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Will there still be singing – A Hanns Eisler Cabaret

New York soprano Karyn Levitt comes to Princeton University’s
Taplin Auditorium with her celebrated program

Will there still be singing – A Hanns Eisler Cabaret

on December 1, 2017 at 7:30 pm

After a tremendous success at the Brecht Haus in Berlin and at different venues in New York City, incl. the Metropolitan Room, Karyn Levitt and her pianist Eric Ostling are excited to bring the program to Princeton University. Their show of Hanns Eisler songs and music with the words from Bertolt Brecht in English translation by Eric Bentley was premiered in Manhattan at the famous Café Sabarsky at the Neue Galerie at Central Park.

With its stirring songs, the show takes you back to last century’s Europe, its oppressive yet vibrant political times and through the life of Hanns Eisler, Brecht’s favorite collaborator, Schoenberg’s best student and Kurt Weill’s contemporary.

Karyn Levitt is THE performer of the English Eisler/Brecht repertoire of our time. Her close working relationship with her mentor, Brecht translator and friend Eric Bentley gives her the opportunity to consult with a contemporary witness and the source of the acclaimed translations to excite the next generation with Hanns Eisler’s music and Bertolt Brecht’s lyrics. Eric Bentley lives in New York and celebrated his 101st birthday this year.

Levitt also recorded the repertoire on her acclaimed CD Eric Bentley’s Brecht-Eisler Song Book.

“A highly successful new release… by Karyn Levitt, Eric Ostling, Brecht, Eisler and Eric Bentley – it comes with a warm recommendation, not only to English-speaking audiences.” – Peter Deeg, International Hanns Eisler Society, Berlin

Her future plans include Songs for Mother Courage with music by Darius Milhaud and words by Bertolt Brecht in English versions by Eric Bentley. A program which was only once performed by her in the world premiere at the Centennial Tribute to Eric Bentley at New York’s Town Hall in 2016.

For more information please visit and


The German Department Presents:

Film Screening and Discussion

Shot in semi-documentary fashion using non-professional actors, this account of a day in the life of a group of ordinary
Berliners is considered a pivotal example of late “New Objectivity.”
The 2005 restoration by the Netherlands EYE Film Institute, in German with English subtitles and a contemporary score
by Elena Kats-Chernin, will be preceded by the experimental short


Reshaping the Humanities and Sciences: The Berlin Lautabteilung in the 1920s

Princeton University German Department
Fall 2017 Lecture Series

Date: Thursday, November 16, 2016
Time: 4:30pm
Location: 205 East Pyne

Viktoria Tkaczyk (Humboldt U., Berlin; Max Plank Institute for the History of Science, Berlin)
“Reshaping the Humanities and Sciences: The Berlin Lautabteilung in the 1920s”

This talk’s focus is the Lautabteilung (“sound department”) of the Prussian State Library, directed by the language teacher and phonetician Wilhelm Doegen in the 1920s. In terms of academic infrastructures, I trace how the Lautabteilung emerged from the Royal Prussian Phonographic Commission, led by Doegen with the aim of recording prisoners of war interned near Berlin during 1915 and 1918. Doegen’s later Sound Department continued to serve several state authorities in interwar Germany, and attempted to unite the potentials of a scholarly sound collection and an acoustic laboratory. It aimed to establish the gramophone as a novel research technology that could unite multiple disciplines ranging from linguistics and language studies to musicology, ethnology, anthropology, zoology, criminology, medicine, and psychology. I will look more closely at two projects incorporated by the department, in applied psychology (led by psychologist Fritz Giese) and applied linguistics (led by linguist Theodor Siebs), which reveal regulative and future-oriented projections of German labor policy and language use. These two projects marked an important shift from earlier visions of scientific sound archives, motivated by a historicist desire for exhaustiveness and conceived as serving the purposes of analysis, toward an understanding of sound archiving as applied research.

Viktoria Tkaczyk leads the Research Group “Epistemes of Modern Acoustics” at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin, and is a professor at the Institut für Kulturwissenschaft, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. She is currently working on the emergence of new techniques of “thinking with sound” in a range of disciplines around 1900, and on a long history of architectural acoustics.

How Literatures Begin: A Comparative Approach to Problems and Methods

How Literatures Begin:
A Comparative Approach to Problems and Methods

Symposium for Friday, April 13, 2018
Denis Feeney (Department of Classics)
Joel Lande (Department of German)

A Comparative Approach to Problems and Methods

Although we often take it for granted that there are literatures composed in a host of different languages, the emergence of a literature is an improbable and complex historical achievement. In fact, most known languages did not develop writing, let alone a literature. This symposium seeks to discuss the cultural processes that, in a variety of different contexts, brought forth literatures. Our focus shall be not just on concrete historical circumstances, but also on the procedures, structures, and institutions that encouraged the development of distinct literatures. We are particularly interested in considering such issues as the consequences of different varieties of script, the creation of writing and the interaction with oral practices, the rise of print circulation, the passage from sacred to profane writing and reading practices, the use of antecedent cultural models, the distinction between local custom and cultural appropriation, the role of translation, and the participation in nation-building projects.

Our one-day symposium shall bring together scholars from within the Princeton community as well as a small number of external guests. In doing so, we wish to establish a context for discussion among a number of faculty members at Princeton who share an interest in literary beginnings. Our goal is to initiate dialogue among a group of disciplines at Princeton that do not often have the occasion for scholarly exchange. In particular, our symposium shall bring together scholars of East Asian, Ancient European, African, and Modern European literatures. The compact format of the symposium should allow for an intensive discussion.

Introduction: Joel Lande (Princeton University)

Panel 1: Ancient Paradigms
Deborah Steiner (Columbia University)
Sheldon Pollock (Columbia University)
Alberto Rigolio (Princeton University)

Panel 2: East Asian Focus
Ksenia Chizhova (Princeton University)
Wiebke Denecke (Boston University)
Martin Kern (Princeton University)

Panel 3: Modern European/African Focus
Jane Newman (University of California – Irvine)
Michael Wachtel (Princeton University)
Simon Gikandi (Princeton University)
Wrap-Up: Denis Feeney (Princeton University

(Event is organized by Denis Feeney and Joel Lande. Sponsored by the Department of German, Department of Classics, East Asian Studies, The Humanities Council, Comparative Literature, and Slavic)

Weimar Cinema: METROPOLIS

The German Department Presents:

FRITZ LANG, 1927; 148 MINS

A new 4K restoration of the
2010 “complete” reconstruction
of this pioneering expressionist
sci-fi political allegory; German
intertitles with English subtitles
and the original orchestral score
by Gottfried Huppertz.

When: November 7th
Where: East Pyne 010
Time: 7-9pm

Appearance: Fragments of a Political Phenomenology

Princeton University’s Department of German presents:

Appearance: Fragments of a Political Phenomenology

Juliane Rebentisch

Date: October 2nd, 2017
Location: East Pyne 010
Time: 4:30pm –

What does it mean to make a public appearance? If one believes Hannah Arendt, it involves very particular conditions; those of a specific space in which this appearance will be perceived by others. A “space of appearance,” as Arendt calls it, by no means automatically exists in every place where people gather as a crowd. Instead it is constituted wherever “people are together in the manner of speech and action.” It is only in this being together that an intersubjective “interstitial space” is created in which people exist not merely as things that are indifferent to one another but explicitly make their appearance in front of and for one another. The talk will critically develop the aesthetic, ethical and political dimensions of Arendt’s concept of a “space of appearance” in the context of contemporary debates on democracy and media.

Reading the Social: Lenz, Moritz, Karsch

Princeton University’s Department of German presents:
Nacim Ghanbari (jun. Prof., Univ. Siegen; Visiting Prof., Princeton German Dept.)
Reading the Social: Lenz, Moritz, Karsch

Date: September 20, 2017
Location: East Pyne, Room 205
Time: 4:30pm –

Is there a ‘new social’ in the literary and media history of 18th century? And if this is the case, what would the ‘old social’ have been? I will discuss these questions by drawing on current research on collaborative writing and epistolary network cultures. By juxtaposing Karl Philipp Moritz’ highly canonized novel “Anton Reiser” with Anna Louisa Karsch’s letters as well as marginalized works subsumed as ‘prose’ by Jacob Michael Reinhold Lenz, this talk considers the significance of patronage in the history of modern authorship, and comes to the conclusion that the ‘new social’ is much more hierarchical and media-driven than the apologists of the ‘old social’ would imagine.

Nacim Ghanbari is Assistant Professor for German Literature at the University of Siegen and principal investigator in the Collaborative Research Centre “Media of Cooperation”. She has published on German literature and culture from the eighteenth to twentieth century. Her work has been recognized with a Humboldt Foundation Feodor Lynen Fellowship for research at the University of Chicago, and a research fellowship at “IFK Internationales Forschungszentrum Kulturwissenschaften” in Vienna

Weimar Cinema: Nosferatu – Eine Symphonie Des Grauens

The Department of German presents:

Nosferatu – Eine Symphonie Des Grauens

F.W. MURNAU, 1922; 93 MINS
This unauthorized Expressionist adaptation of Bram
Stoker’s Dracula, often described as the first horror film, is here
presented in a restored and tinted print with German intertitles,
English subtitles and the original soundtrack by Hans Erdmann.

Oct 3rd, 7-9pm
East Pyne 010

Open to the Public

Weimar Cinema: Der Heilige Berg East Pyne 010

The German Department Presents:
Film Screening and Discussion
The problematic aesthetic
politics of nature are combined
with the cinematic debut of the
dancer Leni Riefenstahl in this
classic of the “mountain film”
genre. Restored and tinted print
with English intertitles and a
contemporary soundtrack by
Aljoscha Zimmermann.


Graduate Student Symposium

Princeton University
German Department
Graduate Student Symposium

Friday, March 31, 2017
Rocky-Mathey Theatre

1:00-1:30 Coffee and refreshments

1:30-2:15 Ron Sadan, “Writing as Practice: Toward Reading Robert Walser”

2:15—3:30 Diba Shokri, “How to know thyself (properly). Cases of self-observation in Moritz’ Magazin zur Erfahrungsseelenkunde

3:30-4:00 Coffee Break

4:00-4:45 Hannah Hunter-Parker, “Specimens, Scraps, and Cut-Ups: Johann Jakob Bodmer (1698-1783) and German Classics in Practice”

5:00—7:00 Reception / Dinner — Princeton Center for Language Study