Deutsches Haus at NYU presents a literary kick-off to the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.


As a literary kick-off to the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, Deutsches Haus at NYU will -- on Friday, May 16 -- present a discussion about the cultural relevance and societal significance of soccer, entitled The Kick: Soccer as a Cultural Phenomenon. The event begins at 6:30 p.m.

The conversation will feature Oliver Lubrich, Professor of German and Comparative Literature at the University of Bern, Switzerland, and Der Spiegel’s New York Bureau Chief Alexander Osang, who recently interviewed Pele, Jürgen Klinsmann, and Jogi Löw, and traveled to Brazil in preparation for the World Cup. The panel will be moderated by Eric Banks, Director of the New York Institute for the Humanities at NYU.

The panelists will examine the cultural relevance and depiction of “the beautiful game” in literature and film in Germany and on an international level and try to come to an understanding of how the themes of ritual, religion, identity, and aesthetics tie into this mass spectacle.

Please note - events at Deutsches Haus are free of charge. If you would like to attend this event, please send us an email to Space at Deutsches Haus is limited; please arrive ten minutes prior to the event – 42 Washington Mews (enter from University Place), in Greenwich Village.

Oliver Lubrich is Professor of German and Comparative Literature at the University of Bern in Switzerland. He has been a visiting professor at the University of Chicago; California State University, Long Beach; Tecnológico de Monterrey, Mexico; and Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil. Lubrich published on soccer in German and Latin American prose narratives (including works by authors such as the Austrian writer Peter Handke and the South American writers Mario Benedetti and Juan Villoro) and gave University seminars on soccer in literature and soccer in film. He published books on Shakespeare’s Self-Deconstruction (2001) and Post-Colonial Poetics (2004, 2009). Oliver Lubrich edited or co-edited Alexander von Humboldt‘s Central Asia (2009), Kosmos (2004) and the first German version of Vues des Cordillères (2004), the Chimborazo Diary (2006), the ethnographic and political essays (2009, 2010) as well as two volumes on Humboldt’s international reception: Alexander von Humboldt in World Literature (2012), Alexander von Humboldt in Cultural Criticism (2012). He is currently directing the project of a complete edition of Humboldt’s essays (in ten volumes), funded by the Swiss National Foundation (2013–2016). In his second research project Lubrich documents international testimonies from Nazi Germany: Reisen ins Reich, 1933–1945 (2004, 2009); Berichte aus der Abwurfzone, 1939–1945 (2007); John F. Kennedy. Unter Deutschen, 1937–1945 (2013). (Travels in the Reich was published by the University of Chicago Press in 2010.) In cooperation with evolutionary biologists and ethnologists he investigates “The Researcher’s Affects” in a project funded by the Volkswagen Foundation (2013–2016). In cooperation with neuroscientists he conducts studies in experimental rhetoric, e.g. on the effects of figurality in speeches by Barack Obama. Currently Oliver Lubrich is the Director of the Institute of Advanced Study in the Humanities and the Social Sciences (IASH) and Chair of the Institute of German Studies at the University of Bern.

Alexander Osang was born in 1962 in East Berlin. He studied journalism in Leipzig and spent the years after the reunification working for the Berliner Zeitung, where he swiftly became chief reporter. In 1999, he went to New York as a correspondent for Der Spiegel for seven years before returning to his home town. One of Germany’s most prominent journalists, he published his first collection of articles in 1992, Aufsteiger – Absteiger (tr: Winners – Losers). Osang’s first novel was Die Nachrichten (2000; tr: The News), which was adapted for the cinema to great success in 2005. In his subsequent literary work, the collection Lunkebergs Fest (2003; tr: Lunkeberg’s Party) and his second novel Lennon ist tot (2007; tr: Lennon is Dead), Osang distances himself from the East-West themes, which dominated his earlier work. What remains is his preference for characters who are in danger of failing or of losing themselves in unexpected developments. In the summer of 2006, Osang contributed a chapter to The Thinking Fan’s Guide to the World Cup outlining the frustrations of an East German soccer fan and how he came to root for his national team. In August of 2013, Osang and his wife Anja Reich published Wo warst Du? Ein Septembertag in New York (Where Were you? A September Day in New York), which tells their very different experience of September 11, 2001. Osang has won numerous prizes for his journalistic work, including the Theodor Wolff Prize and the Egon Erwin Kisch Prize for the best German-language report (which he has won three times). Osang currently lives in New York, having spent the last year resuming his work as the New York Bureau Chief of Der Spiegel.

Eric Banks is a writer and editor based in New York. A Mississippi native, he graduated from Columbia College in 1988 and pursued graduate studies in anthropology and linguistics at the University of Chicago. A former senior editor of Artforum, Banks relaunched Bookforum in 2003 and served as the publication’s editor in chief until 2008. He has edited numerous catalogues and collections of artists writings, including Artists for Artists: Fifty Years of the Foundation for Contemporary Arts (D.A.P., 2013), and is currently working on the catalogue accompanying the Whitney Museum of Art’s retrospective of Jeff Koons and a collection of the writings of artist Paul Chan. Banks’s writing has appeared in numerous publications, including Bookforum, the New York Times Book Review, the Financial Times, Slate, the Wall Street Journal, Aperture, and the Chronicle of Higher Education. He has contributed essays to monographs on a number of artists, including Franz West (To Build a House You Start With the Roof, MIT Press, 2008) and Christopher Wool (Christopher Wool, Taschen, 2008). At present he is researching a book about the life and afterlife of Renaissance writer, doctor, and savant François Rabelais.

The Kick: Soccer as a Cultural Phenomenon is a DAAD-sponsored event.

Press Contact

Robert Polner
Robert Polner
(212) 998-2337