriously gruesome image with a hint
of relish for another three pages.
He then contrasts it with the numbing
routine of a Parisian prison: At the rst
drum-roll, the prisoners must rise and dress
in silence, as the supervisor opens the cell
doors. At the second drum-roll, they must
be dressed and make their beds. At the third,
they must line up and proceed to the chapel
for morning prayer. There then follows a
precise structuring of the day: meals, work,
schooling, more work until the boys are led
back to their cells, undress in silence, and
return to their beds for the night.
To understand the meaning of the abo-
lition of torture cannot involve anything
less than grasping the contrast between
Damiens quartering by horses and the
boys in a workshop listening to a passage
from an uplifting text read to them by their
supervisor. Something of the very moral
meaning of modernity is lodged in this
contrast: the disappearance of the human
body as a target of penal repression and the
exclusion of the theatrical representation of
pain. Foucault explains:
One no longer touched the body, or at least
as little as possible, and then only to reach
something other than the body itself. . . .
The body now serves as an instrument
or intermediary: if one intervenes upon
it to imprison it, or to make it work, it
is in order to deprive the individual of a
liberty that is regarded both as a right and
as property. The body, according to this
penality, is caught up in a system of con-
straints and privations, obligations and
prohibitions. Physical pain, the pain of
the body itself, is no longer the constituent
element of the penalty. From being an art
of unbearable sensations, punishment has
become an economy of suspended rights.
This last sentence offers, in a nutshell, the
essence of the humanitarian revolution
that Beccaria helped to consolidate; the
body is conferred a new status, a new mean-
FOR FIVE HUNDRED YEARS,
TORTURE PLAYED A CENTRAL
ROLE IN ALL EUROPEAN LEGAL
SYSTEMS FIRST, AS AN ELEMENT
IN THE LAW OF EVIDENCE; AND
SECOND, AS THE PRIMARY
COMPONENT OF THE SYSTEM OF
PUNISHMENT.

Spring 2013 | Number Twenty-Four | The Berlin Journal | 37
ing, and, as a consequence, it enters into a
changed relation to the state.
T
hroughout their existence,
penal torture and execution were
great public spectacles. One need
only think of the carnivalesque atmosphere
in images of tortured bodies breaking
on the wheel, such as in Lukas Mayers
famed 1589 woodcut of The Execution of
Peter Stumpp. In a world with scant routine
mechanisms of law enforcement, punitive
public executions were meant to terrify and
deter. But these characteristics had a more
specic contour in monarchies, in which
the authority of the law and the authority
of the sovereign person were united. In
breaking the law, the criminal was thereby
attacking the very person and authority of
the sovereign. Public executions thus had
the juridical-political function of reconsti-
tuting momentarily injured sovereignty.
The tortured body demonstrated the per-
sistent power of the sovereign the validity
and legitimacy of his or her laws, as well as
the force of those laws. The spectacle of sov-
ereign power was an expression of the unity
of the people with the sovereign and hence
the unity of the people with themselves.
They were festive occasions.
Sometime during the eighteenth centu-
ry, however, this spectacle ended perhaps
not the total terror but surely its awesome-
ness, its ceremonial clout, its capacity to
sanction the law, its power of uniting and
renewing community. People instead
began to see tortures vengeance and bru-
tality. Instead of cohering the community,
public executions came to feel like an attack
and dismembering of it, as if the dismem-
bered body of the individual now stood for
what was happening to the community
through legal violence; even criminals
became objects of sympathy. It was as if the
sovereign was now the primary threat.
The acts that began to ban torture
throughout Europe were the moral and
legal reection of a deeper ethical trans-
formation: a consequence of the growth of
modern individualism and the disenchant-
ment of the natural world. Central to this
transformation was the wholly secular view
that pains belong only to the individual
sufferer. As pains became simultaneously
meaningless and wholly individual, there
occurred the gradual but emphatic emer-
gence of the individual body as being mor-
ally inviolable, as having intrinsic worth, as
belonging to a being with dignity, a being
with natural rights. These conceptual
innovations owe much to none other than
Beccarias On Crimes and Punishments.
A
ssume for the ordinary citi-
zen of the eighteenth century, where
(constitutional) monarchy remained
the dominant form of rule, that the
criminal legal system, the laws, and their
enforcement were the actuality of the state.
Under these conditions, judicial torture
became the central image of a failing sys-
tem and its principled overcoming the core
of a new idea of political legitimacy. What
Beccaria sought to generate was an inver-
sion of the preceding system: rather than
the authority of the law depending on sov-
ereign authority, it is the rule of law itself
that is to become the marker for political
legitimacy. He aimed to engineer the shift
from a world in which the King is the Law
to one in which the Law is King to bor-
row Thomas Paines felicitous formulation.
According to Beccaria, what the inher-
ited body of laws lacked was the gover-
nance of consistent principles through
which their general authority and specic
rationale could be evaluated. On Crimes
and Punishments begins with a challenge
to legal positivism, offering one of the
earliest instances of critical jurisprudence.
Rational principles, he argues, were
required in order to replace personal and
traditional authority, which arbitrarily
administered a jumble of inherited law.
Moreover, the existing monarchical legal
system concentrated power and the ben-
ets owing from its possession in the
hands of a privileged few, raising those
few to the heights of power and happiness,
and sinking everyone else in feebleness and
poverty. This inequality, Beccaria believed,
was the primary source of the personaliza-
tion and arbitrariness of state power. If the
law stabilizes, legitimates, or perpetuates
that inequality, then it also perpetuates
arbitrariness and moral violence. It was
this new egalitarian conception of the rule
of law, with its social contract underpin-
nings and protections of the bodies of citi-
zens against arbitrary state violence, that
fueled the ame of the rights revolutions
that were soon to follow. It was Beccarias
emphasis on the need for the rule of law in
its modern, substantive sense that gave his
critique of judicial torture its force.
What has made Beccarias argument
hard to decipher is that he does not argue
from the possession of individual rights
to the necessity of the abolition of torture
or the moral inviolability of the body, but
rather from the actual devastations of tor-
ture to the necessity for the rule of law. The
image of the body of the torture victim was
the meeting place of state and citizen, the
place where the newly morally saturated
body of the citizen met the legal apparatus
of the state; either the rule of law recogniz-
es bodily autonomy as its own moral basis
broken laws standing for broken bodies
or the law becomes a vehicle of sovereign
authority that knows no limit. Thus it is
the morally charged conception of the rule
of law itself that holds together the ban on
torture with the recognition of human dig-
nity: remove the prohibition on torture and
neither the liberal state nor modern moral
life is intelligible.
Beccaria expresses his egalitarian ideal
by claiming that the right to punish is noth-
ing but the sum of those smallest portions
of freedom men surrendered to the public
repository consistent with the protection of
the freedom of all. Justice is thus conceived
in minimalist terms with respect to both
laws and punishments. We require the
minimal punishments necessary to sustain
the authority and effectiveness of the mini-
mal laws necessary to sustain a functional
social order that (maximally) respects the
equal freedom of each. Social order and
the laws securing that order are irreducibly
social goods. Therefore, any trespass on the
law is an attack on society as a whole.
Beccarias rst set of inferences from
his foundational principles are ones that
undergird every modern legal system:
laws alone should decree punishments for
crimes; the sovereign has the right to

