Workshop: North Carolina German Studies Seminar
Creating Participatory Democracy: Green Politics in Germany since 1983
Feb 28, 2013 04:30 PM
Mar 01, 2013 07:00 PM
|Where||Duke University and UNC Chapel Hill|
|Add event to calendar||
In March 1983, the West German Greens became the first new party to enter the Bundestag since the early days of the Federal Republic. This shock to the country’s political system changed the debate on how West German democracy could be expanded or reformed. The Greens’ significant recent gains in parliamentary representation, which were highlighted by their 2011 electoral victory in the state of Baden-Württemberg, evince the enduring effects of Green politics on German democratic praxis.
Our workshop, which will take place on the thirtieth anniversary of the Greens’ March 1983 entrance into the West German parliament, will use that occasion as an opportunity to raise new questions about the democratic visions and achievements of the Greens and their predecessors in the New Social Movements. Specifically, we will ask how Green politics challenged West German democratic praxis and question whether the Greens’ understanding of democracy changed when they entered parliament in 1983. We will also investigate the Greens’ position on Jewish issues and their stance towards Israel. Altogether, these questions will open up a larger dialogue about the possibilities for participatory democracy in post-industrial society. The workshop will foster a rich conversation by bringing together political scientists and historians from Germany and the United States. Participants will include renowned senior scholars and researchers conducting cutting-edge empirical research.
The workshop will begin at Duke University’s John Hope Franklin Center with a readings seminar for graduate students featuring the work of Belinda Davis. This seminar will offer students an opportunity to discuss with Davis her recent research on the West German New Left, and to address questions of anti-American and anti-Semitism amongst Germany’s 68ers in particular. Andrei Markovits, whose classic 1992 work The German Left: Red, Green, and Beyond links the New Social Movements with the rise of the Greens, will then give the keynote address. He will use this opportunity to reflect on the Greens’ enduring significance, and thus to go beyond the narrative he presented in The German Left.
The second day of the workshop will take place at UNC’s Hyde Hall, home to the Institute for the Arts and Humanities. It will feature two panels dedicated to the democratic visions of New Social Movements’ activists and the Greens, respectively. The first panel will focus on the late 1970s, and explore the ways that participants in the New Social Movements saw their activism as a contribution to or a critique of West German democracy. The second panel will continue this conversation into the 1980s, looking at the Green Party itself and its effects on West German politics and parliamentary democracy. Taken together, these panels will allow for a fresh look at questions about the participatory potential of parliamentary democracy that were raised in 1983. Between these two panels, a lunchtime address by Andrei Markovits will consider the European Left’s disproportionate interest in the Arab-Israeli conflict. The workshop will conclude with a roundtable devoted to the larger ramifications of Green politics for the creation of participatory democracy within post-industrial society.