You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘USA’ tag.

CfP: Making Sense of America. Representations of the Americas in the 1980s West European Protest Movements and their Aftermaths, Berlin, 23-24 May 2013. Organizers: Jan Hansen, Christian Helm and Frank Reichherzer

The 1980s saw a variety of highly heterogonous protest movements. People from all over Europe joined mass protests articulating fears of environmental abuses, nuclear catastrophes and increasing global injustices. They thus committed themselves to the protection of natural resources, to peace and disarmament and to rethinking their relations with the countries of the global south.

These movements can be seen as linked by a very intensive attention toward the United States of America. On the one hand, protest activists constructed a representation in which the U.S. appeared as being responsible for all the world’s deficiencies. It was especially U.S. President Ronald Reagan who personified the American neo-conservatism and, therefore, played a key role in establishing a generally accepted enemy stereotype.

On the other hand, protest movements all over Europe tried to associate themselves with inner-American debates, in order to create and intensify a transnational civil society. Therefore, Atlantic crossings and transfers – for instance with the nuclear weapons freeze campaign, the solidarity movement with Latin America, and many other oppositional movements in the U.S. – were aimed at boosting and legitimizing shared protest goals.

However, Europeans did not only establish connections with North American activists, nor did they merely blame the U.S. Administration for harming the world’s environmental, nuclear and social peace. In the 1980s, they also started to build up transnational networks with leftist and indigenous movements south of the U.S. The Nicaraguan Sandinistas as well as other oppositional, revolutionary or guerilla movements in Latin America were also, as point of reference, of highest importance for protesters in Europe. Acting as a kind of negative backdrop, the U.S. remained ubiquitous in these transnational networks.

To be held in Berlin on 23/24 May 2013, the international workshop seeks to historize the representations of the Americas in West European protest movements of the 1980s. Therefore, papers researching the perception and interpretation of America among protesters in West Europe are welcome. Although the term „America“ does not only refer to the U.S., the workshop pivotally asks about how to assess the significance of the United States for constructing representations of America in Europe, even if the protest movements’ networking with activists in southern America is the subject of research. Every paper should address this question explicitly.

Papers could deal with some of the following topics:

1. Negative and positive images and representations of the Americas within West European protest movements, e.g. internal discourses, popular culture and activists‘ media.
2. Narratives, which aimed at criticizing the politics of U.S. Government or the American political culture in general, at adapting to claims of protest movements from the U.S. itself and at linking advocacy work for leftist guerillas, indigenenous peoples and democratization movements in Latin America with a critical assessment of U.S. American politics.
3. Impact of these representations on the activists‘ perception of West European societies.
4. Actors, networks and forms of this transatlantic exchange.
5. Ways, in which these representations transcended manichean Cold War antagonisms.

Aiming to provide a polycentric view on representations of the Americas within West European protest movements during the 1980s, we also welcome papers dealing with case studies based on a regional or local movement.

The workshop has an interdisciplinary focus and is interested in papers with perspectives from history, social science, arts and anthropology. We would especially like to invite graduates, PhD students and young Post-Docs to present their ideas on these topics. Presentations during the workshop should not exceed 20 minutes (followed by discussion). The workshop will be held in English.

Please send your proposal (400 words max.) and a short, one-page CV to christian.helm(at) The deadline is 15 September 2012.

We are working on a solution for reimbursement of expenses for travel and accommodation.

A publication of the workshop results is envisaged.


Sandra Kraft: Vom Hörsaal auf die Anklagebank. Die 68er und das Establishment in Deutschland und den USA. Frankfurt am Main und New York: Campus 2010.

War die 68er-Bewegung wirklich Ausdruck eines Generationenkonflikts? Sandra Kraft untersucht sie als Konflikt zwischen antiautoritärer Studentenbewegung und dem Establishment als deren politischem Gegenüber. Sie zeigt, dass die Radikalisierung der Bewegung auch von den (Re-)Aktionen des Establishments beeinflusst war. Der Blick auf verschiedene Protesträume – Universität, Straße und Gerichtssaal – verdeutlicht, dass gerade die situationsbedingte Dynamik, die sich aus dem Zusammenspiel der Akteure (Studenten auf der einen, Polizei und Establishment auf der anderen Seite) ergab, ausschlaggebend für den Verlauf der Ereignisse war.

Details auf der Verlagsseite

Maria Höhn und Martin Klimke: A Breath of Freedom. The Civil Rights Struggle, African American GI’s and Germany. New York: Palgrave 2010

Based on an award-winning international research project and photo exhibition, this poignant and beautifully illustrated book examines the experiences of African American GIs in Germany and the unique insights they provide into the civil rights struggle at home and abroad. Thanks in large part to its military occupation of Germany after World War II, America’s unresolved civil rights agenda was exposed to worldwide scrutiny as never before. At the same time, the ambitious U.S. efforts to democratize German society after the defeat of Nazism meant that West Germany encountered American ideas of freedom and democracy to a much larger degree than many other countries. As African American GIs became increasingly politicized, they took on a particular significance for the Civil Rights Movement in light of Germany’s central role in the Cold War. While the effects of the Civil Rights Movement reverberated across the globe, Germany represents a special case that illuminates a remarkable period in American and world history.

Details auf der Projektseite

Titelbild: Performance von Pussy Riot auf dem Roten Platz (Foto: Pussy Riot Blog)

letzte Tweets

RSS-Feed zu den Twitter-Nachrichten


Flickr Pool Protests and Demonstrations