Summit assembly of bestselling authors Ewald Frie and Steffen Mau | EUROtoday

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Dhe Cultural Studies Institute is positioned within the Essen district of Rüttenscheid, south of town middle, the popular residential space of ​​a Ruhr space metropolis as a result of manufacturing facility chimneys which have lengthy since ceased to smoke. The lecture corridor is stuffed to capability. The director, English main Julika Griem, can’t bear in mind ever seeing the corridor so nicely occupied. The viewers is noticeably tutorial, however considerably totally different than regular for lectures at such institutes. The two audio system, Griem calls them “two successful examples of the German professor,” have by no means met earlier than, however they have been very shut to one another on the non-fiction bestseller lists. So it’s a actual literary summit that takes place right here within the type of a dialog between the Tübingen fashionable historian Ewald Frie and the Berlin macro-sociologist Steffen Mau.

The two scientists' areas of experience don’t essentially promise a readership that goes past their very own guild, however their books, with which they reached an viewers far past the “academy”, needn’t be launched to anybody right here. In 2019, Steffen Mau offered “Lütten Klein” (Suhrkamp), a sociological examine about “life in the East German transformation society,” and in 2023 Ewald Frie offered “A Farm and Eleven Siblings” (Beck), a historic examine concerning the “quiet farewell to farming Life” within the first many years of the Federal Republic. The authors wrote from a extremely subjective, particularly autobiographical, perspective and likewise overtly acknowledged this; The literary scholar Griem subsequently calls them scientists who dared to say “I”.

It's not impertinent

The undeniable fact that the long-unavoidable reference to the well-known Adorno quote from “Minima Moralia” (“For many people it is an impertinence when they say I”) doesn’t happen on this theory-oriented setting is maybe additionally an indication of a social scientific paradigm shift. Griem alluded to the unwritten rule in German-speaking nations of avoiding the primary particular person in scientific publications. Mau and Frie didn’t cover their biography behind the seemingly goal third particular person. Mau grew up within the “Windmühlenhaus”, a prefabricated constructing designed for round 500 residents within the eponymous Rostock district of “Lütten Klein” because the son of a senior shipyard worker and a health care provider, whereas Frie grew up on a farm with ten siblings in Nottuln, Westphalia, which had been run by his Catholic household for generations.

He knows sorting machines from his parents' farm: Ewald Frie in September 2023 as a visitor to the stable of an organic farmer in Rottenburg.


He is aware of sorting machines from his dad and mom' farm: Ewald Frie in September 2023 as a customer to the secure of an natural farmer in Rottenburg.
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Image: Philipp von Ditfurth

As totally different because the biographies are, the experiences each had with their readers are related. For the primary time, they have been seen by an viewers who loved studying, however outdoors their generally very theory-heavy specialist areas, and for the primary time they heard about their books, one thing that not often occurs in academia, the place “looking for errors” (Frie) is the rule the phrase “thank you” in lots of kinds. In 1950, within the first episode of his detective comedian “Nick Knatterton,” which was well-liked throughout Frie’s childhood, the cartoonist Manfred Schmidt, with typical irony, drew cabinets with “files full of letters of thanks”; For Mau und Frie, this has been a actuality for a while, though the digital thanks are much more in depth.

Many readers who had spent their childhood and youth on the West German farm or within the GDR prefabricated constructing felt seen for the primary time, as if the 2 humanities students had given them a voice. In Essen, too, a youthful man, phenotypically an mental freed from sentimentality, stands as much as thank Frie on behalf of his mom, “the daughter of Westphalian farmers”. Frie and Mau unanimously emphasize that almost all of their readers have succeeded very nicely in transferring out of the farm or the prefabricated housing property, which within the GDR, as Mau notes, nobody referred to as it that: within the technical language of sociologists, a “successful transformation process”

The chocolate problem, a classic question of distributive justice, would not give the macro-sociologist any stomach ache: Steffen Mau on October 22, 2021 as a guest of the FAZ at the Frankfurt Book Fair.


The chocolate downside, a basic query of distributive justice, wouldn’t give the macro-sociologist any abdomen ache: Steffen Mau on October 22, 2021 as a visitor of the FAZ on the Frankfurt Book Fair.
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Image: Marie-Luise Kolb

However, each authors shunned utilizing the jargon of their disciplines of their books. The unpretentious students have their issues with the time period “climber”. Mau emphasizes that one can reside nicely “without being a German professor,” whereas Frie speaks of a query of perspective. If he compares his social place with a farmer who at the moment farms 25 hectares, it might in all probability be a step up, however in contrast with the place that his father had as a land-owning farmer within the native village, it’s in all probability not.

However, each authors additionally owe their success to their narrative expertise, which isn’t at all times nicely obtained in academia, particularly amongst colleagues; Julika Griem speaks of envy and the “feuilletonism club”. Mau, who additionally mentions the author Lutz Seiler, even started his ebook with a brief eulogy to the Rostock author Walter Kempowski. This night, the scientists don’t need to erase the boundary between literature and non-fiction, though Mau, who additionally conducts sociological analysis on boundaries, desires to correlate the “scientific honesty” of the first-person perspective with the avoidance of embarrassment.

Some of the boundaries are obscure looking back, and this doesn't simply apply to books. Ewald Frie, who was made a cross-border member of the “Heidelberg Academy of Arts” (right: sciences) through the moderation, says that his father categorized different farmers in accordance with two very goal standards: the variety of hectares and whether or not they cultivated clay or sandy soil. “People who work on sand cannot be trusted.” But his father acquired via life nicely with that.

https://www.faz.net/aktuell/feuilleton/buecher/gipfeltreffen-der-bestsellerautoren-ewald-frie-und-steffen-mau-19548755.html