IT WAS BECCARIAS EMPHASIS ON THE NEED FOR THE RULE OF LAW
IN ITS MODERN, SUBSTANTIVE SENSE THAT GAVE HIS CRITIQUE OF
JUDICIAL TORTURE ITS FORCE.

INSTEAD OF COHERING THE
COMMUNITY, PUBLIC EXECUTIONS
CAME TO FEEL LIKE AN ATTACK
AND DISMEMBERING OF IT.

38 | The Berlin Journal | Number Twenty-Four | Spring 2013
Europe. The rule of law, he reasons, should
function as a counter-instance to the rule of
force and violence: If our passions or the
necessity of war have taught how to spill
human blood, laws, which exercise a mod-
erating inuence on human conduct, ought
not to add to that cruel example, which is all
the more grievous the more a legal killing is
carried out with care and pomp. Moreover,
if the purpose of law is to preserve and
protect human freedom and dignity, then
the operation of the law, its means, should
be continuous with that purpose and not
entirely contrary to it. The law, after all, is
for Becarria an expression of who We are,
what We take as tting, and what actions We
prohibit because they deny our standing as
free and dignied persons. When the state
acts, We act. And if the state acts viciously
and cruelly, then We are willing such
viciousness and cruelty. It seems absurd to
me, Beccaria states, that the laws, which
are the expression of the public will, and
which hate and punish murder should
themselves commit one, and that to deter
citizens from murder, they should decree a
public murder. State cruelty as performed
by penal torture and the death penalty, even
when not performed as public spectacles,
cannot avoid the logic of the torture spec-
tacle, the logic of turning punishment into
a demonstration of singular sovereignty
whose authority is to be identied with its
brute force, its might, its power over life and
death, and hence for whom the body of the
accused has no intrinsic worth, no dignity,
no value, but functions solely as a sacricial
totem to be used as a demonstration of the
might and power of the sovereign.
It was exactly this state of affairs that the
argument for the rule of law sought to over-
turn. State cruelty as performed by penal
torture and the death penalty contradict,
in principle and in practice, the very idea
of what we must understand by the rule
of law. For we moderns, the force of law is
incommensurable with and opposed to any
violation of bodily integrity as the bearer
of human dignity that is the substance of
the rule of law. The rule of law is ultimately
the institution of bodily integrity as the
fount of human dignity. That, anyway, was
Beccarias thesis. Its now, for the most part,
our world.

J.M. Bernstein is the University
Distinguished Professor of Philosophy
at the New School for Social Research
and a John P. Birkelund Fellow at the
American Academy this spring.
frame laws in accordance with principle but
he may not judge particular cases; judicial
discretion in the interpretation of the law is
to be eliminated; laws should be stated in
unequivocally clear terms so that what falls
under them is transparent to both citizens
and judges; laws should be published and
widely disseminated; trials should be by
a jury of peers (a practice of English but
not continental law at the time), and the
accused permitted to dismiss a certain
number of potential jurors without cause;
as opposed to the secrecy of sovereign legal
proceedings, verdicts and the proof of guilt
should now be public in order that opinion
can inuence the passions by perceiving
the justice system as one proper to free
persons, protecting rather than enslaving
them. All these and related procedural and
due process proposals aim to make the law
legislatively just, transparent in its mean-
ing and operation, and judgment of cases
fair, constrained, and visible.
In so doing, Beccarias rule of law doc-
trine fashions an image of a dignied civil
body out of the remnants of its repeated
sovereign mutilation through a process
of determinate negation. Substantive rule
of law in its rst announcement is noth-
ing other than the rejection of sovereign
torture. His rst direct argument against
penal torture is that severe punishments,
even if they could be shown to serve the
public good by their deterrent effect, are
nonetheless contrary to enlightened reason
because they turn citizens into a a herd
of slaves among whom timorous cruelty is
rife. Cruel punishments undermine the
dignity of the citizens the law is to protect.
And while that is a sufcient moral criti-
cism to require radical penal constraint all
by itself, Beccaria also presumes that since
the nation is the We corresponding to each
I, then its treatment of criminals sets the
standard or norm of who We are. The state
as realization of the general will necessarily
posits in each of its actions an image of our
ideal self. Cruelty by the state thus invites
and encourages citizens to act likewise.
When it comes to judicial torture tor-
ture to extract confession it is Beccarias
fundamental understanding of the rule of
law that orients and drives his critique. Of
the forms of torture used to acquire evi-
dence necessary for conviction or acquittal
he writes, No man may be called guilty
before the judge has reached his verdict;
nor may society withdraw its protection
from him until it has been determined that
he has broken the terms of the compact
by which that protection was extended to
him. The principle that a person is inno-
cent until proven guilty is precisely what is
denied by legal torture for purposes other
than punishment. Judicial torture takes
possession of the body of the accused prior
to the proceedings that are for the sake of
determining innocence or guilt. This is
contradictory once it is assumed that crimi-
nal justice is for the sake of protecting the
freedom and wellbeing of citizens through
the establishment of the rule of law. Not
only must an individual be presumed inno-
cent until proven guilty, but also, Beccaria
insists, nothing less than a moral cer-
tainty is adequate for the sake of establish-
ing guilt or guilty, we now say, beyond a
reasonable doubt.
W
hat of penal torture?
Beccaria argues that it presup-
poses an incoherent and vengeful
logic of retribution. The presumed purpose
of penal torture, other than deterrence, is
the purging of infamy, which Beccaria
immediately translates into the demand
that a man conrm his own testimony
by the dislocation of his bones. While the
absurdity is patent, it opens onto the whole
logic of body and debt to which Beccaria
is objecting. A crime is a civil stain,
a moral relation; but how is the causing of
pain, which is a bodily sensation, meant to
purge, cleanse, or transform that relation,
to remove the stain? Though aware of their
religious origins, Beccaria simply denies
that these ideas can be secularized and
given a clear civic function. On the contrary,
he contends that infamy is not a mysterious
state of the soul but a matter of regard and
public opinion. From this he infers that tor-
ture itself causes real infamy to its victims.
Therefore, by this means, infamy is purged
by the iniction of infamy.
It is a small step from this iniction
of infamy to Beccarias nal argument,
which is against the death penalty the rst
such argument (I am aware of) to appear in
CRUEL PUNISHMENTS UNDERMINE THE DIGNITY OF THE CITIZENS
THE LAW IS TO PROTECT.

