Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Being Good in Life

"About Family, of the Virgin Marshmallow and about Being Good in Life" is the provocative title of a lecture reflecting on anti-Semitism and anti-Islamism in contemporary German discourse from the literary perspective. This presentation by Esther Dischereit will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. 1 November in Room 238 of the Campus Center at Indiana University-Purdue University in Indianapolis. It's sponsored by the Max Kade German-American Center and the IUPUI German Program.

Dischereit, who is the Max Kade writer-in-residence at Oberlin College, will unfold thoughts on what it is like to be foreign or to be mainstream, challenging certainties about our personal origins. She counters desires to renew demarcations against the outsider, like the immigrant Muslim baker from Turkey with her shop in Berlin-Moabit. Her presentation ponders the ongoing debate about the relative higher or lower value of race, religion, genetics or other "targets".

Dischereit is a prolific and versatile Jewish-German writer. Her work challenges the repression that she feels characterizes German memory of the National Socialist past, bearing witness not to the Holocaust itself but to how it is both remembered and forgotten in twenty-first-century Germany. Her work addresses intergenerational discussions, themes of alienation and "otherness" in German society that include questions on minority and gender.

Her work covers a wide spectrum of genres: novels, stories and essays; poetry, plays, including radio plays; opera libretti and sound installations. She collaborates with composers and jazz musicians and founded the avant-garde project “WordMusicSpace/Sound-Concepts. A union activist and advocate for women, and later for art and culture with the German Trade Unions, she has played an increasingly prominent literary and cultural role in Germany since the 1980's.

Her fiction has earned her international acclaim and translation of several of her novels into English and Spanish. She was a fellow at the Moses Mendelssohn Centre for European and Jewish Studies and has lectured widely in the United States, Canada, Columbia and Israel. Esther Dischereit has won stipends from the Hessian Ministry for Science and Art, the Stiftung Preussische Seehandlung in Berlin, the Berlin Senate and the Erwin-Strassmann-Stiftung. A symposium about Esther Dischereit's work was held at the University of Wales, Swansea, in 2003, and she was writer-in-residence at Deutsches Haus, New York University, in 2004. In 2009 Esther won the Erich Fried Prize, the most prestigious literary prize awarded by Austria.

For more information, contact Claudia Grossmann, 317:274-3943. Visitor parking is available in the IUPUI Vermont Street Parking Garage.


No comments: