Tobias Boes University of Notre Dame

Tobias Boes

about the image

The photo that I have chosen to anchor my site shows the Kongresshalle in Berlin.  Built between 1956 and 1958 by the American architect Hugh Stubbins, this convention center is home to the Haus der Kulturen der Welt, an organization dedicated to bring international contemporary art and culture, especially of non-Western nations, to Germany’s capital.  The building seems to me a fitting symbol of my academic interests for a number of reasons:

  • • as a home for world culture situated just a short walk away from the political and symbolical centers of Germany, it embodies the ongoing dialogue between national and global identities that are central both to my work and to my biography.
  • • as a sculptural building in the middle of a park that serves as an informal weekend gathering place for the city’s immigrant populations, it bridges the divide that frequently  separates the normative demands of aesthetic modernism from the actual needs of local communities.
  • • as a gift to the city of Berlin by the American people, it represents the spirit of intercultural exchange from which I profited when I was growing up, and which I now try to extend to my own students.
  • • as the most prominent address on John-Foster-Dulles-Allee, which connects a street named after the Weimar-era politician Philipp Scheidemann with what used to be the Richard-Wagner-Platz, it hints at the discontinuities of German history that have been a source of much of my own work.