2022-2023 Transatlantic Research Exchanges
CGES is focused transatlantic research exchanges such as:
1. Cultures in Motion: Migration, Exile, and Refuge
Key UW-Madison Faculty: Sonja E. Klocke, B. Venkat Mani, Nâlân Erbil
The year 2021 marks two ongoing commemorations that further foreground migration, albeit in different ways: 1700 years of Jewish life in Germany and the sixtieth anniversary of the labor recruitment contract between Germany and Turkey. Such celebrations prompt us to think about and re(examine) continuities and ruptures, intersections and disunions in the complexity of historical contexts that form and inform Jewish emigration starting with the 1930’s and the Turkish immigration starting with the 1960’s. Our project seeks to establish migration as a critical framework of thought, as a mode of examination of lived realities and experiences for the so-called host societies. We will bring together scholars, artists, activists, and archivists to engage in cross-disciplinary, transatlantic, inter-institutional conversations about the intersections of migration, culture, and society in Germany’s past and presentBuilding on research that has focused on the cultural impact of migration, our aim is to look at a broad range of contexts for migration – temporal, historical, geopolitical, transnational – and ensuing implications for and interventions into the German cultural landscape. The public lectures as well as two workshops and a related publication we are planning serve to increase the visibility of German Studies in the USA and boost a contemporary notion of Germany as a country characterized by migration.
2. Cultural Transfers and Interdisciplinary Dialogues: German Thought on the Move
Key UW-Madison Faculty: Florence Vatan, Hannah Eldridge, Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen
We seek to explore specific instances of cultural transfers and interdisciplinary dialogue from the eighteenth to the twenty-first centuries with a special focus on two main areas: 1) We will examine German writers and intellectuals who traveled or emigrated to Europe and the US, either freely or due to forced exile from the failed democratic revolutions of 1848, in the wake of the Nazi grab of power, among other events. The goal will be to trace networks of influence and to examine how these travelers or immigrants contributed to the dissemination of ideas through lectures, translations, interpersonal contacts, personal narratives, or research collaborations both abroad and at home. 2) The second area of investigation will be the interdisciplinary dialogue between literature and other fields of intellectual inquiry, notably philosophy. Here, we will put the emphasis on writers who got scientific or philosophical training (e. g. Musil, Canetti, Bachmann) or who displayed a strong interest in science and philosophy (e. g. Goethe, Rilke). We will examine how these authors draw inspiration from, and incorporate, scientific hypotheses or philosophical insights into their own literary projects. We will also investigate how literary texts challenge scientific and philosophical claims while putting forward alternative modes of knowledge.
3. Border-Crossers in Modern History
Key UW-Madison Faculty: Brandon Bloch, Giuliana Chamedes, Kathryn Ciancia, Francine Hirsch
Scholars across the social sciences and humanities have been puzzling over the question of how to study and theorize borders for many years. In the past few decades, they have recognized their own role in prioritizing the nation-state as a historical norm and have begun to explore new ways of thinking about human experiences that span, circumvent, and challenge traditional borders between states. These new approaches have yielded a vast array of innovative works, some looking at international institutions (the League of Nations, the Comintern, the Vatican, the United Nations, and the European Union), others examining individual actors—including migrants, stateless people, refugees, and even far-right nationalists—who live “transnational” lives. But this new wave of scholarship has also raised questions about how best to approach the links between people who are separated by state borders, as well as the challenges that result from such an enterprise. The faculty members leading this investigation have taken transnational approaches to issues of ethnography, religion, economics, politics, human rights, and national identity, placing Europe in a global perspective.
4. Claiming a Space in the Art World: Visual and Performing Arts in West Berlin
Key UW-Madison Faculty: Pamela Potter, Daniel Spaulding As Berlin emerged from the traumas of war and division, West Berlin came into a position to reimagine itself as a leading force in artistic innovation. Reclaiming —and sometimes overstating —-the impact of such 1920’s landmarks as the Dada exhibition and the Kroll opera, Berlin’s assigned role as the cultural bulwark against Communist repression offered artists, musicians, and other creative forces opportunities to contribute to establishing the city as a vanguard of freedom, experimentation, and politically charged artistic expression, often in competition with more internationally recognized initiatives in West Germany. The proposed project will explore West Berlin’s growth as a center for artistic activity, examining how innovative movements established elsewhere in West Germany found a home in West Berlin’s increasingly active arts scene. In order to foster the exchange of international perspectives and the transfer of knowledge between members of North American and German institutions of higher learning, this project will establish working collaborations with European and North American scholars to explore the networks of artistic and cultural exchange in postwar Berlin, with an emphasis on experimental visual art, performance, and music during the 1960s.
5. Crime, Immigration, and Local Justice
Key UW-Madison Faculty: Michael Light
This theme builds off of our previous theme, “Criminal Justice and the German Refugee Crisis,” and expands it considerably in two important ways. First, it moves beyond the courts to examine paramount questions regarding the criminality of asylum seekers. The dramatic influx of refugees in Germany has raised substantial questions on the link between asylees and crime. This study uses data from the Freiburg Cohort Study – a proprietary, longitudinal data set collected and administered by the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Crime, Security, and Law – to offer the first empirical assessment of these questions. Second, the current theme widens the scope of focus to consider more global questions on the application and administration of criminal punishment in an international perspective. Specifically, whether local social arrangements that influence formal and informal case processing criteria produce different case outcomes across criminal courts, regardless of the legal system or country. That is, is local justice a universal feature of law? Both of these projects face considerable data and infrastructure obstacles. Fortunately, the Freiburg Cohort Study meets both of these requirements. In addition, an analysis involving criminal punishment in multiple countries requires more than just the data; it also requires international experts to discuss and develop research strategies and the requisite reference materials to guide and interpret findings. On these points, collaborations with the Max Planck Institute are uniquely well-positioned to advance these projects and will therefore be strengthened further.
6. Political and Economic Crisis and the Rise of Populism
Key UW-Madison Faculty: Mark Copelovitch, Nils Ringe
Driven in part by major events like the global financial crisis, the Eurozone crises, and the COVID-19 pandemic – and facilitated by long-term trends like voter dealignment, rising economic inequality, and the social, political, and economic uncertainties brought about by rapid globalization – the rise of populists has been deeply disruptive of established political, economic, and social orders. It poses a tremendous challenge to mainstream political parties, norms, and institution. Established political parties are struggling to counter the messages populists use to attract voters, especially using social media, and the social movements associated with them. Our project will help shed light on populism as one of the primary political, economic, and social challenges of our time. The rise of populism is intimately intertwined with crisis; indeed, the two seem to be closely linked. Our project considers the impact of two types of crises and their relationship with global populism: the COVID-19 crisis and international financial crises.