The notion that the past fades over time and history is the exclusive domain of historians was one of the premises of the theory of modernization. We now know that history and its interpretation is the focus of social and political conflicts. As long as different narratives are pitched irreconcilably against one another, the possibility of social acknowledgement and political equality is obstructed, and the formation of solidarity and a sense of commonality within society becomes questionable. Starting from specific examples, Aleida Assmann illuminates the problem of the effect of different interpretations of history on social cohesion, in an attempt to answer the question: “Can the past be repaired?”

 Aleida Assmann was born in Bielefeld in 1947, studied English literature and Egyptology and completed her habilitation at the University of Heidelberg in 1992. From 1993 until her retirement in 2014, she held the chair of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Konstanz. Together with her husband, Jan Assmann, she has produced a life’s work on the subject of “Cultural Memory,” the result of decades of close collaboration and exchange, which laid the foundation for a new scientific paradigm in the humanities and social sciences. She has held guest professorships at the Universities of Princeton, Yale, and Vienna, and won several awards, including the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade and the First-Class Federal Cross of Merit. She has also received an honorary doctorate from the University of Oslo.

With a musical performance by Nur Koç (bassoon).

Registration is required; admission is free.

Presented in German

Approximate running time: 1h 30m without intermission
Akademie Forum: 2022-23 Winter Semester Program
Pierre Boulez Saal
Französische Straße 33 D
10117 Berlin
Season 2022–2023,
Akademie-Forum: Aleida Assmann
Lecture: Can the Past Be Repaired? Torn Societies and Contrasting Narratives
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Pierre Boulez Saal - Mozart Auditorium
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