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Fellows and Distinguished Visitors of the Academic Year 2011/2012

THE CAREER LABYRINTH . . . . . . . . . . . . B3
Asearchfor why there are still too few
GLOBALIZATION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . B4
Global Condition, 1850-2010 maps
the process of world entanglement.
Did GDR-lawyers believe in socialism
and how willingly did they serve it?
Prostitutes, con-men, and interracial
love stories. There were fewtaboos in
the early talkies until the Production
Code got its way.
Introducing New York-based artists
Paul Pfeiffer and Leslie Hewitt.
GUGGENHEIMLICH . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ONLINE
Apreviewof Leland de la Durantayes
article in the fall 2011 Berlin Journal.
This edition of the American Academy's
supplement, introducing our exceptional
class of 2011-2012 Fellows, falls on the
inauspicious tenthanniversary of Septem-
ber 11. The long-term significance of
that baleful day will long be debated, and
the present-day reams of commentary re-
veal just how little historical distance,
and thus interpretive perspective we
have gained over this decade. How it was
transformative remains very much at is-
sue has the US fundamentally changed
or, more credibly, is the world experien-
cing a revolution in the nature of threats
to our security, namely global, non-state
actors such as radical Islamic terrorist
groups? Beyond dispute is the following:
The US of today has a new and sobering
understanding of its vulnerability, and an
awareness of the depths of resentment so
fatally instrumentalized against it under
the guise of radical Islam.
September 11, 2001 was a day of im-
mense grief and solidarity; at the same
time a fierce debate had its origin at a
lecture inBerlin. It was the week of Susan
Sontag's residency, and that evening we
had planned a discussion of "the role of
the public intellectual." When we deci-
ded to close our doors and disinvite well
over 100 guests, most were understan-
ding. Only Susan thought we were being
"politically immature," foreshadowing
the debate she would incite. Two nights
hence, she prefaced a reading (fittingly,
from "In America") with a searing criti-
que of America's media andpolitical lead-
ership, and warned against the potential
instrumentalization of the tragedy:
"Those in public office have let us know
that they consider their task to be a mani-
pulative one: confidence-building and
grief management. Politics, the politics
of a democracy which entails disagree-
ment, which promotes candor has been
replaced by psychotherapy."
Her talk provoked a conflagration of
acrimony. Some people left the room, ot-
hers called to protest, and the controver-
sial discussion betweenthe Americanfel-
lows never abated, evenafter Susanretur-
ned to Manhattan. Her talk was both un-
bearable and prescient. It underscored
the importance of facing up to realities,
however uncomfortable, with a
clear-eyed historical awareness. Simi-
larly, the aftermath of 9/11 demonstrates
the indispensability of understanding the
United States in today's world. The de-
cline in European cooperation during the
last decade reflects a loss in knowledge
that the Atlantic community cannot af-
ford. When the notion of "humanitarian
intervention" provokes such confusion as
inrecent months, thenour normative fra-
mework as well as our historical memory
are endangered.
As the Academy heads into its four-
teenth year, its raison d' tre remains our
commitment to the ideals of transatlantic
dialogue. Ideas matter, andtheyonly flou-
rish well in the soil of open, spirited dis-
cussion. The personal interaction we ex-
perience here shows us again and again
how ideas can grow beyond what was fo-
reseen of them. In times when media
images flicker to dictate the parameters
of national discussion, a place for sustai-
ned dialogue and tranquil contemplation
is all the more necessary. Such interac-
tion challenges the present and lays the
intellectual groundwork for the future.
Gary Smith is the Executive Director of
the American Academy in Berlin.
A Cycle of Loss
Ten years after 9/11 there is much to remember though some moments we might wish to forget.
How media institutions and government officials shaped the memory of a nation
He opened the door from the West Wing
hallway out onto the colonnade, letting
Jones pass through it ahead of him. He
could already feel the loosening of the
skinat the back of his headandthe slacke-
ning in his jaw. The anticipation alone
triggered the letting go.
They walked a fewsteps along the pas-
sageway, the darkened South Lawn draw-
ing their eyes across it to the spot-lit obe-
lisk downon the Mall. The city was quiet.
"This is a difficult one," Jones said, his
hands held together behind his back.
The president nodded. Inhis jacket po-
cket, he rolled the filter of the cigarette
between his thumb and forefinger. Reg-
gie being out today, he'd had a hard time
procuring it. A few hours ago, around
midnight, he'd tried his secretary's desk
but found it locked. On the way to Com-
munications, where an aide who worked
late usually came through in a pinch, he'd
been waylaid by Summers clutching new
figures on wholesale inventories in the
Southeast, and who would have no more
noticed that he was ina hurry if he'd been
jogging in a tracksuit. By the time Larry
had explained the import of the numbers,
he could see Jones over his shoulder sig-
naling that they needed himdownstairs.
"The guys in the village how long
have they been informing for us?" he as-
ked, fingering the lighter in his other po-
cket, wondering howlong it had takenhis
predecessors, the ones who hadn't been
head of the CIA, to get used to uttering
lines fit for a Bond film. The number of
roles the job required was practically infi-
nite. And each of them had to be played
to near perfection. To convince and to
mean it and to know every audience bet-
ter than they knew themselves - that was
the talent. It was the power of knowing
his own appetites, giving him the time to
step back and let others showthemselves
first, as he calibrated just how much of
himself to use for comfort or control.
Thoughts he could not share just now,
Jim Jones being no ironist. A man who'd
masteredWashington as well as the Mari-
nes. A player deep in the system. And at
six-four, one of the few aides whose eyes
he didn't look down to meet.
"A year," Jones said. "And the video is
crystal clear. The confirmation's redun-
On this still autumn night, the air in the
gardens carried a faint scent of the
late-blooming roses.
The war didn't stop for him to review
it. It had been over two months since he'd
received McChrystal's report. For weeks
now his counselors had been pressing
their conflicting stories of what awaited
himon the other side of a decision, while
the emergencies and the wreckage kept
piling up. Along with the choices like the
one he faced now.
"Back in June I had a signing ceremony
out here," the president said. "The Family
Act. Youhappentocatchanyof that one?"
"No, sir," Jones said.
"No ads within a thousand feet of a
school, and they can't flavor them like
candy. I signed it with ten pens."
Continued on p. B7
ublic rituals of remembrance,
especially after collective acts
of injuryandloss, are a time-ho-
nored way for the body politic
to heal. They help attach a va-
lue to suffering, offer reassurances
against a recurrence. They can also de-
marcate an acceptable end to suffering
and grieving.
Ten years on, there is much to remem-
ber about 9/11, of the loss of innocent
lives, the sacrifice of the first responders,
the coming together of communities
fromthe local to the global level against
the terrorist attack on the US. But there
are also moments we might wish to for-
get, forged infear, trauma, andvulnerabi-
lity, of a disastrous, unnecessary war in
Iraq, indefinite detention of prisoners at
GuantanamoBay, illegal wiretaps, surveil-
lance and suspension of civil liberties in
the US, an abiding suspicion of the
non-American, and a search for justice
that became indistinguishable from a de-
sire for revenge.
Public remembrance is rarely a neutral
act. Memory ingeneral is selective; politi-
cal memory more so. From time pri-
mordial, our brains have been wired to
give priority to visual cues and patterns
of danger: the dark shadow that resem-
bles a predator can still startle the mo-
dern human. Trauma etches particularly
powerful memories that crowd out less
dramatic ones. A memory of vulnerabi-
lity rendered permanent by government
officials andmedia institutions candeter-
mine whom we accept as friends and
treat as enemies. Through such memo-
ries, nation-states beset by globalization
are now fortified, sovereignty is revitali-
zed, andnational security comes to domi-
nate other public concerns.
Memory is also a slave to first impressi-
ons. When the first plane struck the
World Trade Center, I was rushing out
the door for myweeklycommute toProvi-
dence, Rhode Island. My home phone
rang: a reporter from the local news sta-
tionwas asking if I would comment about
reports of a Cessna aircraft crashing into
one of the Towers. I had nothing to say.
Over the next two hours I hopped from
station to station on my car radio, from
the somber reports of public radio to the
wild speculations of the shock-jocks like
Howard Stern. I heard that not a single
small plane but several large jets hadbeen
hijacked (the numbers varied); National
Guard F-16s had shot down one of them
andwere inhot pursuit of two others hea-
tol. Irrationally, I scanned the sky above
the highway for aircraft.
Nostoryseemedtoocrazytoput onthe
air. Inthis media-spasmof fear andpanicI
triedtogleansome hardfacts fromthe ru-
mors. Patterns of recognition, shaped by
memory, helped put the pieces together.
tional terrorismin the past, including the
1993 bombing of the WorldTrade Center
and the 1998 bombings of the US embas-
sies in Tanzania and Kenya, I was familiar
withal Qaeda'sstrategiesandcapabilities.
I hadreadthecourt transcripts of theNew
York-based trial of the alleged conspira-
tors behind the embassy strikes (United
States of America v. Usama bin Laden)
and been struck by the figures who were
fingered by Jamal Ahmed Al-Fadl, bin La-
den's former paymaster turnedinformant
as central to the organization:
Q. During the time that you were in
Khartoum and al Qaeda, did you become
familiar with a person by the name of
Abu Muaz el Masry?
A. Yes.
Q. Can you tell us, is Abu Muaz el
Masry a member of al Qaeda?
A. Yes.
Q. Can youtell us what his specialty is?
A. He is member also with jihad group
and he's very good with dreamer.
Q. Can you explain what it is that Abu
Muaz el Masry did with dreams?
A. If any one of the al Qaeda member-
ship, he got dreamafter the fajr prayer --
Q. The fajr prayer, F-A-J-R?
A. Yes.
Q. When is that prayer?
A. Before the sunrise.
Q. Okay. Continue.
A. If anyone got dream and he believes
that dream could become true, he go and
he tell him, Abu Muaz, he got great expe-
rience to tell the people what the dream
going to be and he's a scholar for that.
Q. Abu Anas al Liby, did he have any
specialty within al Qaeda?
A. Yes.
Q. What was that?
A. He's he run our computers. He's a
computer engineer.
Q. Are you familiar with the person by
the name of Mohamed Shabana?
A. Yes.
Q. Is Mohamed Shabana part of al
A. Yes.
Q. Did he have a specialty within al
A. He's very good with the report, me-
dia report, and he got great experience
with analysis about ballistics.
Q. You said he's very good with report.
What kind of reports?
A. Media reports andhe got goodanaly-
sis about anything.
(Trial transcripts, United States of Ame-
rica v. Usama bin Laden, et al., February 6,
2001, online: http://cryptome.org/usa-v-
A dream interpreter, a computer pro-
grammer, and a media expert: this clearly
was not your father's terrorist organiza-
tion. Even before 9/11, al Qaeda, alt-
hough it might translate as the "base," re-
sembled a global network infused by a re-
ligious vision.
By the time I arrived at the Watson
Institute for International Studies, I was
fairly certain that al Qaeda, which had
appeared on my radar screen again af-
ter the diabolical bomb-in-camera assas-
sination of Massoud ("the Lion"), lea-
der of the Northern Alliance and bane
of the Taliban, had orchestrated the at-
tack. I announced my suspicions to my
colleagues, who were all gathered in
front of the Institute's single television
set. I was met by a collective look of
incredulity mixed with reprobation.
