Past Events


Realizing Europe: The Lisbon Treaty in Perspective

April 28th and 29th, 2011
Conference Program

This conference began a transatlantic conversation at UB regarding the future of Europe by bringing together an interdisciplinary group of scholars to explore the social, political, legal, and economic implications of the Lisbon Treaty and to critically assess its claims and the underlying assumptions. Prominent scholars from Europe and North America were invited to the University at Buffalo to consider these questions and engage in a collaborative dialogue with scholars and the wider community.

*co-sponsored with the Baldy Center for Law and Social Policy



Spring 2014


Starting at 4 p.m.


February 4, 2014


Location: 354 MFAC, Ellicott Complex, North


  “New Pilgrims on a Medieval Route in Brittany:
Mobility and Community on the Tro Breiz”


Prof. Ellen Badone, McMaster University


ABSTRACT: Throughout Catholic Europe there has been a resurgence of interest
in pilgimage since the 1990s, despite dramatic declines in regular attendance at
mass and other indicators of religious practice. One of the less well known
European pilgrimages is the Tro Breiz, or tour of Brittany, a medieval
long-distance walking pilgrimage in northwestern France that has recently been
revived (or recreated). On the basis of ethnographic research carried out in
2012, I argue that the Tro Breiz fulfils participants’ desires for connection to
a community that transcends the self and is intimately linked to a particular
regional heritage and identity.



March 4, 2014


4 p.m.  Location: 545 Park Hall


  “Gender and Public Life in West Germany:  The
Case of Marion Graefin Doenhoff”


    Patricia Mazon, Associate Professor,
Department of History (UB)


ABSTRACT: In 1945, some West German women were poised to play a
more prominent role in public life than they had before.  How did the
relationship between gender and the public sphere evolve after 1945 in West
Germany?  This paper examines the case of Marion Dönhoff, who set out to carve
out a space for herself in the new Federal Republic.  Dönhoff was a countess
born to a life of aristocratic privilege who was intensely engaged with her
times.  Her early dislike for the Nazi regime led her to be known as the “red
countess.”  In 1945, she famously fled the oncoming Soviets on horseback.  After
the war, Dönhoff joined Die Zeit, which she edited until her death in
2002. Her writings were crucial in reconciling West Germans to territorial
losses in the East.  She understood that Germany’s new boundaries and the loss
of her ancestral homeland were necessary for a lasting peace in Europe.
Moreover, Dönhoff established a voice for herself both as a journalist and as a
confidante of the political elite.  I will explore the opportunities and
barriers she faced as a woman in public life.


April 1, 2014


4 p.m.  Location: 545 Park Hall


 “Of Cygnets and Exception: Swan-Knights and
Western Aristocratic Fantasy”


Randy Schiff, Associate Professor, Department of
English (UB)


ABTRACT: Stories featuring a swan-knight and his
six siblings provide striking examples of Western aristocratic use of biological
exceptionalism to consolidate elite family lines. Many scholars suggest
Lotharingia, a highly unstable political zone without any tribal homogeneity, as
the origin of this family romance. While Johannes de Alta Silva’s possibly
late-twelfth century Latin Dolopathos depends upon such conventional
elements as a fairy bride, hybrid offspring, a scheming mother-in-law, and the
exposure of infants, the swan-children story was already popularly linked with
the Crusader hero Godfrey de Bouillon through the Old French Crusade Cycle.
There is thus a doubly European dimension to the swan-knight legend: the
transnational project of Western consolidation known as the Crusades and
feudally-based needs to stabilize inherited land claims. Insofar as it strips
its source of Godfrey associations, the fourteenth-century Cheuelere
illuminates the aristocratic use of animal ancestry: it transforms
a localized family romance into a generalized allegory of aristocratic appeals
to biology-based privilege. Much like other family romances found in the
manuscript Cotton Caligula A.ii, Cheuelere saturates its story of
aristocrats’ exile and return with bestial imagery, while also establishing the
continuity of sovereign exception between the civil and natural worlds through
ritual deployment of the homo sacer figure. Spiritualized aristocratic
violence is also allegorized in Cheuelere, whose Swan-knight is not
only endorsed by chthonic animal and water spirits, but also by the trans-local,
European symbol of an armed and emphatically Christian aristocracy.



May 4, 2014


4 p.m. Location: 545 Park Hall


“Last Features – East German Cinema’s Lost


Reinhild Steingröver, University
of Rochester




ABSTRACT: This talk introduces the story of the last,
and lost generation of East German filmmakers, i.e. those born after 1945,
raised in a divided Germany and trained in the increasingly stifling atmosphere
of the GDR film studio DEFA. Though they were highly trained directors, they
were unable to work on their own projects until they were in their forties.
During the turbulent historical period of 1989/90, the studio granted the demand
for freer working conditions and funded the independent production group DaDaeR.
This unexpected opportunity thrust directors, who had been unable to make films
for years suddenly back into production mode. Among the roughly thirty last DEFA
productions the few films produced in this new artistic  group are among the
most innovative, radical and provocative. Looking at the films of the last
generation of directors and understanding their complicated production histories
twenty five years after the fall of the wall contradicts many assumptions about
film making in the GDR as well as life in an authoritarian system.


Spring 2012

February 7th

“Image as Investigation: Sciences of the Otherworldly at the Bauhaus”

Dr. Elizabeth Otto

Associate Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art, The Department of Visual Studies, University at Buffalo

March 6th

“In Search of Dignity: Wind, Energy, and Memory in Southern Catalonia”

Dr. Jaume Franquesa

Assistant Professor, Dept. of Anthropology, University at Buffalo

April 3rd

“Turkish Sunni Pluralities: Orthodoxies, Efficacies, and Debates on State Power”

Dr. Kimberly Hart

Assistant Professor, Dept. of Anthropology, Buffalo State College

Fall 2011

October 4th

“Alexander von Humboldt and the Biographical Illusion”

Dr. Andreas Daum

Professor, Department of History, University at Buffalo

November 1st

“Exporting Legality to Developing Countries: is FLEGT a New European Imperialism?”

Dr. Errol Meidinger

Professor, UB Law School; Director of the Baldy Center for Law & Social Policy; Vice Dean for Research and Faculty Development at UB Law School; Honorary Professor at the University of Freiburg, Germany.

December 6th

“Historians and the Ruling Classes:  Scenes from a Relationship”

Dr. Jonathan Dewald

UB Distinguished Professor, Department of History


Inaugural First Tuesday Sherry Hour

February 1st, 2011

“Language Minorities in Europe:Results of the EUROMOSAIC Surveys”

Dr. Wolfgang Wölck

Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus, Department of Linguistics

Steering Committee Member, CEUS

March 1st

“Indomitable Border: The Strait of Gibraltar in Modern Times”

Dr. Sasha D. Pack

Associate Professor, Department of History, UB



Lecture: “Immigrant Incorporation and Identity: Schooling the Second Generation in Europe”

Prof. Daniel Faas (Department of Sociology, Trinity College Dublin)

April 12, 2010
*co-sponsored with the Baldy Center for Law and Social Policy

Lecture: “What Can be Learned from the Trial of Zacarias Moussaoui?”

Prof. Katherine Donahue (Plymouth State University)

March 4, 2010

*co-sponsored with the Baldy Center for Law and Social Policy

Film Screening and Panel Discussion: Coffee Futures

Dr. Zeynep Devrim Gürsel (Department of Anthropology, University of Michigan)

February 24, 2010
An ethnographic film about Turkey and the EU
Film Screening and Panel Discussion with filmmaker Zeynep Devrim Gürsel.

*co-sponsored with the Baldy Center for Law and Social Policy and the Office of International Education