University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Wolfson College Lunchtime Seminar Series - Wednesdays of Full Term > Imagining the Transnational Character of "1968" - Reassessing the Importance of Global Developments in Shaping Austrian and West German Protestors

Imagining the Transnational Character of "1968" - Reassessing the Importance of Global Developments in Shaping Austrian and West German Protestors

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Efforts to historicise ‘1968’ in recent decades have increasingly moved scholars from viewing the turbulent protest year in terms of generational conflict with nation-specific peculiarities to portraying it as a global youth movement transcending state boundaries through transnational activities. By drawing on the West German and Austrian examples, this talk aims to reassess interpretations stressing the importance of international solidarity among 68ers on the one hand, and the Frankfurt School’s emphasis on internal causes on the other hand. Neither of these frameworks alone captures the essence of why West German protest movements erupted even while ‘1968’ in Austria amounted to ‘a hot quarter of an hour’. The talk proposes that the aforementioned frameworks compliment each other. While transnational experiences gave rise to a universal language and methods of dissent as well as provided protestors with the necessary confidence that acted as their basis of departure, national factors ultimately determined whether protestors could successfully unite to translate their newly acquired tools and internationalist rhetoric into domestic action and thus move beyond the international dimension by ‘bringing the revolution home’.

This talk is part of the Wolfson College Lunchtime Seminar Series - Wednesdays of Full Term series.

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