What was wrong with me? How could I
be so callous, seeking to explain these
tragic events? Inexcusable had become
one and the same as inexplicable.
This would be the first in a series of
similar reactions, in which the 9/11
narrative would be framed through
images and affect rather than words
and analysis. The 17-minute gap bet-
ween the first and second strike on the
World Trade Center produced not only
a rare televisual simultaneity by a sha-
red psychic experience. Prolonged by
the endlessly looping video of the strike
and collapse of the towers, the event
lost any detached point of observation:
neural and televisual networks conver-
ged, immersing viewers in a tragic cy-
cle of destruction and loss. The first
impression became the lasting memory:
this was an exceptionable injury in-
flicted upon an exceptionalist nation
that warranted exceptional reprisals.
I am convinced a conviction borne
out by similar stories that 9/11 was
experienced as a collective visual
trauma, leaving little time or space for
public deliberation, let alone compre-
hension. Into the void left by the col-
lapse of the WTC rushed a host of
media pundits, opportunistic politici-
ans, and true believers able only to
capture in visual metaphors ("It's a mo-
vie"), historical analogies ("It's Pearl
Harbor"), and cowboy dialogue ("We'll
get Bin Laden, dead or alive") a trauma
that failed to progress from optical im-
pression to cognitive understanding.
While I was writing this essay the East
Coastof NorthAmericashook, fromMine-
ral, Virginia, toourcabininnorthernOnta-
rio. Closetotheepicenterof the5.8 earth-
quake, working at the National Archives
in Washington DC, my sister and her col-
leagues ran from their offices, searching
the skies for the next plane to strike. A
thousand miles away in the middle of the
Canadian wilderness my wife emerged
fromthe lake as the dock brieflywobbled,
wonderingout loudif water inher ear had
caused the sudden unsteadiness. Off the
grid, beyond the reach of CNN, the Weat-
her Channel, andal Qaeda, wehadforgot-
ten 9/11. But we also realized that when
the groundshakes, sometimes it's not just
inour heads.
James Der Derian is Professor of Inter-
national Studies at Brown University.
Under the sign
of 9/11
Night Walk
President Obama and the burden of decisions a fictitious short story
By James Der Derian
The annual Tribute in Light shines on the skyline as a memorial to the fallen Twin Towers. Photo: Reuters/Gary Hershorn
A collective visual trauma,
leaving little time or space
for public deliberation.
No story seemed too crazy to
put on the air. I tried to glean
some facts from the rumors.
By Gary Smith
By Adam Haslett
Berlin Prize Fellowship
The American Academy in Berlin welco-
mes its thirteenth class of fellows for the
fall 2011andspring 2012terms. Twenty-
four outstanding scholars, writers, ar-
tists, policy experts, and one composer
were chosen by the Academy's selection
committee to pursue independent stu-
dies and engage with their German coun-
terparts as well as the larger academic,
cultural, and political life in Berlin. The
Berlin Prize includes a monthly stipend,
partial board, and residence at the Aca-
demys lakeside Hans Arnhold Center.
Academy programs
This fall, please join us at the Hans Arn-
hold Center and other locations throug-
hout Berlin for an enticing array of
events, including readings by AdamHas-
lett, Jeffrey Eugenides, and Tom Sleigh;
our Return of the Exiles concert series;
new work by artist Paul Pfeiffer; lectures
by fellows Jennifer Culbert, John van En-
gen, and Alice Eagly; and talks by Distin-
guished Visitors Niall FergusonandPeter
A. Seligmann, among much more.
Also this fall, the Academy will re-launch
a more user-friendly website that will,
among other things, enable online pro-
gramregistration and support mobile de-
vices. You can also connect with the Aca-
demy through our new social media ser-
vices on Facebook and Twitter. Please vi-
sit our website for more information.
New Academy Board Members
At the Spring 2011 Board Meeting two
new members were elected to the Aca-
demy's Board of Trustees: Niall Ferguson
is Laurence A. Tisch Professor of History
at Harvard University and William Zieg-
ler Professor of Business Administration
at Harvard Business School. He will pre-
sent his most recent book, Civilization:
The West and the Rest (Penguin, 2011) at
the European School of Management and
Technology in Berlin on October 28. Ma-
naging Director of Lazard LLC, Jeffrey A.
Rosen, has advised leading corporations
in the US, Europe, and Asia on mergers,
acquisitions, and related corporate fi-
nance issues. The president of the Board
of Trustees of the International Center of
PhotographyinNewYork, Rosenalsoser-
ves as as a member of the Advisory Board
of The Council onForeignRelations. mm
On the Waterfront
Recent news from the Hans Arnhold Center
Der Tagesspiegel. Edited by Rolf Brockschmidt,
Silke Zorn. In cooperation with Malte Mau (Editor,
AAB), R. Jay Magill (AAB); Advertising: Jens Robotta,
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Co-Chairmen: Karl M. von der Heyden,
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Trustees: Barbara Balaj, John P. Birkelund, Man-
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26 August 24 October 2011
Hokusai Retrospective
23 September 2011 9 January 2012
Side by Side. Poland Germany
A 1000 Years of Art and History
25 September 27 November 2011
W. Eugene Smith
Photographs. A Retrospective
15 October 2011 18 March 2012
Ai Weiwei in New York
Photographs 1983 1993




of 16
A complex journey
toward a goal worth
striving for. Labyrinths
present expected and
unexpected challenges,
but they do offer a
route to the center.
Women who aspire
to leadership face a
quite similar situation.
Foto: picture-alliance/ZB/
Womenhave remainedrare inthe highest
positions of power, despite the profound
changes that have taken place in the their
status. Inmost Westerncountries, women
are attaining university degrees at higher
rates than men. They have greatly increa-
sed their participation in the labor force
andhavemadesubstantial wagegains. Ne-
vertheless, at the highest levels of leader-
ship in politics and in business, there are
still few women. Even at lower levels of
leadershiptheyare not present inpropor-
eligiblepersons. Theydonot riseasfast as
men, given the same qualifications, and
various numbers at many points leading
upto toppositions.
What causes women's deficit of power
and authority? Ever since the term "glass
ceiling" appearedonthe pages of theWall
Street Journal in 1986, the idea of an invi-
sible barrier at high levels has beenthe fa-
voriteexplanation. However, thisglasscei-
ling metaphor no longer has much merit.
It is clear that the impediments women
facedonotconsistof asingle, absolutebar-
rier at a highlevel inorganizations.
Given the commitment to equality of
opportunity that exists in many nations,
it may seem implausible that discrimina-
tion is part of the problem. But it is still
present. To understand how discrimina-
tion comes about, it is necessary to gain
insight into the psychology that underlies
it. As research has demonstrated, people
ferent mental associations about menand
women, and these ideas come to mind in
the presence of individuals. These stereo-
types characterize women as warm, nice,
andconsiderate, menas directive, compe-
tent, and competitive. Because people's
beliefs about leaders are more similar to
their beliefs about men than those about
women, they assume that women are ge-
nerally less qualified thanmen for leader-
ship, especially for roles that women
have rarely occupied. People typically
have little sense that their thinking about
individuals is affected by these ideas
about gender and leadership.
These stereotypes make it more difficult
for women than men to attain leadership
roles. Becausepeoplehavegenerallyassu-
medthat women have less leadershipabi-
lity than men, women have the burden of
proving themselves by performing bey-
ondexpectationsiftheywant torisetohig-
her positions. Yet, meeting expectations
is complicated for women: They are ex-
pected to be warmand nice yet as leaders
tobeforceful anddecisive. Theseexpecta-
tions create a double bind. Women who
display a strong, decisive style of leader-
ship may be seen as competent but canbe
disliked and lack influence because they
are perceived to lack warmth. Women
who display a warm, supportive style of
fluence because they are perceived as not
competently taking charge.
Some women do overcome these chal-
lenges by finding an appropriate and ef-
fective leadership style. So, how do wo-
mengoabout leading? Although the diffe-
rences inthe leadership styles of men and
women are not large, the available re-
searchhasshownthat womenleaderstypi-
cally display a style that is more democra-
tic and participative, whereas men have a
more autocratic, command-and-control
style. Compared with men, women also
display more transformational leader-
ship, which involves leading by example,
motivatingothers, encouragingtheircrea-
tivity, and offering themsupportive men-
toring. Women, compared withmen, also
rely more on rewards and less on punish-
ment to motivate subordinates.
The good news for women is that these
aspects of leadership style are generally
consistent with modern ideas about good
managerial practices andare infact corre-
lated with effectiveness. Women's styles
can also resolve some of the challenges
created by the double bind because they
combine assertive competence with sup-
portive mentoring and warmth.
In general, research reveals a mixed
picture for women. Even though wo-
men have far more access to leadership
roles than at any other period in his-
tory, they still face some discrimina-
tion. Despite much greater acceptance
of women as leaders, some skepticism
remains, and more people say that they
would prefer a male over a female boss.
Other impediments follow from organi-
zations' norms and culture for exam-
ple, the expectation that fast-track em-
ployees spend very long hours in the
workplace, a practice that makes it diffi-
cult to meet family obligations.
What is an appropriate contemporary
metaphor to capture the situation faced
by women who aspire to leadership?
I have proposedthat anappropriate meta-
phor is labyrinth. This symbol conveys
the idea of a complex journey toward a
goal worth striving for. Progress through
a labyrinth requires persistence and ana-
lysis of the puzzles that lie ahead. Laby-
rinths can present expected and unex-
pected challenges, but they do offer a
route to the center. In that sense, women
no longer face absolute barriers but rat-
her impediments that can often be resol-
ved through thoughtful problem-solving
and careful negotiation.
Alice Eagly is Professor of Psychology,
James Padilla Chair of Arts and Sciences,
andFacultyFellowat theInstituteforPolicy
Research at Northwestern University.
The Career Labyrinth
Asearch for why there are still too fewwomen in leadership positions
Liberal approaches to difference and the
market are not having a good time. The
leaders of Germany, France, and England
have declared that the politics of diffe-
rence (multiculturalism) have failed. In
deference to the populist right-wing Da-
nish People's Party, Denmark has re-im-
posed border controls for people coming
from Germany and Sweden. Since 2008,
one financial crisis after another has rol-
led over the Eurozone and the US. Most
economists saw the root causes in a pure
neoliberal ideology. But even in Austra-
lia, where the financial crisis never serio-
usly threatened the economy, the end to
Indigenous self-determination is loudly
called for.
What is the relationship between these
assaults on multiculturalism and the cri-
sis of neoliberalism? Any answer to this
question depends on how one under-
stands the actual, rather than ideological,
liberal politics of difference. While both
multicultural approaches to difference
and neoliberal approaches to the market
seemunder assault, multiculturalismand
neoliberalism are often seen as antago-
nistic to one another. Neoliberals are
seen as conservative across the board;
multiculturalists progressive.
This is not surprising. Multicultural-
ism indicates how people should ethi-
cally treat one another. And underlying
this meta-ethics is an ideology about libe-
ralismand liberals: that when it comes to
the social world, liberalism is a system
and attitude of social and political open-
ness that abhors the unnecessaryandirra-
tional harmof others.
Central to neoliberal thinking, on the
other hand, is the idea that the market
naturally pays people what they are
worth andthat bargaining power organi-
zed through extant institutional arrange-
ments should have nothing to do with in-
come distribution. But neoliberalism is
not merely a set of arrangements among
the markets, labor, and state, nor is it me-
rely an older form of laissez-faire capita-
lism. Neoliberals did not merely wish to
free the economy from the Keynesian re-
gulatory state; they wished to free the
truth games of capitalism from the confi-
nes of the market. Theyargued, andconti-
nue to argue, that the market is not me-
rely one measure of value among others,
but should be the general measure of all
social activities and values.
From one perspective the tension bet-
ween multiculturalismand neoliberalism
is clear. On the one hand, the politics of
multiculturalism seems to be arguing for
increasing the ethical practices and va-
lues that will have worth in a society. On
the other hand, neoliberalism seems to
be virulently monological, insisting that
all forms of life must be evaluated on the
sole basis of capital value. The doyennes
of neoliberalism, RonaldReaganandMar-
garet Thatcher, were notoriously hostile
to alternative social movements. More re-
cently, right-wing Christian fanatics such
as Timothy McVeigh and Anders Behring
Breivik see "multiculturalism" as a funda-
mental threat.
For those who understand multicultu-
ralismandneoliberalismtobe fundamen-
tally antagonist social forms, the events
of 9/11 and 7/7 marked a watershed in
their tense dtente. Before 9/11, multicul-
tural recognition was in ascendency. Af-
terwards, a strong anti-multiculturalism
emerged, often led by neoliberals. A new
language of securitization surfaced
around the politics of difference and, in
particular, around the specter of the Isla-
mic fanatic. When the market collapsed,
an unrestrained neoliberalism was wi-
dely blamed. And yet, it was exactly at
this moment that leader after leader in
Europe agreed that the multicultural ex-
periment had failed.
This standard way of opposing multi-
culturalism and neoliberalism obscures
more than it reveals. First, multicultural-
ism and the politics of difference more
generally emergedwithinandalongside
the uneven and contentious emergence
of neoliberalism. The 1960s were the
apex of a global assault on previous ways
inwhich of liberals treated social andcul-
tural difference. Activists and their theo-
rists claimed that Western arts of caring
for the colonized and subaltern were not
rectifying human inequalities but crea-
ting and entrenching them.
The threat these radical challenges pre-
sentedtofoundational legitimating frame-
works of liberalism motivated what I call
"late liberalism." Late liberalism is the
shape that liberal governmentality took
as it responded to these rolling legiti-
macy crises. In order to save the broad
framework of liberalism, liberals accep-
ted the principle that alternative ways of
life could be legitimate. And further, they
accepted that the diversity of human
ways of life represented a good rather
than a threat. But accepting this principle
of difference allowed liberal governance
to reverse the crisis of legitimacy. By ac-
cepting the principle that other ways of
life enhanced rather thanthreatened libe-
ral ways of life, the liberal politics of diffe-
rence simply asked these diverse others
to explain their good. In short, liberal
states and publics made others justify
their inclusion into the new tolerant po-
lity. How was their "culture" different
enough to afford recognition and yet not
too different to be repugnant?
Difference could not make too much of
a difference.
Thus in the United States, we can have
an African-American President as long as
his identity makes no difference. And we
can have a Hispanic-Latino Supreme
Court Justice as long as she renounces
that her social background and experi-
ences make no difference in her interpre-
tation of the law.
The kinship rather than antagonism
between liberal forms of multicultural-
ism and neoliberalism becomes particu-
larly clear when one understands the dis-
ciplinary function of the meta-ethics of
multiculturalism and social normativity.
Because the ethical imperative to recog-
nize the worth of other ethical-cultural
systems is contained withinthe condition
that these different ethical-cultural sys-
tems are not repugnant to foundational
liberal principles, the deep affective and
cognitive normative backgroundof libera-
lismis protected.
Indeed, these affective backgrounds
are what liberals are referring to when
they talk about "moral sense" as the limit
of cultural difference. This was clearly
the case in the 1964 US Supreme Court
decision, Jacobellis v. Ohio, in which Jus-
tice Potter stated that although he could
not define pornography, he knewit when
he saw it. His statement could easily be
rephrased. He knewa representation was
pornography when he felt a particular af-
fect. Likewise with other liberal encoun-
ters with difference. What it is felt is not
the difference per se but how this diffe-
rence liquefies what the American philo-
sopher Bernard Williams call "projects":
the thick subjective backgroundeffects of
a life as it has been lived. For Williams
these thick subjective backgrounds pro-
vide the context of all moral and political
calculation. In other words, liberal forms
of multiculturalism are as much about
building a security wall aroundliberalism
as about scaling the wall to pillage its ci-
Rightist fanatics misunderstand this
aspect of liberal difference or they are
listening too much to its self-portrait.
While the meta-ethical command is that
we should not unnecessarily and irratio-
nally discriminate against other ethical
modes of life, liberal forms of multicultu-
ralismhave rarelyallowedany ethical sys-
temto challenge the background conditi-
ons of liberalism. And if one is a liberal
(broadly speaking), then this function of
securitization makes complete sense. Af-
ter all, Spinoza long ago defined all finite
modes whether the human mind or a
particular political formation strive to
persevere in being. The cunning of libe-
ral multiculturalismwas that it camoufla-
ged this strategy of persevering as
Rather than overturning multicultural-
ism, then, the legacy of the events of 9/11
and 7/7 the securitization of civiliza-
tion, the self-confident assertion of the
liberal difference, and the demonization
of difference present us with a aspect of
liberal multiculturalism that was always
immanent to its politics. The other is
good for liberalism as long as it doesn't
truly challenge it. Since 9/11 and 7/7 this
"other side" of the liberal politics has
come racing into the foreground.
But 9/11 and 7/7 are not the only rea-
son: As neoliberalismfails to produce the
promise of the good life for increasing
numbers of Americans and Europeans,
the promise of an alternative adherence
to an all-subsuming Truth becomes all
the more tempting.
Elizabeth Povinelli is Professor of An-
thropology and Gender Studies at Colum-
bia University.
By Alice Eagly
By Elizabeth Povinelli
Better together? Multiculturalism finds itself again on the hotseat in Europe. Photo: mauritius images
Difference could not make
too much of a difference.
Forceful or supportive? Quite
often women lose either way.
Neoliberalism and Multiculturalism
The deeply woven kinship between two seemingly disparate ideologies
The world of tomorrow
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Were working with the world today to create answers
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"Juristen - bse Christen" ("lawpractitio-
ners- evil Christians") saidMartinLuther:
tical, pettifoggers and shysters, "slaves to
power and money", and because Lu-
ther's particular accusation place the
"righteousness of deeds" above the faith.
Inhisreproval of lawpractitioners, Luther
was not the first, and his criticism, along
withmost of thereasons for his judgment,
has survived to this day.
Youonlyneedtotakealookat MarcGa-
lanter's book on lawyer jokes in the US to
seethat thequalitiesclientsusuallyappre-
ciate in their lawyers (subtlety, a predi-
lection to objecting, the ability to talk
themselves and others out of tight spots)
are the same ones that cause clients to
doubt the lawyers' moral integrity and
their trustworthiness as people. Here is
oneof myfavoritelawyerjokes: Onabeau-
tiful spring day, two lawyers are taking a
walkinthecountryside. "I seethosesheep
over therehaverecentlybeenshorn," says
one, to which the other replies: "At least
onthis side." Someone sodetermined not
to go beyond the unequivocally provable
has indeedno capacity for "faith."
Were the lawpractitioners in East Ger-
many"evil"socialistsaswell, oratleastun-
trustworthy ones? After all, the Socialist
Party demandednot only obedience from
their followers, but true faith, preferably
free of doubt.
It ishardlysurprising, therefore, that so-
cialismhadlittle respect for lawpractitio-
ners and only grudgingly admitted a de-
mand for them. The Marxist classics had
already propounded that in the commu-
nist future, along with the market, the law
of value, andperformance-baseddistribu-
tion, lawpractitioners woulddie out. And
even when this future seemed to become
ever more distant and the Party began to
tantcontrol mechanismofthestate, theso-
cialist rulers remained ever suspicious of
their ownlawpractitioners.
Eastern Bloc countries produced far fe-
wer lawyers than their Western Euro-
pean neighbors. The more rigid the eco-
nomic planning and the more restricted
the room for diversity of opinions in an
Eastern European country, the lower the
number of law students. In 1984/85, for
every 10,000 inhabitants, Yugoslavia had
ten law students, Hungary and Poland
each had six, and the USSR four. With
only two lawstudents per 10,000 inhabi-
tants, East Germany was the bottom of
the barrel of the socialist countries. At
that time, West German universities had
15; French and Italian universities had 22
law students per 10,000 inhabitants.
When in that miraculous year of 1989
socialism and East Germany collapsed,
the change in the political system should
have meant a liberation for East German
law practitioners: from a land where
doubt and dissent were suspect, even pu-
nishable by law, they were released into a
land where these are praised as democra-
tic virtues. Nevertheless, East German
lawyers were anything but welcome in
West Germany. They were said to be
staatsnah ("close to the state") which
they were indeed, as most lawyers inEast
Germany had been employed by the go-
vernment and thus they were deemed
fit for a country where the rule of law
prevailed only after careful political scru-
tinizing, if at all.
After the reunification, it was mostly
the younger among the East German jud-
ges and prosecuting attorneys who were
retained, as their legal careers inEast Ger-
many would have been too short to allow
much opportunity for decisions that
would be unacceptable under the rule of
law. East German law professors had to
submit to review commissions and were
for the most part replaced with West Ger-
man successors. The biographies of all
East German private-practice lawyers
were checked for any ties to the former
secret police ("Stasi"). In West Germany,
East German law practitioners were not
seenas lawpractitioners, but as represen-
tatives of a political systemthat had gone
Rightlyso? DidEast Germanlawpracti-
tioners indeed pay more heed to the
Party than to the law? To answer this, I
amundertaking a project that concentra-
tes on a group of law practitioners that is
sufficiently identifiable and definable so
as to preclude the project frombecoming
unwieldy: the Humboldt University's Fa-
culty of Lawinpre-reunificationEast Ger-
many. Law professors as a rule, articu-
late and self-confident people leave
many traces that can provide insights
into their frame of mind: essays and
books; faculty meeting minutes; prelimi-
nary work for the government, as evi-
dencedbythe former East Germanminis-
tries' records; plus the usual information
from Party and Stasi archives. In addi-
tion, I know several members of the for-
mer HUB Faculty of Law who are willing
to share their memories and explanati-
ons. Did they believe in the socialist sys-
tem they were serving? And how willin-
gly did they serve it?
In a totalitarian state, lawpractitioners
can play a wide variety of possible roles.
