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A. James McAdams

The author ponders over the identity of the last self-identifying East German and wonders what he or she will say before leaving memories of the region behind. He distinguishes among three possible candidates for this honor: the ordinary citizen with little aspiration to political or social notoriety; the enthusiast with an interest in perpetuating the old regime's values; and the dissident activist dedicated to transforming that order. After identifying the likely last East German, the author speculates about the message our protagonist will have to share with the leaders of unified Germany. Finally, he provides reasons for why the Federal Republic can benefit from this advice.

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Alexander Yakobson

Is Israeli democracy in danger? One often hears nowadays that it is. It is worth recalling how often, and how confidently, this has been asserted in the past. Since May 1977, when the right-wing religious coalition first came to power, it has been claimed repeatedly that Israel’s democracy is deteriorating and some form of clerical fascism is emerging. In the aftermath of the 1977 election a member of the outgoing Labor government burned his papers, fearing what might happen if they fall into the new regime’s hands. These fears, then, were not confined to some radical fringe. In a somewhat less dramatic fashion I shared and voiced them too.

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Recapturing the Lost

Digitalized Memories of the Rhodesian Bush War

Ane Marie Ørbø Kirkegaard

Rhodesians occupy a very specific digitalized time-space bubble at the very edges of a margin that researchers think of as “past.” In this study, I trace the memorization of the Rhodesian Bush War on YouTube, of what it was like to fight for a dream and see it crumble in an isolated and highly racialized society. Th rough narrative analysis focusing on identity formation and social networks of relationships, a militaryromantic story of racialized masculine heroism, suffering and sacrifice is pieced together, forming a globally shared Rhodesian space-time bubble of meaningfulness, making it an active part of the present as much as a remnant of the past.

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Verena Stürmer

The ban on almost all previously approved textbooks in occupied Germany in 1945 brought about a turning point in the history of reading primers in this country. This article examines the requirements that textbooks had to fulfill in order to be approved by the authorities of the various occupation zones. In spite of differing sociopolitical and pedagogical attitudes and conditions, reading primersin all occupied zones shared the theme of children’s play and harmonious everyday life. However, a comparative analysis of the primers reveals significant differences that cannot be explained exclusively as a consequence of influence exerted by occupying powers. Rather, these differences resulted from the context in which each primer appeared.

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Jonathan Magonet

As congregational rabbis, or in any other role, those gathered here have taught, guided, supported and accompanied people through all the stages of their lives; shared their times of joy, and been quietly or actively present, often for long periods, in times of sadness or tragedy. This is self-evident, and each individual rabbi, has an endless series of stories to tell. But the collective effect is quite overwhelming. So what is needed to enable us to continue this task, this vocation, to empower those who come after us?

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Janet Burden

The article is a personal reflection, originally given as a sermon, on lessons learned from the experience of being a straight member of Beit Klal Yisrael. Beit Klal Yisrael is a largely, though not exclusively, LGBTQ Jewish community in West London, founded by Rabbi Sheila Shulman. The author found there no need to be part of a couple or a family, and no need to explain or apologize for her non-Jewish background. Community members understood that ties of affection, of choice and of shared lived experience were as significant as those of blood or socially recognized relationships.

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Colloquium for the Millennium

Forum 2000 in Prague – 1997 and 1998

Albert H. Friedlander

In September 1997 Vaclav Havel and Elie Wiesel called together the great thinkers and leaders of the world to look at the year 2000 and to share their thoughts for the future of the world. Nine Nobel Prize winners, at least ten former presidents or current leaders of countries, and spiritual thinkers representing the religions of the world assembled in Prague, met for five days in a splendid castle, and tried to make some informed statements about the future of the world after the millennium. In October 1998, most of the speakers met again in Prague.

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Sick Weather Ahead

On Data-Mining, Crowd-Sourcing and White Noise

Carlo Caduff

The main concern of this article is with the ways in which technologies of data-mining and crowd-sourcing have made it possible for citizens to contribute to the expansion of infectious disease surveillance as both a concrete practice and a compelling fantasy. But I am less interested in participation as such, and more concerned with the epistemological effects that this technological mediation might have for the possibility of epidemic events to become shared objects of knowledge. What happens with epidemic events when they become targets of data-mining and crowd-sourcing technologies?

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Crafting Future Selves

Time-Tricking and the Limits of Temporal Play in Children’s Online Film-Making

Espen Helgesen

Children in Norway increasingly spend time online, where they play games, create and share videos and hang out with friends. Drawing on fieldwork among immigrant families in Norway, this article investigates the use of avatars to facilitate temporal play in children’s online film-making. By creating animated films starring their own and their friends’ avatars, children playfully engage with a wide range of imagined future selves. Avatars constitute on-screen extensions of selves, allowing inhabitants of online environments to explore and experiment with otherwise inaccessible viewpoints and perspectives. Addressing the limits of time-tricking in children’s temporal play, the article shows how offline conventions shape what avatars can do.

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Daniel Newman, Peter Wells, Paul Nieuwenhuis, Ceri Donovan and Huw Davies

This article considers electric cars as socio-technical experiments in meeting mobility requirements. There have been numerous trials and government incentives to promote such vehicles, but with a notable lack of success. The article thus seeks to address an urgent need to understand such “transition failure,” which may ultimately impact upon how progress is measured in sociotechnical transitions. Presenting results from a recent research project, it is suggested that shared usage models hold greater potential for achieving sustainable personal mobility. It is concluded, however, that multiple niche experiments present a highly complex situation in which cumulative learning is problematic.