THREATENED DEMOCRACIES Interdisciplinary Conference by North American Studies Department, University of Göttingen (Germany)

News from Apr 04, 2019


Interdisciplinary Conference by North American Studies Department, University of Göttingen (Germany)

DATE: 28th-29th JUNE PLACE: Waldweg 6.103 ORGANIZER: Sebnem Altunkaya

Due to political and social upheavals across the globe, people are forced to consider larger
questions about their world and the government’s role within it. German philosopher and political
theorist Hannah Arendt has provided generations with a structure for understanding the changes we
are going through socially, politically and culturally. The last decade of political shifts has made
citizens all over the world re-think their values and views on issues that affect their lives both directly
and indirectly. This reevaluation has ongoing political consequences, and democracies around the
world are changing. Previously stable liberal democracies have given voice to candidates with
authoritarian tendencies, and the rise of mainstream conservatism has been accompanied by more
extreme political trends, and public debate has given way to private display. Threats to democracy are
compounded by the global proliferation of autocratic, nativist, and theocratic ideologies that represent
an internal threat to the function of liberal, multicultural states as well as an external one. These
events highlight significant parallels between Arendt’s world and our current one. In order to talk
about these complex issues, and to gain perspective from Arendt’s work, we would like to bring together students and scholars of disciplines such as cultural studies, philosophy, history and political
science to explore how Hannah Arendt can help us understand our world.
Topics may include but are not limited to;
• Internal threats to democracies, political upheaval, and systems collapse
• The intersection of political, religious, ethnic and social spheres
• Class divisions and inequality
• Racism, antisemitism, religious intolerance and nativism
• Social and cultural traits of tyranny and authoritarianism
• The regression of democracies to authoritarianism-totalitarianism
• Globalism and isolationism
• Culture wars and the progressive left
• Parallels between culture and politics

Please submit a short proposal to Sebnem Altunkaya ( ) by
May 10th. Papers should not exceed 7 pages.

Conference sponsored by North American Studies Department, Göttingen University

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