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International Seminar Series: Resurgence of right-wing groups in Germany, January 24

Europe’s current challenges and past legacies will be the focus of the Spring International Seminar Series.

Under the theme “Europe in a Global Context,” speakers will address topics ranging from the resurgence of far-right groups in Germany, the implications of Brexit, and the independence movement in Spain, to causes of Europe’s economic crisis and struggles for refugees.

Talks will take place at noon on Wednesdays in the Bone Student Center from January 24 to April 25. The series is free and open to the public. Find a full list of speakers on the International Seminar Series website.

January 24
The series will begin Wednesday, January 24, with “A Spectre Haunting Europe: Angela Merkel and the Challenges of Far-Right Populism.” Joyce Mushaben, a distinguished professor of comparative politics at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, will examine Germany’s 2017 elections, which had the first strong showing of a far-right party with neo-Nazi supporters since 1949. She will look at the systematic causes behind this resurgence as well as the “dumbing-down of political discourse.”

Mushaben is the author of 2017’s Becoming Madam Chancellor:  Angela Merkel and the Berlin Republic. She also penned the books From Post-War to Post-Wall Generations: Changing Attitudes towards the National Question, NATO in the Federal Republic of Germany, 1949-1995, and Identity without a Hinterland? Continuity and Change in National Consciousness in the German Democratic Republic, 1949-1989.

January 31
“European Sovereign Debt and Banking Risk—The Good, the Bad, and the Really Ugly!”

Chair of the Department of Economics at Illinois State University David Cleeton will look at the sovereign debt crisis in Europe and explore the key relationships that presented the most troubling dilemma in the ties between sovereign and banking risk, as played out in the financial crisis in Europe.

Co-author of the textbook Financial Economics, Cleeton was named a Fulbright-Schuman Chair of EU-US Relations at the College of Europe in Bruges (Belgium) and recognized as a Fellow of the Euro Area Business Cycle Network affiliated with the Centre for Economic Policy Research in London. He holds affiliated faculty appointments with the EU Center of Excellence at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign and the Center for European Studies at Maastricht University (Netherlands).

February 7
“The Unexpected History of Environmental Awareness”

Advisors to the king of France warned about deforestation. Nineteenth-century scientists worked out the basics of climate change. In this talk, Venus Bivar, assistant professor of history at Washington University in St. Louis, will look at the surprisingly old ideas of environmentalism.

Bivar is the author of Organic Resistance: The Struggle Over Industrial Farming in Postwar France, which charts the meteoric rise of the French farm sector. She is currently working on a new project that examines the emergence of economic growth as both an economic category of analysis and a political promise.

February 14
“Our National Histories of Violence—Lessons from Germany’s Opportunistic Holocaust Commemoration”

Felix Fiedler of the School of Art at Illinois State will look to Germany and the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin for how nations deal with their history of atrocities. Fiedler, who studies German national monuments after the fall of the Berlin Wall, will examine the idea of redemption and acknowledgement of national crimes that exists in conjunction with the slippery slope of commemoration devolving into a monumental screen memory, masking or smoothly absorbing atrocities.

The series is sponsored by the Office of International Studies and Programs and co-sponsored by the Harold K. Sage Fund and Illinois State University Foundation; Milner Library; the College of Arts and Sciences; the Department of Economics; the Department of Politics and Government; the Department of English; the Department of Sociology and Anthropology; the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures; the School of Art; and the Department of History.

For additional information, contact the Office of International Studies and Programs at (309) 438-5276.

This story will be updated throughout the semester. Go to the International Seminar Series website for a full list of speakers.

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