The Lessons of 1945 - What Remains?

The Lessons of 1945 - What Remains?
Activity Date: 
Wednesday, May 10, 2017

It is something of a truism that the end of World War Two shaped the cultural, social, juridical, moral and political structure of the West in the last two generations. It is no less obvious that today many conventions and ideas – the “lessons of 1945” – are challenged in unprecedented ways. Interestingly, despite constant political attack on its legacy, or perhaps because of it, 1945 is more present than ever before in the public imagination, standing as a moment of origin from which paths of history diverge and to which we must return in order to shape the future anew.  Through various national discourses and disciplinary perspectives, ranging from drama studies and literary criticism to history and philosophy, the Lessons of 1945 workshop explored the arresting presence of the year 1945 both as a specific moment in the past and from the retrospective position that we occupy today. The workshop featured a keynote address by Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht, Albert Guérard Professor in Literature at Stanford University and a visiting senior scholar in the MBSF, whose recent publication, After 1945: Latency As Origin of the Present (Stanford University Press, 2013) has inspired the workshop