International Conference

“States of Emergency – Interdisciplinary Perspectives on the Dynamics of Crisis”

 June 11 - 12, 2010


Keynote Speakers

Hayden White (Stanford University)
Walter Benn Michaels (University of Illinois at Chicago)
Linda B. Miller (Wellesley College and Brown University)


John F. Kennedy Institute of the Freie Universität Berlin, organized by the Graduate School of North American Studies (GSNAS).

The attacks on the World Trade Center and the ensuing War on Terror stand as
images that mark the 21st century’s fall into a permanent state of
emergency, manifest in the suspension of civil liberties, preemptive and
irregular warfare, and a disregard for international law. As we now
recognize, other precarious potentials such as financial speculation and
climate change have long been gaining momentum, erupting into acute states
of crisis in the recent past. The tumultuous beginning of the new century
has heightened our sensitivity to exceptional states and emerging
instabilities, questioning the applicability of established modes of

States of emergency magnify pre-existing lines of conflict, shaping
clear-cut enemy images. These may vary from Al-Qaeda to brokers on Wall
Street or multinational enterprises, to name but a few. But times of crisis
also demand new forms of agency for the emergence of new orders. If the US
is indeed part of a world community, does a permanent state of emergenc(e)y
become the new basis of governance and politics?

The annual conference at the Graduate School of the John F. Kennedy
Institute for North American Studies (GSNAS) of the Freie Universität Berlin
is hosted by the graduate students. The third in a series of international
conferences is designed to bring together leading scholars and top graduate
students from around the world to discuss current issues in American

Please find the complete program here.

Presentations will be held by international scholars and graduate students from the departments of history, politics, economics, literature, culture, sociology, and affiliated disciplines with a focus on (North) American studies. Please refer to "Panels and Program" for further details.

Conference Contact

Conference Venue John-F.-Kennedy Institute for North American Studies, Room 340, Lansstrasse 7-9, 14195 Berlin



Dahlem Research School
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft