Subject: CFP: Philanthropy in History: German and American
Perspectives (19./20. Jh.) - Washington, D.C., USA
German Historical Institute Washington
Stiftung Deutsch-Amerikanische Wissenschaftsbeziehungen
im Stifterverband für die deutsche Wissenschaft
30.03.2006-02.04.2006, Washington, D.C., USA
Philanthropy in History: German and American Perspectives
March 30-April 2, 2006
At the German Historical Institute, Washington, DC
Thomas Adam, University of Texas at Arlington
Simone Lässig, German Historical Institute, Washington, D.C.
Gabriele Lingelbach, University of Trier
Deadline for Abstracts: May 1, 2005
In the public discourse on social welfare and philanthropy, practitioners and theorists often assume that the American and German traditions of giving differ greatly. It is often presumed that in the United States funding for social, cultural, and educational institutions is considered primarily a private responsibility whereas in Germany it is seen as the state's task.
German opinion leaders who are currently calling for a shift from state to private responsibility often point to an idealized and unrealistic American model of philanthropy. This misperception stems in part from the fact that German historians have long neglected or overlooked traditions of charitable giving and philanthropy once characteristic of German society. Philanthropy as a way of coping with social and cultural challenges has thus nearly disappeared from public discourse. Only since the early 1990s has philanthropy attracted the interest of historians studying the German middle classes, German Jews, and German urban history.
American historians, in contrast, have produced many in-depth studies of philanthropists, their motives, and the institutions they funded. This tradition of philanthropy research is characterized by a rather analytical approach and interdisciplinarity. American scholars have mostly focused on twentieth-century philanthropy, however, and only recently have they begun to relate philanthropy to phenomena such as class and mechanism of social exclusion and inclusion.
The aim of this conference is to bring together scholars from both academic traditions to discuss the social function of nineteenth- and twentieth-century philanthropy. We would like to invite paper proposals from German and American historians, political scientists, economists, and anthropologists who examine philanthropy, patronage, charitable giving, and the non-profit sector in a historical perspective. Who gives? Which role do gender, class, religion, and ethnicity play? Does philanthropy create social coherence, group identity, cultural hegemony and political power? Does it contribute to the formation and reproduction of social and cultural milieus (subcultures) and could it have an emancipatory potential for disadvantaged groups? What are the motives and causes of giving? Can philanthropy initiate political and social change? How do philanthropists organize giving? What do they donate? What are the preferred targets (educational, social, cultural needs)? How does all of this change over time? All papers are expected to contribute to our attempt to develop a terminology and theoretical framework that reflect a historically based approach to the phenomenon of philanthropy that would allow for German-American cooperation.
Proposals are due by May 1, 2005. They should consist of 1) an abstract of approximately 300-500 words and 2) a curriculum vita of no more than three pages. They should be sent by e-mail to Bärbel Thomas of the German Historical Institute of Washington, DC (e-mail address provided below).
Those selected to participate in the conference will have to submit a paper (5000 words maximum) to be pre-circulated among the participants.
The organizers will provide round-trip transportation and accommodations for all presenters. The language of the conference will be English.
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