Event: Killing the Father in Germany

Stephan Feuchtwang, Felix Römer and Hans Steinmüller in conversation with John Borneman. Chair: Peter Skrandies

Friday 15th June, 3-5pm, London School of Economics and Political Science, Old Building, room 3.28

In 1967, psychoanalysts Alexander and Margarete Mitscherlich famously analyzed postwar Germany as a ‘fatherless society’ that was unable to mourn. John Borneman, a Princeton anthropologist, discusses what has happened to this thesis, and the different forms in which Germans have in the postwar period killed their fathers, both at home and in national politics.

A joint event of the LSE Language Centre and the Department of Anthropology.

John Borneman is Professor of Anthropology at Princeton University. He has conducted fieldwork in Germany, Central Europe, Lebanon, and Syria, and completed projects on the symbolic forms of political identification, the relation of the state to everyday life, kinship and sexuality, and forms of justice and accountability. His publications include Belonging in the Two Berlins: Kin, State, Nation (1992); Death of the Father: Toward an Anthropology of the End in Political Authority (2003); Syrian Episodes: Sons, Fathers, and an Anthropologist in Aleppo (2008); Political Crime and the Memory of Loss (2011). Currently he is working on a project on the therapeutic and legal treatment of incest and the sexual abuse of children in Berlin, Germany.

Stephan Feuchtwang is Emeritus Professor in the Department of Anthropology, London School of Economics. His main area of research has been China. But recently he extended it to the comparative study of the transmission of great events of state violence, in China, Taiwan and Germany. This research was published in After the Event (2011).

Felix Römer is Research Fellow at the German Historical Institute London. His main area of research has been the German history in the twentieth Century, first and foremost the history of National Socialism and the German army in the Second World War. His current research, however, focuses on conceptions of social justice in Britain and Germany after 1945.

Hans Steinmüller is a lecturer in the Department of Anthropology at LSE. The main object of his research are the ethics of everyday life in rural China, and he has written on topics such as gambling, rural development, and Chinese geomancy (fengshui). Recently he has started a new research project on craftsmanship and carpentry in central China.

Peter Skrandies is German language coordinator at the LSE Language Centre. His main areas of research are the use of German for academic purposes, intercultural rhetoric and pragmatics as well as translation studies. He worked as an editor in the publication of bilingual German-English dictionaries and maintains an interest in lexicology and lexicography.

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