Today I gave a lecture at the University of Amsterdam in memorian of Gerd Baumann. It was a great honour to do so. I met him as a student and his way of thinking about identity, but more importantly, the dynamics and fluidity of identity and at the same time his grammatical structures of identification processes, has not only changed my life and my way of thinking, but has become an intrinsic part of my scientific work. His ideas are translated, used, magnified and questioned in my book "In het gesteente van Ararat" and other various articles. Until this day, he stil transfix me.


He loved riddles, he started his classes with riddles, and I thought it was appropiate, in his honour, if I came up with a riddle myself. The riddle about the grammars of identity and genocide. It wasn't my point to give an answer, but to start a conversation, to expand on the knowledge that Baumann gave us and to see how much of his knowledge we could apply in extreme circumstances.


It was a challenge. It is always a challenge to give a lecture to peers. But it was an honour to do so. And it was an honour to remember Gerd Baumann this way. It also made me realize, espectially in a world where "identity" in whatever form, becomes a primordial point of orientation, that his work is more urgent than ever before.


The stills underneath are from a movie made about Gerd Baumann. The name of the film is “The three lives of Gerd Baumann © 2014”. The film presents a sociological analysis of the life and work through the voice of his closest colleagues. It is under production now. And made by the researcher and director of the film Damian Omar Martinez, at Max Planck Institute, Göttingen. The director of photography of the film and author of the freeze-frames is Angel Cayuela Portela.