A M E R I C A N A M B I G U I T I E S: I S N O W T H E E R A O F O U R D I S C O N S E N T ?
Whatever happened to consensus? In the wake of World War II, the United States came to occupy what many proponents of American exceptionalism have long asserted to be a unique place in modern world history. Official and quotidian versions of postwar American self-understanding became dominated by narratives of a nation dedicated to such liberal values as “freedom” and “justice,” both at home and abroad. With the cultural and legislative strides made by radical social movements of the 1960s and 70s, however, this narrative began to unravel. In light of this, American identity has since found itself in a state of persistent ambiguity. But what if this ambiguity was already present at America’s founding? What if this crisis of identity is to be located in the ambiguities of the Enlightenment itself, but has only recently become perceptible? What can we see when we look closely at the ambiguous image that is America?
The 12th annual Graduate Conference hosted by the Graduate School of North American Studies at the Freie Universität Berlin will explore the interdisciplinarity of American ambiguities and consider their relevance across numerous fields of research. How are ambiguous ideals of American freedom simultaneously … READ MORE