International Conference "Divided We Stand - United We Fall. Perspectives on Inclusion and Exclusion in America"

Attention: Registration deadline extended! For latecomers now also on Friday on location. Please check the appropriate section for details.

The Graduate School of North American Studies, Freie Universität Berlin

Friday, June 27th and Saturday, June 28th 2008

In collaboration with the Department of American and Canadian Studies and the Centre for US Foreign Policy, Media, and Culture, The University of Birmingham; the William Jefferson Clinton Institute for American Studies, University College, Dublin; and the North American Studies Program, University of Bonn.

The third in a series of annual international seminars, this conference is designed to bring together leading scholars and top graduate students from around the world to discuss "America" in historical and contemporary contexts.

Thomas Jefferson's inversion of the national maxim "United We Stand, Divided We Fall" was meant to underline the importance of religious diversity in America. Nearly 200 years later, as Americans again have taken to sing "The Liberty Song" in which the original quote appeared, this rearranging of words remains as controversial as ever. Who is included and who is excluded in the post-9/11 call for national unity and the rejection of difference? How is American national identity construed in a fragmented space of immigration, culture wars, discrimination, patriotism, religion, securitization, socio-economic tensions and neoliberalism? Is the exclusion of certain groups of people from the national identity, both historically and currently, an exception to the inclusive principles of the American myth or the very foundation on which this myth is based? And how do categories of race, class, gender, and sexuality operate in this dynamic? What is becoming of the inclusionary power of the American cultural hegemony in the face of the ‘war on terror’? And how do we address the irony of proliferating exclusions in a new supposedly transnational world (dis)order? These are some of the questions this conference aims to address.

The guest-speakers at the conference will be:

The conference is organized and hosted by the newly founded Graduate School of North American Studies at the Free University Berlin. Following the interdisciplinary tradition of the John-F.-Kennedy-Institute, we are looking forward to put together multiple panels which will discuss the contradictory dynamics of inclusions and exclusions in the United States from a variety of angles and disciplines.

Some of those panels may discuss:

  • Representations of identity in the arts
  • Civil liberties after 9/11
  • Immigration, citizenship, and democracy
  • Rise of the Christian Right
  • Minority rights and social justice
  • American Exceptionalism
  • Legacy of slavery
  • Postcolonial perspectives on American imperialism
  • Politics of recognition
  • The New Imperialism

The fee for the conference is 30 €.

Dahlem Research School
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft