BAA Conference 2015


Thursday, 9 July - Saturday, 11 July 2015


In the United States income inequality has increased significantly. For decades wage growth has been especially slow for the middle class, whereas the top 10 percent of earners has benefitted the most from the economic upswing.

The same is true for distribution of wealth. According to an analysis by the Pew Research Center, the wealth gap between America‘s upper-income and lower-income families has reached its highest level. There are not only disparities between regions of the United States, but also huge differences within American cities themselves that are often based on urban governance and housing policies.

All this is true for Canada as well, but to a much lesser degree. Additionally, there are inequalities between different ethnic groups as well as between men and women, which are often the result of a lack of social justice, equality of opportunity, or access to education and health services. These can be seen in many novels and plays that deal with differences between individuals and groups of society, often along the color line.

The process of industrialization in the 19th century and deindustrialization and globalization in the 20th century have increased inequality but have had different effects on society in the United States, Canada, and Europe.

The Bavarian American Academy conference addresses the complex topic of inequality from different perspectives - historical, political, geographical, and cultural.
No conference fee - please register for participation.


Detailed Conference Program (860KB)
Biographical Information and Abstracts (448KB)


Conference Program

Thursday, 9 July 2015

18.00 Conference Opening

  • Welcome by Barbara Hahn, Director Bavarian American Academy
  • Award Ceremony Best Dissertation
  • Opening Talk by Reymer Klüver, Süddeutsche Zeitung: Does the U.S. Need to Reinvent Itself?


Friday, 10 July 2015

9.00 Panel I: Social Inequality and Reform in Atlantic History
Chair: Volker Depkat, University of Regensburg


  • Colin Gordon, University of Iowa
    Growing Apart: A Political History of American Inequality
  • Axel R. Schäfer, University of Mainz
    Beyond ‘States’ and ‘Markets’: Isaac M. Rubinow, Social Inequality, and Transatlantic Reform, 1890-1935

10.30 Coffee Break
11.00 Panel II: Urban Inequality
Chair: Barbara Hahn, Julius-Maximilians-University Würzburg


  • David Wilson, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
    The Death of City Neoliberal Governance: Long Live City Neoliberal Governance
  • Yvonne Franz, Austrian Academy of Sciences
    Housing (In)Equalities in Vienna and New York City?

12.30 Lunch Break

14.30 Panel III:  Cultural Scripts of (In)Equality
Chair: Heike Paul, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg


  • Bruce Robbins, Columbia University, NY
    On Being a Beneficiary: Discomforts of Global Inequality
  • Sabine Broeck, University of Bremen
    Unequality or (Social) Death? On the Devastation of Black Urban Life

16.00 Coffee Break
16.30 Panel IV: Writing Inequality: Literary Negotiations of Class, Globalization, and Social Justice
Chair: Kerstin Schmidt, University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt


  • Sonali Perera, Hunter College, City University of New York
    Reading Tillie Olsen in a Global and Unequal World
  • Julia Faisst, University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt
    Moving In and Out, Moving Up and Down: Re-Evaluating Real Estate in Twenty-First Century Drama
  • Rinaldo Walcott, University of Toronto
    After Black Lives Matter: Black Death, Capitalism, and Unfreedom


Saturday, 11 July 2015

10.00 Panel V: Unequal Democracy in Transatlantic Perspective
Chair: Jürgen Gebhardt, Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg


  • Larry M. Bartels, Vanderbilt University, TN
    Political Inequality in Affluent Democracies
  • Susanne Pickel, University of Duisburg-Essen
    Unequal Democracies in Europe: Inequalities in Understandings of, Participation in, and Perception of Democracy

11.30 Coffee Break
12.00 Lecture: Gail Stephens, Canadian Museum for Human Rights, Winnipeg: Launching a Human Rights Museum


13.00 End of Conference    


The following organizations support the conference