They can throwthemselves into the arms
of power an accusation often leveled
against East German law practitioners
acting as figureheads for a systemof injus-
tice. They can define themselves as can
lawyers anywhere as guns for hire and
defend their clients' standpoints (the
most important client in a socialist sys-
tem being the state) without qualms or
scruples. They can play the formalist,
and through painstaking accurateness
and respect for rules at least uphold or-
der, if not exactly justice. They can clan-
destinely (a fifth column of the rule of
law, as it were) use positivism and strict
adherence to the letter of the law to con-
strain the abuse of power by the govern-
ment. And they can fight openly for con-
stitutional reforms. Which of these was
most typical of law experts at the HUB?
With its wealth of archived material on
East German history, Berlin is the ideal
place to find answers to this question.
And I believe I can begin to discern the
contours of where my expedition
through the records will take me: to a le-
gal system of East Germany that is going
to be much more inconsistent than what
we tend to expect fromacross the former
Berlin Wall. Were my Humboldt Univer-
sity protagonists "evil socialists"? Hardly
so. But they were not very good ones eit-
her, fromwhat I can see up to this point.
Translated by Stephan Rothschuh. Inga
Markovits is Friends of Jamail Regents
Chair in Law at the University of Texas
School of Law.
Between Power and Justice
Did GDR-lawyers believe in socialism and how willingly did they serve it?
Globalization: Ever since the word came
into common use during the 1980s, it has
been both the problem to explain and its
own explanation a puzzle and a pre-
diction. Wonderment or dismay, even
horror, ranthrough the burgeoning litera-
ture, conveying a vertiginous sense of loo-
king over the edge of a precipice into we
know not what. That sticky little suffix
"-ization" calls to attention something
very much in process not yet history
and, possibly, beyond history.
Implicit here is the notion of a destina-
tion where historical processes were
headed or, alternatively, the triumphant
assertionof apost-historical age, inwhich
movement is everything, but nothingever
changes. Global-ization became a condi-
tionthat is alwaysbecomingandalsofore-
ver not yet. As prophecy it bore a distan-
cing relationship to the past, carried
along by a shallowlanguage of "er" words
faster, denser, deeper that cascaded
through the present toward a future of
both imminent fulfillment and unlimited
What a global history must seek to ex-
plain is the shocking reality of what is
how we got to where we are and how we
deal with a condition in which who we
are and what we might become is irrever-
sibly linked, for goodandbad, withevery-
body else. We need a hold on the realities
of a world that is defined by its globality.
This is a world in which, for better or
worse, everybody is entangled in every-
body else's affairs. Interactions unfold in
all directions on a global scale as people,
goods, money, information, and ideas put
all into engagement with all others ever
unevenly and asymmetrically, to be sure,
but in ways that make any part of and any
action in the world relevant to all others.
That peoplenowliveina global condition
that localities arenot just affectedby, but
constitutethemselveswithinaglobal envi-
ronment has upended the idealist and
ries of the world whether of the human
species, progress, capitalism, the rise of
theWest, or the humanconditioninpre-
vious epochs. In contrast to the philoso-
phersandsagesof thepast, wedonot have
toimagineor invent the worldinorder for
the world to happen; for both the world
and humanity are being made before our
very eyes. If world history shaped the de-
sire to think the world as one, global his-
tory sorts and maps the entanglements
that throwus together.
namism and often catastrophic instabili-
ties the"turbulences" of this condition;
howpeoplehaveorganizedtheir lives and
crazytrying; andhowandwithwhat effect
the natural world is transformed and ea-
tenup by it. There are unusual turns to be
defended, complex configurations to be
disentangled, surprises to be launched.
Forclearlytheexertionsof thiskindof his-
tory, aglobal history, makesonlysenseif it
makesadifference. Nottheleast of thesur-
prises will be that an actual story can be
toldof this global conditionbeing worked
upon, torn apart, and being put together
again over and over. The world has been
made over, radically and dramatically, in
the age of globality not just once, but se-
veral times.
The future is not going to be part of our
history, but the quickly changing present
must, per force, be its vantage point. The
basic contours that framed a connected
history of the global condition in the long
20th century are now undergoing funda-
mental reorganization. The possibilities
opened up in the mid-19th century pas-
sage have been played out, modes of ex-
planation authorized by that passage no
longer explain what is happening.
Fromthis vantage point, several things
become clear. First, we can describe a di-
screet historical era of globality the first
inworldhistory. Thechronologyof a long
20th century is reasonably established: a
global condition, congealinginthemiddle
passage of the 19th century, experienced
two periods of extraordinarily intense ac-
celeration in the movement of goods,
people, information, and knowledge (the
1880s to the 1910s and the 1980s to the
2010s), during which, arguably, pro-
duction and exchange outweighed res-
triction and control. These periods were
punctuated by a long middle-period
(1920s through the 1970s) of contesta-
tionamong rival empires, protractedcivil
and international war, and economic in-
stability during which, arguably, great
at times utopian faith was reposed in
state power and nationalized production.
balization, but protracted, open-ended
struggles over the terms of an enmesh-
ment in which various strategies and es-
saysofengagementweretried, tested, con-
solidated, and reproduced or, alternati-
vely, defeatedandcast aside.
Secondly, while it may seem that the
initial responses to this condition were
competitive, even defensive ones pre-
clusive nationalism, protected industry,
the reproduction of cultural difference
they were all, in fact, inherently transna-
tional expressions made by people in
awareness of others, drawing on the
examples of others, and pursuing sepa-
rate survival through a deeper engage-
ment with all others. Throughout the en-
tire period state strengthening, protected
industrialization, and cultural renovation
went hand in hand with, and depended
upon constant transnationalization un-
derstood not simply as "flows" and ex-
changes, but as a vital facilitating force
(technology transfer), a mediating anden-
abling energy (capital), a regulating
power (standards setting), an enabling
imaginary (comparisons and roadmaps),
and even a utopian dreamworld (the de-
sire for consumption and the modeling of
The habits, institutions, rules and
practices that congealedfromthese strug-
gles only deepened the entanglement
that first required andthen shaped strate-
gies of engagement. At the end of this era
of global history it is clear that global en-
meshment remains, even as initial strate-
gies and responses exhaust themselves,
andthat global entanglement is the princi-
ple subject of a connected history of the
global condition.
Finally, we may begin to discern the
contours of globality that will shape the
history of the next century. Most strikin-
gly, human beings have takenover the en-
tire earth not just in numbers that may
exceed the carrying capacity of the pla-
net, a concern of thirty years ago, but also
in the sense that the world we inhabit is
nowentirely man-made, a human device.
The gradual amplification of an environ-
mental awareness has made plain the
scale of the planetary human footprint.
These are principle effects of the competi-
tive struggles andthe socio-political solu-
tions of the last century and a half. Simi-
larly, grappling with modernity in an ef-
fort to cope with and make meaningful
the vertiginous movement of global for-
ces has, in recent times, moved into new
realms of spirituality fundamentalist
faiths being prominent in this turning
away from the materiality of the global
condition in the absence of earthly ans-
wers towards less secular, and often less
worldly, solutions to the human and now
totally global condition. These changing
parameters of debate andcontestationbe-
come new arenas of engagement that cut
throughthe familiar ligatures of globaliza-
tion as it is imagined: the transformation
of productionandfinance, thespeedynet-
works of communicationandinformation
retrieval, thecircuitryof consumption(in-
clusion) anddesperation(exclusion), and
the new patterns of sub- and trans-natio-
nal violence that shape conflicts over
self-provisioning or ultimate ends.
The condition of globality which con-
gealed in the 19th century has irreversi-
bly changed human history in the last
150years, andthe contours of that condi-
tion are nowbeing transformed. There is
openness in this moment of a specific
kind: Will this man-made world turn into
a wasteland or be made a habitable place
by human effort? It is a global question in
which the conditions of entanglement
andthe questionof global order is the cen-
tral concern.
Charles Bright is Arthur J. Thurnau Pro-
fessor of History atUniversity of Michigan.
Michael Geyer is Samuel N. Harper Profes-
sor of German and European History, and
Faculty Director of the Human Rights Pro-
gramat the University of Chicago. The text
is an adapted excerpt of their forthcoming
book, The Global Condition: 1850-2010.
Man-made environment. The world we live in has become entirely man-made. Skyscrapers, like the ones in Dubai, determine
the appearance of cities, in addition to the new artificial islands, such as The Palm, in the background. Photo: AFP
By Inga Markovits
Benchmarks of Globalization
In the forthcoming
"Global Condition,
1850-2010" the authors
map the process of
world entanglement
Marx quote in the foyer of Humboldt Uni-
versity Berlin: "Philosophers have only inter-
preted the world; the point, however, is to
change it." Photo: Kitty Kleist-Heinrich
By Charles Bright
and Michael Geyer
Will this man-made world
turn into a wasteland or be
made a habitable place?
Engagiert fr denMittelstand.
Jeder Unternehmer hat seine ganz besonderen
Ansprche und Bedrfnisse. Wir wissen, worauf
es ankommt: regionales Know-how, individuelle
und persnliche Betreuung, umfassendes Leis-
tungsspektrum, kurze Entscheidungswege, beste
Undnochmehr unter www.lbb.de/rmenkunden
oder Telefon030/869 747 686
Please register in advance, as seating
is limited. Tel: (030) 80 48 3-0 or E-mail:
SUNDAY, September 11, 2011
The American Academy and the Internatio-
nal Literature Festival Berlin present
Union Atlantic
5:00 p. m.: Reading by Adam Haslett,
Writer, New York
8:00 p. m.: Adam Haslett will be part of
the World Wide Reading initiative to comme-
morate the 10th anniversary of 9 /11.
Location: Haus der Berliner Festspiele,
Schaperstrae 24, 10719 Berlin,
Tickets: www.berlinerfestspiele.de
TUESDAY, October 4, 2011, 7:00 p. m.
AAB 'Return of the Exiles' Series
Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953),
An Exiled Composer
On this special evening, Guy Braunstein,
First Concertmaster at the Berliner Philhar-
moniker, and Ohad Ben-Ari, Pianist, will
perform major works by the Russian migr
artist Sergei Prokofiev, whose musical ca-
reer was staccatoed with multiple moves
San Francisco, Paris, Bavaria, Kazakhstan
permitting him a rare cosmopolitan view of
a torn century.
THURSDAY, October 6, 2011, 7:00 p. m.
Bosch Public Policy Lecture
Quantum Diplomacy, German-American
Relations, and a Psychogeography of Berlin
James Der Derian, Professor of International
Studies, Brown University
TUESDAY, October 11, 2011, 7:00 p. m.
Lloyd Cutler Lecture
Democracy, Expertise, and Academic
Freedom: Freedom of Expression in the
Modern State
Robert C. Post, Dean and Sol & Lillian
Goldman Professor of Law, Yale University
Introduction by Dieter Grimm, Professor of
Public Law, Humboldt-Universitt zu Berlin
THURSDAY, October 13, 2011, 7:00 p. m.
Siemens Lecture
Melville's Law
Jennifer Culbert, Associate Professor and
Graduate Director of Political Science,
Johns Hopkins University
TUESDAY, October 18, 2011, 7:00 p. m.
Guna S. Mundheim Artist Talk
New Works
Paul Pfeiffer, Artist, New York
Location: carlier | gebauer, Markgrafen-
strae 67, 10969 Berlin
In cooperation with carlier | gebauer
THURSDAY, October 20, 2011, 7:00 p. m.
