With the ascendency of Donald Trump to the U.S. presidency, the decision of Great Britain to leave the European Union, and the seemingly unstoppable rise of right‐wing populism across Europe, the last year marked a significant political shift that requires our immediate attention. In the conference “What’s Going On: Reflections on Truth, Politics, Democracy, and Language,“ Deutsches Haus at NYU will bring together thinkers, writers, scholars, and journalists for an in‐depth and challenging discussion about the complicated issues at hand, ranging from the redefinition of journalism’s role in a post‐truth world, the existential threat right‐wing populist movements and their leaders pose to Western liberal democracies, and finally to the dangerous ways in which authoritarianism can warp the very language we rely on to describe our reality. This conference invites you to explore the sociopolitical, cultural, and linguistic condition of our U.S. and European present.
Thursday, November 9, at 7:30 pm:
The Fourth Estate in a Post‐Truth World Deutsches Haus at NYU presents a panel discussion featuring the New York Times journalist Jim Dwyer, and the Tageszeitung’s (TAZ’s) Dorothea Hahn, which will be moderated by Professor Marcia Pally. Though fake news is not a new phenomenon, it has taken on a new dimension under the Trump administration with the broadened reach of digitization and social media proliferation. This panel discussion featuring distinguished journalists from the U.S. and Germany will reflect on what steps need to be taken, both on a domestic as well as on an international level, to hold Donald Trump and his administration (as well as populist movements in Europe) accountable for their actions. Our panelists will also discuss the erosion of public trust in the media and what strategies journalists can pursue to maintain or restore credibility in a post‐truth world; how to counteract the amplification of misinformation campaigns and fake news, and whether/how journalism and media companies need to evolve from here in order to ensure that fact prevails over fiction.
Friday, November 10, at 5:30 pm:
Democracy in Decline: Populism and Democratic Deconsolidation in Europe and the U.S. Deutsches Haus at NYU presents a panel discussion with Prof Dr. Claus Leggewie and Prof. Dr. Adam Przeworski, which will be moderated by Christian Martin, Max Weber Chair at the Center for European and Mediterranean Studies at NYU. In recent years, populist movements have been on the rise across Europe and the United States feeding off mounting public discontent and the resentment of those feeling left behind by the global economy, technological change and growing inequality. The ascent of these populist and anti‐system movements poses one of the greatest threats to Western liberal democracies, as is evident particularly in Hungary and Poland in Europe, but also with the election of President Trump in the United States and in recent elections in Germany, Austria, and the Czech Republic. Our panel of renowned scholars will examine the disconcerting trends in U.S. and European politics, and the phenomenon of “democratic deconsolidation,” which indicates a gradual erosion and deterioration of democratic principles, endangering the very political system we have taken for granted. What options do we have and what actions can we take to defend the institutions liberal democracies rely on and to alleviate the underlying disillusionment of the voter base that fuels the rise of populism?
Friday, November 10, at 7:30 pm:
The Politics of Language Deutsches Haus at NYU presents a panel discussion with Russian‐American journalist and author Masha Gessen and the author Siri Hustvedt, which will be moderated by Prof. Dr. Ulrich Baer. Lying in politics did not begin with Donald Trump and authoritarianism has in the past warped language and truth in horrible and lasting ways. Perhaps due to the U.S.’ inexperience with authoritarianism, President Trump’s exaggerations, fabrications, distortions, and outright lies appear to have elevated what Hannah Arendt called “the conflict between truth and politics” to another level. Our panel will discuss the validity of this presupposition and examine the fracturing of realities and the erosion of a shared language in the public sphere. Is this an indication of a broader decline in the standards of truth in political discourse? Have the consequences politicians face, when telling outright lies (which should be called out as such) diminished over time? Finally, our panelists will contemplate how we can proceed in this precarious seemingly post‐truth environment to ensure that linguistic and moral clarity persevere.
Events at Deutsches Haus are free and open to the public. If you would like to attend this event please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. As space at Deutsches Haus is limited, please arrive ten minutes prior to the event to ensure you get a good seat. Thank you!
The conference “What’s Going On: Reflections on Truth, Politics, Democracy, and Language” is a DAAD‐sponsored event.