BAA Conference 2014


Thursday, 26 June - Saturday, 28 June 2014

America has for long been hailed as the land of individualism and liberty, where personal freedom, the pursuit of happiness and the rights of the single citizen reign over the demands and expectations of the masses. Yet freedom of choice and the premium placed on private property also necessitated a counter force, a large dose of submission, as Christopher Newfield put it, to preestablished patterns of behavior and often unequal conditions. And it lead to a highly ambivalent notion of privacy, as an individual right situated between apparent opposites - private freedom and public order, liberty and union.


The BAA 2014 conference Cultures of Privacy will address the nation's struggle to harmonize these opposites, to reconcile the private and the public, both in a historical and comparatist, transnational perspective.


Speakers and contributors take issue with the staggering transformation of public into private spaces (shopping malls, business districts, the occupy movements etc.), with the erosion of privacy in the political arena (from Watergate and the Clinton indictment to the NSA scandal), the ambiguous hyperemphasis on the private in the media and in popular culture (as in confessional blogs, social networks, and the public display of intimacy), and, finally, on the relationship between the private and the public in the realm of literature and the arts (regarding borderline genres such as autobiography and memoir, or the public disclosure of the 'private' act of creation in weblogs etc.). 


No conference fee - please register for participation.


Detailed Conference Program (528KB)
Biographical Information and Abstracts (128KB)


Conference Program

Thursday, 26 June 2014

15.00 Conference Opening

  • Welcome by Barbara Hahn, Director Bavarian American Academy
  • Award Ceremony Best Dissertation
  • Keynote Address by David Vincent, Open University, UK: Privacy and Surveillance in the Nineteenth Century


Friday, 27 June 2014

9.30 Panel I: Privacy and Democracy
Introduction: Volker Depkat, University of Regensburg


Chair: Jürgen Gebhardt, Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg


  • Sunshine Hillygus, Duke University
    Privacy and Electoral Politics in Today's Information Environment
  • Sebastian Haunss, University of Bremen
    Contestation about Privacy in the Digital Realm 

11.00 Coffee Break
11.30 Panel II: Privacy and Public Feeling
Chair: Katharina Gerund, Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg


  • Erika Doss, University of Notre Dame 
    Public Feeling, Public Healing: Contemporary Memorials and the Mediation of Grief
  • Katja Kanzler, Dresden University of Technology
    Privacy, Professionalism, and the Female Lawyer in Contemporary TV Legal DramaTalk

13.00 Lunch Break

15.00 Panel III:  Aesthetics of Privacy
Chair: Klaus Benesch, Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich


  • Julia Watson, Ohio State University
    Getting or Losing a Life? Privacy and Online Self-Presentation
  • Karsten Fitz, University of Passau
    Public Photography and Private Lives: American Presidents and the Staging of Privacy



Saturday, 28 June 2014

10.00 Panel IV: Privatization of Public Space

Chair: Barbara Hahn, Julius-Maximilians-University Würzburg


  • Steven Hoelscher, University of Texas Austin
    Making Public Place in an American City
  • Christian Stein, Goethe University Frankfurt am Main
    Mutating Public Private Governance: The Transatlantic Journey of Business Improvement Districts

12.00 End of Conference


The following organizations support the conference