Digital Intellectuals Blog

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The energy of despair, the energy of passion

Two weeks to the first time a PhD candidate I tutored defends her PhD. Four days until summer term starts. One week to the March for Science. Is it a beginning or an end? It is, in any case, a moment of some quiet before a surge of energy. Preparing, hoping, wondering. Will any of it change anything? Will it make a difference? Does it even matter if it does – or doesn’t? Why do we choose to do one thing rather than the other – like, say, preparing the March for Science instead of writing a grant application? We make choices in...

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What are we marching for? (#MarchforScience, in Berlin and Paris)

The Marches for Science are gaining momentum all over Europe now. While it is still not easy to predict what the 22nd of April will actually look like, it is interesting to see how each country or city gives their interpretation of the meaning of the March for Science. For me as a researcher moving between Germany and France, the differences between what comes from France and what I experience in Berlin are palpable, but the initiatives all have a common ground behind their national or local specificities.

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March in April (in Berlin and elsewhere)

On April 22nd, 2017 a “March for Science” will be organized in different cities all over the world in order to protest against the way science is being treated by the current American administration – be it its consideration for knowledge, for international scientists, for data archiving, for transparency, or for something as simple (or seemingly simple) as a fact. The protests take place on Earth Day in order to mark the particular importance of climate change and of the scientific work related to assessing its progress and initiating necessary counter-measures. There will be a March for Science in Berlin. A team of...

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Families, I do not hate you

For the third time since I started the project “Berlin intellectuals 1800-1830”, great luck has come to me from descendants’ families. Unexpectedly, material turns out to be recoverable. Letters – answers to other letters we have edited in Letters and Texts – happen not to be lost after all. They are in a box, the box in a cabinet, the cabinet in the home of an elderly lady. And they have been there at least since the first edition (a censored edition, of course) was realised in the 1930s. The moment when you get a phone call at your office with someone...

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OPEN – Contribution to the AGATE Workshop January 16th, 2017

This is the text of my contribution to the Workshop “Open – Connective – Sustainable” Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear President Hatt, Dear Academy Representatives & Guests, I am honored and happy to have this opportunity to respond to Ulrike Wuttke and by doing so to proceed with the opening session of this workshop. There is nothing more adequate to open such a day than to start thinking about the very concept of openness. In my response, I will first take a short historical glimpse back in the history of the institution hosting today’s event. Then I will take a more...