Spindel Memorial Lecture presents Susan Neiman: "What I Learned Since I Wrote 'Learning From the Germans'"

by Office of Stewardship

Lecture Featured Event Open to the Public

Tue, Mar 7, 2023

7:30 PM – 9 PM EST (GMT-5)

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VAC, Visual Arts Center, Kresge Auditorium

Visual Arts Center




Susan Neiman's most recent book argued that Americans - and other peoples - have much to learn from Germany about historical reckoning. Historically, nations cultivate heroic narratives; failing that, they seek narratives of victimhood. Germany was the first nation to confront its vast crimes during World War II, and acknowledge that it had been neither hero nor victim but perpetrator.  This may seem obvious to outside observers, but this process was a long and hard one; in the first four decades after the war, West Germany considered itself the war’s worst victim. Dedicated grassroots work along with foreign policy considerations forced far-reaching changes in attitude. In the past two years, however, German historical reckoning has gone awry in many ways. Ms. Neiman will discuss this, along with parallels to current developments in the U.S.

Susan Neiman is Director of the Einstein Forum. Born in Atlanta, Georgia, Neiman studied philosophy at Harvard and the Freie Universität Berlin, and was professor of philosophy at Yale and Tel Aviv University. She is the author of Slow Fire: Jewish Notes from Berlin, The Unity of Reason: Rereading Kant, Evil in Modern Thought, Fremde sehen anders, Moral Clarity: A Guide for Grown-up Idealists, Why Grow Up?, Widerstand der Vernunft. Ein Manifest in postfaktischen Zeiten and Learning from the Germans: Race and the Memory of Evil.

Sponsored by the Harry Spindel Memorial Lecture Fund.

Please note: seating for this event is first come, first serve.

To view a live-stream of Susan Neiman’s talk, please visit the Bowdoin Talks website.

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