A Better Time and A Better Place: Global Political Consciousness and New Forms of Public Intellectualism
In 1999 Arab and Israeli musicians were brought together in the German city of Weimer to play in an orchestra as a part of cultural program that celebrated the 250th anniversary of the birth of German writer Johann Wolfgang Goethe. Organized by American Palestinian public intellectual Edward Said and his Israeli friend, musical director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Daniel Barenboim, the orchestra played music which celebrated Goethe’s passionate interest in Islam. The experiment was based upon Goethe’s “West-East Divan” poems which Said believed was utterly “unique in the history of Western culture” (Guzelimian 2002) because the poems celebrated other cultures during a time when Europe dominated the world.
Fordham, H. (2008). A better time and a better place: Global political consciousness and new forms of public intellectualism. Paper presented at the Ninth Humanities Postgraduate Conference: Engaging place(s)/engaging culture(s). Curtin University of Technology, 5-8 November, 2008.