Events | “An Appeal to Reason”: Academia's response to current shifts in political culture

Los Angeles | August 26, 2019 | 7:30 PM – 9:00 PM

Keynote: Craig Calhoun

(c) Jacobi Lotte

The West has been experiencing a deep transformation of political culture in recent years. Basic models of liberal democracy, such as tolerance and freedom of expression, are under attack. Terms such as 'post-truth politics', 'anti-politics' and 'illiberal democracy' go hand in hand with this process. They denounce the consensus among democrats by undermining or openly attacking their values.

The consequences of this shift for science must be identified as the values of the scientific community itself are at stake. But how clear can science make its stance? And how political can science ultimately be? The shift in political culture is a reason to take a critical look at science's traditional understanding of its role.

Thomas Mann House, German Rectors' Conference (HRK) and German Research Foundation (DFG) organize a two-day round table discussion with a public keynote by Craig Calhoun at UCLA on August 26, 7pm. Thomas Mann's experience of exile was closely linked to the shock of being confronted with a massive shift in political culture at the end of the Weimar Republic. In 1930 he gave a courageous address in Berlin, “Ein Appell an die Vernunft” (“An Appeal to Reason”), appealing for the formation of a common front against the fanaticism of the National Socialists.

(c) LSE Library

Craig Calhoun is Professor of Social Sciences, Arizona State University. Previously, he was Director of the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and President of the Berggruen Institute. He taught at the University of North Carolina, Columbia University, and New York University where he founded the Institute for Public Knowledge. Professor Calhoun studied social anthropology at USC, Columbia and Manchester and received a DPhil in politics, sociology, and modern social and economic history from Oxford. His books include: Nations Matter (2007), The Roots of Radicalism (2012), and Does Capitalism Have a Future? (2013).


UCLA, Kerckhoff Hall – Charles E. Young Grand Salon
308 Westwood Plaza, Los Angeles


This Event is by RSVP only. To RSVP please click here.

This event is organized in cooperation with UCLA, the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the German Rectors‘ Conference (HRK).

The German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, DFG) is the central, independent and self-governing organization for science and research in Germany. It serves all branches of science and the humanities by funding research projects at universities and other research institutions. Jointly financed by the federal government and the 16 states, its mission is to promote scientific excellence by selecting the best research projects on a competitive basis, and facilitating national and international collaboration among researchers.

The German Rectors‘ Conference (Hochschulrektorenkonferenz / HRK) is the association of universities in Germany. The HRK is an independent organisation, representing all types of higher education institutions. Around 94 per cent of all students in Germany are enrolled at its member universities. Hence, the HRK is the voice of German universities with respect to policymakers and the public.

Villa Aurora & Thomas Mann House e. V. is supported by the German Federal Foreign Office and Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media.



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