International Conference: “Everyday Heroism in the United States, Germany, and Britain from the 19th to the 21st Century,” Goethe-University of Frankfurt, March 6-7, 2015

This conference aims to explore the history of everyday heroism
(Alltagsheldentum) in the United States, Germany, and Britain between 1800
and the present. For the purposes of this conference, everyday heroes and
heroines are defined as ordinary men, women, and children who are honored
for actual or imagined feats that are considered heroic by their
contemporaries or by succeeding generations. Scholars have devoted countless
pages to war heroes, heroic leaders, and superheroes as well as to the
blurring distinctions between heroes and celebrities, but they have said
little about the meaning and impact of ordinary citizens¹ heroism. The
conference seeks to fill this void. Comparing the United States, Germany,
and Britain, it asks when this hero type first emerged and how it was
discussed and depicted in public discourse, mass media, literature, film,
and other forms of popular culture in the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries. In
addition, the conference will shed light on the various social, cultural,
and political functions that everyday heroism served in democracies and
dictatorships (e.g. the norms and values it represented or the collective
identities it was believed to strengthen). Finally, the conference asks what
role transatlantic processes of exchange, translation, and adaptation played
in its history.

The conference program is available on the website of the University of
Frankfurt’s American Studies Department:

For additional information, please contact conference organizer Simon Wendt

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