May 9-10, John F. Kennedy Institute, Freie Universität Berlin
From the misprision of financial institutions to the NSA scandal, recent years have seen several revelations calling the architecture of American society into question. The United States has been rocked by crises of faith that have cast new doubt on the American Dream. Historical breaches of trust are also at the fore. The fortieth anniversary of Watergate is a further reminder that issues of trust constitute a central concern in North American studies.
This conference engages with the significance of trust for social cohesion and the consequences of its withdrawal from social, political, and financial institutions. We also welcome papers exploring how these processes are represented in literature, film, and other media. Where can we place our trust, culturally and socially, given a multitude of informational sources and authorities? How can America’s damaged politico-cultural institutions be stabilized, transformed, or replaced? These questions will be pursued across a wide range of disciplines and perspectives, bringing together established scholars and upcoming researchers.
Keynote lectures will be held by Prof. Martin Hartmann (Philosophy, University of Luzern, CH), author of The Practice of Trust (2011), and Prof. Susan Castillo (American Studies, King’s College London, UK). The conference will also include a showing of “Hawk & Dove”, a video work by British artist Isabella Streffen with a talk and Q&A. John B. Emerson, Ambassador of the United States of America to the Federal Republic of Germany, will deliver an opening address.