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“Garbage Dump of the West:” Re-examining the Origins of East Germany’s End
During the Cold War, the German Democratic Republic, or East Germany, acquired a reputation as one of the most polluted and environmentally destructive countries in the world. And in the wake of the GDR’s collapse in 1989, observers were quick to draw a line from this horrific environmental record to the despotic nature of the regime, the “backwards” planned economy, or the “rotten” ideology of socialism. In his new book, Communist Pigs, historian Thomas Fleischman contends that these explanations are insufficient by re-examining the country’s rise and fall through the lens of one animal, the pig. Fleischman argues that agriculture under communism came to reflect standard practices of capitalist agriculture everywhere, and over time, it allowed the GDR to become entangled in global markets for cheap meat, credit, and energy. His analysis sheds light on the causes of the country’s environmental and political collapse in 1989, and offers a warning about the high cost of cheap food in the present and future.

This event will consist of a 1-hour public lecture, followed by a closed discussion between the speaker and UCB graduate students.

If you require an accommodation for effective communication (ASL interpreting/CART captioning, alternative media formats, etc.) or information about campus mobility access features in order to fully participate in this event, please contact Ray Savord at rsavord@berkeley.edu or 510-643-4558 with as much advance notice as possible and at least 7-10 days in advance of the event.

Sep 23, 2021 12:00 PM in Pacific Time (US and Canada)

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