Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB)
September 16-17, 2011
Sponsored by the Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB), The Young Academy at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities and the National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, the Berlin Graduate School of Social Sciences (BGSS) at Humboldt University, the Social Science Research Council (SSRC) and the Institute for Public Knowledge (IPK) at New York University (NYU).
With: Marc Helbling (WZB) and Andreas Koller (NYU), Jutta Allmendinger, WZB President, Craig Calhoun, SSRC President, Michael Burawoy (UC Berkeley), Wolfgang Streeck (MPIfG Cologne), Klaus Eder (Humboldt), Thomas Bender (NYU), Jacques Revel (EHESS), Rogers Smith (UPenn), Dagmar Simon (WZB), Stephen Walt (Harvard), Lisa Anderson (AU Cairo), Michael Zürn (WZB).
In the post-war era, many academic disciplines, especially in the United States, underwent an enormous professionalization and internal differentiation with increasingly self-referential scholarly communication, highly disconnected from the broader public sphere. As part of this process, large segments of academics lost their previously strong ties to non-academic groups (disembedding). However, the decline of the public mission of academia has not simply been linear and uniform across disciplines and regions – nor is this trend irreversible. This conference and the larger initiative on Academia & the Public Sphere seek to establish a more nuanced picture of the transformations of the public role of the social sciences and humanities disciplines, looking at the manifold interdisciplinary and transatlantic variations. The goal of this collaborative effort is to study those historical transformations comparatively and to search for pathways to the renewal of the public mission of the social sciences and humanities. Each panel of the Berlin conference features one speaker focusing on American transformations and one speaker on European transformations. Leading scholars from both sides of the Atlantic who have studied the history of their disciplines will analyze the historical transformation of the public role of their professions comparatively and critically. The conference can build on the ongoing Academia & the Public Sphere Essay Series that the Social Science Research Council (SSRC) is hosting as well as on the related research resources.