Spring 2013 | Number Twenty-Four | The Berlin Journal | 39
MAURICE WEISS, WOLFGANG SCHUBLE, MINISTER OF THE INTERIOR, IN HIS OFFICE, NOVEMBER 2007, BERLIN, GERMANY
GHOSTS IN THE
MACHINE
What is haunting German economic policy?
By Adam Posen


M
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W
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40 | The Berlin Journal | Number Twenty-Four | Spring 2013
I
see something of a parallel today
between German macroeconomic
policymaking and German foreign
policymaking in terms of the overhang of
historical legacies. There is this sense in
German foreign policy that it has taken
a while for Germany to get back to being
a normal nation, to exhibit the kind of
leadership and even self-interest that is con-
comitant with its role in Europe, with its
democratic institutions, with its strengths.
This, of course, has to do with its histori-
cal legacy. This is understandable, and in
some ways, commendable, but it has also
been something of a loss for the rest of the
world, particularly for its European neigh-
bors. Perhaps as a result of the eurocrisis,
German self-constraint has, for some time,
been of declining relevance. Yet, even in
European discussion, there is something
of a parallel set of self-imposed blinders in
economic policymaking in Germany.
Not that there were any crimes com-
mitted by German economic policy since
the warnot by any means. If anything,
the success of the Deutsche Wirtschafts-
wunder was the recognized source of
Germanys strength and pride during the
postwar years. But similarly there were
historical images, very searing memories
that have shaped the German economic
debate today. These have foreclosed the
consideration of certain policy options that
would behoove the German government,
the Bundesbank, and the European institu-
tions they play a part in, to consider open-
ing back up. There really is a ghost still
haunting German economic policy, but it is
nothing real.
I want to emphasize the existence of
two historical ghosts, but they come from
a common misconception. What German
economic policy fundamentally misses is
that reality sticks, that the real side of the
economy is much more persistent, much
less fragile or susceptible to manipulation
by policy than people think. This means
that ination fears are vastly exaggerated,
and are just a ghost, for if the real side of
the economy is sticky, for most cases, ina-
tion is actually pretty sticky, too.
The second ghost that has been lurking
around Germany since I rst lived here, in
1992, is this idea that unication however
you want to call it was this very costly,
politically necessary but economically
unfortunate situation. This to me is the
second ghost, because reunication in pure
economic terms went much better than
some German people often give it credit for.
This, again, has to do with how much you
think behavior can be altered by policy, how
sticky you think reality is.
The policy implication of my argument,
and the place where my views may elicit
controversy, is that the euro area is hurting
now more than it has to because these two
ghosts are informing and guiding German
economic policy. It would be good for every-
one to get past these.
L
et me start with the point that
economic reality is sticky. The rst
thing a macroeconomist is taught is
the difference between what we call in eco-
nomics the nominal and the real. The
real is what it sounds like: how productive
you are, how many workers you have, how
many resources you have; management
practices are also real. Then there is the
nominal, which is the price you put on
something. Its exchange rates, the move-
ment of prices, what we call ination or
deation. You can have things that move
the nominal but that should not affect the
real, at least not persistently.
Interestingly, for many years, however,
there has been this notion that if you get
the nominal stuff right, you will induce
certain positive behaviors by private
actors and by elected ofcials on the real
side. What does this mean? It means that
there were people out there saying, If
we really enforce price stability, and we
really make credible a monetary commit-
ment, then those feckless southerners
the Greeks, the southern Italians, the
Spanish they will have no choice but to
adapt. In fact, this is one popular way of
looking at German postwar and especially
post-reunication experience: Because
we kept a hard monetary basis, we forced
institutional changes; we forced structural
reform, so we forced positive development.
You cant hide.
This notion played a crucial role in the
discussions leading up to the adoption
of the euro not uniquely in Germany
but throughout Europe. In economics-
speak this was given the name of The
Endogeneity of the Optimum Currency
Area, by Jeffrey Frankel and Andrew
Rose. The basic notion was, whatever the
faults of Greece, Italy, Spain, if you got
them within striking distance of good
behavior which is what the Maastricht
Criteria were about and you put them
in the monetary union, they would, over
time, converge. They would, over time,
have labor practices and pricing practices
and behaviors that would increasingly be
like those of Germany, the Netherlands,
Austria the core. This was a legitimate,
ex ante hypothesis. It is one that a number
of us disagreed with at the time, but it
was a legitimate hypothesis, as well as an
aspiration. It has since proven to be a pure
aspiration.
In 1998 and 1999, I was a fellow at the
Center for Financial Studies, in Frankfurt.
Heading into the launch of the euro, I gave
a lecture there that was titled Why emu
Is Irrelevant for the German Economy.
The main thing I argued in that paper was
that nothing you do on the monetary side
will turn the Italians into Swedes. Full
stop. Or, as I put it slightly more colorfully
in a subsequent publication, youre not
going to sh for herring in the Adriatic,
and youre not going to plant olive trees
in Stockholm, whatever the common EU
agricultural policy. This isnt just a bit of
cultural snootiness. This is the idea that
it is extremely difcult for governments
with the best of intentions whether it is
through active intervention, or whether
it is through setting up this set of very
hard criteria in monetary and budget con-
straints to get people and institutions to
change their behavior.
How do we know this? Lets look at the
example of the United States. In the US,
we had enormous divergence between
the southern states the states of the old
Confederacy and the northern states
and eventually California. The famous
economists Robert Barrow and Xavier
Sala-i-Martin, among others, did some
fascinating work on this, particularly dur-
ing the run-up to the euro. And what they
found was that, plus or minus a decade, it
took a hundred years for income levels and
THIS IS ONE POPULAR WAY OF LOOKING AT GERMAN POSTWAR
AND ESPECIALLY POST-REUNIFICATION EXPERIENCE: BECAUSE
WE KEPT A HARD MONETARY BASIS, WE FORCED INSTITUTIONAL
CHANGES; WE FORCED STRUCTURAL REFORM, SO WE FORCED
POSITIVE DEVELOPMENT. YOU CANT HIDE.
Spring 2013 | Number Twenty-Four | The Berlin Journal | 41
commercial behaviors to converge between
most of the South and the North in the US.
That is a hundred years in a country with
no language differences, no borders, high
labor mobility, and with the absolute cred-
ibility of monetary union, because, frankly,
if you try to secede, armies will invade you.
(Its not merely an option; the US govern-
ment is legally compelled to invade a seced-
ing province).
Similarly, we look around to Germanys
neighbor to the south, Italy. We are all
aware how there is this marvelous band
of companies and businesses in northern
Italy, which looks very much like Bavaria
very efcient, world-leading small rms,
very sophisticated nancing and you go
south of Rome and youre in a different
world. Again, one-hundred-plus years and
very little convergence.
One way of interpreting this is to
say, Well, that is because you were too
soft. Italians were too busy giving trans-
fers to their South, or the Americans
were too busy giving transfers to their
South buildings dams, or levies in New
Orleans, and so on. That removed the
pressure. You can try to argue that, but
the scale of this stickiness is so big, and
the scale of the transfer not that great by
comparison, that it is unpersuasive to do
so. After all, these are not institutions that
lightly go away. Like James Robinson and
Daron Acemoglu argue in Why Nations
Fail, there are patterns of colonialism that
go back to the sixteenth, seventeenth, and
eighteenth centuries that are still affect-
ing national economies today. So, again:
humility for policymakers. There is only
so much you can change, whether you
call it structural reform, austerity, or
monetary discipline. There is only so
much you can accomplish.
What does this mean for ination,
ghost number one? The risks of ination
going up quickly, or in the long term, are
smaller than are usually recognized in
Germany. The issue is not that ination is
harmless; it certainly has its harms. The
issue is, realistically, when you are facing
choices, how much risk do you think there
actually is of ination occurring? I dont
want to pretend that there is some kind
of exact, scientic, precise answer, but
there is more of a historical record to draw
on than most people acknowledge. This
historical record is not often taught to
German economic elites.
If you look at German monetary his-
tory, there is this historical period of mass
unemployment, hyperination, a host of
human miseries embodied in these num-
bers, all the terrible events of early twen-
tieth-century German history. It repeats
in much smaller form right after the war,
in a burst of high ination. But lets point
out two other things. First, there is this
long period where ination doesnt arise or
move around. This is a period in which you
have strong unions in Germany, you have
oil shocks; you have currency movements,
you have risks from the Soviet Union, you
have risks from the Soviet Union going
away, and you even have unication some-
thing Ill come back to later.
Ination is actually quite sticky when
you dont have huge political breakdowns.
Focusing on this period of the 1920s in
Germany this horrible, horrible period
is economic solipsism instead of a good
basis for current policymakers. To pretend
that this source of the German hyperina-
tion is anything other than the political
breakdown at the time is misleading; there
is nothing economic that causes this situa-
tion on its own. You can say it was because
the money supply grew too fast, or you can
say it was because the central bank lost
independence, but that is just telling you
what happened technically. The cause was
the breakdown of civil society, or at least of
political decision-making, not the effect.
For comparison, too, the US is an ina-
tion sinner, with huge ination in the
1920s, and then the supposedly horrendous
1970s, which were pretty bad, but realisti-
cally not so terrible, and since then we
have this long period of not much ination.
And thats with Jimmy Carter and Arthur
Burns, labor unions, the declining dollar
throughout almost the entire period. Not
much action. Then we have the benighted
UK, whose ination during the 1970s was
much more prolonged than in the US and
in Germany, but even there it stayed down
for thirty years. It is very difcult to argue
that ination is just around the corner
and that the only defense against ination
being just around the corner is to be eter-
nally vigilant.
W
hat about the other ghost,
unication? I will not presume
to project upon German citizens
how they actually feel about unication.
There is plenty of public opinion polling
data out there. But I do know from my inter-
actions with various German government
ofcials and German citizens that there is
a sense that it was extremely expensive and
took longer to converge than it could have.
There seems to be a common story
that goes something like the following:
Chancellor Helmut Kohl told us there
would be beautiful waving amber grain
and green elds and rapid convergence of
Eastern Germany to Western Germany.
And while the Western Germans would
have to pay a certain amount up front, it
would be paid back a hundredfold. And
Hans Tietmeyer at the Bundesbank said,
Look, were buying Ostmarks at a very high
exchange-rate to real marks, but if we dont,
everyone who can is going to leave Eastern
Germany and move west. And between
these two between the aspirational
inspiration of Helmut Kohl and the cold-
blooded realism of Hans Tietmeyer, which
probably Helmut Kohl shared in private, a
deal was made that basically priced Eastern
Germany out of employment.
So Eastern Germany comes in to union,
and the exchange rate dictates that if you
were being paid, say, eight ostmarks an
hour, you were going to get six marks per
hour henceforth. It turns out, however,
that given the vast overestimation (by the
cia and others) of the productive capabili-
ties of Eastern Germany, that you can only
produce two ostmarks per hour of value at
your East German shampoo plant or Trabi
factory, or whatever it may be. So you are,
as William Jennings Bryant had it,

