City, Religion, Capitalism: Turning Points for Civilisation

Film screening and discussion hosted by Theatrum Mundi

Theatrum Mundi presented ‘Turning Points for Civilisation’, a public screening of Alexander Kluge film ‘Grapes of Truth’, along with a post-film programme at the Edinburgh International Book Festival 2014.

Building on Kluge’s cross-disciplinary work, Sennett invited leading public intellectuals to discuss three principles that he and Kluge suggest have helped define us: cities, religion and capitalism. Participants were invited to use the discussions to explore the reasons why these three major topics have been so important for humanity. The sessions attempted to bring together knowledge and experience from a variety of perspectives to paint a picture of humanity that extends beyond traditional academic disciplines.

Schedule of events:

Sunday 10 August, 14:00, Edinburgh Filmhouse
Capitalism Through German Eyes

A feature-length film presentation at the Edinburgh Filmhouse by German film-maker and writer Alexander Kluge. Grapes of Trust is a meditation on capitalism today, through the
idiosyncratic eye of a man who has worked closely with Fritz Lang as well as philosopher Theodor Adorno.

A short discussion after the film was lead by Richard Sennett and Edinburgh International Film Festival director Chris Fujiwara.

Monday 11 August, 10:00, Baillie Gifford Main Theatre, Charlotte Square Gardens
Turning Points for Civilisation

This session discussed the idea and impact of religious belief. Former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams joined New York University Professor of Anthropology Angela Zito. Chaired by former Bishop of Edinburgh Richard Holloway.

Participants: Rowan Williams, Angela Zito
Chair: Richard Holloway

Monday 11 August, 15:30, Scottish Power Foundation Studio, Charlotte Square Gardens
Turning Points for Civilisation

This session discussed the idea and profound impact of capitalism. New York University sociologist Saskia Sassen and Paola Subacchi, Research Director in International Economics at Chatham House, are joined by Professor of Political Economy at Warwick University, Robert Skidelsky. Chaired by the Manager of Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust, James Anderson.

Participants: Saskia Sassen, Igor Stiks and Paola Subacchi
Chair: James Anderson

Monday 11 August, 19:00, The Guardian Spiegeltent, Charlotte Square Gardens

This session discussed the central importance of cities to human existence with Richard Sennett and Deyan Sudjic, a writer, broadcaster and the Director of the Design Museum, London.


    James Anderson

    James Anderson is the Trust Manager of Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust PLC, which he has steered towards the top of the global growth sector over his decade in charge. James is a well known figure in the investment world, having joined Baillie Gifford in 1983 becoming a Partner in 1987. He headed their European Equity Team until July 2003 when he became Head of the Long Term Global Growth Team. He is a member of the Investment Advisory Group. James graduated BA in Modern History from Oxford University and after postgraduate study in Italy and Canada, he gained an MA in International Affairs in 1982.

    Richard Holloway

    Richard Holloway was Bishop of Edinburgh and Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church. A former Gresham Professor of Divinity and Chairman of the Joint Board of the Scottish Arts Council and Scottish Screen, he is a fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. He has written for many newspapers in Britain, is the author of over twenty books including recent memoir Leaving Alexandria, and has presented many series for BBC television and radio. His own theological position has become increasingly radical and he has described himself as an "after-religionist". Richard is a patron of LGBT Youth Scotland, and has addressed complex ethical issues in the areas of sexuality, drugs and bioethics.

    Saskia Sassen

    Saskia Sassen is Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology at Columbia University and co-chairs its Committee on Global Thought. Her research and writing focuses on, immigration, global cities, the new networked technologies, and changes within the liberal state that result from current transnational conditions. Her most recent book is Expulsions: Brutality and Complexity in the Global Economy (Harvard University Press 2014). She has received multiple honours, most recently the 2013 Principe de Asturias Prize for the Social Sciences.

