CFP: ACLA 2017: Liberalism in Crisis? A Perspective from the Humanities, Utrecht (23.09.2016)

Gabriela Stoicea's picture

Organizer: Gabriela Stoicea (Clemson University)

Co-Organizer: Ansgar Mohnkern (University of Amsterdam)

We live in troubled times. From Europe’s handling of the refugee crisis to Britain leaving the EU, and American elections giving a platform to insults and arrogance, it is clear that both sides of the Atlantic are in political and social turmoil. It would be hard, if not downright naïve, to deny that these developments are interconnected. Many people of all political persuasions blame a crisis of liberal institutions, if not of liberalism per se, for our current woes. Whether or not, and how much truth there is to this argument, is better left to others. What we want in this panel is to explore the long tradition that exists in the humanities of challenging the premises and promises of liberal narrative(s). From the right to the left, from Hegel, Nietzsche, and Carl Schmitt to Marx, Benjamin, Gramsci, Foucault, and Agamben, a whole trend of thought has developed across centuries critiquing the liberal doctrine. Equally important to this discussion have been various literary and cinematic contributions by Brecht, Marinetti, Celine, Kafka, E. Jünger, as well as Weimar Cinema and New German Cinema directors, to name just a few examples.
We invite papers from various national cultures and disciplines, with a focus on literature and film, as well as theory. Comparative examinations are strongly encouraged. Possible questions include, but are not limited, to the following:
  • What are some of the different understandings/brands of liberalism that have come under fire in the course of time?
  • What is the purpose of challenging liberalism?
  • What are the implicit problems with liberal theory and practice that philosophers, authors, and filmmakers react to?
  • Are certain kinds of socio-political or economic constellations more likely to give rise to such critiques?
  • What can we learn today from past instances of 'liberal crises' (such as the 1920s and 1930s)?
  • What is the pedagogical value of teaching texts that critique liberalism? How about the challenges of doing so?
  • Can the humanities contribute to a better conceptualization of a 'dialectics of liberalism'?

Please submit a 250-word proposal and a short CV via the ACLA website by September 23rd, and contact the organizers, Gabriela Stoicea ( and Ansgar Mohnkern (, with any questions about the panel.

Diese Ankündigung wurde von H-GERMANISTIK [Lukas Büsse] betreut –