THERE IS ONLY SO MUCH
YOU CAN CHANGE, WHETHER
YOU CALL IT STRUCTURAL
REFORM, AUSTERITY, OR
MONETARY DISCIPLINE.
THERE IS ONLY SO MUCH YOU
CAN ACCOMPLISH.
I DO KNOW FROM MY INTERACTIONS WITH VARIOUS GERMAN
GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS AND GERMAN CITIZENS THAT THERE IS A
SENSE THAT UNIFICATION WAS EXTREMELY EXPENSIVE AND TOOK
LONGER TO CONVERGE THAN IT COULD HAVE.
42 | The Berlin Journal | Number Twenty-Four | Spring 2013
nailed to a cross of gold. There is no way
you can get gainful employment unless
you cut your wages massively. But it turns
out there are labor agreements, and the
East Germans are not allowed to cut their
wages massively. So you end up with large
unemployment in eastern Germany. As a
result, there was the Solidarittssteuer, the
solidarity tax, and for twenty years western
Germans have been shipping a big chunk
of their income east.
A lot of that is factual. A lot of that makes
sense. But what I worry about is the part
that has become the ghost haunting cur-
rent policy. It takes on a particular spin that
says, We, the West German policymakers,
didnt blow it by getting the exchange rate
wrong. We blew it by being too generous to
the East Germans. If we hadnt transferred
so much money, if we didnt pay for all
these Arbeitsprogramme, they would have
had to adapt; and they would have sought
employment faster. Therefore, today, when
the Greeks, or the Portuguese, or the
Spanish come to us and say, Hey, give us
a break, we are going to err on the side of
going hard because we know it didnt work
at home. We have to be tough to induce
them to behave better.
This is an inaccurate view of history,
although it does seem to shape todays
German economic policy. The mistake was
getting the intra-German exchange rate
wrong and forcing the bulk of the adjust-
ment on eastern German workers. That is
what is being repeated in the euro area.
Reality is sticky. Germans had as much
real convergence as one possibly could have
expected in twenty years. Not only was
there political success, there was this eco-
nomic success and it came from treating
all Germans as Germans. This was largely
the result of the generosity of the transfers
to and the public investment within eastern
Germany. It was made harder by the too
high exchange rate and the relatively high
unemployment in eastern Germany.
T
o the euro area: Economists
and economy policymakers remain
prisoners of past ideas, all of us. This
results in Germany in what I will call the
Haunted View of the Euro Area Crisis.
The Haunted View claims that the absence
of European scal rules and institutions
results in insufcient scal and wage dis-
cipline. The Irish put up their wages too
fast, and they were the most productive.
When the Spanish, and the Portuguese,
and the Greeks put up their wages too fast,
and spent too much, they were in deeper
trouble still. This is the core of the problem
on this view. So, you have to play tough. If
you engage in brinksmanship from the
Merkel government and from the European
Central Bank, you will induce structural
reforms in the periphery. Always do just
enough to avert the crisis but never enough
to let off the pressure. Structural reforms
will in turn cause convergence and make
everything better and the debts will get
repaid.
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I believe there is a more realistic and
productive view. What really happened is
that there were a bunch of bad loans made.
Some were made by Spanish and Irish
banks; some were made by West LB, for
example, and other northern European,
including German, banks. These bad
loans went bad. And when bad loans go
bad, you have to decide who is going to pay
for them. Almost all of it is being shifted
onto the South (which includes Ireland,
for this purpose), who were the borrow-
ers. Almost none of these losses are being
borne by the lenders, in northern Europe.
This means recession until the borrow-
ers can pay off the loans in hard euro
currency. A large part of why Europe has
taken this course is that German-led dis-
cussions believe there is a high ination
risk from looser policy, and a gain to be
had inducing structural reform both of
which are ghosts. Therefore the economic
problem of the euro area is the mistaken
policy ideas.
If you believe that real economic things
are not going to be affected very much by
being tough, that these so-called structural
reforms are not going to have much posi-
tive impact in the near term, that it will take
years to get convergence, then you have
to ask: why is it worth it to impose things
this way? Why cant you undertake a policy
approach that does not put as much adjust-
ment on the South? Why not have help-
ful transfers on the scale that took place
within Germany? Why not make up for the
too-high exchange rate with other policy
measures?
Many colleagues in Europe say to me,
You Americans, you Brits you massively
underestimate how much support there is
for this approach. Nobody is rioting in the
streets in Ireland. There are a few protests
in Spain, yes. But in reality they are vot-
ing for center-right governments that are
pursuing austerity. They are gritting their
teeth that they are going to get through it.
I do not deny a word of that. I give can give
you reasons why that has happened.
But thats not good enough. The fact
that people are willing to settle for this, the
fact that Europe means enough to them,
or that as young unemployed people they
dont have enough political clout to mess
up the plan, does not mean that the plan is
the right plan. Yes, there is political stabil-
ity and thus majority acceptance of these
policies in the South. But that is just too
low a bar for success. Absent the ghosts of
ination and unication past, German eco-
nomic policy might see that and aim higher
for the euro area.