    Richard Sennett

    Richard Sennett is Professor of Sociology at the London School of Economics and Political Science, and University Professor of the Humanities at New York University. His research interests include the relationship between urban design and urban society, urban family patterns, the urban welfare system, the history of cities and the changing nature of work. His books include The Craftsman (2008), The Culture of the New Capitalism (Yale, 2006), Respect: The Formation of Character in an Age of Inequality (Penguin, 2003), The Corrosion of Character (1998), Flesh and Stone (1994) and The Fall of Public Man (1977). He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Royal Society of Literature, the Royal Society of the Arts and the Academia Europea. He is past President of the American Council on Work and the former Director of the New York Institute for the Humanities. Recent honours and awards include The Schocken Prize, 2011; Honorary Doctorate from Cambridge University, 2010; The Spinoza Prize, 2010; The Tessenow Prize, 2009; The Gerda Henkel Prize, 2008; The European Craft Prize, 2008; and The Hegel Prize, 2006.

    Paola Subacchi

    Paola Subacchi is the Research Director of International Economics at Chatham House, having previously held the position of Head of International Economics Programme. Paola is an expert on the functioning and governance of international financial and monetary systems as well as being an advisor to governments and non-profit organisations. She was previously employed at Deutsche Bank AG, Greenwich NatWest, and as a consultant at the Economist Intelligence Unit and Bloomberg LP. She has also been Non-Executive Director of Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust PLC since April 2014. An Italian national, Paola studied at Università Bocconi in Milan and at the University of

    Deyan Sudjic

    Deyan Sudjic is Director of the Design Museum in London. He was the founding editor of Blueprint magazine (1983-1996), editor of Domus (2000-04) and the architecture critic of the Observer (1998-2006). Before joining the Design Museum in 2006, Sudjic was Dean of the Faculty of Art, Architecture and Design at Kingston University and Visiting Professor at the Royal College of Art. Sudjic has published widely on design and architecture. His most recent book, Shiro Kuramata, was published by Phaidon in June 2013.

    Rowan Williams

    Rowan Williams is an Anglican bishop, poet, theologian, and the former Archbishop of Canterbury. He spent much of his earlier career as an academic at the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford, and is acknowledged internationally as an outstanding theological writer, scholar and teacher. He has written extensively across a very wide range of related fields of professional study – philosophy, theology, spirituality and religious aesthetics - as well as on moral, ethical and social topics. He has also turned his attention increasingly on contemporary cultural and interfaith issues. He was reintroduced into the House of Lords in January 2013 after being created a life peer.

    Angela Zito

    Angela Zito is a Professor of Anthropology and History of Chinese Culture and Religions at NYU, where she directs the Religious Studies Program and co-directs the Center for Religion and Media. Her longest-standing interest remains the way in which human beings deal with their imaginative capacities, make worlds and live with themselves and one another. Angela is also highly interested in Chinese independent documentary film, and her current ethnographic project explores newly emergent senses of the individual with equally new senses of the possibilities of being together with others. It is tentatively entitled “Seeking Significance: Finding yourself in public in Beijing.”

    Image credit: Facade of the St. Patrick's Cathedral and Atlas statue | Jean-Christophe Benoist, Creative Common.

    Igor Štiks

    Igor Štiks is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow, who joined the Edinburgh College of Art in April 2014 to work on his research project “Citizen-Artist: Creative Citizenship in Occupied Spaces”. Before this he was a senior research fellow at the CITSEE project. Together with Jo Shaw he edited the collections Citizenship after Yugoslavia and Citizenship Rights, and, with Srecko Horvat, Welcome to the Desert of Post-Socialism: Radical Politics after Yugoslavia (Verso, 2015). Igor is also the author of two novels, A Castle in Romagna and Elijah’s Chair, which have won numerous awards and have been translated into a dozen European languages. The theatre play based on his novel ‘Elijah’s Chair’ won the Grand Prix of the 2011 Belgrade International Theatre Festival (BITEF). He was co-organiser of the Subversive Festival, an annual conference and activist meeting in Zagreb.