The fast-approaching “Semiquincentennial” – the 250th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence – and the heated public as well as scholarly debate about the founding of the United States of America, creates an opportune moment to study the American republic with its constantly changing diverse citizenry and to “dis-cover the American subject” as Carrol Smith-Rosenberg already proposed in 1992.
Liberal democracies demand “active citizens” that voluntarily participate, argue, organize, and commit to public life, and they are exclusionary by denying certain groups of people the recognition of their ability for active citizenship and voluntary participation. The formation of liberal subjects is thus key to a functioning democratic liberal society: “[c]itizens are not born; they are made” (Cruikshank 1999, 3).
The workshop “Dis-Cover Fellow Citizens” of the DFG-research unit “Voluntariness” looks beyond the state and focuses instead on sociocultural and -political practices that define American citizenship in its earliest stages. Members of the research group along with invited distinguished scholars - Jessica Choppin Roney (Temple University), Deirdre Cooper Owens (University of Nebraska-Lincoln), Volker Depkat (University of Regensburg), Van Gosse (Franklin & Marshall College), Sebastian Jobs (Freie Universität Berlin) and Nina Mackert (University of Leipzig) - will explore how practices of citizenship illustrate the diversity of American subjects and analyze how democracy is exercised through voluntary civic engagement and political participation.
- Cruikshank, Barbara. 1999. The Will to Empower: Democratic Citizens and Other Subjects. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
- Smith-Rosenberg, Carroll. 1992. “Dis-Covering the Subject of the “Great Constitutional Discussion,” 1786-1789.” The Journal of American History, Vol. 79, No. 3: 841–873.
The event is a face-to-face format that takes place at Begegnungsstätte Kleine Synagoge in Erfurt on June 23-24, 2022. We kindly ask all participants to comply with the official COVID-19 regulations of Landeshauptstadt Erfurt that are in place at the time of the workshop.
Please register beforehand due to limited seating via email@example.com.
We’re looking forward to seeing you!