Adam Posen is President of the


Peterson Institute for International
Economics and was the spring 2013
Kurt Viermetz Distinguished Visitor
at the American Academy. This essay
is adapted from his March 13 lecture,
Exorcising Ghosts of Ination and
Unication from German Economic
Policy.
WHY CANT YOU UNDERTAKE
A POLICY APPROACH THAT
DOES NOT PUT AS MUCH
ADJUSTMENT ON THE
SOUTH?
44 | The Berlin Journal | Number Twenty-Four | Spring 2013
I, ME, MINE
Self-consciousness and the rst person
By Batrice Longuenesse
the verb? There are so many ramications
of this question that I will only be able to
scratch the surface.
MICHAL BORREMANS, RED HAND, GREEN HAND, 2010, OIL ON CANVAS, 40 X 60 CM
T
his essay argues that examin-
ing the ways we use the rst-person
pronoun I helps us understand
some of the ways we are aware of ourselves
and vice versa: examining the ways we are
aware of ourselves helps us understand the
use of the rst-person pronoun. Moreover,
this twofold investigation helps us under-
stand why the rst-person pronoun I and
especially its use in I think has been such
a source of puzzlement for modern philoso-
phy, the period that starts with Descartes
philosophy, echoing the sixteenth- and
seventeenth-century scientic revolu-
tion initiated by Copernicus and Galileo.
Indeed, modern philosophy is full with I.
Here are a few examples:
Ren Descartes, Discourse on Method
(1637): I think, therefore I am.
Immanuel Kant, Critique of Pure Reason
(1787): The I think must be able to
accompany all my representations. For
otherwise . . . they would either be impos-
sible, or at least be nothing to me.
Ludwig Wittgenstein, Tractatus Logico-
Philosophicus (1921): The philosophical
I is not part of the world. It is the limit of
the world.
There are also dissenting voices:
Georg Christian Lichtenberg, Wastebooks
(late 1780s): We should say it thinks or
there is thinking going on rather than
I think.
Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and
Evil (1886): A thought comes when it
wills, not when I will.
We might add the voice of the poet:
Arthur Rimbaud, Letter of the Clairvoyant
(1881): I is another.
And, nally, a voice that seems to give its
due to both sides of the dissent:
Sigmund Freud, New Introductory
Lectures to Psychoanalysis (1933): Wo Es
war, soll Ich werden. (Where it was, there
I shall come to be.)
So what is so special about I? Or even
without the word I, what is so special
about the use of the rst-person form of
Spring 2013 | Number Twenty-Four | The Berlin Journal | 45
1) I will start with some basic lan-
guage analysis of our use of I.
2) I will present two kinds of self-
awareness that are fundamental to our use
of I.
3) I will give a striking example of a
case where these two kinds of self-aware-
ness break apart.
4) I will show how Freuds notion of
ego is helpful in analyzing this breakdown.
I certainly dont hope to exhaust the ques-
tion. I do hope to gain some understanding
of why the modern period is so obsessed
with I.
FUNDAMENTAL REFERENCE RULE
L
inguists and semanticists
will tell you that the fundamental
rule that denes the meaning of I
is that I refers, in any instance of its
use, to whoever is saying or thinking I
or, more specically, to whoever is saying
or thinking a proposition in which I is
the subject of the verb: I am walking,
I see the lake, I think this is going to be
difcult . . .
This gives us the rst striking fact
about I. In using I, the person think-
ing or saying, e.g. I am walking, makes
herself, as the person thinking the thought
or saying the sentence, part of the content
of her thought what her thought is about.
You might say, in using I, I am both with-
in and without the content of my thought,
namely within and without the situation
I am describing. Think of those cartoons
where the characters thought comes out of
his head in a bubble, e.g. Im scared! The
content of the bubble is a statement about
someone, himself the statement that that
person is scared. So our cartoon character
is referred to in the bubble. But he is out-
side the bubble, doing the referring. Or
think of those maps with an arrow point-
ing to where I am. My current location is
referred to, indicated on the map. But I am
outside the map, in front of the map, look-
ing at the point referring to my location.
This is the most basic source of all the
puzzlements concerning I. To use I is
to locate ourselves, as the person thinking,
within the content of our thought.
Another, related feature is equally impor-
tant. Knowing how to use I is understand-
ing that any other person using I thereby
refers to herself, just as I, in using I, refer
to myself. This is what the fundamental ref-
erence rule means. This is a pretty complex
rule to apply. That is why it is not obvious for
children to learn the use of I. This calls for
the question: what is involved in learning
that use? Rather than exploring this ques-
tion of learning, however, I want to continue
exploring another question: how do we use
I, assuming we have learned to use it?
USES OF I
W
e use I in asserting something
about ourselves the current
thinker or speaker. What I want to
examine now are two kinds of information
on the basis of which we may assert some-
thing of ourselves. One is a particular kind
of information we have about the state and
position of our body. The other is a particu-
lar kind of information we have about our
own mental activity. There are many other
uses than the ones I am going to be talking
about; there are many other kinds of infor-
mation about the state of our body than the
kind I am going to be considering, and there
are other kinds of information about whats
going on in our minds than the kind I am
going to be considering. I shall in fact men-
tion some of those along the way. But


C
O
U
R
T
E
S
Y

Z
E
N
O

X

G
A
L
L
E
R
Y
,

A
N
T
W
E
R
P
.

P
H
O
T
O
:

