Emily J. Levine presented at the Seminar in Cultural History on Wednesday, December 6, at 6 pm. Her talk was entitled “Carnegie, Capital, and the Kaiser: An Intellectual History of Financing Scholarship.”

Newly aware of the economic value of research, early twentieth-century philanthropists and governments on both sides of the Atlantic poured an unprecedented amount of money into academic organizations. But in the emerging competition between Germany and America for global research hegemony, leaders made divergent choices about where that research should occur and how it should be governed. Traditionally, the contrast in the organization of knowledge between Germany and America is thought of as being between “private” and “public” funding of research. However, Levine argues that the more defining difference between the two systems of knowledge organization was the decision over where research would lie. With the founding of the Kaiser Wilhelm Society (later the Max Planck Institutes) in 1911, Germany moved much research outside the university, whereas the contemporaneous founding of the Carnegie institutions in the United States supported research within it. Using a transatlantic lens, this talk examines the impact of these parallel and perpendicular choices on the organization of scholarship at the turn of the last century and the resonance of those choices today. In so doing, it demonstrates that the material conditions of scholarship are central to understanding the contexts in which ideas emerge.

Emily J. Levine is Associate Professor of Modern European History at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She is the author of Dreamland of Humanists: Warburg, Cassirer, Panofsky, and the Hamburg School (University of Chicago Press, 2013), which was awarded the Herbert Baxter Adams Prize by the American Historical Association for the best book in European history from 1815 through the 20th century. The book was also a finalist for the Jordan Schnitzer Book Award in Cultural and Media Studies awarded by the Association for Jewish Studies. Levine spent 2012–2013 as an Alexander von Humboldt fellow at the Free University in Berlin and completed her PhD and MA at Stanford University and her BA at Yale University, where she was also a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow. In 2017–2018 she is the Robert F. and Margaret S. Goheen Fellow at the National Humanities Center where she is working on a transatlantic history of the research university tentatively titled The First Innovators: Higher Education in the Age of the City.