Events | Inauguration Thomas Mann House: Conference 'The Struggle for Democracy'

Los Angeles | June 19, 2018 | 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM

Thomas Mann at his desk in Pacific Palisades | ETH-Bibliothek Zürich, Thomas-Mann-Archiv | Potographer: Unbekannt | TMA 3034

„Throughout the world it has become precarious to take democracy for granted“, Thomas Mann stated after the rise of National Socialism and the end of the Weimar Republic. After living in France and Switzerland, Thomas Mann found refuge and a home in the United States. During his time in the U.S., he comprehensively addressed questions of democratic renewal, freedom, and exile in his literary works, lectures, and essays. Through his radio messages broadcast by the BBC, he became the most important German voice in exile.

Eighty-five years after Thomas Mann’s escape, the realization that democracy is vulnerable has become a shared experience on both sides of the Atlantic. The cohesion of democratic polities is endangered both in Europe and the United States. Segregation threatens to supersede exchange; confrontation supplants compromise. While political camps in Germany and the U.S. seem more and more irreconcilable, alternatives to democracy gain in confidence. It is becoming increasingly clear that the struggle for democracy has once again become one of the most important issues of our time.

Conference Program and Speakers

10 a.m. | Opening speech

By Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier

10:30-11:30 a.m. | Diversity and the search for a common ground

Jutta Allmendinger and Marcelo Suárez-Orozco, talk with UCLA students, moderated by Helmut K. Anheier

While immigration has always been an integral part of U.S. identity, increased migration poses new questions about the self-image of German society. These include discussions in politics as well as society about how open German democracy can and wants to be. At the same time, deportations of undocumented immigrants are the subject of a heated debate in the United States. What can both nations learn from each other with regards to the concept of citizenship in the 21st century? What role does education play for the coexistence of immigrant and non-immigrant populations and the strengthening of an open, democratic community?

Jutta Allmendinger is a German sociologist. After scientific stations - among others - at Harvard University, the LMU and the Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Prof. Allmendinger became President of the WZB Berlin Social Science Center in April 2007. In 2013 she received the Federal Cross first class of the Federal Republic of Germany. In 2014, she received a Honorary Doctorate of the University of Tampere. From August 2018 on, Jutta Allmendiger is fellow of the Thomas Mann House.

Marcelo Suárez-Orozco is a professor of globalization and education and UCLA Wasserman Dean of Education and Information Studies. Prof. Suárez-Orozco’s research is on conceptual and empirical problems in the areas of cultural psychology and psychological anthropology with a focus on the study of mass migration, globalization, and education. He serves as a member of the board of governors of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and has served as a special advisor to the chief prosecutor, the Int ernational Criminal Court, The Hague, Netherlands.

In conversation with Diane Allen (Human Development & Psychology MA Student, UCLA) and Ramon Flores (Human Development & Psychology PhD Student, UCLA)

Moderation: Helmut K. Anheier is President of the Hertie School of Governance and Professor of Sociology. His research centres on indicator systems, social innovation, culture, philanthropy, and organisational studies. Anheier is the principal academic lead of the Hertie School's annual Governance Report (Oxford University Press). He also holds a Chair of Sociology at Heidelberg University and serves as Academic Director of the Centre for Social Investment. He received his PhD from Yale University in 1986, was a senior researcher at the Johns Hopkins University’s Institute for Policy Studies, Professor of Public Policy and Social Welfare at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Luskin School of Public Affairs, and Centennial Professor at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), and Professor of Sociology at Rutgers University.

11:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m. | Coffee Break


12:00-1:00 p.m. | Status Panic – The Fear of Social Decline in a Democratic Society

Heinz Bude and Claire Jean Kim, talk with UC Irvine-students, moderated by Nikolai Blaumer

In Germany and the U.S., the fear of social decline is rampant. It is no longer just a question of people fearing losing their place in (falling out of) the middle class. Often enough this fear extends to beliefs in (feelings of) a broader social exclusion, a condition of losing fundamental social recognition. Where can we find the root causes of this fear of being relegated to a lesser status in both Germany as well as in the U.S.? What does this mean for the political climate in both countries and the relationship between different social and ethnic groups in both countries?

Heinz Bude is a German sociologist. Prof. Bude served as director of the research unit “The Society of the Federal Republic of Germany” at the Hamburg Institute for Social Research from 1997 until 2015. Since 2000 he has been serving as chairman of the Department of Macrosociology at the University of Kassel. Amongst his recent publications are: Society of Fear (Polity, 2017) and Adorno für Ruinenkinder – Eine Geschichte von 1968 (Hanser, 2018).

