Conference Thursday, 04. October 2018 /
Washington D.C.

Anti-Authoritarian Activism in the US and Europe from 1968 to Today

A Conference at Georgetown University

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Date, Time
Thu, 04. Oct 2018,
12:00 pm – 5:00 pm Save in my calendar
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Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung Washington, DC - USA, Canada, Global Dialogue

Anti-Authoritarian Activism in the US and Europe from 1968 to Today

A Conference at Georgetown University


October 4th, 2018

from 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm



Copley Formal Lounge

Georgetown University

3700 O St NW

Washington, DC 20007



1968 marked the height of the civil rights movements in the US, Europe, and across the world. Fifty years later, a new generation of activists has emerged demanding their own revolution as well as intersectional change. Younger voices are speaking out and organizing local and global actions. These youth-driven movements, many based in the US, have brought a new wave of conversations on race, equality, environmental justice, and gender identity into the public sphere and the global arena.

At the same time, political forces in the US and in Europe have cast doubt on the achievements of the civil rights era. What can today’s activists learn from previous generations that fought for social change? Can transatlantic cooperation help to strengthen new social movements on both sides? How can we inspire each other in the face of new challenges?

This conference will highlight the strategies and goals of a broad diversity of social movements since 1968. In bringing together agents and witnesses of social change, past and present, American and European, this symposium aims to illuminate the transatlantic and intergenerational linkages that are fundamental to effective movement-building and that will continue to shape activist spaces and social movements on both sides of the Atlantic.


Schedule of Events

12:00 – 12:30 pm | Lunch & Registration

12:30 – 12:45 pm | Opening Remarks

  • Katrin Sieg, Graf Goltz Professor and Director of the BMW Center for German and European Studies at Georgetown University
  • Bastian Hermisson, Executive Director of the Heinrich Böll Foundation North America


12:45 – 2:00 pm | Civil Rights: Resisting Institutional Oppression

What are the shared challenges to countering government-led oppression and authoritarianism in the US and Europe? Speakers will draw on their experiences of participating in various activist movements during the 1960s to 1990s: European student activism in 1968; the fight for racial equality and civil rights in the US; and the popular movement against the communist dictatorship in East Germany. Panelists will also address the tactics of civil rights activism in fighting authoritarian structures, such as peaceful demonstrations, strikes, and legal avenues for change.


  • Daniel Cohn-Bendit on May 1968 and student activism in France
  • Maurice Jackson on DC-based civil rights activism and the fight for racial equality in the US during the 1960s and 1970s
  • Ellen Ueberschär on 1989 student activism in the GDR and East Berlin

Moderated by Anna von der Goltz, drawing on her research on the history of political activism in the 1960s and 1970s.


2:15 – 3:30 pm | Environmentalism and the Issue of Climate Change: Creating a Mainstream and Inclusive Movement

How can organizers create buy-in for environmental movements? What are the strategies for engaging people in abstract concepts like climate change, environmental degradation, and environmental protection? Speakers will address these questions while taking into consideration environmental justice perspectives. The discussion will focus on ways to promote environmental policies and activism in an inclusive and intersectional manner.


  • Rebecca Harms on the anti-nuclear movement and the European Greens
  • Natalia Cardona on climate justice and intersectional environmental activism in the US

Moderated by C. Anne Claus, drawing on her research on global environmentalist movements and environmental issues.


3:45 – 5:00 pm | Gender & Sexuality: How to Deal with Toxic Masculinity?

How can activists and individuals address patriarchal norms and toxic masculinity within culture and society? Speakers will discuss strategies for combating toxic masculinity culture, promoting healthy masculinity, and creating a society inclusive of different gender and sexual identities. The question of dealing with toxic masculinity in the digital age will also be important – such as the internet as both a space for online harassment as well as a tool for activist collaboration and overcoming isolation.


  • Sandra Muller on anti-sexual harassment activism in the #MeToo era and toxic masculinity culture in France
  • Imani Woody on toxic masculinity's impact on LGBTQ individuals, women of color, and people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds
  • Stephen Hicks on promoting healthy masculinity among masculine-identifying individuals

Moderated by Katrin Sieg, drawing on her research on German and European culture, post-colonial and critical race studies, and feminist studies.


5:00 – 5:15 pm | Closing Remarks

  • Ellen Ueberschär, President of the Heinrich Böll Foundation


For questions, please contact Nicole Johnson at