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Danish-German-European cultural change and exchange

Danish-German-European cultural change and exchange is the second of the four main themes, that will be addressed at the MatchPoints Seminar 2020. This particular theme has these sessions:

Critical theory and the legacies of 1968

Chair: Associate Professor Casper Andersen, Aarhus University
Confirmed speaker: Harold Marcuse, UC Santa Barbara

The legacies of 1968 in European culture and intellectual history are profound and enduring. New wealth created opportunities for a post-World War II generation eager to develop cultural and political identities, often in direct opposition to what was perceived as dead, dying or dead-ended traditions. Universities became one of the key battlegrounds and in many cases also a place for innovation and interactions across European borders. One influential set of ideas and connections developed around critical theory. Established initially around the Frankfurt School, the influence of critical theory expanded both thematically and geographically – including also across Danish- German borders with important links to Aarhus University. This panel will explore the transnational legacies of 1968 and critical theory.

Topics and themes of particular relevance include: 

  • The shifting meanings and agendas of critical theory across borders and continents
  • The role of critical theory in Danish-German relations
  • The influence of critical theory in Aarhus and at Aarhus University
  • 1968 as a turning point and as a legacy of transnational European intellectual exchanges
  • The contemporary relevance and themes of critical theory

Memory Culture

Chair: Professor Wulf Kansteiner, Aarhus University
Invited speaker: Senior Lecturer Dagmar Brunow, Linnæus University

Since the 1970s, West Germany has established self-critical memories of WWII and the Holocaust, highlighting German responsibility for these catastrophes. Since the 1990s, German-inspired politics of regret with its focus on the victims of past crimes have become an integral part of EU memory culture and played a decisive role in German-Danish relations. However, the cosmopolitan memory culture might have lost its political luster. All across Europe, right–wing populists have successfully advocated for conventional national memory narratives that threaten the EU project.

The panel will explore the history and current challenges facing Danish, German, and (transnational) European memory cultures with the following questions as possible thematic foci:

  • How have cosmopolitan memories developed in different parts of Europe? There certainly exists a clear East/West memory divide, but do similar differences separate memory cultures in Southern Europe from those in Northern Europe?
  • What types of national memories do populists advocate across Europe? Have they managed to develop a transnational populist memory network?
  • Are there new types of social memory on the horizon that challenge or sidestep the national-cosmopolitan dualism? Which institutions, narratives and media could play a decisive role in future European memories?
  • How have German and Danish memory cultures influenced each other, for instance with regard to the memories of the German occupation that connect and divide them?
  • How do Germany, Denmark, other European countries or the EU remember slavery and colonialism? How have collective memories influenced the perception of refugees and migrants across Europe?
  • What memories of each other have Germans and Danes developed through their experiences as tourists and expats? ​

Media and Identity

Chair: Professor Detlef Siegfried, University of Copenhagen
Invited speaker: Professor Steen Bo Frandsen, University of Southern Denmark

Media play a central role in the perception and interpretation of the world and thus also in collective and personal identities. On the one hand, they are shaped by national backgrounds and create national self-images, but on the other hand, supranational perspectives increasingly influence them. This panel aims to discuss the question of the extent to which media shape self-images in general and those of German and Danish societies in contrast to each other in particular.

We look forward to proposals that place and analyse media representations of the other and their reception in a time-specific context. ​Some of the questions that could inspire proposals are:

  • What influence do media have on the perception of the other?
  • In what way do their representations differ?
  • To what extent do stereotypical representations and/or counter-narratives exist in specific fields - economics, politics, collective mentalities, history?
  • What part do public, state and private media and those coming from civil society play?
  • Do supranational currents - US series, youth cultural trends, transnational media projects such as Arte or 3SAT - change the representation and perception of German-Danish relations?

Movement and Migration

Chair: Associate Professor Jan Ifversen, Aarhus University
Invited Speaker: Professor Elisabeth Buettner, Amsterdam University

Movement and migration have formed Europe. People have moved within borders from the countryside to the urban centres, within empires from the colonies to the colonial metropoles, just as poor Europeans migrated in masses to the new world during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In the 20th century, Europe witnessed massive movements and translocations of people. After World War II, the so-called guest worker wave attracted labour migrants to the booming Western European economy of the 1950s and 60s, and most recently Europe has seen refugee movements and poverty migration from other continents. But it has also taken the form of a growing intra-European movement linked to the free movement of labour inside the European Union. Europe thus has a long history of various forms of migration. Today migration has become a crucial and much politicised European question.

This panel will discuss the role of migration in debates on European identity in general and more specifically in Germany and Denmark. This panel therefore invite papers addressing issues such as:

  • The role of the so-called migration crisis for European integration
  • The similarities and differences between German and Danish public reactions to migration
  • The perceptions of refugees in Denmark and Germany after World War II