Germany's Brain Drain in the Humanities: Cultural Transfer and Academic Exile

By:
Professor Dr. Hinrich C. Seeba
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There is a growing concern today that some of the best young scholars from Germany will be lost to the more attractive university system in the U.S. But it is usually forgotten that the current German brain drain is only a lesser sequel to another, the forced emigration of Jewish academics from German-speaking countries during the Third Reich. These exiled scholars, in both the sciences and the humanities, made a historic contribution to transforming many disciplines and major universities in the U.S. as a whole into the attractive elite system that it is today. The “cultural turn” that marks the globalized, intercultural study of the humanities today, including the recent surge of “Kulturwissenschaften” in Germany, would be inconceivable without the input from this earlier, involuntary brain drain in American higher education.


Keywords: Brain Drain, Academic Exile, Cultural Turn, Educational Policy
Stream: Immigration, Refugees, Race, Nation
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
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Professor Dr. Hinrich C. Seeba

Professor, Department of German
Humanities Division of the School of Letters and Science, University of California at Berkeley

USA

Born and raised in Hannover, Germany, Professor Seeba studied German, Greek and Philosophy at the universities of Göttingen, Zürich and Tübingen; he passed his Staatsexamen in 1966 and received his Dr. phil, in 1967, both from the University of Tübingen. He started teaching at Berkeley in 1967 and served twice as departmental chair, from 1977-81 and again from 1989-91. He was a Guggenheim Fellow in 1970/71 and visiting professor at the Free University Berlin in 1992, at Stanford University in 1994, and at the Universidade de Sao Paulo, Brazil, in 1999. He was chair of the Society & Culture group in the Center of German and European Studies from 1991-95. His teaching and research areas include 18th to 20th century German literature with emphasis on the enlightenment, the Napoleonic era, the Vormärz, contemporary trends in German literature, intellectual and institutional history, national and cultural identity formation, the theory of literature and interpretation (hermeneutics), cultural criticism, and problems of historiography.

Ref: H06P0076