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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Festival Week

From the 24th to the 30th of August 2019

The great challenges of our time exist in mutual dependence. Solving complex and global problems and answering social questions requires interdisciplinary expertise. As a researcher Alexander von Humboldt transcended scientific disciplines and discovered that everything worldwide is connected and that phenomena cannot be looked at in isolation. His methods and ideas are more relevant than ever today.

In the festival week from 24 to 30 August 2019 marking Alexander von Humboldt Year scientists and academics from around the world will be discussing some of the most urgent current challenges from Humboldt’s perspective, asking how Humboldt’s approaches can help us in solving them and where we need to rethink them. Which does not of course mean that the party aspect will be neglected!

 

24 August 2019: Grandes Trópicos!

 

Concert

Alexander von Humboldt was a polymath who was talented in every area – except music. Nonetheless, he was friends with the composer Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy and had a lifelong connection to the Sing-Akademie. Founded in 1791, the Sing-Akademie zu Berlin is today considered to be the oldest mixed choir in the world. Opened in 1827, the House of the Sing-Akademie (now the Gorki Theatre) was built by the music-loving citizens of the city themselves and until the middle of the 20th Century it was not only a renowned concert hall but also where the University first met the public. Alexander von Humboldt gave some of his famous Kosmos lectures in the Sing-Akademie.

The concert will open with Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy’s Humboldt Cantata, which was commissioned by Alexander von Humboldt in 1828 for that year’s conference of scientists.

The second part of the concert is devoted to Humboldt’s global perspective and his modernity: Humboldt was an early opponent of colonialism, slavery and exploitation of natural resources. This is why the programme for the concert consists mainly of 20th Century works and contemporary music from South America.

With:

  • Main and Girls’ choirs of the Berlin Sing-Akademie

  • Berlin Chamber Symphony Orchestra

Pieces:

  • Cantos de la Creación de la Tierra

Jacqueline Nova

  • Humboldt-Kantate

Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy

  • Cantus Arcticus (1. Satz)

Einojuhani Rautavaara

  • Parian

Silvestre Revueltas

  • Grandes Trópicos

Eduardo Bertola

  • Excerpts from: Amerindia - 10. Symphony

Heitor Villa-Lobos

Date

Saturday, 24 August 2019, 8 p.m.

Venue: Berliner Dom, Am Lustgarten 2, 10117 Berlin

 

Pre-sale for the concert Grandes Trópicos!

Questions about the event via mail: Veranstaltungen-250avh@hu-berlin.de

An event in co-operation with the Berlin Sing-Akademie

 

25 August 2019: Humboldt would interfere – absolutely?! On the link between Science and Politics today

 

Environmental degradation, social inequality and the exploitation of people and nature – Alexander von Humboldt was one of few who regarded these phenomena in their global contexts. He did not just observe – he pilloried as well, attacking slavery, colonial rule and over-exploitation of natural resources. He was also a proponent of democracy and human rights. But that did not stop him from compromising if it suited his scientific interests.

Representatives from the worlds of science, politics, environmental movement and industry will be discussing what contribution science can and must make today to solving current challenges. Should it be taking a political stance, can it indeed do that, or would it then be stretching the limits of its competence and independence?

 

Matinee

With:

  • Prof. Anita Engels, sociologist and climate researcher, University of Hamburg

  • Prof. Rahel Jaeggi, philosopher, Head of the Center for Humanities and Social Change, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

  • Cem Özdemir, MdB (Member of the Bundestag), Bündnis 90/Die Grünen

  • Erck Rickmers, businessman and philanthropist

  • Nora Milena Vehling, activist, Fashion Revolution

Host: Manuel Hartung, Head of the CHANCEN Department at Die Zeit

Date

25 August 2019, 11 a.m.

Venue: Fritz-Reuter-Saal, Dorotheenstraße 24, 10117 Berlin

Language: German

Questions about the event via mail:
Veranstaltungen-250avh@hu-berlin.de

An event in co-operation with Die Zeit.

 

26 August 2019: Science and Power – on Slavery, Colonialism and Revolution

 

Panel discussion

Humboldt is considered as the second discoverer of South America and as an opponent of slavery and colonialism, but also as a representative of the very science that profits from colonial structures and is itself part of a process of domination. The discussions against the background of the new Humboldt Forum are heated. But how is Humboldt seen in South America? In this discussion the current debate will be taken up and looked at critically from a South American perspective.

With:

  • Dr. Sandra Rebok, expert from the ‘Culture and Foreign Policy’ research programme, Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations (ifa)

  • Prof. Mauricio Nieto Olarte, Departamento de Historia, Universidad de los Andes, Columbia

  • Prof. Iván Muñoz Duthil, Catédra Humboldt, Universidad de La Habana, Cuba

Host: Prof. Michael Zeuske, Institute for Iberian and Latin American History, University of Cologne

Date

26 August 2019, 7 p.m.

Venue: Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Senatssaal,
Unter den Linden 6, 10117 Berlin

Language: German and Spanish

Further Informations

Registration 

Questions about the event via mail: Veranstaltungen-250avh@hu-berlin.de

An event in co-operation with the Embassy of the Republic of Cuba and the Instituto Cervantes. With the kind support of the Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations (ifa).

 

27 August 2019: Human Rights globally – on Universality today

 

Panel discussion

Alexander von Humboldt was deeply influenced by the ideas of the French Revolution, the declaration of human rights and their universal validity. Academics from Germany and France will be discussing how human rights must be thought of today if they are to retain their universal claim, and whether the categories of the Enlightenment still stand up.

With:

  • David Blankenstein, Deutsches Historisches Museum (German Historical Museum), Berlin

  • Dr. Philipp Corcuff, Institut d'études politiques de Lyon, France

  • Prof. Markus Messling, Centre Marc Bloch – Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

  • Prof. Sophie Wahnich, Institute for Advanced Studies, Princeton, USA

  • Christian Vigouroux, Department Head, 'Conseil d'Etat' , France

Date

27 August 2019, 7 p.m.

Venue: Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Senatssaal,
Unter den Linden 6, 10117 Berlin

Language: German and French

Further Informations

Registration

Questions about the event via mail: Veranstaltungen-250avh@hu-berlin.de

 

28 August 2019: Science and Poetry – exploring Nature, feeling for Nature

 

Reading and discussion

Not merely surveying and measuring nature but also looking closely at it and experiencing it – for Humboldt it was of central importance to grasp nature emotionally as well. He often did not hesitate to set down his observations of nature in poetic language. This made a lasting impression on depictions of nature in American literature and was crucial in changing perceptions of nature. Academics and artists will be discussing the connection and interplay between art and science and the extent to which Humboldt’s approach is still relevant.

Poet Susan Stewart will be reading from her work.

With:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

  • Prof. Susan Stewart, Princeton University, USA

  • Prof. Marcel Robischon, Albrecht Daniel Thaer Institute for Agricultural and Horticultural Sciences of the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

  • Sadie Weis, artist, Kansas, USA

Host: Prof. Dr. Catrin Gersdorf, Professor of American Studies, Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

Date

28 August 2019, 7 p.m.

Venue: Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Senatssaal,
Unter den Linden 6, 10117 Berlin

Language: German and English

Further Information

Registration

Questions about the event via mail: Veranstaltungen-250avh@hu-berlin.de

An event in co-operation with the Embassy of the USA.

 

29 August 2019: Science and Borders – how Ideas migrate

 

Panel discussion

Alexander von Humboldt was a world traveler and a cosmopolitan. He was globally connected and was in constant communication with researchers and politicians throughout the world. He had especially close links to Great Britain, and visited the country many times. But he was unable to make his planned expedition to India – he was refused entry to the British colony.

Academics from Great Britain and Germany will be discussing the challenges currently being faced by researchers against the background of newly emerging borders on the one hand and growing mobility of people and ideas on the other.

With:

  •   

    Prof. Philip Bullock, The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities, University of Oxford, UK

  • Jacqui Broadhead, Director of the Global Exchange on Migration and Diversity, COMPAS, University of Oxford, UK

  • Prof. Manuela Bojadzijev, Berlin Institute for empirical Integration and Migration Research, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Date

29 August 2019, 5 p.m.

Venue: Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Senatssaal,
Unter den Linden 6, 10117 Berlin

Language: German and English

Further Information

Registration

Questions about the event via mail: Veranstaltungen-250avh@hu-berlin.de

 

 

30 August 2019: Humboldt’s Russian Journey – two hundred Years later

 

Panel discussion

In the spring of 1829 Alexander von Humboldt took up an invitation from Tsar Nicholas I to travel into the depths of the Russian Empire with two young colleagues from Berlin. The journey was to take them to the Urals, the Altai up to the Chinese border and into the Caspian Depression. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, a joint German-Russian team of researchers went in search of Humboldt’s places in Russia in seven stages between 1994 and 2009. They gathered authentic material on places and people as well as on the scientific and social circumstances and impacts of their journey. Three of those who took part in and organised the expedition will be giving a report.

With:

  • Dr. Christian Suckow, historian, Berlin

  • Dr. Andreas Förster, physicist, Berlin

  • Kerstin Aranda, geographer, Sauvigney-lès-Gray, France 

Host: Dr. Stefan Karsch, historian, Regional Department for Central and Eastern Europe in the International Office, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Date

30 August 2019, 7 p.m.

Venue: Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Senatssaal,
Unter den Linden 6, 10117 Berlin

Language: German

Further Information

Registration

Questions about the event via mail: Veranstaltungen-250avh@hu-berlin.de