Phd Cloud3
Graduiertenkolleg "Authority & Trust"
Research Program | Mentoring and Qualification | Faculty | Events
Home > GKAT >

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

On May 16, the HCA and an expectant audience welcomed author and queer historian Hugh Ryan from New York. In cooperation with the Heidelberg Queer Festival and the Graduiertenkolleg “Authority and Trust” (GKAT), Ryan presented his recent book When Brooklyn Was Queer in the Baden-Württemberg Seminar. Hugh Ryan’s professional background is as diverse and colorful as the subjects of his study. He writes the biweekly “Themstory” column as the resident historian at Conde Nast’s new LGBTQ magazine Them. He founded a pop-up museum of queer history in 2010, where he curates exhibitions at local communities and leads workshops on AIDS activism and LGBTQ history. Furthermore, he serves as the development associate at the Urban Justice Center, as a consultant for New York City’s queer experimental film festival, and as an expert on the literary origin of zombies.

Without ever knowing or noticing anything about its queer history, Hugh Ryan lived in Brooklyn for fifteen years. After he discovered hints of Brooklyn’s queer past that no historian has ever written about, he began his journey through the archives, systematically uncovering Brooklyn’s “great forgotten story.” Walt Whitman’s publication of Leaves of Grass in 1855 marks the beginning of Hugh Ryan’s historic timeline that covers the famous drag kings of the late nineteenth century, Ella Wesner and Florence Hines, life in Brooklyn’s gay brothels, lesbian women who found employment in the Navy Yard during World War II, and “scare queen” Martin Boyce’s stories of the 1969 Stonewall riots. The waterfront played a particular role in the growth of Brooklyn’s queer scene. It offered dangerous, dirty, and low-skilled jobs but jobs that paid and queer people were willing to take. A whole waterfront economy developed around gay sailors, sex workers, dancers, and lesbian women who worked in the factories. The police often forbore to change the situation to keep the economy running. The opening of New York’s subway system at the beginning of the twentieth century connected suburbs and neighborhoods and promoted a lively exchange between the city’s queer communities. If Brooklyn’s queer scene experienced this kind of growth what caused its disappearance, its forgetting, Hugh Ryan asked.

The talk then examined in more detail the 1942 case of the Swedish brothel owner Gustave Beekman, who was accused of running a “house of degradation” where German spies and American soldiers met to exchange secret information about troop movements. The media picked up the story and turned it into a sensation involving a gay senator and the question about Beekman’s financial backers; it seemed incomprehensible how a gay brothel owner could earn as much money as Beekman did. In the end, the court sentenced Beekman to twenty years in a maximum-security prison, and he disappeared from public records. After this “witch hunt,” Brooklyn’s brothels gradually shut down, and all signs of former centers of queer community vanished.

Although queerness has been popularized inside and outside of academia, not the least because of Netflix shows and social media, approaching the topic historically proved to be a research challenge, said Hugh Ryan. During the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, sexual orientation was seldom if ever discussed in newspapers and interviews; he had to rely on letters, personal diary entries as well as oral histories to put the puzzle together, piece by piece. The ambiguous definition of the term “queer” and its ever-changing use over the past 150 years was another challenge of writing this book. At times, people’s memories in oral histories did not match his other sources and required comparing and reconstruction. Ryan struggled to find Brooklynites who worked the navy yard or protested during the Stonewall riots in 1969 and wanted to talk about their experience. However, in the end he was able to reconstruct a profound historic timeline of Brooklyn’s queerness. As fellow historian George Chauncey put it, Hugh Ryan “makes history cool.” The audience’s applause and interested questions bore testimony to this comment.

Find a review of When Brooklyn Was Queer by Kristin Berberich on the HCA Graduate Blog:

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

On June 27, Michèle Mendelssohn continued the Baden-Wurttemberg Seminar with her lecture on Oscar Wilde’s American tour. Professor Günter Leypoldt of Heidelberg University’s English Department introduced the guest, who has a long-standing connection with Germany. She spent many summers learning German and working jobs on an island in the North Sea. After her graduation from Concordia University in Canada, a visiting scholarship brought her to Heidelberg University where she studied German literature. In 1999, she went to Cambridge University to earn her M.Phil. and Ph.D. in American and English literature. Today, Mendelssohn is a literary critic, cultural historian, and member of Oxford’s English Faculty.

In July 2018, Mendelssohn published Making Oscar Wilde, a biography of the famous Irish poet and playwright. Contrary to common belief he was “not born a genius, he became one.” Though influenced by his eccentric mother, he nevertheless had to outlive hardships before he became the global cultural icon we remember today. After graduating from school, Wilde enrolled at Trinity College in Dublin to study the classics. Smart but still socially awkward, he applied to Oxford University to study more classics but really focused on expanding his social circle. He succeeded, and the prominent people he surrounded himself with leveraged his own success: discovered by a caricaturist, Wilde headed for America in 1882. “I have nothing to declare but my genius,” were Oscar Wilde’s supposed words upon arrival in the United States. From the beginning of the tour, managers and photographers staged Wilde’s appearances as if he was a movie star. People loved his unconventional style of long hair, tight trousers, and eccentric beard, and police needed to clear the streets because of “young women craving for Oscar.” Though women loved him, Wilde’s eighty-page lectures bored the audiences, and his instant success stagnated. The press tore him apart. His sexuality and his Irish ancestry offered enough material for wild assumptions and racial controversies. Repeatedly, Wilde became the victim of unfavorable reports and caricatures picturing him as a black-faced minstrel act. The Irishman Oscar Wilde was racialized and ridiculed. As many as nineteen minstrel shows featured Wilde, the most famous one being “Ten Sisters for Oscar.” Oscar Wilde was the victim—until he bought into the same culture of fakery and imitation that made fun of him in the first place. He landed an instant success as he attacked American furniture in one of his lectures and established his famous “dandy” persona. Wilde’s genius manifested itself in countless poems, essays, dramas, and in The Picture of Dorian Grey, his only novel. Until today, literary criticism uses words like “Wildean” and “Wildese” that trace back to him. Professor Mendelssohn concluded that Oscar Wilde’s believe in himself made his success and extraordinary life possible. “Today he’d have the last laugh” she assumed. Michèle Mendelssohn’s lecture was followed by several rounds of interesting questions form the audience.

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)

Webmaster: Email
Letzte Änderung: 2021-04-13
zum Seitenanfang/up