13 June 2018

Humboldtians Aleida and Jan Assmann to receive the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation congratulates its Max Planck Research Award winners Aleida and Jan Assmann who are to be jointly awarded the 2018 Peace Prize of the German Book Trade

During the decades-long collaboration between the two cultural studies scholars, the "mutually enhancing unity" created by their two voices has "generated a body of work that is of tremendous importance for contemporary debates and, above all, for sustainable peace and understanding among the peoples of the world", the Board of Trustees said in its statement regarding its choice. The Peace Prize has been awarded by the German Publishers and Booksellers Association since 1950 and comes with €25,000 in prize money.

Aleida and Jan Assmann
Aleida and Jan Assmann
(Photo: Corinna Assmann/University of Konstanz)

A scholar of literary and cultural studies, Aleida Assmann investigates areas such as memory culture, historical amnesia and issues relating to the cultural memory of nations. In view of the growing political instrumentalisation of recent German history, her work also points out "that an open and honest handling of the past is an essential precondition for peaceful coexistence", according to the statement regarding the Peace Prize. Her husband, the Egyptologist and scholar of cultural studies Jan Assmann, has through his research launched international debates on fundamental questions relating to the cultural religious conflicts of our time. His work has made "an indispensable contribution to our understanding of the willingness and capacity for peace held by religions in today's global society". Together, the Assmanns have "inspired and complemented each other's work for decades".

Aleida Assmann is an emeritus professor of English Studies and General Literature Studies at the University of Konstanz. Jan Assmann is an honorary professor at the University of Konstanz and emeritus professor at the Institute for Egyptology of Heidelberg University. Both have received numerous awards including the Max Planck Research Award which is jointly awarded by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and the Max Planck Society: Aleida Assmann received this award in 2009, Jan Assmann in 1996.

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