Relationships At Eye Level?!
Glancing at the news nowadays increasingly gives rise to the sense that our comprehensively networked world seems to be falling apart. The world’s wars, social, political or economic crises are not (any longer) just of local significance, but of grave concern to us all. The refugee crisis, climate change, dramatic currency fluctuations, Brexit, Trump, the rise of populist movements, and the creeping return of autocratic forms of government are but some of the ongoing issues. Who actually still sees eye to eye with whom? Statesmen refuse to engage in bilateral talks or transform them with meaningless gestures. Citizens have felt excluded from political life and have been retreating into the private sphere.
Homing in on these often alarmist perceptions, the 2017 Weimar Rendez-vous with History enquired how down through ages relationships of a political, economic, social, and ecological nature (and in the present) have operated with, against, between and toward each other. Our world has become increasingly complex – and not solely on account of our fundamentally shifting communication patterns. Political and economic interdependencies on a global scale are equally playing their part. Even though many a politician, activist, and pundit might well have us believe so, there are no simple answers, As in many other contexts, but notably here, a look at history is helpful and of utmost urgency. For all too often the causes and growth of current phenomena are to be discovered in the past, and a careful look at history can put some everyday diagnoses into perspective, thus allaying fears. In any case, however, examining such relationships enhances our understanding of the present.
Starting from the prevailing relationships and interconnections, we asked specific questions about the past, including the necessary historical interim ground in order to understand it. Its scope spanned antiquity to contemporary history and the recent present. What social relationships are necessary to ensure and underpin democracy? How were they structured in ancient Greece as the cradle of democracy? How were international relations shaped during the Cold War? What history or histories interlink France, Germany, and Poland, the nations of the Weimar Triangle? What impact have Twitter, Facebook et al. on how we communicate? Have there ever been comparable phenomena? We broadened our gaze not only epochally but also geographically and also looked at other regions outside Europe. How complex the supposedly clear constellations of power were, for example, between colonial powers and Africa, and what ramifications we still feel from them today.