P
E
T
E
R

C
O
X
46 | The Berlin Journal | Number Twenty-Four | Spring 2013
the kinds I am going to be focusing on are
especially central to any use of I. At least
thats what I would like to show.
Heres an example of the kind of informa-
tion about ones own body I have in mind:
I am standing here, in front of a lectern.
I say: I am standing. I say it not on the
basis of watching myself stand. The latter
could be the case if I was seeing myself in a
mirror, or even looking down at my feet and
legs and torso and thinking, on the basis
of seeing my legs and feet, I am standing.
In the present circumstance, I am look-
ing at you, paying attention to you not to
myself, and nevertheless I am aware that I
am standing. This awareness is based on
proprioception and sense of balance. Now
what is remarkable about this kind of infor-
mation is that on this basis, it cannot be the
case that I am correct in believing someone
to be standing but mistaken in believing it
of me, the person currently thinking and
saying, I am standing. Because, in this
way, I could not know it of anyone else. And
similarly, in this way, nobody else can know
this of me. But of course I can know of other
people that they are standing by looking at
them, and they can know it of me by looking
at me. However, we can each be mistaken
in identifying who is standing, when we
know it in this way. Tobias is standing over
there! But I am mistaken; his twin brother
is standing over there. This possibility of
misidentication, based on visual informa-
tion, in answer to the question of which per-
son is a predicate true, applies also to myself.
Suppose I say, I am standing (looking at
a person I take to be myself in a mirror, or
in a picture). Its possible that I am correct
in stating that someone is standing. But
it wasnt me; it was my friend or my sister
who was standing. In contrast, when I think,
I am standing, on the basis of propriocep-
tion, I may be dreaming. But if I am correct
in stating, on the basis of proprioception,
that someone is standing, then I am also
correct in stating it to be me (the current
thinker and speaker referred to by I). We
have this kind of awareness of our body,
where knowing something to be true just
is knowing it to be true of me this kind of
awareness is essential to our experiencing
a body as our body where merely seeing,
or touching, or hearing, would not do the
job. This does not mean that we do not use
I based on those other kinds of informa-
tion as well. But the fact that we could be
mistaken, that we could take someone else
for ourselves, when we say something about
ourselves in those other ways does show that
they participate in a more indirect way to
our thinking about ourselves as ourselves
the referent of I.
So thats the rst kind of information I
wanted to draw your attention to. When we
use I, there is a source of information that
has a special role in our asserting anything
to be true of ourselves the referent of I,
the current speaker or thinker. This source
of information is the proprioceptive experi-
ence of that particular body which, on the
basis of that proprioceptive experience, we
call our own. And note again that this pro-
prioceptive experience is the kind of expe-
rience that is typically had while our con-
sciousness is directed not at ourselves but
at the world around us and at the actions we
perform in that world.
T
he second kind of information
I want to draw your attention to is
information about ones own mental
activity. Heres an example: Suppose I am
going through the steps of a difcult proof.
I complete the proof and triumphantly
look at my colleague standing next to me,
expecting her to congratulate me. Instead
she says: Sorry, this proof is invalid!
I look again, I check the steps of the proof,
and I say: But no, I think the proof is valid!
I am not looking into my own mind to see
what I think. I am looking at my proof; I am
checking the steps. And this is my ground
for reinforcing my initial statement:
I think the proof is valid.
This is a striking use of I. It has two
features in common with the previous case.
Just as I didnt need to look closely at my
own body to know I am standing, I do not
need to look into my own mind to know I
think the proof is valid. And just as it could
not be the case that, on the basis of pro-
prioception, I could be correct in believing
someone to be standing but mistaken in
believing that someone to be me (the cur-
rent thinker of the thought I stand here),
similarly on the basis of checking the steps
of the proof, it cannot be the case that I am
correct in believing someone to think the
proof is valid but mistaken in believing that
someone to be me (the current thinker of
the thought and speaker of the sentence,
I think this proof is valid). In fact, in this
second case, the impossibility of misiden-
tication is even more radical than in the
rst case. For here, not only is it true that
on the basis of checking the steps of the
proof, knowing someone to think the proof
is valid, is knowing it of me, but there is no
other way for me to know I think the proof
is valid. So there is a more fundamental
connection between thinking (the proof
is valid) and ascribing the thought to myself
than there is between standing and ascrib-
ing the state to myself.
The same situation obtains in much
simpler cases, such as statements based on
perceptual experience. Suppose I look out
the window, vaguely recognize a shape in
the distance, and say, This is a tree! My
sister replies, This, a tree? No way! I dig in
my heels and say, Yes, I think this is a tree!
And perhaps I give my reasons for reassert-
ing that this is a tree: the shape of the object
we vaguely see in the distance, the angle,
the light, and so on. In giving these reasons,
I am making explicit an implicit computa-
tion of information that has been going on,
allowing me to recognize the shape I saw
as a tree. Among those reasons may in fact
be my own position with respect to the tree,
the quality of my sight, and so on. So here I
am asserting think this is a tree of myself,
the current thinker of I think this is a tree,
on the basis of my current reasoning as well
as on the basis of my awareness of my own
bodily position with respect to the tree.
Now, again, I am not claiming that all
cases of use of I are like the ones I have
been focusing on. What I am claiming,
though, is that even more than the use of
I in stating some bodily state of oneself on
the basis of proprioception, the use of I
in stating I think, on the basis of going
through the steps of a proof or an argument
or a justication of any kind, is a central
case of use of I. This is because the kind
of information on which it rests is at the
background of any use of I.
To show this, I would like now to con-
sider a case in which the two kinds of infor-
mation proprioceptive awareness of ones
body and awareness of ones reason-giving
mental activity break apart.
CHRISTINA
I
take Christinas case from
Oliver Sacks The Man Who Mistook
