October 31, 2007

Terrorism in Europe: The 'German Autumn' of 1977 after 30 years

Symposium at Case Western Reserve University, Nov. 4-8, brings speakers and films to campus

Case Western Reserve University's five-day symposium, "Terrorism in Europe: The 'German Autumn' of 1977 after Thirty Years," will revisit the wave of terrorism that swept across Germany when part of the Red Army Faction called the Baader-Meinhof group tried to free their imprisoned members and kidnap Hanns-Martin Schleyer, president of the Association of German Industrialist.

"Given current events, scholarly explorations of terrorism are of fundamental interest at the present," said Kenneth F. Ledford, associate professor of history and law in the College of Arts and Sciences at Case Western Reserve. "This episode from the German past is of particular use in pointing out that terrorism as a tactic and weapon from the German past has no exclusive possession of religion, culture or the non-European world."

Ledford and Susanne Vees-Gulani, assistant professor of comparative literature and German at Case Western Reserve, present the series of lectures, films and discussions, starting Sunday, November 4 and concluding Thursday, November 8 in order to explore the cinematic and historical exploration of this episode in history.

The Baader-Meinhof Gang was in league with Palestinians to hijack the Lufthansa airliner, Landshut, from Majorca to Mogadishu in Somalia.

"This spasm of violence transfixed the world and stamped the views of a generation of Germans regarding the limits of political expression and the balance of privacy and security," said Vees-Gulani.

On each day of the seminar, a free, public event begins with a reception at 4:30 p.m., followed by the program. Except where noted, the programs will take place in Clark Hall, Room 309, 11130 Bellflower Road. The public is invited to:

  • Sunday November 4: Belinda Davis from Rutgers University gives the talk, The Many Lives of Terror: Political Activists, the RAF, the State and the Media in West Germany."
  • Monday, November 5: Film screening of Deutschland im Herbst (Germany in Autumn, 1978, German with English subtitles). This is a famous collage of short films by the leading German filmmakers of the 1970s. Prior to the showing, Ledford and Vees-Gulani will lead a discussion in the Agnar Pytte Center for Science Education and Research Center on Adelbert Road, in Clapp Hall, Room 108.
  • Tuesday, November 6: Karin Bauer of McGill University will give the talk, "Radical Visions: Aesthetic Responses to Ulrike Meinhof and the RAF."
  • Wednesday, November 7: Karrin M. Hanshew of Michigan State University will discuss The ‘German Autumn' as Turning Point, or, What the West Germans Learned from Terrorism."
  • Thursday, November 8: Film screening of Was tun, wenn's brennt? (What Do You Do When It's Burning?, 2001, German with English subtitles). A discussion of the film's content also accompanies the showing.

The symposium is sponsored by the German Studies Program, the Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities, the Department of History, the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures and the Center for Policy Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences and the Institute for Global Security Law and Policy in the School of Law. This symposium is made possible by the Ohio Humanities Council.

For information, call 216-368-8961 or contact Ledford or Vees-Gulani.

Posted by: Marsha Bragg, October 31, 2007 09:41 AM | News Topics: Collaborations/Partnerships, College of Arts and Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences, Conferences/Symposia, Events, Faculty, Grants, HeadlinesMain, Lectures/Speakers, Provost Initiatives, School of Law

Case Western Reserve University is committed to the free exchange of ideas, reasoned debate and intellectual dialogue. Speakers and scholars with a diversity of opinions and perspectives are invited to the campus to provide the community with important points of view, some of which may be deemed controversial. The views and opinions of those invited to speak on the campus do not necessarily reflect the views of the university administration or any other segment of the university community.