Claire Jean Kim is Professor of Political Science and Asian American Studies at University of California, Irvine. She holds a B.A. from Harvard University and a Ph.D. from Yale University, and she has been a fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey and the University of California Humanities Research Institute. Her two books—Bitter Fruit: The Politics of Black-Korean Conflict in New York City (Yale University Press, 2000) and Dangerous Crossings: Race, Species, and Nature in a Multicultural Age (Cambridge University Press, 2015) both received book awards from the American Political Science Association.

In conversation with Elizabeth Clark Rubio (Anthropology PhD Student, UC Irvine)

Moderation: Nikolai Blaumer, Program Director, Thomas Mann House. Nikolai studied at Ludwigs Maximilian Universität Munich and Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He earned a doctorate in philosophy from LMU with a dissertation entitled »Korrektive Gerechtigkeit. Über die Entschädigung historischen Unrechts« (Campus Verlag, 2015) and taught at Ludwigs Maximilian Universität as well as Bauhaus University in Weimar. Since 2014, Nikolai Blaumer has been working for the Goethe-Institut’s Department of Culture. He is co-editor of the book "Teilen und Tauschen" (S. Fischer Verlag, 2017). In February of 2018, he was posted to Los Angeles, where he assumed the position of program director at the Thomas Mann House.

1:00-2:00 p.m. | Break


2:00-3:00 p.m. | Expulsions – Shifting Borders of Democracy

Teddy Cruz, Fonna Forman, and Ananya Roy, talk with UCLA students, moderated by Steven D. Lavine

Instead of a world without borders, globalization has lead to new kinds of isolation and exclusion. New walls run not only along continental or national borders, but also through the urban centers of Western democracies. Economic inequalities, slums, refugee shelters and a growing informal sector represent developments that are often described as globalization. For democracies, the question arises how these growing, socially marginalized groups can be recognized as a part of the greater political and social community.

Teddy Cruz is a professor of Public Culture and Urbanization in the Department of Visual Arts at the University of California, San Diego. He is known internationally for his urban research on the Tijuana/San Diego border, advancing border neighborhoods as sites of cultural production from which to rethink urban policy, affordable housing, and public space. Recipient of the Rome Prize in Architecture in 1991, his honors include representing the US in the 2008 Venice Architecture Biennale, the Ford Foundation Visionaries Award in 2011, and the 2013 Architecture Award from the US Academy of Arts and Letters.

Fonna Forman is founding Director of the UCSD Center on Global Justice. She is a political theorist best known for her revisionist work on Adam Smith, recuperating the ethical, social, spatial and public dimensions of his thought. Since 2009 she has served as Editor of the Adam Smith Review, the premier international journal of Smith’s thought. Together with Teddy Cruz she founded the UCSD Cross-Border Initiative, a platform for engaged research and teaching on poverty and social equity in the border region. Forman and Cruz are principals in Estudio Teddy Cruz + Fonna Forman, a research-based political and architectural practice investigating issues of informal urbanization, civic infrastructure and public culture, with a special emphasis on Latin American cities.

Ananya Roy is Professor of Urban Planning, Social Welfare and Geography and inaugural Director of The Institute on Inequality and Democracy at UCLA Luskin. She holds The Meyer and Renee Luskin Chair in Inequality and Democracy. At UC Berkeley, Ananya held the Distinguished Chair in Global Poverty and Practice and prior to that, the Friesen Chair in Urban Studies. Amongst her recent publications: Encountering Poverty: Thinking and Acting in an Unequal World (University of California Press, 2016).

In conversation with Hilary Malson (Urban Planning PhD Student, UCLA) and Kenton Card (Urban Planning PhD Student, UCLA)

Moderation: Steven D. Lavine has been president of the California Institute of the Arts from 1988 until June 2017. Previously, he had served for eight years as a program officer for arts and humanities at the Rockefeller Foundation, with special concentration on media and museums, and from 1974 to 1981 he was an assistant professor of English literature at the University of Michigan. In 1991, he co-edited with Ivan Karp, Exhibiting Cultures: The Poetics and Politics of Museum Display; in 1992, the Smithsonian Institution Press released their second co-edited volume, Museums and Communities: The Politics of Public Culture.

3 p.m. | End


Admission is free
R.s.v.p. by June 11:
Getty Center, Harold M. Williams Auditorium, 1200 Getty Center Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90049, USA

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