Issue 13 / January 2018
by Katharina Wiedemann
This year, in the person of Vittorio Magnago Lampugnani, we have that rare species of Fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg – an architect. All the more reason to retain a memento of his stay with this interview conducted by the author Irene Dische. He explains his interest in those micro-elements of the cityscape which assist him in surprising ways to decipher the history of urban construction.
Every year there is a special article for Köpfe und Ideen which is composed by one of the Fellows and appears under the heading Brief aus Berlin / Letter from Berlin. This year’s text, by the Syrian writer and dissident Yassin al-Haj Saleh, might be more accurately titled Letter from Douma. In it the author describes the perfidious instruments employed by the Syrian regime in the present war and genocide.
This time the original text is not in German but rather in Arabic – though accompanied by our usual English translation.
The pursuit of scholarship within the family unit is a rarity – not only at the Wissenschaftskolleg. The members of this year’s focus group “Family History and Social Change in West Africa” have been brought together not only by dint of their shared ethnological interest in today’s West African societies; it just so happens that Carola Lentz, Isidore Lobnibe and Stanislas Meda Bemile are all members of the same family, thus lending their research a unique dynamic. The journalist Manuela Lenzen recounts her meeting with the three of them.
It will be in the fall of this year that Luca Giuliani, classical archeologist and Rector of the Wissenschaftskolleg since 2007, steps down from his post and passes the baton to the historian Barbara Stollberg-Rilinger. But before doing so, he sat down with the journalist and literary scholar Lothar Müller to discuss the social particularities and technical know-how involved in this role and what it has meant for his own research.
This year’s group of Fellows has been living and working at the Wissenschaftskolleg since September. As every year we should like to present some of the Köpfe (heads or minds) and their Ideen (ideas) in our series Köpfe und Ideen, which we first publish online and then as a printed collection come summer.
We kick things off this year with Qianfan Zhang, a constitutional lawyer at Peking University. In Berlin he is studying the extent to which our German federal structure and constitutional law might be applied to the incomparably larger nation of China.
Conducting the interview is Max Steinbeis, a journalist, lawyer and founder of the Verfassungsblog.