His Wife for A Hat, and Other Clinical
Tales. Among other vivid clinical tales,
Sacks tells of a young woman he calls
I COULD BE CORRECT IN
BELIEVING SOMEONE TO BE
STANDING BUT MISTAKEN IN
BELIEVING THAT SOMEONE
TO BE ME.
Spring 2013 | Number Twenty-Four | The Berlin Journal | 47
Christina and describes as the the
Disembodied Lady. Following an antibiotic
treatment, in preparation for a relatively
minor surgery, Christina started gradually
losing the sense of her own body. We do
not have time to go over the details of the
case, but the general situation was this:
The antibiotic treatment had triggered an
autoimmune reaction that resulted in an
acute polyneuritis: not the Guillain Barr
Syndrome, which affects motricity, but one
that affected the sensory roots of spinal and
cranial nerves responsible for propriocep-
tion. She had lost all proprioceptive aware-
ness of her body, from the tip of her toes to
her face.
When the condition rst set in, she liter-
ally slumped. She could not stand without
looking at her feet and legs, she could not
hold anything in her hands without looking
very carefully at her hands, even her facial
muscles lost tone and expression. Then she
undertook, with the help of a rehab team, to
compensate for the loss of proprioception
by using vision to monitor the movements
of her body. She also used auditory feed-
back to compensate for the loss of proprio-
ceptive control of her vocal tone. As a result,
she developed extremely elegant and clearly
articial postures and vocal tonalities,
which gradually became second nature. But
when she stopped paying attention, when
she stopped monitoring her own posture
like you would to keep a rag doll straight,
she just slumped. Sacks reports the follow-
ing conversation with Christina:
What I must do . . . is use vision, use
my eyes, in every situation where I used
what do you call it? proprioception
before. Ive already noticed . . . that I
can lose my arms. I think theyre one
place, and I nd theyre another. This
proprioception is like the eyes of the
body, the way the body sees itself. And
if its gone, like its gone with me, its
like the bodys blind. My body cant see
itself if its lost its eyes, right? So I have
to watch it be its eyes. Right?
Right, I said, right. You could be a
physiologist.
Ill have to be a sort of physiologist,
she rejoined, because my physiology
has gone wrong, and may never natu-
rally go right.
How is Christina using I here? Or rather,
on the basis of what kind of information
does she say anything about herself the
current thinker and speaker and thus
how does she recognize herself as the
bearer of the predicates she asserts of I
in the propositions reported in the citation
above?
She sees (I must use my vision). As the
thinker and speaker, she is the bearer of a
visual standpoint.
She also locates herself with respect to
that body she is trying to control.
And its in that experience of control
that she is still able to call this body my
body. What she calls my arms are the
arms whose movement she controls as long
as she can keep her eyes on them. But she
has no proprioceptive sense of those arms.
So they are hers, and that body is hers and
experienced as hers, only insofar as it is the
body she directly controls, whereas all other
bodies around it are only indirectly con-
trolled, through the mediation of this body.
Most importantly, whatever other experi-
ence it rests on, Christinas use of I in the
statements reported above clearly depends
on the kind of unity of mental activity I
described as the fundamental kind of infor-
mation on which our use of I depends.
She says: Ive noticed, I think, Ill have
to. Even if she has no feeling of her own
individual body, she is individuated for her-
self by those activities and their connection:
noticing, thinking, setting herself rules for
actions. I should add that on Sacks account,
Christina gradually retrieves some experi-
ence of her own body through sensitivity in
her skin. Nevertheless, in her own tragic
description of her condition, she experi-
ences herself as pithed like a frog disem-
bodied. Sacks comments:
She has lost, with her sense of proprio-
ception, the fundamental organic moor-
ing of identity at least of that corporeal
identity, or body-ego, which Freud
sees as the basis of self: The ego is rst
and foremost a body ego.
So heres the paradox in Sacks description
of Christina: she has lost the fundamental
organic mooring of identity . . . the body-
ego. And yet she uses I, effectively and
powerfully, albeit with a keen sense of loss,
which she experiences as the loss of her
very self any meaningful referent for I.
This raises the question of the connection
between the two fundamental kinds of
consciousness of oneself I have been exam-
ining: consciousness of a body one experi-
ences as ones own and consciousness of
the unity of a mental activity one takes to
be ones own.
FREUD
S
acks reference to Freud in
this context is especially signicant.
The quotation is from Freuds 1923
essay The Ego and the Id. The passage
cited occurs just after Freud has expounded
his notion of Ich, translated by the
English translator of Freud (Strachey) as
ego. Freud characterizes what he calls
Ich, ego, as an organization of mental
processes. Heres Freud:
We have formed the idea that in each
individual there is a coherent organiza-
tion of mental processes; and we call
this his ego.
This coherent organization of mental pro-
cesses obeys what Freud calls the reality
principle. This means that the concatena-
tion of representations belonging to the ego
is gradually structured, in the development
of the individual, in such a way as to yield
information about the world that is suf-
ciently reliable to serve life-preserving
action. As such, the ego is developed over
and against the mass of representations
Freud calls the id das Es. In contrast
to the ego, the id is structured according
to the pleasure principle; very roughly,
unpleasurable representations are avoided
and pleasurable representations are pro-
moted, even at the cost of privileging fan-
tasy over reality.
Now, according to Freud, representations
of our own body are at the core of the organi-
zation of mental events he calls ego. This
is because all the information we receive
from the outside world passes through some
state of our body. Freud writes:
The ego is rst and foremost a bodily
ego; it is not merely a surface entity, but
it is itself the projection of a surface.
In this characterization of the ego by Freud,
we have a striking account of the two
fundamental kinds of self-consciousness
on which I have claimed our use of I is
based: consciousness of ones own body
and consciousness of the unity of ones
mental activity as a unity for which there
are correct and incorrect ways of connect-
ing ones thoughts, some conducive to
truth, others conducive to error or even
systematic illusion.
And again, acquiring such an ego and
thus a capacity to say I is not a matter of
introspection or paying attention to

