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Archaeology of the Present

Panel talk with Jan Assmann and Gabriele Brandstetter


As FIND 2019 uses theatre as a tool to outline a kind of »Archaeology of the Present« where contemporary history is excavated to uncover the structures and origins of our world today, questions about collective memory will also frequently arise. Almost nobody has researched this topic as extensively as Egyptologist Jan Assmann whose 1992 book »Das kulturelle Gedächtnis« (»Cultural Memory and Early Civilization«) represented the first important monograph on the subject. What role does memory play in the development of our images of ourselves and the world? Which forms of cultural memory exist, how are they organised and how do they change over time? With his latest book »Achsenzeit. Eine Archäologie der Moderne« he sticks to these questions and goes a step further: What significance can references to classical antiquity hold today? How can we make looking at other cultures beneficial for our own future?

Jan Assmann is an emeritus professor of Egyptology at Heidelberg University and honorary professor of cultural studies at the University of Konstanz. He has undertaken research sabbaticals and been guest professor at universities including in Los Angeles, Vienna, Paris, Jerusalem, Oxford and Chicago. He has won numerous awards including the Sigmund Freud Prize for Scientific Prose (2016), the Balzan Prize (with Aleida Assmann, 2017) and the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade (with Aleida Assmann, 2018).

Duration: ca. 90 minutes

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