July 7-9, 2022 | Bayerische Amerika-Akademie / Amerikahaus München | Hybrid Event

This year’s annual conference of the Bavarian American Academy investigates how the American Revolution functioned as a usable past, inspiring social movements, informing both state- and nation-building processes, and justifying political change in other world regions throughout the ages.

The American Revolution is, obviously, the founding moment of the United States of America that continues to be present in the U.S. and beyond. From the late eighteenth-century on, it has been and continues to be an inspiration for social movements and both state- and nation-building in multiple contexts. One could think of struggles for civil rights, constitutions, institutions such as parliaments or courts of justice. The American Revolution functioned as a usable past justifying political change, the organization of resistance, and revolutionary action. The independence movements in Haiti and Spanish America, the Italian Risorgimento, decolonization in Africa in the mid-20th century, and sovereignty claims of the Haudenosaunee who hold that the U.S. constitution is based on their, the Iroquois nations’, centuries old confederation, is what comes to mind.

Our aim is not only to show the multitude of interpretations of the American Revolution and its very diverse effects, how interpretations change mutatis mutandis across time and space. We will also discuss how much a “past event” such as the American Revolution continues to be present, and how it is subject to change. Which narratives relating to the American Revolution were utilized, forgotten and (re-)discovered when, where, by whom, and for which reasons. Where are the limits of these diverse perspectives? When, where, and why do these narratives serve as a means to gloss over / overwrite / hide deeply rooted historical, political, and cultural contradictions. When do they become counter factual? And who decides on the factual?

Conference website and registration: Jahreskonferenz der Bayerischen Amerika-Akademie – Amerikahaus