Holtzbrinck Lecture
Wrterstrmerei im Namen der Schnheit:
World and Work in Samuel Beckett
Leland de la Durantaye, Gardner Cowles
Associate Professor of English, Harvard
TUESDAY, October 25, 2011, 7:00 p. m.
Anna-Maria Kellen Lecture
A Poetry Reading
Tom Sleigh, Distinguished Professor,
Hunter College
THURSDAY, October 27, 2011, 7:00 p. m.
Nina Maria Gorrissen Lecture
Publishing before Print:
How Jean Gerson Reached a Massive
Market of Readers before Gutenberg
Daniel Hobbins, Associate Professor of
History, Ohio State University
FRIDAY, October 28, 2011, 8:00 p. m.
Stephen M. Kellen Lecture
Civilization: The West and the Rest
Niall Ferguson, Laurence A. Tisch Professor
of History, Harvard University, and Trustee,
American Academy in Berlin
Location: ESMT European School of Manage-
ment and Technology, Schlossplatz 1,
10178 Berlin
In cooperation with ESMT European School
of Management and Technology and Ullstein
TUESDAY, November 1, 2011, 7:00 p. m.
Nina Maria Gorrissen Lecture
After the Year 1000: The Medieval Shaping
of the European Narrative
John van Engen, Andrew V. Tackes Professor
of History, University of Notre Dame
THURSDAY, November 3, 2011, 7:00 p. m.
Metro Lecture
Women as Leaders:
Negotiating the Labyrinth
Alice Eagly, Professor of Psychology, James
Padilla Chair of Arts and Sciences, and
Faculty Fellow, Institute for Policy Research,
Northwestern University
MONDAY, November 7, 2011, 7:00 p. m.
Richard C. Holbrooke Lecture
Global Trends in the Quality of Governance
and Democracy
Jack A. Goldstone, Virginia E. and
John T. Hazel, Jr. Professor of Public Policy,
School of Public Policy, George Mason Uni-
TUESDAY, November 8, 2011, 7:00 p. m.
EADS Lecture
Can Adaptation Save Us from Climate
Michael Greenstone, 3M Professor of
Environmental Economics, Massachusetts
Institute of Technology
FRIDAY, November 11, 2011, 7:00 p. m.
Book Presentation
The Marriage Plot
Read by Jeffrey Eugenides, Writer, New York,
and Alumnus, American Academy in Berlin,
and Ulrich Matthes, Actor, Deutsches
Theater Berlin
Introduction by Harald Jhner, Feuilleton
Editor, Berliner Zeitung
Moderated by Jens Balzer, Journalist and
Author, Berliner Zeitung
Location: Berliner Verlag, Karl-Liebknecht-
Strae 29, 10178 Berlin.
Tickets (9,50 Euro): Berliner Verlag, Tel:
(030) 23 27 66 50
In cooperation with Berliner Zeitung, Thalia
Buchhandlung, and Rowohlt Verlag
WEDNESDAY, November 23, 2011,
7:00 p. m.
John P. Birkelund Lecture
The Melancholy of Money: Bryher's Moder-
nist Patronage and Refugee Work
Susan McCabe, Professor of English,
University of Southern California
TUESDAY, November 29, 2011, 7:00 p. m.
German Transatlantic Program Lecture
The Dwelling Science
Elizabeth Povinelli, Professor of Anthropo-
logy and Gender Studies, Columbia
THURSDAY, December 1, 2011, 7:00 p. m.
Richard von Weizscker Lecture
The Economics of Nature
Peter A. Seligmann, Chairman of the Board
and CEO, Conservation International
TUESDAY, December 6, 2011, 7:00 p. m.
Mary Ellen von der Heyden Reading
Kindness, A Novel in Progress
Adam Haslett, Writer, New York
THURSDAY, December 8, 2011, 7:00 p. m.
Bosch Public Policy Lecture
Voices in the Dream Palace:
Dramatic Language in Pre-Code Movies
Geoffrey O'Brien, Editor-in-Chief, Library of
FRIDAY, December 9, 2011
SATURDAY, December 10, 2011
American Academy Symposium
Memorials: Negotiating Public Memory
Ten years after 9/11 and six years after the
inauguration of Berlin's Memorial to the
Murdered Jews of Europe, the American
Academy in Berlin will host a symposium
exploring memorialization and whether or
not memorials are touchstones for public
Location: Haus der Kulturen der Welt,
John-Foster-Dulles-Allee 10, 10557 Berlin.
Generously supported by Haus der Kulturen
der Welt.
Please see our website for further informa-
tion: www.americanacademy.de.
Theterm"pre-Code"- denotingtheHolly-
wood films of the early talkie era, before
full enforcement of the Production Code
was imposed in 1934 - has been enjoying
the kind of currency previously attained
by"filmnoir," andfor similar reasons: it is
at once a promise of buried pleasures and
plexenoughtoencompass bothcampyar-
tifice and rough-edged immediacy. It is
not, of course, news that to the early
1930s we owe the most enduring mythic
figuresoftalkingpictures: thegangstersin-
carnated by Edward G. Robinson and
James Cagney, the iconic fright masks of
Frankenstein and Dracula, and the Marx
Brothers and Mae West. But these repre-
sent only the glittering surface of a legacy
withmany hiddenlayers.
After 1934 many pre-Code movies
were either put on the shelf or reissued in
censored form, and it is only in recent
years that we have seen a flood of televi-
sion screenings, restorations, and reis-
sues that have instilled a wider taste for
movies like Baby Face, Employees' En-
trance, and Night World. It is not simply
that these films evoke a lost world; they
also reflect a singular moment in filmma-
king. They start up out of the narcotic
trance of late silent cinema into a world
of noise and verbal aggression; yet they
retain for the moment all the imagist
power and associative poetic logic of the
silents. They have a directness and inten-
sity still capable of astonishing. Had
there been something in the water (or the
bootleg hooch) in 1932 that gave to its
films a magic compounded equally of
gum-chewing, corner-of-the-mouth ver-
bal byplay, musical numbers of unparalle-
led geometric splendor, unbounded leaps
into exotic fantasy counterbalanced by
stark, dead-on glimpses of prison corri-
dors and city streets worthy of Walker
Evans, and (not least) a mood of erotic
impudence that afterward, it might seem
to a casual viewer, had so suddenly and
mysteriously vanished?
That vanishing was, if sudden, hardly
mysterious. The sea change undergone
by Hollywood filmmaking on July 1,
1934, when the amended "Code to Go-
vern the Making of Motion and Talking
Pictures" came into effect, marked the
culmination of a political and cultural
struggle that had simmered since the
early 1920s.
The original Production Code was for-
mally accepted by the industry in 1930 in
an effort to placate the opposition. When
it became apparent that the Code was not
being seriously enforced, a more concer-
ted movement took shape. Grandstan-
ding politicians introduced bills calling
for a federal censorship commission to
control film content, and social re-
searchers blamed movies for youthful de-
linquency and sexual misconduct. Most
significantly, the Roman Catholic Church
put its full weight behind in the words
of a papal spokesman "a united front
and a vigorous campaign for the purifica-
tion of the cinema."
The Code is a fascinating piece of work
andit shows clearly that the code's formu-
lators never intended merely to black out
the occasional glimpse of nudity or inap-
propriate swear word. It was a vision not
merely of art but of life, based on the pre-
mise that "wrong entertainment lowers
the whole living condition and moral ide-
als of a race." It called for films in which
"evil and good are never confused and
evil is always recognized clearly as evil,"
films that would never "leave the ques-
tion of right or wrong in doubt or fog-
ged." The overwhelming concern was
with sexual conduct. The overheated
tone of the Code's language would be
amusing had not the implications of this
document dominated American filmma-
king, and by extension American culture,
for decades afterward.
Pre-Code movies offered a distorted,
partial, often absurd and contradictory
depiction of a world that nevertheless
actually existed. The most extreme melo-
dramas were imbued with harsh emotio-
nal knowledge. This was a cinematic
world in which, not infrequently, men
flouted morality and yet prospered; in
which American cities and factories were
sites of endemic factional struggles and
maneuverings for advantage; in which
the institutionof marriage was frequently
inadequate to satisfying the needs of hus-
bands and wives alike (and in equal mea-
sure). Adultery was rife; prostitutionflou-
rished. Seemingly decent people could
be corrupted or embittered with distur-
bing casualness; there was never any tel-
ling how things might turn out. After the
Code Hollywood movies elaborated
something like a parallel world of such
foreordained moral clarity that few en-
dings could surprise.
In Pre-Code movies, elements arise
that would not be seen again for decades
inAmericanmovies: the abundant instan-
ces of near nudity; the exaggeratedly gay
characters who turn up; the interracial
love stories; the sexually independent wo-
men; and the sympathetically portrayed
"good bad girls." In film after film, rapa-
cious capitalists revel infree-market sche-
ming and sexual exploitation; workers
andunemployed youths exact violent jus-
tice from their oppressors; innocent
victims are condemned; and racketeers,
con men, and cynical reporters function
as a wisecracking chorus making light of
every formof homespun virtue and naive
The early talkies revel ina certainbald-
ness of exposition. The shock of the spea-
king voice cuts through all the luxuriant
poetry cultivated by the silent screen in
its final years, even as the poetry lingers
on in the formof Art Deco interiors, glis-
tening silken fashions, and camera move-
ments. There is often a jarring juxtaposi-
tion of visual delicacy and verbal bruta-
lity. The characters have to talk loud
enough to drown out the noises suddenly
audible: cars honking, guns firing, planes
taking off, and dance bands jamming to
the tune of "Hot Voodoo."
All of a sudden movies needed words,
lots of them, and they got themwherever
they could findthem: onthe street, on the
radio, in pulp detective stories and ro-
mance novels, in plays, in jazz songs, and
the newly frank sexual advice of lonely
hearts columnists. Taken all in all the
pre-Code movies constitute an overflo-
wing repository of American speech and
vernacular American writing, a sort of li-
terary treasure, captured on the run.
With the emergence of James Cagney
you can feel howutterly the talkies trans-
formed what it meant to see a movie. The
impact of Cagney's physical grace can
hardly be separated from the way the to-
nes and rhythms of his voice register
split-second mood changes: it is all one
effect, at once fantastically exaggerated
and as real as a grapefruit in the face.
Language may have had as much to do
with the imposition of the Code as the
glorificationof vice andthe sheer silk neg-
ligees of Jean Harlow and Norma Shea-
rer. It was language that emanated from
urban centers and some of it was too fast
and too modern for audiences in middle
It is amusing to define these movies by
how they offend the Production Code: to
stay on the alert for words and deeds and
images that would have fallen under the
sanctions of 1934. But what was truly
anomalous was what followed: a rigidly
enforced control of moral implications
whose deforming effect lingered long af-
ter the Code's demise. The regularizing
of morals turned out to be inseparable
from the regularizing of aesthetics. In its
tidying up of loose ends, the Code encou-
raged a cookie-cutter approach to
structure and character that is with us
yet, to which the anarchic unpredictabi-
lity of the early 1930s offers a bracing
Geoffrey OBrien is Editor-in-Chief of
the Library of America. This text was origi-
nally published in a different form in The
New York Review of Books.
