Accepted paper:

The spirit of Utopia and the heritage of our time

Authors:

Ullrich Kockel (Heriot-Watt University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper presents a metaphorical journey to some iconic locations where countercultural visions of Europe have been expressed. It will draw on on-going research looking at the relationship of parts of the German Youth Movement with the European East during the past 60 years.

Paper long abstract:

This paper presents a metaphorical journey to some iconic locations. It begins at a point near where the Iron Curtain used to run right through the heart of Germany and Europe. The Hohe Meißner, an elevation northeast of Kassel, was the location where the Free German Youth gathered famously in 1913, an event commemorated in 1963 and 1988, each time expressing utopian visions of Europe. At the first meeting, their vision was condensed into a succinct utopian formula, which has been adapted at each of the two subsequent gatherings, most comprehensively in 1988. We will proceed from the Meißner to visit some other locations where countercultural visions of Europe have been expressed. Each location will be associated with a particular, ethnologically informed meditation on the meaning and sense of place as we encounter a thinker associated with that place. Returning to our place of departure, we will discuss whether a formula can be derived from these meditations that may express a vision for Europe in 2015. The contribution will draw on on-going research looking at the relationship of parts of the German Youth Movement with the European East during the past 60 years.

panel P008
Realism, imaginary, and ambivalences of utopia