Conveners: Dario Gaggio, CES-EUC director; Mary Gallagher, CCS director; Michael D. Kennedy, CREES research associate and Howard R. Swearer Director, Watson Institute for International Studies, Brown University; and Douglas Northrop, CREES director.
The 20th anniversary of 1989 stimulates reflections on the momentous events from Germany to China that promised change in the world. But the end of other decades—1979 in Iran and Afghanistan, the financial crisis in 1929, and in exemplary ways, 1789 in France—inspire similar commemorative reconsiderations. These and other “nines” include moments of transition and change, possibility and crisis. While the promise of democracy might frame our reflections on 1989, it is not enough to help us appreciate how other radical transformations were conceived or experienced, and indeed, what the iconic “1989” also embodied beyond democracy’s extension. We need to better understand how world-historic events shape the imagination, and how visions of the world and its perceived trajectories can shape the course of events.
In Fall 2009, the Weiser Center for Europe and Eurasia, together with other partnering units at the University of Michigan, will present programs addressing the relationship between world-historic events and alternative visions of the world embedded in these times. This series will explore 1989 alongside historical transformations of the many other iconic “nines” of the modern era and the alternative futures they inspired.