Research focus »Democratic Vistas: Reflections on the Atlantic World«
The first annual workshop will discuss Walt Whitman’s famous essay on the nature of democracy.
The research focus Democratic Vistas deals with the transatlantic world and its project of democracy. The group is named after the essay by the American poet and journalist Walt Whitman, published in 1871 under the title »Democratic Vistas«. Immediately following the American Civil War, Whitman reflected on the potentials, the strengths, and the intrinsic weaknesses of American democracy, which loomed faintly on the horizon promising equality and freedom.
Annual workshop 2022
Walt Whitman's essay is the subject of the first annual Democratic Vistas workshop on April 22, 2022. Speakers from Goethe University in Frankfurt will reflect on Whitman's essay and his description of the democracy project in short lectures and commentaries from different disciplinary perspectives: American studies (Heike Schäfer), history (Andreas Fahrmeir), law (Klaus Günther), political science (Hanna Pfeifer), sinology (Zhiyi Yang), and philosophy (Martin Saar). The workshop will begin on the evening of April 21st with a public lecture by Patricia Hayes, South African historian and scholar of visuality. Her lecture »Democratic Vistas. Shifting the Ground of the Image« will address the power structures that underlie the photographer's gaze in a context marked by the inequality between »black« and »white«.
The war in Ukraine, which is also a war being waged by Putin against »the West«, lends this workshop on democracy in the (trans)Atlantic region an oppressive topicality, which in turn demands conceptual and practical rethinking. The workshop organizers, the Americanist Johannes Voelz and the historian Till van Rahden, hope to contribute to this by considering democracy through multiple perspectives.
The lectures and commentaries will be published in the new book series »Democratic Vistas« from Transcript Verlag. They will also be available to the public as open access publications.
Lecture | 21 April 2022
Patricia Hayes (University of the Western Cape)
»Democratic Vistas: Shifting the Ground of the Image«
The research focus
Please find more information about the research focus and its members
Listen to previous events
18 February 2021
»Democratic Vistas, Autocratic Specters: Must We Reinvent Democracy?«
with Masha Gessen (The New Yorker), Shalini Randeria (IWM Vienna), Slawomir Sierakowski (Krytyka Polityczna Warsaw), Johannes Voelz (chair: Goethe University)
7 July 2021
»Multilateralism, Atlantic Democracies and Global Order«
with Stéphane Dion (Canadian Ambassador to Germany), Anne-Marie Slaughter (Princeton University), Gunther Hellmann (chair: Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main)
3 November 2021
»The EU’s International Climate Policy and Transatlantic Relations«
Artur Runge-Metzler (Former Director, DG CLIMA, European Commission), Darrel Moellendorf (Moderation: Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt am Main)
Johannes Voelz, Professor for American Studies, Goethe University Frankfurt am Main (email@example.com)
Gunther Hellmann, Professor for International Relations, Goethe University Frankfurt am Main
(FKH - 08.04.2022)
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