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GKAT Events – Summer Term 2019

April 8-9, 2019, Heidelberg Center for American Studies

Conference "NATO at 70: Trust and Mistrust among Allies"

Conveners: Florian Böller (HCA) and Wilfried Mausbach (HCA)

Donald Trump’s “America First” policy, the (re-)emergence of China from a regional to a global power, and Russia’s renewed assertiveness are indications for the instability of a multipolar order and the shifting patterns of global authority. When authority, defined as the legitimate claim for leadership pertaining to a global order, becomes contested, both smaller states and major powers need to adapt their foreign policies. They may forge new alliances or discard old responsibilities and reject leadership themselves. That way, changes in global authority also transform foreign policy choices.

Drawing on Peter Gourevitch’s “second-image reversed” perspective, this workshop addresses the topic whether and how changing patterns of authority on the international level lead to changes in foreign, economic and security policies. We expect that reactions by foreign policy decision-makers are embedded in and constituted by domestic perceptions of global authority; that they need to be established through contested political processes with partisan and societal actors holding diverging interests; and that they are shaped by material resources as well as by aspects of policy-learning, historical experiences, and institutional variables.

For students of Foreign Policy Analysis and neighboring disciplines, the question is how the shifting patterns of global authority affect foreign and security policy decisions within different states and regions. This issue entails conceptual aspects, such as how to conceive of authority in a multipolar world and how global authority is linked to normative orders (human rights, universal values) and material elements of power (military, economy). Moreover, how do domestic actors conceive these shifting meridians of authority and what are the policy choices they face? In what way are policy-makers constrained by changing power relations and shifting ascription of authority in the global sphere? How do rising powers, such as China, try to fill the demand for global leadership in view of a supposed decline of US authority under the Trump presidency?

The workshop seeks contributions which address these and related questions. We are especially interested in papers that both engage in theoretical debates and provide empirical evidence for their theses. The workshop is neither limited to specific theoretical schools nor methodological approaches.

May 9, 2019 | 6.15 P.M.

"Charisma als Resonanzbeziehung"

Hartmut Rosa

Professor für allgemeine und theoretische Soziologie, Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena

On 9 May 2019, the Graduiertenkolleg “Authority and Trust” (GKAT) welcomed sociologist Hartmut Rosa at the Heidelberg Center for American Studies (HCA); Hartmut Rosa is professor of general and theoretical sociology at Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena and director of the Max-Weber-Kolleg at Erfurt University. Professor Günter Leypoldt gave an introduction to Hartmut Rosa’s main area of research: Hartmut Rosa’s talk was based on his influential monograph Resonanz: Eine Soziologie der Weltbeziehung, which was published in 2016 and builds upon his earlier publication Beschleunigung: Die Veränderung der Zeitstrukturen der Moderne from 2005. In his talk, Prof. Rosa focused on the connecting elements between the two concepts “charisma” and “resonance.”

Before introducing the audience to his concept of resonance, Professor Rosa presented several of his own social theories, proposing that “resonance” can be seen as providing a solution to these particular issues. Based on Max Weber’s notion of modernization as a centuries-long process of rationalization, Hartmut Rosa perceives, for instance, modern societies as consistently longing for knowledge that renders the world calculable and controllable in all of its facets, be it in terms of government, lifestyle, or explorations of the moon or nuclear energy. The phenomenon of continuous acceleration, exponential growth, and innovation forces modern societies to grow and accelerate systematically, just in order to maintain the status quo. Professor Rosa described this necessity of constant acceleration needed to maintain the system (which he calls “dynamic stabilization”) as the “escalation logic of modernity.” The members of such a society are driven by and torn between two impulses: on the one hand, the longing to continuously bring more of the world within their reach, on the other hand, the fear to fall and be left behind. While the traditional aim of parents once was to do everything to enable their children an improved standard of living, parents now are driven by the ambition of making sure their children’s social economic status does not drop below their own. What pervades society at an even deeper level is, as Hartmut Rosa emphasized, the “basic anxiety of modernity” – the fear of losing our grip on the world, seeing it change and slip from our perception. According to Max Weber, every modern process of rationalization comes with the downside of perceiving the world as disenchanted. Professor Rosa conceptualizes this form of disenchantment as a mode of “world relation,” in which subject and world have grown alienated: the world appears as mute, grey, indifferent, or even openly denying any relation at all. We are faced with a world that, despite our efforts to appropriate it, appears as a kind of desert – a world, in which work, products, processes, human beings, and animals become alienated, a world generating “professionals without spirit” and “hedonists without passion,” enraged citizens and people suffering from burnout syndrome.

In light of these observations, what would a more “successful” world relation look like? For Hartmut Rosa, the answer lies in the concept of “resonance” – a term he borrows from physics and uses in a sociological sense to describe a system of responses between subject and world. In his understanding, resonance takes place on three “axes”: the horizontal, interpersonal axis; the diagonal, material axis (which binds us to people and objects, be it to a church, a castle, or a baker to his bread); and the vertical axis, a general sense of the connection to the world. Resonant world relations are shaped by a kind of affection (something calls to us and touches us deeply) and emotion (we answer this “call” and react to it); finally, this process of being touched and affected transforms us, the world, and the relation itself. Resonance, as Rosa points out, is not “available” in the sense that it can be constructed or forced, and the results of such contacts are open-ended. While we might, for instance, enter a concert hall with the expectation of being moved, there guarantee the music will actually touch us.

According to Professor Rosa, the unavailability of charisma is, among other things, an aspect that qualifies it as a relation of resonance – here too, the addressee must exhibit an inherent willingness to be moved. The concept of charisma, in contrast to that of “genius,” cannot exist without a counterpart and is hence a relational term in its very essence. Resonance in charisma first of all manifests itself in that this world relation is diametrically opposed to any form of prediction or control and can hence function as a counterforce to processes of rationalization and bureaucratization. Second, charisma can be seen as having transformative powers by creating axes of resonance on the three aforementioned levels. A further similarity between resonance and charisma that Hartmut Rosa pointed out consists in the fact that both concepts are routinized through and in ritual. He referred to the Christian faith as an example: While on the one hand, the ritualization of charisma can stabilize the axes of resonance, it can, on the other hand, also lead to a certain stiffening of form. Towards the end of this talk, Professor Rosa questioned his own thesis by referring to a central difference between these two forms of world relation. Unlike charisma, resonance presupposes a voice on the receiving end. Charisma, in contrast to resonance, is shaped by an asymmetrical relation between the sending and the receiving party; it causes a relationship of echoes rather than resonance. While charisma claims on behalf of others – “I am your voice” – resonance simply says, “I will give you back your voice.”

May 16, 2019 | 6.15 P.M.

"When Brooklyn Was Queer"

Hugh Ryan

Writer and Queer Historian, New York City | In cooperation with the Heidelberg Queer Festival

June 27, 2019 | 6.15 P.M.

"Life Imitates Art, or: The True History of Oscar Wilde’s American Tour and Transatlantic 19th-century Racism"

Michèle Mendelssohn

Associate Professor of English Literature, Oxford University

July 4, 2019 | 6.15 P.M.

"The Making of Transnational Authorship: A Sociological Perspective on World Literature"

Gisèle Sapiro

Professor of Sociology, EHESS, and Research Director, CNRS

July 4-6, 2019 | Heidelberg Center for American Studies / Internationales Wissenschaftsforum

International Symposium: "Transatlantic Literary Authority: Material Networks, Symbolic Economies"

Conveners: Günter Leypoldt (HCA, English Department) and Tim Sommer (HCA)

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Letzte Änderung: 2019-07-17
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