W.E.B. Du Bois Lectures: Screening of "Sister Aimee"

Mi13Dez18:30Mi20:00W.E.B. Du Bois Lectures: Screening of "Sister Aimee"Followed by an artist talk with writers and directors Samantha Buck and Marie SchlingmannVeranstaltungsartGespräch,Screening,Vortrag

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The W.E.B. Du Bois Lecture Series in American Culture Studies offers new contributions to the urgently needed intercultural dialogue by inviting scholars and intellectuals to give lectures open to a wider audience that address some of the crucial aspects and problems of public culture and the modes of cultural critique today.

The lectures are named in honor of William Edward Burghardt Du Bois (1868 to 1963) an important and influential intellectual, scholar, public figure, and writer of 20th century America. After doing graduate work at Harvard University, he was a doctoral student at Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität (now Humboldt-Universität) from 1892 to 1894. In Berlin he studied with Gustav von Schmöller, Adolf Wagner, Heinrich von Treitschke, and Max Weber. The first African American ever to receive a Ph.D. from Harvard in 1895, he was subsequently professor of economics and history at Atlanta University from 1897 to 1910 and became widely known for his numerous historical and analytical studies of the social, economic, political, and cultural status of black people in the United States. In his famous book The Souls of Black Folk (1903), which combined political essays, cultural critique, autobiographical sketches, and fiction, Du Bois elaborated his notion of the inescapable “double-consciousness” that characterizes the lives of black Americans and his vision of the crucial role racial conflicts were to play all over the world in the new century: “The problem of the Twentieth Century is the problem of the color line.” He was a co-founder of the racially integrated civil rights organization National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and organized several Pan-African Congresses (from 1919 to 1945) which addressed the problems of imperialism and decolonization in a worldwide context. As editor of The Crisis, the journal of the NAACP, from 1910 to 1934, and of Phylon, from 1940 to 1944, Du Bois created a forum for black American literature, cultural and political debate, and social thought that situated African Americans in the wider frame of a revised notion of a multicultural democratic society in the United States and its interrelations with other parts of a postcolonial world. In 1958/59, he received an honorary doctorate from Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. He emigrated to Ghana in 1961 where he edited the Encyclopedia Africana. Du Bois died in Ghana in 1963.

American Studies in Perspective

In the age of globalization, the gradual unification of Europe, and the increasing awareness of the crucial importance of the political organization of social heterogeneity and cultural differences, a critical engagement with U.S. American culture and society has become ever more urgent. The repercussions of American multiculturalism, the interplay of competing public cultures, the impact of the new media, and the transnational perspectives of American cultural production have fundamentally changed the direction, the academic organization, and the public role of the interdisciplinary project of American Studies in the United States. These new developments not only challenge our understanding of the role American Studies should play in German universities, but also demand a new, genuinely dialogical conception of American Studies that articulates different and conflicting experiences and visions of the future from both sides of the Atlantic in a globalizing context. American Studies in Germany, seen in the wider European frame, can provide a forum in which the most pressing issues of the powerful dynamics of cultural differences, of the reorganization of the production of cultural knowledge, and of the implications of a reconstitution of the public sphere, all of them critical issues for the new Berlin Republic, can be debated in a transnational, comparative perspective.

The American Studies Program at Humboldt-Universität defines its research objectives and curricula in this context. It therefore focuses on the literary and cultural representations of, and theoretical approaches to, categories such as ‘race,’ ethnicity, gender, class, region, and age, and their complex interrelations within and beyond American society. Literary studies are complemented by studies of other print media, film, television, the internet, and the arts. The American Studies Program is involved in the new interdisciplinary Gender Studies program and cooperates closely with Cultural Studies, Cultural Anthropology, and the Modern Literature and Language Departments at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. Intercultural dialogues are pursued in collaborative research projects with scholars from the United States and European countries. These activities materialize in a number of student and faculty exchange programs with various American and European universities.

Screening and Artist Talk: Sister Aimee

Special screening of the film Sister Aimee (2019) followed by an artist talk with writers and directors Samantha Buck and Marie Schlingmann.

“Part 1920s radioplay, part western, part musical, and an all-around screwball comedy, Sister Aimee embraces one woman’s legend to validate the power of spectacle and the magic of a good storyteller.” —Sundance Film Festival

A sensational evangelist fakes her own disappearance and escapes to Mexico with her new beau and their guide in a partly true, partly made-up tale of fame and flight. In their playful feature debut, cowriter/directors Samantha Buck and Marie Schlingmann conjure a true retro-spectacular anchored by Anna Margaret Hollyman’s dazzling virtuosic performance in their feminist musical comedy.

Samantha Buck & Marie Schlingmann are an LA-based, queer writing and directing duo. Their feature debut Sister Aimee premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, played SXSW, and streamed on Hulu. Their short films The Mink Catcher and Canary played at Telluride, SXSW, Palm Springs, Provincetown, Indie Memphis, and others. They are recipients of the Sundance Film Two and the Sundance Universal Fellowships for their upcoming second feature film. On the TV side, they are in development on multiple projects, including a queer series at Sony Television and a limited thriller series based on a Karin Slaughter novel.

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(Mittwoch) 18:30 - 20:00(GMT+01:00)

HU BerlinUnter den Linden 6