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Is the United States in Crisis?

Public Lecture Series at John F. Kennedy Institute of Freie Universität

№ 296/2010 from Oct 06, 2010

A lecture will be given by Professor Paul Krugman, a winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics and New York Times columnist, on October 20 to open the public lecture series “American Dream? Democratic Society in Crisis” at the John F. Kennedy Institute, Freie Universität Berlin. Some of the lectures in the series will be held in English, others in German. There is no charge, and advance registration is not required.

The term crisis is currently widely used and discussed, both nationally and internationally. That is particularly true of the United States of America, where a variety of crises can be observed. Its political and social system, its university system, as well as the capitalist economic and financial system show severe symptoms of crisis. Moreover, the global dominance of the United States appears to be dwindling. All this is leading to a questioning of the American self-understanding and the idea of American exceptionalism as well as to a weakening of democratic legitimacy. In countries outside the U.S., there are growing doubts about the model of the American system, but at the same time the United States remains a very central point of reference not only for Germany.

In the lecture series to be given at the John F. Kennedy Institute, the various crises and crisis phenomena in contemporary American society will be analyzed and discussed from multi- and interdisciplinary perspectives. In addition to representatives from the six disciplines at the institute – literature, culture, history, politics, economics, and sociology – numerous American guest speakers will also hold lectures.

Other Dates and Topics:

October 28, 2010    Prof. Dr. Winfried Fluck, Freie Universität Berlin
„Tocqueville in Zeiten der Krise: Die neue Kultur der Demokratie“

November 4, 2010    Dr. Andreas Etges, Freie Universität Berlin
“He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression.” Krisen in der US-Geschichte und ihre innen- und außenpolitischen Folgen

November 11, 2010    Fritz Schwarz, Brennan Center for Justice, New York University
“The National Security State and Democracy in America”

November 18, 2010    Hans-Ulrich Klose, MP, Coordinator for German-American Relations in the German Foreign Office
„Obama, die Krise und die Zwischenwahlen 2010 – eine transatlantische Perspektive“

November 25, 2010    Prof. Irwin Collier, Ph.D., Freie Universität Berlin
“Competing Narratives of Economic Policy in the Great Depression and their Relevance for Contemporary Political Debate”

December 2, 2010    Prof. Gordon S. Wood, Ph.D., Brown University
“The Invention of the United States, 1776–1815”

December 9, 2010    Prof. Nancy Fraser, Ph.D., The New School for Social Research, New York
7:00 p.m. “Toward a Reconceptualization of Capitalist Crisis”

December 16, 2010    Prof. Dr. Margit Mayer, Freie Universität Berlin
„Die Stadt in der Krise – die Krise der Stadt“

January 6, 2011    PD Dr. Thomas Greven, Freie Universität Berlin
„Die Tea Party-Bewegung und die Krise der amerikanischen Demokratie“

January 13, 2011    Prof. Dr. Lora Anne Viola, Freie Universität Berlin
“The End of the American Century: American Global Dominance and American Exceptionalism in Crisis”

January 20, 2011    Prof. Dr. Norbert Finzsch, Universität zu Köln
Race – ein überholtes Konzept?“

January 27, 2011   Prof. Dr. Robert Meister, University of California, Santa Cruz/ President, Council of University of California Faculty Associations
“The Crisis of the Higher Education System in the United States”

February 3, 2011    Prof. Dr. Laura Bieger, Freie Universität Berlin
„Gefangen in der Krise? Episches Erzählen und soziales Engagement in "The Wire" und "Treme"“

February 10, 2011    Prof. Dr. Ulla Haselstein, Freie Universität Berlin
„Krieg in der amerikanischen Gegenwartsliteratur“

February 17, 2011    Prof. Dr. Harald Wenzel, Freie Universität Berlin
„Gefährden die Medien die amerikanische Demokratie?“

Further Information

Times and Places:

  • Opening Lecture by Paul Krugman, “The Failure of Crisis Management”
    Wednesday, October 20, 4–5:30 p.m.
    Humanities and Social Sciences Building, Lecture Hall 1 b, Habelschwerdter Allee 45, 14195 Berlin
  • Beginning October 28: Thursdays, 6:15 – 8 p.m. (Please note exception on Dec. 9.)
    Lecture Hall (Hörsaal) 2, Habelschwerdter Allee 45, 14195 Berlin (subway U 3 to Dahlem-Dorf; bus X83, X11)