The story of Adam and Eve recounts a beginning and an end. It was insofar thoroughly appropriate that Stephen Greenblatt, this past November on the eve of a session of the advisory board, spoke of events in the Garden of Eden and their various interpretations. As on this occasion, Luca Giuliani recalled Greenblatt’s beginnings as literary scholar in his introduction, which you can read in this issue of the newsletter; at the same time, this evening marked the end of Stephen’s more than fifteen-year tenure as Permanent Fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg, and in his farewell he characterized his departure as an “expulsion from paradise.”
But generally unfounded is the widespread concern of outgoing Fellows that after their departure from the Kolleg they will – like Adam and Eve after the Fall – lead a life of travail and vicissitudes among the thorns and thistles. A sterling example of this is the composer Klaus Ospald (Fellow 2013/2014) whose piece a sei for six clarinets, composed at the Kolleg, had its world premiere in Zurich in February 2016. In a video-conversation with Reinhart Meyer-Kalkus, which is included in this newsletter, Ospald reflects on his music as being expressive of his rebellion against life.
Among the scholars of the current Fellow year 2016/2017 we should like to present the biologist Michael Jennions. His groundbreaking biological research on adult sex ratios paints a picture of relations between men and women that is entirely different from that of Genesis. But in this edition of the newsletter, you will discover Jennions’ other passion – the ambitious project to walk every single street of Berlin in one year.
If the Wissenschaftskolleg were a paradise then it would distinguish itself from that of Genesis in that one can always return to the shores of Halensee. One way of doing this is via the Fellow Forum workshops (https://www.wiko-berlin.de/en/fellows/alumni/fellow-forum), for which former Fellows can receive funding. In the current academic year there are workshops to be convened by Cindy Moss on “Multimodal Scene Perception through Echolocation and Other Sensory Modalities” (2-3 March 2017), by Victoria Braithwaite and Marc Viney on “Animal Experimentation”, and by Hans Thomalla on “Sound and Story” (28-29 June 2017). This latter will conclude with a lecture recital that simultaneously kicks off the annual meeting of the Fellows’ Club (29 June – 1 July 2017). The meeting’s motto this year is “Opera of the Future, Future of Opera” and we would be very pleased on this occasion to welcome you back to the Kolleg.
Sonja Grund & Daniel Schönpflug
On behalf of the Exexutive Board of the Fellows’ Club