Category: Event Recap, News

Title: 1968 – The Global and the Local

International Workshop, Georgetown University, March 23-24, 2018


This two-day international conference held at Georgetown University in March 2018 used the fiftieth anniversary of “1968” – an international symbolic shorthand that signifies a broader moment of political and cultural upheaval in the 1960s and 1970s – to revisit its global and local meanings. The revolts of 1968 triggered each other in what David Caute called ‘a chain of insurrections’ across the globe. From San Francisco and Mexico City to Paris, West Berlin and Tokyo, students occupied campuses and young people took to the streets. It was a global event in that cultural and political movements against the established order were connected, and the generation of 1968 had a global profile. Protesters rallied against the US-led war in Vietnam and were inspired by anti-imperial liberation struggles in the so-called “Third World”.

The transnational and global have been powerful themes in the recent historiography on “1968”. And yet, the protest movements of these years were also closely connected to national and local issues through which the meanings of the global revolt were negotiated and redefined. Sometimes the planned construction of an inner city motorway was a more powerful symbol of oppression than the war in Southeast Asia; space and place still mattered in 1968. And not all ideas crossed national boundaries with ease; “revolution” meant very different things to activists in the Socialist dictatorships of the Soviet-controlled Eastern bloc and in Western liberal democracies, for instance. By bringing together younger and established scholars who are engaged in cutting edge historical research on political and cultural activism around 1968, the conference will probe the utility of global and local approaches to one of the most eventful and consequential moments in twentieth century history.

For information about this event contact Anna von der Goltz at


Venue: Car Barn 427, 3520 Prospect St NW, Washington DC, 20007
1. 9:15-10:15am: The Global and the Local around 1968

Anna von der Goltz (Georgetown University) Welcome and Introduction

Timothy Brown (Northeastern University): What’s so global about the Global 1968?

10:15-10:30am: Coffee Break
2. 10:30am-12:45pm: Encounters with the “Third World”

Chair: Jamie Martin (Georgetown University)

Christoph Kalter (Free University, Berlin): From Global to Local and Back: The Third World Concept in the Radical Sixties

Ben Feldman (Georgetown University): The Monthly Review School and the Political Economy of the Third World Left

Sara Pugach (California State University, LA): Occupy the Mission: Malian Students in the GDR between Hope and Protest, 1968-1971

Thom Loyd (Georgetown University): ‘Thank God I am no Longer a Pawn of an International Conspiracy!’: African Students, the Cold War, and the Changing Geography of International Education, 1960-1969

12:45-2:15pm: Lunch Break
3. 2:15-3:30pm: The Gender of Protest in Global and Local Contexts

Chair: Michael Kazin (Georgetown University)

Christina von Hodenberg (Queen Mary University of London): ‘1968’ in Bonn and Beyond: Local Variations and Global Misinterpretations

Emily Hobson (University of Nevada): 1968 and the Formation of the Gay and Lesbian Left

3:30-3:45pm: Coffee Break
4. 3:45-5:15pm: The Other Side of 1968

Chair: Mario Daniels (Georgetown University)

Anna von der Goltz (Georgetown University): Other 68ers: Memories of Center-Right Activism of the 1960s and 1970s

Quinn Slobodian (Wellesley College): Anti-68ers: Right-Libertarians and the Long March against Human Equity
Venue: McGhee Library, Intercultural Center, 3rd Floor
5. 9:30-10:45am: Anti-Imperialist Entanglements

Chair: Hanno Balz (Johns Hopkins)

Alex Vazansky (University of Nebraska): I’ll Bleed for Myself: Black Power and Antiwar Activism among GIs in Germany, 1968-1971

Alex Macartney (Georgetown University): Hirohito on the Rhine: the Emperor’s State Visit to West Germany and Entangled Japanese-German 1960s History

10:45-11:00am: Coffee Break
6. 11:00am-12:30pm: Urban Spaces and Local Protest I

Chair: Alexander Sedlmaier (University of Bangor)

Maurice Jackson (Georgetown University): April in Washington: Cherry Blossoms, Burning Buildings and Lost Opportunities

Anke Ortlepp (University of Kassel/German Historical Institute, Washington, DC): Paranoid Form: New Brutalist Architecture and the Limits of Freedom in the late 1960s

12:30-1:30pm: Lunch Break
7. 1:30-2:45pm: Urban Spaces and Local Protest II

Chair: Alexander Sedlmaier (University of Bangor)

Daniel Gordon (Edge Hill University): From Rome to Paris: Free Public Transport – A Post-1968 Transnational Utopia?

Andrew Demshuk (American University): Leipzig in 1968: East Germany’s Forgotten Protest

Funded by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the BMW Center for German and European Studies at Georgetown University.