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1st Transatlantic Students Symposium

Reactions to Terrorism.
Amidst Political Answers and Cultural Questions

Bard College & Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.
Potsdam and Berlin, April 4-5, 2003


Program Description

There are consequences to any event. The more drastic and traumatic the event, the more determined the reaction may be, especially if there remains the perception of an ongoing threat. A state's subsequent reaction will be felt within the state legislature, the nation's culture and media, and its foreign policy. Throughout World War II and the Cold War, the threat was visible, the opposing sides have been nation states and their respective allies. But how does a state react, how does the rhetoric change when the opponent eludes easy definition and cannot be dealt with on the political and/or diplomatic level?

Could the aim of terrorism be construed as providing terror, using the political framework as an incitement for catering to the disenfranchised, making them believe in a fight constructed as legitimate? The infrastructure of terror is elusive, so are its perpetrators, the threat is difficult to localize, its origin can be anywhere. As a consequence, a political reaction will be confronted with the task of dealing with already existing feelings of unease and paranoia. If the threat is believed to be real, there must ensue visible efforts to counter it, to prevent further acts of terrorism from happening. We will take a look at the aftermath of the terrorist acts of September 11th, 2001, examining the strategies employed in internal and foreign policy, in the media and the general cultural discourse, on both the domestic and the international level. As a possible comparison, we will review the methods employed in dealing with RAF terrorism in Germany.

Symposium Week Field Trips

Potsdam Park Sans-Souci, Einstein House in Potsdam, locations in Berlin

Total participants: 21


Philipp Kneis, Janine Ludwig,
PD Dr. Reinhard Isensee (Humboldt),
Dr. Susan Bernofsky (Bard)

Student Organizer:

Bert Bobock (Humboldt)

Student Participants (not organizers)

16 (Bard: 13, Humboldt: 3)

Conference Program

Conference Program Flyer

Partners and Supporters

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin: International Office,
American Studies Program,
Student Union of the Institute of English and American Studies

Bard College

Max Kade Foundation

see also: Latest Program Report

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9/11 Memorial in New York

9/11 Memorial Installation in Berlin

Potsdam, Sanssouci Castle

Berlin, Humboldt-University

Transatlantic Students Symposia