Anarchism in Culture. Re-assessing the Influence of a Manifold Libertarian Concept on European Modernity (1820s−1930s)

07.09.-09.09.2016, Konferenz, DHI Rom

Heterogeneous in theory and practice, the anarchism(s) of the modern age always provoked ambivalent reactions: On the one hand, the term itself evoked images of terror and chaos. On the other hand, anarchism often found a rather uncritical approval of its supporters and sympathizers. Recent studies have opened up this narrow view. Giving the topic a critically far-reaching, new perspective, current research projects integrated anarchism in the fields of political, cultural, gender, religious and global studies, and subjected it to a closer analysis. The international workshop "Anarchism in Culture" ties in with these attempts. It aims for a broad transdisciplinary and transnational discourse to examine anarchism controversially as an element of culture with a special emphasis on European anarchism in its heyday from the 1820s to the 1930s. The workshop concentrates on both anarchistic theory and practice as well as on milieu and group specific elements, the impact of migration on anarchism and the ways in which anarchist theories have been distributed. Furthermore, the discussion will be complemented by a consideration of the provocative issue of anti-capitalism versus hyper-modernity in anarchism as well as the tension between a transnational anarchist theory and local, decentral structures in anarchistic practice. With a main focus on culture, questions concerning characteristics and limits of an anarchistic concept of liberty will be pivotal, asking for the often crucial balancing of the individual and the collective in each case. The workshop traces this notion of "anarchistic liberty", which might prove to be part of a creative, nonconformist thinking in culture, opening up new perspectives on scientific, economic, philosophic, and artistic matters in the course of history.