The great moral narratives of cruelty confront us with profound political consequences. The Western narrative centers on the crimes of totalitarianism, such as the Holocaust and the Gulags. For the commemoration of the Holocaust, Israel is the focus of attention, cast in the role of guaranteeing the safety of the Jewish people. Beyond the Atlantic world, these memories play a less central role. Here, the cruelties of the West against the non-Western world are in the spotlight, with colonialism and imperialism at the center of attention. According to this narrative, Israel is seen as the handmaiden of the West as well as a society of settlers, subjugating the Arba population.
These two moral narratives cannot always be distinguished clearly; in historiography and political rapprochements, they are often linked, and especially in the Middle East conflict, they overlap and compete with each other. The comparison of pain and victimhood is a key element. Based on Natan Sznaider’s book Fluchtpunkte der Erinnerung, this evening’s discussion will also examine how to argue productively.

Natan Sznaider is Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the Academic College of Tel Aviv. He specializes in sociological theory, globalization, and the culture of memory. Born in Mannheim, he emigrated to Israel, where he began his studies. He received his doctorate in the U.S. with a thesis on the sociology of compassion and has held several guest professorships in Germany. His most recent publications include, Neuer Antisemitismus? Fortsetzung einer globalen Debatte (ed. Christian Heilbronn and Doron Rabinovici, Suhrkamp 2019) and Fluchtpunkte der Erinnerung: Über die Gegenwart von Holocaust und Kolonialismus (Hanser 2022).

With a musical performance by Ibrahim Alshaikh (clarinet).

Registration is required; admission is free

Presented in German

Due to high demand, this Akademie-Forum will take place in the Pierre Boulez Saal foyer.

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: Natan Sznaider
Lecture: Thinking in a Polarized World: On Intellectual Freedom of Movement
Past Event
Pierre Boulez Saal - Foyer

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