On the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the new debate of our European Challenges series will investigate the hopes and disillusions resulting from this historic event. It will focus on the current situation of the German capital: a showcase of capitalism triumphing over communism, largely gentrified but still flowing with waves of Ostalgia, Berlin is obviously situated at the crossroads of two Europes, with very different conceptions and expectations. A tension that has been intensified by the rise of the German far-right in the last regional elections.
Still, Berlin remains a major artistic scene that continues attracting artists and designers, choreographers and musicians from around the world. But what does Berlin itself think? And what does the city stand for in today’s Europe?
Sonia Combe, historian, specialist on the communist world, Associate Researcher at the Centre Marc Bloch, Berlin, she edited in 2009 Berlin, L’Effacement des traces (Fages éditions) and has just published La loyauté à tout prix. Les floués du “socialisme reel” (Le Bord de l’eau, 2019).
Francesco Masci, philosopher, specialist on the question of culture and its role in modern and postmodern society, who published in 2013 a book that is highly critical of the German capital: L'Ordre règne à Berlin (Éditions Allia).
Marie Reinert, French artist, moved recently back from Berlin to France. Her work, currently part of the Biennale de Lyon, explores how the body and the individual are changed or conditioned by their environment – whether the city, public space or the workplace.
Jacques Rupnik, political scientist and specialist on Central and Eastern Europe. Former advisor of Czech President Vaclav Havel, he is Director of Research at CERI (Centre d’Etudes et de Recherches Internationales) and teaches at Sciences Po, Paris.
Géraldine Schwarz, Franco-German writer and journalist who lives in Berlin. A former correspondent of AFP, she collaborates (among others) with Le Monde, Arte and a political program of German broadcaster Deutsche Welle. Her 2017 novel Les Amnésiques (Flammarion) won the 12th European Book Prize for fiction.
The debate is moderated by Nicolas Truong, journalist of ideas at the newspaper Le Monde, and punctuated by contributions from students of the seminar Critical News of the Ecole Normale Supérieure.
The debate is organised in partnership with the Pompidou Centre and BPI.