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Topics in November

Nov 26, 2010

Between the Sixth Sense and the Seventh

Like Miss Smilla, who in the novel by the Danish writer Peter Høeg has a particular feeling for snow, some people have a “sixth sense” about certain situations.

Literary scholar Burkhard Meyer-Sickendiek researches representations of perception in lyric poetry

Perceiving something beyond the five known senses – sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch – is a curious matter, and unlike those senses, it is difficult to pin down. “Our sense of perception is what makes us able to sense or perceive things that actually are not perceptible,” says literary scholar Burkhard Meyer-Sickendiek, who earned his qualification as a university instructor for his work on sarcasm in literature and is currently studying representations of perception in lyric poetry within the Languages of Emotion Cluster of Excellence at Freie Universität Berlin.

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Art Historians at Freie Universität Berlin Identify “Degenerate Art”

Discovered during excavation in front of Berlin City Hall: Sculptures by Gustav Heinrich Wolff (standing robed figure, left); Naum Slutzky (female bust, center); unidentified figure

Members of the research center study the latest sculptures unearthed during the excavation work in front of Berlin’s Rotes Rathaus (Red City Hall)

The trench around the Rotes Rathaus doesn’t look especially promising in artistic terms: It is part of the excavation work for an extension of the number 5 U-Bahn, or subway, line. But the belowground construction site recently turned out to be a real treasure trove of art, when eleven statues were found there after having been labeled “degenerate art” by the Nazi regime. Art historians at Freie Universität helped to trace the works of art, which had been thought lost, to their creators.

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Undermining Others’ Certainty – But Doing It the Right Way

What means are used in dialogues to prompt a change of viewpoint? Researchers investigate the “rhetoric of uncertainty.”

Scholars of the classics, linguists, and literature researchers join forces to study the rhetoric of uncertainty

It can convince, convert, bring insight. And it can mislead, frighten, and confuse. Rhetoric is the “art of speaking well,” as the Roman scholar Quintilian defined it long ago. But what does “speaking well” mean in the first place?

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