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International Graduate Conference 2009

The Graduate School of North American Studies, Freie Universität Berlin

July 10-11, 2009

Sparked by the compelling rhetoric in the U.S. presidential election campaign of 2008, this conference examines the concept of change within an interdisciplinary perspective. We invite inquiries into the different implications of "change." We ask to what extent and in what ways change appears as a recurring theme in North American history, culture, literature, politics, society, and economics.

 Change brings with it a multitude of associations. We would like to discuss change in terms of both leaving something behind and entering a yet undefined future. Continuity and rupture, promise and threat, progress and stagnation, opportunity and crisis - these are various interpretations of change, an idea deeply engrained in the history of American society and culture. Change is thus a concept of transition and functions as a middle ground, a vantage point from which one looks both forward and backwards.


The guest-speakers at the conference will be:

  • David Harvey
  • Paul S. Boyer


Panels will address the following issues, among others:

  • Concepts and rhetorics of change
  • Foreign policy and international relations
  • Social and political movements
  • Economic boom and recession
  • Religion and society
  • Social change and communication
  • Literature, culture, and the arts
  • Ethnic and racial identities


The conference fee is €20.

Dahlem Research School
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft