Campus News

Bowdoin to Host "Berlin Week" February 23-27

Story posted February 18, 2004

The Bowdoin campus will host a series of events examining the city of Berlin, Germany, Monday, February 23 through Friday, February 27. "Germany and Its Capital Berlin: Respect for Traces of Its History" will feature lectures, a reading, a documentary film showing, and a photography exhibit.

"Berlin-Mitte" ("Berlin: The Historic Core") is an exhibition of photographs by Guenter Wehrmann, deputy consul general, German consulate, Boston. The exhibit opening will be at 6 p.m., Monday, February 23, in Adams Hall, Common Room. Light refreshments will be available.

"Berlin-Mitte," formerly the heart of communist East Berlin, is where Germany's new seat of government confronts the German capital's 19th- and 20th-century history. Photographs include some of the Berlin sites where the present meets the past: Potsdamer Platz, Brandenburg Gate, the Reichstag, Friedrichstrasse, Unter den Linden, Gendarmenmarkt, Hackesche Hofe, and the Nikolai Viertel. "Berlin-Mitte" can be viewed between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Tuesday, February 24 through Saturday, February 28.

Guenter Wehrmann will give a talk after the exhibit opening, at 7;15 p.m., Monday, February 23, in Druckenmiller Hall, Room 151. Wehrmann's lecture is titled "German-American Misunderstandings - Common Values, Different Perceptions."

Berlin-born author Otto Emersleben will give a reading at 7 p.m., Wednesday, February 25, in Adams Hall, Common Room. Emersleben will introduce his novel Novembermarchen (2000), and read from its English translation by Helen Cafferty, Bowdoin's William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of German and the Humanities. The story of Novembermarchen is set in the small town of Turnstedt on the Baltic Sea during the summer of 1989, just before the Berlin Wall fell. The protagonist, Irmelin Horn, realizes that change is necessary - in her personal life, in Turnstedt, and in all of East Germany.

Emersleben's reading will be followed by a showing of the documentary Ode to Joy and Freedom: The Fall of the Berlin Wall. A question and answer period will follow. Refreshments will be available.

Two lectures will be given on Friday, February 27.

Sabina Dugan, architectural historian at the Smithsonian Institution, will give a talk titled "Adolf Cluss: The German Revolutionary Who Built a Cosmopolitan Capital in Washington, D.C." at 7 p.m. in Searles Science Building, Room 315.

A revolutionary during the failed 1848 uprising in Germany, and a devoted socialist in his early years, Adolf Cluss became one of the most influential architects and engineers in Washington, D.C., from the 1860s to the 1890s. During this period, the young city reinvented itself as the capital of a united nation following the Civil War. The city was recognized as a place for innovation, a national and international stage for giving shape to the future. Cluss was at the forefront of the movement. His elegant red brick buildings, six of which remain in the city center, are among the capital's most beloved 19th-century structures. His efforts to improve the city's infrastructure, beautify its public spaces, plan for interrelated urban systems, and use building regulations to shape healthy and safe growth, mark Cluss as an influential early urban planner.

Dr. Ronald V. Wiedenhoeft, professor emeritus at the Colorado School of Mines, will discuss "Architecture and Politics in Berlin: Preservation and Transformation of a Capital's Unique Image" at 7:30 p.m. in Searles Science Building, Room 315.

Berlin's Gestalt has gone through many transformations, the most drastic of which was its devastation in World War II. While one would expect that such reduction to an apparent pile of rubble would deprive a city of its history and its character, politics of architecture in Berlin has managed a dramatic synthesis of preservation and transformation. Despite major controversies over how Germany's former capital was to be molded into its new capital, the net result has been not only Europe's largest building site but an exciting city where everything is possible. Historic buildings and ensembles are rejuvenated - even replicated - to stimulate a strong sense of continuity and identity with traditional values of the past.

All events during "Berlin Week" are free and open to the public. For more information call 725-3396.

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