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Una with the partisan women in Zagreb, Croatia (Credit: Personal Archives)

Una Blagojevic, a Serbian 2013 BA graduate, has been around the world. Currently residing in Budapest, Hungary and beginning her master’s thesis at the Central European University, Una looks back on her time at Bard Berlin, then ECLA*, with great fondness. I sat down for a late-night Skype chat with Una to discuss the transformative and orienting powers of core courses, her shift from Berlin to London to Uganda to France to Budapest, and the consistent and enduring eccentricities of Pankow wildlife.**

Tell me about your time in Uganda.

My Uganda trip was quite amazing! After I left ECLA, I was planning to stay in Berlin for my  master’s, but the program I applied for was all in German, and my knowledge of German was not high enough. I also couldn’t find any scholarships to do my master’s in England, so I was quite unhappy and disappointed. And then, just totally coincidentally, a friend of mine saw that there was a safari company in Uganda looking for interns, which was a totally new thing for me because it had nothing to do with my undergraduate education at all.  

Right. After four years of doing school, this is something completely different.

Yes, totally different! Sometimes when I tell people that I spent a year working for a safari company they think that this was some kind of place where people go to shoot animals, and I would never do something like that. I didn’t do that and this was not that kind of company. They had some lodges all around Uganda, large lodges in the savannas of a national park called Kidepo Valley. I spent approximately four months there. It was so beautiful. I was always in nature, helping out. My tasks also included working in an office and helping with boring administrative stuff, documents, calculating budgets in Excel. I always wanted to escape from this sort of work after finishing my Gymnasium. There, in Serbia, you usually go and work or study in a department, like natural sciences, math or physics After I finished Gymnasium  I said ‘Never again!’ and then I turned to humanities. It was nice to do it again in Uganda, though.  

What was the community in Uganda like?

Even though the administrative work was boring, I was very close with the staff, helping out as much as I could and also hanging around with the guests. It was a very small, intimate approach to work, so we would all eat at a big table and they would serve us and we would all sit and talk about which animals we’ve seen and things like that. Sometimes I felt like it was strange because it was a place where very rich people would come and spend time in a ‘wonderful African, Ugandan experience’. Sometimes I was kind of not sure what to think of myself being there. But I had this great time where every day was filled with new and crazy experiences. I lived in a small hut, too, made out of wood and leaves and such: They tried to make it as natural as possible to give an ‘explorer’s experience’. I lived in one of these, and in the morning I heard animals making such crazy sounds, and, even though the hut was off the ground for security reasons, we would get woken up by screaming animals. It was always wild boars.

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The participants of the 2nd LESC in Freiburg (Credits: Alexandra Sachariew, University College Freiburg)

Hello all you BCBers,

In case someone has been wondering about my absence from BCB in the past semester, let me reassure you of my return in Fall 2017: I am currently not in Berlin but studying abroad at AUC in Amsterdam. The first question one might ask is probably: Why would I study abroad in Amsterdam? Isn’t it just like Berlin, only smaller and with canals and actual bike lanes? I asked myself the same things. But if that’s all you know about Amsterdam, you should just come here and fall in love with this beautiful city yourself. Very few people are able to escape its magic spell.

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This article originally appeared on Public Seminar and has been republished here with their kind permission.

deste gosto (Credit: Ponto e virgula | Flickr)

deste gosto (Credit: Ponto e virgula | Flickr)

Earlier this week, and in advance of the inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States, Andrew Sullivan produced a video for BBC Newsnight, detailing how the election campaign and Trump’s success reminded him of Socrates’ account of the rise of a tyrannical regime in the eighth book of Plato’s Republic. The video has made it into pretty heavy circulation, and as someone who has taught this particular text in part or whole just about every year since the inauguration of President Bush (43, not 41 — I’m not that old yet) I’ve been asked by a more than a few people “How accurate is Sullivan’s presentation?” and “Can we or ought we derive a different lesson from Socrates’s analysis?” This post is my reply to those questions.

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► Monday: Transit Havanna – New Heroes of the Cuban Revolution

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This documentary depicts Mariela Castro’s, the Cuban president’s daughter, view on the completion of the 1959 revolution. The documentary focuses on Cuba’s assistance of  the medical process transgender people undergo and explores such themes as emancipation and self-realization. The filmmakers document the lives of 3 transgender figures to better understand and convey the reality of being transgender in Cuba, a country with many paradoxes from seeming open-mindedness to religious repression and sexism.

  • When: 20:00
  • Where:  Babylon Cinema – Rosa Luxemburg str. 30, 10178
  • Admission: 9€ for 2 tickets
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► Monday: Illustration & Graphic Art Festival!

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Start your Fall Break by enjoying what the international festival of contemporary illustration and graphic art has to offer! Illustrative annual exhibition offers a platform for local and international artists to present their “craft”. What you will see is a great selection of today’s illustrations and graphics. This year’s festival will be featuring 32 international artists with diverse artistic positions and unique works in this genre.

  • When: 10:00-17:00
  • Where: Direktorenhaus – Am Krögel 2, 10179 Berlin
  • Admission: 4€
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From left to right: Michael Weinman, David Hayes, Andy German, Stuart Patterson. Credit: Gaia Bethel-Birch (AY 2016)

I am surprised that it took me this long to figure out just who exactly this “Plato” guy was. Growing up, I heard the names “Plato”, “Socrates”, and “Aristotle” often, usually in relation to one another, but did not understand what these names contributed to Western philosophy and science. Until recently, the mention of one of these three conjured up only imaginings of bearded faces and wise, earnest discourse in my mind. My knowledge went so far as to connect the names to Greek philosophy. Happily, my first semester of a liberal arts education has brought me further in my understanding.

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Dance workshop with Eva Burghardt. Photo: Inasa Bibic

Dance workshop with Eva Burghardt. Photo: Inasa Bibic

Dancer and choreographer Eva Burghardt gave an intensive dance workshop on campus the weekend of 25th-26th of April. Body Space Landscape was a «movement-based» workshop which mainly aimed at exploring all three categories through questioning the conservative understanding of dance as an artistic medium for certain types of corporeal expression. After two days of thinking bodies in movement, whether in the space of the studio or the architecture of a factory, or the topography of a park, I am still stupefied (almost ashamedly) by what I have considered to be a qualitatively different philosophical experience. Never before have I seen dance and philosophy — two distinct modalities of experiencing the world (as I previously thought) — converge in such a spontaneous and highly effective fashion. How does one think movement? I am convinced that both dance and philosophy (and here, dance will be privileged) are helpful in (beginning to) answering this question.

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Colloque Heidegger. © Yann Revol

Colloque Heidegger. © Yann Revol

 

The importance of Martin Heidegger’s work for 20th century philosophy can hardly be overstated. Sartre’s existentialism, Derrida’s deconstruction, Levinas’ ethics, and the political thought of Hannah Arendt, Leo Strauss, and Herbert Marcuse – Heidegger exercised a formative influence on all of them. All the same, Heidegger’s engagement with Nazism in the early 1930s casts a shadow on his reputation to this day. How far this political affiliation reached and what it implies for his standing as a philosopher has been subject to fierce debate for many decades now.

From February 1933 to April 1934, Heidegger was the Nazi-appointed rector of the University of Freiburg. He soon quit over disputes with the party, although he formally remained a party member until the end of the war. By some accounts he later called his political engagement the “greatest stupidity of his life”, but no written record exists of such confession, and after the war he never thought it necessary to issue a public mea culpa. Some say that he did protect Jewish friends and colleagues as rector, while some say that he denounced others. It is clear that in his writing he often condemned Nazism: sometimes subtly, between the lines, and sometimes explicitly alongside communism, capitalism, and science. However, some argue that certain strands of Nazi thought pervade even the deepest strata of his philosophy.

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