"Pre-Code" at its best. "The Public Enemy" (1931) relates the story of a young man's rise in
the criminal underworld in prohibition-era urban America. It also contains the famous
"Grapefruit" scene in which gangster Tom (James Cagney) angrily smashes a half grape-
fruit into his girlfriend's face (Mae Clarke). Photo: picture-alliance/The Advertising Archives
By Geoffrey OBrien
They offered a distorted, often
absurd depiction of a world
that nevertheless existed.
A Promise of Buried Pleasures
Prostitutes, con-men, and interracial love stories. There were few taboos in the early talkies until the Production Code got its way
The regularizing of morals
turned out to be inseperable
fromthat of aesthetics.
The human population is rapidly expanding
worldwide, yet drinking water is becoming
scarcer. Thats why Bayer, in cooperation with
National Geographic, is supporting research
projects on treating, distributing and tapping
new sources of water, while also promoting
the economical use of this valuable resource.
This is just one of 300 examples in which
Bayer is demonstrating its commitment to
corporate social responsibility. We are active
in around 150 countries and aim to do our part
as a good corporate citizen in solving social
problems and tackling global issues through a
combination of our commercial and technical
expertise and the commitment of our staff.
This is why we invest EUR 50 million annu-
ally in education and research, the environment
and nature, health and social needs, and
sports and culture. Bayer aims to improve
peoples prospects for a better future and
to this end also has become the first private
partner of the United Nations Environment
Programme (UNEP) which raises awareness
of environ mental protection among young
people and trains them in this subject.
Creating Opportunities Acting Responsibly
For many artists working today, there is a
renewed sense of urgency to respond, or-
ganize, and question the labyrinth of vi-
sual and material information that exists
simultaneously. Reading between the li-
nes, artists take up the task of re-writing
history, challenging the document, or re-
configuring the archive. Richly adding to
this conversationis the work of Leslie He-
witt, who isolates and juxtaposes objects,
images, and texts amidst the daily caco-
phony, asking for our sustained focus on
an "intimate and imperative level".
Hewitt's work is significant for the
ways in which it questions history, me-
mory, time, and the language of images,
but something gets lost when neatly mat-
chedto one of those topics alone. What is
perhaps most compelling, opening into
conundrum or epiphany, is the way in
which this work allows for multiple rea-
dings and perspectives at once, as a ge-
sture, if not a call for an ethos of seeing.
Inspired by Third Cinema, conceptual
art, and modes of syncopation her van-
tage point seems at once poetic and criti-
cal, andas deeply tiedtothe past as it is to
a hope for the future.
Hewitt reshuffles historical and every-
day ephemera in a new suspended time
andcontext to consider the role of images
andobjects inour personal and collective
consciousness. In the series Riffs on Real
Time (2008), three perspectives, or
frames, are literally and conceptually
compressed into one new photograph.
Snapshots of domestic personal scenes
such as a family at a picnic, are layered
over items that circulate inpublic andpri-
vate contexts books, maps, and maga-
zine pages that often show the signs of
time andhandling. Both come together in
the "real" space of a hardwoodfloor, crea-
ting new conversations about the role of
photography in our interior and exterior
worlds. As Hewitt asks, "Where do they
meet, conflict, or come apart?"
Working across mediums, Hewitt enga-
ges formal play and subtle gestures, both
within and outside of the picture plane,
to confront and transformperspective. In
her restaged documents, the artist calls
uponthe promise of photographytore-as-
sert specific histories, but simultane-
ously subverts our expectations of the
photograph subtly disrupting the view,
picturing multiple frames in one, or leav-
ing the edges of the photographs visible.
Photographs, dislocated from time and
space, are always only questions. They re-
veal as much as they conceal and "rely on
the knowledge we bring to them." These
seemingly quiet works are what Roland
Barthes called "thinking images." They
make us reflect, and suggest many mea-
nings often in contrast or balance with
their literal meanings.
Rather than posing literal narratives,
Hewitt's works could be thought to invite
a collective dialogue: What are the limits
and promise of photography now as a
tool for social discourse, marker of me-
mory, and arbitrator of meaning? What
role do photographs play in our interior
and exterior worlds? What personal, so-
cial, and political associations do we
bring to what we see everyday? What is
the gap between personal and public per-
ception-between picturing yourself and
being photographed? The questions po-
sed are at once critical and deeply perso-
nal, but what one reads into it changes as
you open to the possibilities.
To quote the artist, the photographs al-
low us, "to confront every second as if it
has always been in existence, though its
materiality is fleeting." These seemingly
straightforward images tell stories of poi-
gnant complexity. In presenting multiple
views and new correspondences, He-
witt's works open up a space that is our
own to confront, enrich, complicate, and
transform the ways in which we see pho-
tographs, history, the current moment,
and ourselves. Kate Menconeri
This text is an excerpt from an essay
published on the occasion of the exhibi-
tion: the everyday | Leslie Hewitt, curated
by Kate Menconeri, Center for Curatorial
Studies, Bard College, April-May 2009.
The American Academy in Ber-
lin is funded almost entirely by
private donations from indivi-
duals, foundations, and corpora-
tions. We depend on the genero-
sity of a widening circle of friends
on both sides of the Atlantic and
wish to extend our heartfelt
thanks to those who support us.
The list documents the contributi-
ons made to the American
Academy from August 2010 to
August 2011.
Fellowships and Distinguished
Visitorships Established in
John P. Birkelund Berlin Prize
in the Humanities
Daimler Berlin Prize
German Transatlantic Program
Berlin Prize, supported by Euro-
pean Recovery Program funds
granted through the Transatlan-
tic Program of the Federal
Republic of Germany
Ellen Maria Gorrissen Berlin
Nina Maria Gorrissen Berlin Prize
in History
Mary Ellen von der Heyden
Berlin Prize for Fiction
Holtzbrinck Berlin Prize
Anna-Maria Kellen Berlin Prize
Guna S. Mundheim Berlin Prize
in the Visual Arts
Lloyd Cutler Distinguished
Visitorship in Law
EADS Distinguished Visitorship
Marina Kellen French Distinguis-
hed Visitorship for Persons with
Outstanding Accomplishment in
the Cultural World
Richard C. Holbrooke Distinguis-
hed Visitorship
Stephen M. Kellen Distinguished
Kurt Viermetz Distinguished
Richard von Weizscker
Distinguished Visitorship
Annually Funded Fellowships
and Distinguished Visitorships
Bosch Berlin Prize in Public
Berthold Leibinger Berlin Prize
Metro Berlin Prize
Siemens Berlin Prize
Axel Springer Berlin Prize
Allianz Distinguished
Endowment Giving
Max Beckmann Distinguished
Visitorship in the Visual Arts:
Thomas van Aubel & Jutta von
Falkenhausen, Deutsche Brse
AG, Marie Louise Gericke, Lily &
Klaus Heiliger, Jeane Freifrau
von Oppenheim, Galerie Sprth
Magers, Galerie Thaddaeus
Ropac GmbH, Victoria & Aurel
Scheibler, Mary Ellen von Scha-
cky-Schultz & Bernd Schultz,
Peter Schwicht, Villa Grisebach
Marcus Bierich Distinguished
Visitorship in the Humanities:
Dr. Aldinger & Fischer Grundbe-
sitz und Vermarktungs GmbH,
C.H. Beck Stiftung, Deutsche
Bank AG, Jrgen Frterer, Ange-
lika & Hermann von Hatzfeldt,
Georg Kulenkampff, Berthold Lei-
binger Stiftung GmbH, Robert
Bosch GmbH, Mary Ellen von
Schacky-Schultz & Bernd
Schultz, Villa Grisebach (Berlin),
Voith GmbH, Stanford S. Wars-
hawsky, Ulrich Weiss
Founders' Circle
$1 million and above
Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen
Foundation and the descendants
of Hans and Ludmilla
Chairman's Circle
$25,000 and above
The Arnhold Foundation
Lester Crown
Marina Kellen French
Werner Gegenbauer
Richard K. Goeltz
Helga & Erivan Haub
Mary Ellen & Karl M. von
der Heyden
The Estate of Richard
C. Holbrooke
Stefan von Holtzbrinck
Michael Klein
Nina von Maltzahn
Christopher Freiherr von
Maren Otto
Norman Pearlstine & Jane Boon
Kurt F. Viermetz
Trustees' Circle
$ 10,000 and above
Constance & John P. Birkelund
Wolfgang Ischinger
Dr. Pia & Klaus Krone
Wolfgang Malchow
Dieter & Si Rosenkranz
Rafael J. Roth
Mary Ellen von Schacky-Schultz
& Bernd Schultz
The Fritz Stern Fund of the
Princeton Area Community Foun-
Clemens J. Vedder
Barbara & Jrg Zumbaum
Patrons $2,500 and above
Henrik Aldinger, Thomas van
Aubel & Jutta von Falkenhausen,
Heinrich J. Barth, Kathrin Barwi-
nek & Alexander Ochs, Joel Bell
& Marif Hernndez, Volker Boo-
ten, Stephen Burbank, Gahl Hod-
ges Burt, Georg Graf zu Cas-
tell-Castell, Matthias & Christa
Druba, Fidelity Charitable Gift
Fund, Julie Finley, Hans-Michael
& Almut Giesen, Jrg Menno
Harms, Ina Vonnegut-Hartung &
Wilhelm Hartung, Klaus & Lily
Heiliger, Roe Jasen, Ulrich Kis-
sing, Henry A. Kissinger, Stepha-
nie & Martin Korbmacher, John
C. Kornblum, Renate Kchler, Evi
& Peter Kurz, Alexandra Grfin
Lambsdorff, Mehretu-Rankin Fa-
mily, Jutta & Jens Odewald,
Jeane Freifrau von Oppenheim,
William D. & Nancy Ellison Roll-
nick, Norman Selby, Peter Y.
Solmssen, Paul Volcker, Will
Foundation (Hans George Will),
Roger M. & Jill J. Witten
Friends Up to $2,500
Johannes Altincioglu, Edgar As-
taire, James Attwood, Barbara
Balaj, Sid & Mercedes Bass,
Jagdish Bhagwati & Padma De-
sai, Ronald Binks, Manfred Bi-
schoff, Susan S. Braddock, Leo-
pold Bill von Bredow, Diethart
Breipohl, Eckhard Bremer, Irene
Bringmann, Isabella von Blow,
Christian Bunsen, Stephen B.
