Transatlantic American Studies: Democratic Cultures, Past and Present - 3rd International Summer Academy

May 14 - 28, 2001 in Munich and Nuremberg, Germany


Ever since the publication of Alexis de Tocqueville's De la Democratie en Amerique (1835/40) scholars on both sides of the Atlantic have discussed American democracy as both a specific manifestation of US-American historical and political developments and as a model for others.


In this context, the program of our Summer Academy addressed both historical and current debates about American democracy and democratic cultures in various discourses across the academic disciplines.


The plural used in the title of our event refers not only to semantic changes in a diachronic perspective, but also to the synchronic pluralism of perspectives on democracy in national, subnational and transnational contexts. Fields of interest include the role of the media and various forms of 'representation' (in the double sense of the term).


Finally, we discussed the contemporary rhetoric of crisis of democracy in the U.S. against the background of domestic and foreign political and social developments. Along those lines our summer academy seeked to address related issues in American history, politics, culture, and literature.  





The program of the academy was structured into three parts:

1. keynote lectures on crucial issues of American democracy and democratic cultures
2. work-in-progress presentations by doctoral students (and junior faculty)
3. cultural program (Rahmenprogramm): a poetry reading with two American poets, receptions, guided city tours, an excursion to the Levi Strauss Museum in Buttenheim/Franconia, a guided tour of the Nuremberg Trials Site, and visits to museums and places of special interest in Munich and Nuremberg.



The following program was open to the general public:


Wed, 18 May | 7.30 pm
Munich, Richard-Wagner-Str. 27
Poetry reading with Carla Harryman and Donna Stonecipher (Detroit)


Fri, 20 May | 10.00 am - 1.30 pm
Munich, Amerika Haus München, Karolinenplatz 3
"The Radicalization of Recent American Political Culture"

Prof. Horst Mewes (Boulder)

"Translating Democracy: From The Authoritarian Personality to The Baader-Meinhof Complex"
Prof. Dr. Barrett Watten (Detroit)

Mon, 23 May | 7.30 pm
DAI Nürnberg, Gleißbühlstraße 9
"An Agonistic Model of Democracy"
Prof. Chantal Mouffe (London)


Wed, 25 May | 7.00 pm
Schloss Erlangen, Schloßplatz 4
3rd Levi-Strauss Lecture in American Culture and Civilization:
"Democratic Consumption?: The Cultural History of Mail Order"
Prof. Anne Koenen (Leipzig)


The summer academy was organized by


















and generously funded by