Toward a New Transatlantic Space? Changing Perceptions of Identity, Belonging, and Space in the Atlantic World

Toward a New Transatlantic Space? Changing Perceptions of Identity, Belonging, and Space in the Atlantic World

Hartmut Keil (American Studies Institute, University of Leipzig) and Corinna Unger (German Historical Institute Washington)
From - Until
20.06.2007 - 23.06.2007
Corinna Unger, Department of History and Civilization, European University Institute

The American Studies Institute at the University of Leipzig (Hartmut Keil) and the German Historical Institute Washington (Corinna Unger) are pleased to announce a conference to be held in Leipzig, 20 – 23 June 2007, entitled “Toward a New Transatlantic Space? Changing Perceptions of Identity, Belonging, and Space in the Atlantic World.”

The historical construct of a transatlantic space that has been in place for many decades is currently undergoing change. With the end of the global dichotomy imposed by the Cold War, European perceptions of the Atlantic as the formerly dominant frame of reference have lost their immediate necessity. Simultaneously, the United States as the defining Atlantic power have shifted their geopolitical attention to other areas of the world, which appear to hold greater potential for cooperation than an increasingly self-confident European Union critical of the United States’ role as superpower. The traditional transatlantic alliance is revived on instances like 9/11, but its structural, ideological, and intellectual basis seems to have weakened. While European post-Cold War fears of a new era of American isolationism have proved false, Europeans have had to realize that they are no longer exclusively at the center of US attention. Some regard this as an opportunity to revive ideas about European singularity, or, at least, difference, based on a confirmative understanding of the term ‘Old Europe’ in contrast to the ‘New World.’

What do these phenomena imply with regard to the transatlantic space? In which ways, and to what degree, is the perception of ‘the transatlantic Other’ changing? Is a new transatlantic space emerging? Which relevance does the European Union’s ‘Eastern turn’ possess for Europeans’ understanding of Europe, and for the United States’ perception of Europe? How does the United States’ geographical reorientation influence European identity, and vice versa? How strong do common transatlantic values prove in this transitional phase? Which relevance can the Atlantic as symbol claim in a world that is no longer focused on Paris, London, and Berlin, but on Baghdad, Peking, and Bangalore? In this age of heightened globalization, can concepts of multiple identity and civil society replace former certainties?

These are some of the questions to be explored at the conference, which will be divided into four sections: a) The Essential ‘Other;’ b) Global Strategies and Transatlantic Context; c) Diversifying Domestic Patterns in a Transatlantic Context; d) The Ties that Bind: Difference, Dialogue, and the Construction of a New Transatlantic Space. Scholars are encouraged to submit papers on diverse aspects, be they national or international, historical, sociological, or geographical, intellectual or strategic, economic or cultural.

The format will consist of pre-circulated papers of about 8,000 to 10,000 words, each of which will be presented to the conference by the principal author. Short versions will be due by March 1, 2007, final versions by May 15, 2007.

The GHI will pay travel to and accommodation costs of all participants in Leipzig.

Proposals are due by July 31, 2006. They should consist of a) an abstract of 200 to 400 words and b) a curriculum vitae of no more than three pages. They should be sent by email to Bärbel Thomas of the GHI (

Inquiries should be made to both Hartmut Keil ( and Corinna Unger (


Contact (announcement)

Corinna Unger

German Historical Institute
1607 New Hampshire Ave., NW Washington, DC 20009

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