Burbank, Caroline Bynum, Ger-
hard & Regina Casper, Avna Cas-
sinelli, Adele Chatfield-Taylor,
Candia Clark, Edward E. & Betsy
Z. Cohen, Georg Crezelius, Edla
F. Cusick & Douglas Clifford, Ru-
dolf Delius, David W. Detjen, Ste-
ven & Margrit Disman, Brigitte
Dring, Norma Drimmer, Walter
A. Eberstadt, Gaetana Enders,
Jean-Marie & Elizabeth Eveillard,
Donald Fox, Robert Fribourg,
Emily T. Frick, Bart Friedman &
Wendy Stein, Edith & Egon Geer-
kens, Brbel & Ulrich Gensch,
Marie Louise Gericke, Michael
Geyer, Vartan Gregorian, Nancy
& Mark Gruett, Marisa & Carl
Hahn, Niels Hansen Memorial
Foundation (Arthur J. Collings-
worth), Robert L. Harrison, John
D. Hawke, Christine & Benjamin
Heineman, Gregg Horowitz & El-
len Levy, Isabel von Jena, Josef
Joffe, Helga Kallenbach, Anke &
Joachim-Friedrich Kapp, Jrg
Kastl, Diana Ketcham, Marion
Knauf, Helmut Kranzmaier, Do-
nald & Christine Kursch, Anne-
liese Langner, Regine Leibinger
& Frank Barkow, Abby Leigh, Ale-
xander Letzsch, Michael Libal,
Nina & Daniel Libeskind, Quincy
Liu, Charles Maier, Jacqueline
Mars, Wolfgang Matthies, Wolf-
gang & Beate Mayrhuber, Joseph
& Elisabeth McLaughlin, Thomas
Menzel, Hans-Jrgen Meyer, Mi-
chael Mnchehofe, Joan & David
Murdoch, Jan-Daniel Neumann,
Wolfram Nolte, Axel Osenberg,
Frank & Geryl Pearl, Justin J. W.
Powell, Lutz R. Raettig & Kathe-
rine Frstenberg-Raettig, Susan
Rambow, Christa Freifrau & Her-
mann Freiherr von Richthofen,
Hergard Rohwedder, Henry Sap-
parth, Helmut Schfer, Ulrike &
Tom Schlafly, Volker Schlndorff,
Harald Schmid, Bjrn B.
Schmidt, Pamela & Philipp
Scholz, Sebastian Schwark, Ken-
neth Scott, Robert Silvers, Mi-
chael & Patricia Sovern, Manfred
von Sperber, Hans-Jrgen Spil-
ler, Immo Stabreit, Ronald Steel,
Thomas von Thaden, Lutz Weis-
ser, Richard von Weizscker,
Linda and Tod White Charitable
Fund, Sabine & Ned Wiley, Roger
M. and Jill J. Witten, Pauline Yu
President's Circle
$25,000 and above
Bayer HealthCare
Carnegie Corporation of
New York
Cerberus Deutschland GmbH
Daimler AG
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fr die Deutsche Wissenschaft
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Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
Germanwings GmbH
GRG Partnerschaft von Rechts-
KPMG AG Wirtschaftsprfungsge-
Liberty Global Europe BV
Marsh GmbH
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MSD Sharp & Dohme GmbH
Pepsico Foundation
Pfizer Pharma GmbH
Philip Morris GmbH
Porsche AG
Robert Bosch GmbH
Siemens AG
Susanna Dulkinys and Erik
Spiekermann, Edenspiekermann
Telefnica Germany GmbH
& Co. OHG
Vattenfall Europe AG
Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP
Up to $25,000
American International Yacht
Club Berlin
Axel Springer Stiftung
Coca-Cola Deutschland GmbH
Deutsche Bank AG
Deutsche Bundesbank
Dussmann Stiftung & Co. KGaA
Fleishman-Hillard Germany /
Public Affairs & Gov. Relations
Investitionsbank Berlin
KfW Bankengruppe
Rudolf August Oetker Stiftung
Villa Grisebach (Berlin)
For more works please visit our website:
Games have rules. They dictate how a
game's players behave on the field, on the
court, or in the ring. Spectators and play-
ers are bound together in their quiet un-
derstanding of these rules. But what hap-
pens to the rules when you remove the
players, teammates, or fans? How do you
see the rules if there are no players play-
ing by them?
The work of video artist Paul Pfeiffer
makes a ghostly foray into these kinds of
de-peopled athletic scenarios. His photo
series The Four Horsemen of the Apoca-
lypse (2000-2009), for example, presents
doctored photographs of basketball play-
ers stripped of competitors and teamma-
tes alike. Here one leaps silhouetted,
there one peers hopefully skyward. Asin-
gle player baroquely staged, without jer-
sey number or team logo, leaping trium-
phant in a sublime moment of ambiguity.
The Four Horsemen stemmedfroma Pfeif-
fer project that did the opposite to publi-
city shots of Marilyn Monroe: leaving the
shot's surroundings but removing its cen-
ter: Marilyn herself. In both cases, con-
text is left wanting, leaving toomuchwig-
gle room for interpretation, something
photography in its verisimilitude is sup-
posedtoprevent thoughwhat RolandBar-
thes called "the perfect analagon": photo-
graphy's ability to naturalize anything.
Pfeiffer pulls a similar trick in his
films. In The Long Count (Thrilla in
Manila), (2001), he created a video loop
of boxing footage with the boxers digi-
tally erased. The audience whistles and
yells at the undulating ropes, which
sway under the force of the fighters'
sizeable yet absent bodies. Imagination
compels us to complete what is not
present, to solve the visual not-there. In
the case of The Long Count series, the
mind, if it recalls, supplies the bodies
of heavyweight contenders Muhammad
Ali and Joe Frazer from their match of
October 1, 1975.
Pfeiffer's 2009 installation at Berlin's
Hamburger Bahnhof combined a few of
his methodological forays. Vitruvian Fi-
gure, (2009) an enormous birchwood
and stainless steel model of a sports sta-
dium, sat in the same space as his sound
andvideo installation The Saints, (2007),
a digitally altered loop of the 1966 World
Cup (West Germany vs. England). In
another room, a film of a contemporary,
hired crowd in an Imax theater in Manila,
Philippines, watching the 1966 game,
and in another room, Pfeiffer's film Em-
pire, (2004), a three-month long video
projection of wasps building a nest. Ami-
niature television built into a gallery wall
aired the actual black-and-white footage
of that fated 1966 match (England won,
4:2) with all but one player, hat-trick
scorer Geoffrey Hurst, digitally erased.
The little man is ecstatic, jubilant and
utterly alone.
In this sports-related vein of Pfeiffer's
corpus, the players who cause crowds to
gather, fans to yell, and for Great Mo-
ments in Sports to be celebrated, are sim-
ply gone. The sounds of cheering crowds
become like the drone of wasps, signify-
ing nothing except perhaps the possibi-
lity of attack. Players are editedout of his-
tory, mere apparitions of victory. Are the
memories of large public gatherings,
such as at sports events, boundto sight or
to sound, or, perhaps, to an amalgam?
Pfeiffer's work interrogates the compo-
nents of collective memory, testing how
far visual alteration can go before the
event or game is no longer itself, before
we no longer are tethered to its rawmate-
rial. He shows us what the mind still sees
when we see nothing at all but are rather
given prompts to recall.
Pfeiffers intelligently reductive work
jars larger questions in our midst.
"When the World Trade Center went
down ... for long afterwards you sort of
looked up and expected to see some-
thing there," he told the PBS program
Art21. Pfeiffer doesn't expunge specific
others for ideological reasons, of
course, but rather to elevate the public
feat into celebration or to nudge solip-
sistic dreams into pure absurdity: Rules,
after all, need players. R. Jay Magill
Friends, Foundations, and Corporations
Paul Pfeiffer: Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (07), 2002. Fugiflex digital c-print. 122 cm x 152,5 cm. Courtesy carlier | gebauer
Visual Arts at the Wannsee
New York-based artists Paul Pfeiffer and Leslie Hewitt interogate the veracity of photography
METRO GROUP is the worlds most international retail
and wholesale company. We offer private and professional
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100 TIMES.
Continued from p. B1
Jones nodded.
"You ever smoke?"
"I have."
"I'd offer you one," he said, taking the
cigarette out of his pocket, "but it's the
only one I've got."
The expectancy was exquisite. Shelte-
ring the tip with his right hand, he lit it
with his left. First came the heat on the
lips and then the warmth in the mouth
and then his lungs slowly filling. A deep,
full breath. Instantly, the calm rose up
through the back of his neck, spreading
like a flood of perfectly cool water across
the surface of his overheated brain. He
was in it now that longed-for gap in
time, that merciful pause.
The girls were asleep. The phones
were quiet. The media had gone home.
Exhaling was a meditation unto itself.
The speed at which he moved fromone
performance or task to the next had
grown vertiginous. Which, strangely,
made the pleasure of executing each one
all the keener. Not only to reply by hand
to a few of the public's letters each night,
but knowing precisely how to communi-
cate his sincerity through the dark eye of
the camera as he explained for the White
House website what reading the letters
meant to him there was a pleasure inthe
exactitude of all this. The strain of it and
the pleasure twinned.
A cigarette suspended all that. And for
a moment, even here amid the splendor
and consequence, it joined him back to
the counterlives: the kid who didn't care
about his grades; the freshman listening
to the young leftists quote Nietzsche and
Foucault; the short-story writer alone in
his room after a day miming faith in pro-
gress (kneel and you shall pray), belie-
ving for a few evening hours that a
well-wrought sentence might set people
free. Before the organizing principle of
Michelle. Before the sorting power of a
more concrete ambition. Taking him
briefly back to the comforts of the slacker
and the cynic. That dark, scattered home
promising its own kind of safety.
He took another drag, tapping his ash
into a bottle cap he'd grabbed off his
"How long do we have?"
"An hour," Jones said. "Maybe less."
He turned and gestured to his Secret
Service man.
"Come on," he said to Jones. "Let's take
a walk."
The beast pulled up in front of the
South Portico and the two men climbed
into the backseat. They turned onto 17th
Street, passed the Corcoran Gallery, and
then took a right on Constitution Avenue.
"They hate it when I do this."
"I can see why."
"You ever get death threats?"
"There were a few subordinates who
probably wanted to kill me, but the desire
for promotion won out."
"They don't tell me about most of
them. Once you've got 500, what's anot-
her 50 here or there? They blend toget-
"This is good," the president called up
to the driver, "pull up here." The
three-car convoy came to a halt infront of
the Eccles Building and he lowered the
window, looking across the wide steps at
the Federal Reserve.
"Need some spare cash? I hear they
print the stuff."
Jones smiled tightly.
"This is where I step out. You coming?"
"I'm okay, Mr. President. This is Leon
calling. You go ahead."
With three agents behind and three in
front, he crossed Constitution Avenue
and headed through the trees and onto
the path beside the reflecting pool. It was
nearly three in the morning now and the
park was empty. It wasn't a Chicago
street in daylight with familiar faces to
wave to, but it sufficed. The silence and
the open air and the space to think in no
deliberate fashion.
He'd gone a few hundred yards, atten-
ding to the breeze and sound of his shoes
on the dirt, when he detected motion to
his right and saw a figure in the shadows
rising froma bench.
"Is that you?" the voice said.
The agents had swarmed the man al-
ready, one holding his hands aloft while
two more checked himfor weapons.
"Let's keepmoving, Mr. President," the
head of the detail said, taking his arm.
The interloper was a black man,
light-skinned, in his late forties or fifties,
dressed in a dark-green rain jacket and
suit trousers. "I won't hurt you," he called
out across the path.
"Mr. President ?"
"It's okay," he told the agent. "I've got
"Hey, there," he said, approaching the
man, expecting his homelessness to be-
come apparent. But as he got closer he
couldn't quite tell. The man was
clean-shaven. He wore black horn-rim-
med glasses beneath a high, narrow fore-
head. His clothes seemed to fit him well
enough. The president reached his arm
out and they shook hands at a careful dis-
tance. The man's grip was firm. His other
hand came up to rest gently across their
joined palms, like a minister's greeting.
