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50 Israel and German researchers participated in the 12th GISFOH symposium on the topic of “Fluctuations in Stability: Confronting Uncertainties.”

The 12th German-Israeli Frontiers of Humanities (GISFOH) symposium, a joint project of the Israel Academy and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation of Germany, was held in an online format from November 8 to November 10, 2021. As in previous years, the symposium brought together 50 Israel and German researchers from various fields in the humanities for dialogue on a broadly defined topic extending beyond their individual areas of expertise. The symposium is designed to create a basis for interdisciplinary research collaboration in the humanities. Israel Academy member Prof. Billie Melman coordinates the project on behalf of the Academy.
The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation organized this year’s symposium, whose unifying theme was “Fluctuations in Stability: Confronting Uncertainties.” The symposium addressed the constant presence of uncertainty in personal human experiences, in thought, institutions, states, societies, economics and culture, and in various times and places. Four plenary sessions focused on: stability and its disruption by way of in “pluralism in law,” and the challenges that diversity, division and identities pose for uniformity in law; confidence and building confidence in a monetary economy or in non-currency economies, in the Roman Empire (especially in the Levant); political volatility in Latin America in the current century and its expression in economics, politics, birth rate policy and literature; and the undermining of certainty and hierarchy in (classical) music “after Beethoven” in various respects, including musical structures, Western repertoires and their globalization, and the acceptance of music.
Plans are already being made for next year’s symposium, slated to be held in Jerusalem in the regular in-person format. Scholars from the fields of economics, literary theory, moral philosophy and Middle East studies will participate in the 13th GISFOH symposium, whose topic will be “Agency and Global Crises: Environment, Inequality, Borders.” In the context of the global climate crisis and its impact on the environment, it will discuss: human activity and its sustainability in the areas of work and of development policy; ethical positions in the Anthropocene epoch, and, in particular, the question of responsibility for environmental damage; literary representations of climate disasters in dystopias in literature and cinema; and the connections between the local and the global in crises in the Middle East.
photo: Alexander von Humboldt Foundation