Seminars

  • Founded
    1983
  • Seminar Number
    585

This seminar, made up of theoreticians, researchers, and educators, examines the themes of ethics, moral education, and society in a genuinely interdisciplinary fashion, covering such topics as moral motivation, moral development, moral education, and moral theory. Membership is drawn from the fields of psychology, philosophy, sociology, education, political theory, and religion. The seminar provides a meeting ground for communication and support unique to the New York metropolitan region.


Co-Chairs
Dr. Elizabeth Cohn
ec2341@columbia.edu

Ronald Gross
grossassoc@aol.com

Rapporteur
Luis Gustavo Perez Fakhouri
lpf2114@columbia.edu

Meeting Schedule

10/07/2021 Online Meeting
1:00 PM
LEARNING FROM THE GERMANS: Race and the Memory of Evil
Susan Neiman, Einstein Forum
Abstract

Abstract

As an increasingly polarized America fights over the legacy of racism, the distinguished author of the contemporary classic Evil in Modern Thought, asks what we can learn from the Germans about confronting the evils of the past. In the wake of white nationalist attacks, the ongoing debate over reparations, and the controversy surrounding Confederate monuments and the contested memories they evoke, Susan Neiman’s Learning from the Germans delivers an urgently needed perspective on how a country can come to terms with its historical wrongdoings. Neiman is a white woman who came of age in the civil rights–era South and a Jewish woman who has spent much of her adult life in Berlin. Working from this unique perspective, she combines philosophical reflection, personal stories, and interviews with both Americans and Germans who are grappling with the evils of their own national histories. Through discussions with Germans, including Jan Philipp Reemtsma, who created the breakthrough Crimes of the Wehrmacht exhibit, and Friedrich Schorlemmer, the East German dissident preacher, Neiman tells the story of the long and difficult path Germans faced in their effort to atone for the crimes of the Holocaust. In the United States, she interviews James Meredith about his battle for equality in Mississippi and Bryan Stevenson about his monument to the victims of lynching, as well as lesser-known social justice activists in the South, to provide a compelling picture of the work contemporary Americans are doing to confront our violent history.
In clear and gripping prose, Neiman urges us to consider the nuanced forms that evil can assume, so that we can recognize and avoid them in the future.





Notes: Joint meeting with the seminars on Innovation in Education (511) and Memory & Slavery (689)