"I was just thinking of you. And now
here you are."
"I came out for a walk. It's a beautiful
night." He drew his hand back. "You en-
joy it now, sir," he said, giving hima smile
and a nod.
"I'myour neighbor."
Half a stride away, the president came
to a halt and turned.
"Yeah? Whereabouts do you live?"
"Not far. We could talk awhile. I could
walk with you."
"Mr. President, I'mgoing to insist - ?"
He held his hand up, once again quie-
ting the agent.
Don't get trapped in the bubble. That's
what he and Michelle and Valerie kept
telling each other. There seemed nothing
unhinged in the man's affect. In fact, he
seemed oddly calm for a man who'd just
met the president in a park in the middle
of the night.
"All right, then," the president said, ge-
sturing to the ground beside him. The
man came forward, stooping a bit, one
hand held against his side, every motion
of his body dissected by the guards.
The two of them began walking slowly
along the path, side by side.
"You're up late," the man said. "You
must have had a long day."
"Most of themare. You're out late your-
self. You work around here?"
"I have a job at a liquor store. I write in
the mornings, or I try to. I was looking
through a box in my room today and I
found this old paperback Kafka. It starts
with one of his parables, 'An Imperial
Message.' Did you ever read that one?"
The president smiledtohimself, surpri-
sed and quietly delighted.
"Sure. Years ago."
"It's the peasant who thinks the empe-
ror's sent him a message, and maybe he
has, but the messenger's got too far to go
to ever make it out of the palace and the
capital to deliver it. I like the way he ends
that one: 'But you sit at your window
when evening falls and dream it to your-
self.' That's what got me thinking about
"How's that?" the president asked,
drawn in by the man's contemplative
rhythm. Members of the public were usu-
ally so nervous in his presence that all
there was time for was to tacitly commu-
nicate to them that the encounter was
going fine to, in essence, be with them
in their moment of awe, and then usher
them on their way. But there was an ease
in this man's voice, a finality almost, and
the sound of it undid something in the
The mancoughed, wincing slightly, be-
fore answering.
"It's like this," he said. "We're beco-
ming peasants again. Most of us. There's
the money people and the people around
them, andthen there's you. But the rest of
us, we're peasants. And we dream about
you. I dreamabout you. Mostly you and I
are talking, sort of like we are now. But
the strange thing is that I don't need a
message, I'm there to listen. It's you
you're the one who needs to speak. I'm
your confessor."
The agents were right, he thought.
This wasn't safe. The manmight be deran-
ged after all. As president, he shouldn't
endanger himself like this.
But then empathy that was part of the
job. He had to mete it out in tiny portions
or else risk losing his mind in the suffe-
ring of others. But if he shut it down, he
was lost. It was the piece of what he knew
to be his otherwise virtuosic self-aware-
ness that never moved with the same ala-
crity. It caught, it snared. It slowed him
"What you said about the money
people, I get that," he said, fumbling a bit.
"It's why we need to encourage citizens
to organize," he went on, hearing the hol-
lowness in the talking point.
The man shook his head, either sighing
or forcing out a breath, the president
couldn't tell which. As he glanced side-
long at him, he had the uncanny sense
that he recognized him. From Chicago
maybe, or NewYork. There was an open-
ness to his face, as if his whole person
were close to the surface. A guy, after all,
about his own age. But he couldn't place
him, and what were the chances? He was
exhausted, he thought, and beginning to
imagine things.
"What you say, it may be true," the man
said. "But that's off in the future. I'm tal-
king about right now. Here. On this path.
You've got something to tell me."
"Have we met?" the president asked.
"Not until now."
"I could have sworn??"
"I can still walk a little ways with you,"
the mansaid. "You've got time to think on
it." For a few moments they proceeded
along the Mall in silence.
"I can only imagine how much must
go through your head in a day. Is that
food up there as good as they say it is? I
read somewhere that you had a phone
straight to the kitchen where they'll
make anything for you, day or night. Is
that true?"
The president chuckled. "Yeah," he
said. "It's a trip. Nothing but arugula -
breakfast, lunch, and dinner."
At this, the man smiled. But his expres-
sion turned quickly into a grimace.
"Could we sit for just a moment?" he
asked. It sounded as if he were whee-
zing now, his breath coming more
They headed toward the edge of the
path as the agents muttered into their
mouthpieces, sweeping the area ahead,
patting their hands along the bottom of
the bench and eventually calling, "Clear."
"Ah, that's better," the man said once
he was seated. He was holding both
hands now against his side, pressing on
his rain jacket.
Glancing down, the president saw a ri-
vulet of red trickle over his knuckles, the
blood glistening dimly in the lamplight.
"Sir," he said. "You're hurt."
"It's nothing," he said. "It's just these
kids, they came into the store as I was
closing up tonight. They've been taun-
ting me for weeks. I've got my writing
notebooks with me in there, behind the
glass. And they taunt me. I was waiting
for the bus. Afewof themcame at me. It's
probably nothing, a flesh wound, it'll pro-
bably just heal itself right up."
He opened his jacket just slightly, and
they both looked down at his bloodstai-
ned T-shirt.
"Don't say anything," he whispered.
"Not yet. They'll take you away. You need
to just sit with me. It's all right."
The president felt his pulse quicken;
thesight of the bloodmomentarily paraly-
zed him. He had never seen so much of it.
The man must be in shock, he thought.
He'd somehow brought himself down
here in a state of shock rather than going
to a hospital.
Then, as if in a trance, the president
watched his own hand float up and reach
across, coming to rest on the wound. The
heat of it surprised him. As did the une-
venness of the skin, like folds of a wet rag.
The man's flesh throbbed against his fin-
gers. "That's it," he whispered. "Go
ahead, touch it. It's okay." It felt as if the
blood were seeping into his palm and ri-
sing upinto the veins of his arm. "Youcan
tell me," the man said, in a voice of per-
fect peacefulness. "Whatever it is you
need to say, you can tell me."
But how could he? How could he say
that for the first time he wished he were
small? Small enough to slip into this
wound, into the pain itself, to give the re-
lentless vigilance up. To slip inside this
man he so easily might have been, and
vanish. For once he had no words, the
wishitself toobrief, toodisavowedtocap-
He was about to mouth something, to
improvise, to reassure the man, but then
he felt an agent's hand on his shoulder. It
happened so quickly, the president loo-
king up into his face as they were forcibly
parted, seeing in the man's eyes a look of
pure pity.
Before he could orient himself again,
he'd been hustled back into the Beast,
which turned up onto the grass and was
now speeding off the Mall, back onto the
avenue, and up 17th Street.
Jones was still there on the far side of
the backseat with a file in one hand, a
phone in the other. He'd gone stiff and
silent, a posture that did little to hide his
disapproval and impatience with whate-
ver folly this excursion had led to.
When they stepped away from the car
under the South Portico, he heard the cry
of an ambulance siren down the hill,
headed back from whence they'd come.
He and Jones made their way along the
"We've received final confirmation,
Mr. President. We have ten, maybe fif-
teen minutes."
With a handkerchief he wiped the red
smear fromhis fingers.
"The target's still there?"
"And the others?"
"All of them. They're all still there."
"Do it," he said, turning on his heel,
bringing Jones, who was following from
behind, up short, his large frame snap-
ping to attention.
Up in the residence, only the lights in
the hall and in the small kitchen were on;
the rest was a well-padded silence. He
went to the cabinet, took down a glass,
and poured himself water from the tap.
His hands, he noticed, were shaking.
There were private parks, the chief of
detail had told himseveral times already;
there were cemeteries that closed at
night, places where they could keep him
safer if he still insisted on going for walks
like this, unscheduled. He would have to
do as they told him.
Sensing a presence, he looked up and
sawhis mother-in-lawstanding in her ba-
throbe, watching him from the semi-dar-
kness of the sitting room. He and Mi-
chelle and the girls were a talkative fa-
mily, always jabbering, most always ener-
getic. But Marian had a quiet streak and
often his communication with her was
wordless a look or a nod or a grip of the
hand. And so it was now. She ap-
proached, coming to stand in the kitchen
doorway, but she did not burden the mo-
ment with speech. She didn't ask him
what was on his mind or if there was any-
thing she could do.
Forty years she'd spent in that little
apartment of hers in Chicago, patient as a
saint as her husband grew sick and pai-
ned and could barely fight his way out of
bed. Forty years, andnowthis. This phan-
tasmof anending: her grandchildrenplay-
ing in Lincoln's house. The girls whose
lives she now feared for every day.
He put down his glass and hugged her,
knowing that very soon there would be
children in pieces in the Hindu Kush,
their limbs in the rubble showing up as
heat on the reconnaissance imagery, their
blood wetting the mortar, dead on the
most pragmatic ground. A message sent.
AdamHaslett is a NewYork-based wri-
ter and the author of Union Atlantic. This
story first appeared in November 2009 in
New York Magazine.
Since its inception, the Ameri-
can Academy's literature pro-
gram has hosted a stellar med-
ley of playwrights, novelists,
and poets, among them Arthur
Miller, Susan Howe, Jonathan
Franzen, Nicole Krauss, and Jef-
frey Eugenides, who returns
this November to present his
new book, The Marriage Plot.
The Academy is delighted this
fall to welcome poet TomSleigh
and writer Adam Haslett to its
roster, followed in Spring 2012
by Karen Russell, author of
the award-winning novel
Tom Sleigh is a poet, drama-
tist, essayist, and a Distinguis-
hed Professor at Hunter Col-
lege. He has published eight
books of poetry, a translation
of Euripides's Herakles, and a
book of essays. A recipient
of grants from the National
Endowment for the Arts and
the Guggenheim Foundation,
Sleigh has had five of his dra-
matic works produced, and his
poems frequently appear in
the New Yorker and other publi-
While at the Academy,
Sleight hopes to complete a
new book and a selection of po-
ems that aim for a music of
"clashing tones," a lyrical out-
pouring that can express the
difference between "what one
ought to feel and what one re-
ally does feel."
Karen Russell's short stories
have been featured in The Best
American Short Stories, Con-
junctions, Granta, New Yorker,
Oxford American, and Zoe-
trope. She was featured as one
of the New Yorker's "20 under
40" list and was chosen as
one of Granta's Best Young
American Novelists.
Russell's first book of short
stories, St. Lucy's Home for
Girls Raised by Wolves (2006),
earned her recognition as a
National Book Foundation
"5 Under 35" honoree, and her
first novel, Swamplandia!,
published in February 2011,
was praised by Stephen King
as "brilliant, funny, original ...
and creepy."
In Berlin, Russell will work
on her second collection of
genre-bending short stories,
wherein she seeks to fuse con-
temporary reality with fantasy,
history with myth, and blood-
pumping mysteries with philoso-
phical riddles. mm
Celebrating thirteen years of American belles-lettres
Night Walk
President Obama and the burden of decisions a fictitious short story
For an instant, the sight of
the blood paralyzed him. He
had never seen so much of it.
"I was just thinking of you,"
the man said. "We could talk
awhile. I could walk with you."
The girls were asleep.
The phones were quiet.
The media had gone home.