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ones thoughts. It is a matter of paying
attention to the world and to ones inten-
tional goings about in the world.
Now, of course, in Freuds account,
both aspects of the ego (the body ego, the
organization of mental processes within
which the body ego has its privileged role)
are constantly to be gained and regained
over and against what constitutes the mass
of our mental life, the id. The id is the
unruly mass of drives that constitutes the
energetic core of our mental life. Drives are
biological needs that nd expression in our
mental life in the form of raw emotions:
hunger, sexual desire, aggression, fear, and
the corresponding feelings of pleasure at
having the relevant longings satised and
displeasure at having them ignored.
This is a different sense in which the
ego is a bodily ego. What it means is that
the energy that drives the ego to organize
itself under the reality principle comes
from the id, that aspect of our mental life
that is just the expression of our drives to
self-preservation and reproduction as living
beings, and obeys not the reality principle
but the pleasure-unpleasure principle: seek
pleasurable states, ee from unpleasurable
ones. And this principle is constantly at
work to disrupt the reality principle accord-
ing to which the ego is organized.
This is, of course, too cryptic and quick
a summary of Freuds complex view of
the structure of our mental life. I hope it
does give a small idea of the complex web
of body-consciousness and struggle-to-
mental-unity-consciousness that underlies,
if Freud is right, our capacity to think and
talk in the rst person.
N
o wonder modern philosophy
has been so preoccupied with I.
Locating oneself, the current think-
er and speaker, within the content of ones
thoughts, is not just a feature of the use
of I as a particular word in particular lan-
guages. It is a difcult mental achievement
that is a decisive acquisition in the develop-
ment of the child. It is also a decisive acqui-
sition in the intellectual development of
human kind, the essence of the Copernican
revolution that opened the modern period.
The Copernican revolution is also, in
Freuds words, the rst of three narcissistic
wounds humankind had to endure. I am
the bearer of only one among many actual
or possible standpoints on the world, each
to be assessed in connection to the kind of
information and the kind of mental activity
on which it rests.


Batrice Longuenesse is Silver
Professor of Philosophy at New York
University. She was a Siemens Fellow
in fall 2012 and is a John P. Birkelund
Fellow in spring 2013.
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In this issue:
Daniel Albright
Sinan Antoon
J.M. Bernstein
David Ignatius
Batrice Longuenesse
Saba Mahmood
Lance Olsen
George Packer
Adam Posen
Karen Russell
Frank Stella
Daniel Tiffany
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A Magazine from the American Academy in Berlin | Number Twenty-Four | Spring 2013
THE BERLIN JOURNAL