Veranstaltungsgebäude Mapping Memories

Fascism and Antifascism in Our Time:
Critical Investigations

The spread of nationalist and authoritarian movements in Europe and around the world has prompted debates about a return of global fascism. At the same time, many countries are witnessing civil society activities opposing such movements. Politicians and activists from both camps endorse like-minded actors across borders. Do these developments suggest that we are living in a time comparable to the 1930s, when the decisive marker in national and international politics was the one between fascism and antifascism?

In order to address this looming question, the Federal Agency for Civic Education (bpb), in cooperation with the Hamburg Institute for Social Research (HIS) and Rutgers University, organized an international conference. It took place in Hamburg from 1-3 November 2017 and was part of the bpb’s event series Mapping Memories.

The conference investigated the contemporary relevance of fascism and antifascism by bringing together scholarly experts on these historical movements and actors in civil society. Participants from various professional backgrounds and almost 30 countries attended the event. Its goal was to discuss the interrelatedness of fascism and antifascism, illuminate their global networks and local trajectories, analyze central characteristics and ideas, and trace shifts in discourses and practices of remembrance. Other focuses were memory politics, phenomenology, and current adaptations as well as the aesthetic dimensions and artistic practices associated with fascism or antifascism.

The overarching aim of the conference was to explore whether and how the histories of fascism and antifascism offer insights into the rise of authoritarian regimes today. What makes a fascist regime? What is the line separating authoritarianism from fascism? Can we identify "tipping points"? How should a civil society react to these challenges? Do antifascist movements of the 20th century offer a role model? How can insights into such historical connections benefit proponents of a democratic civil society?

Panel 1: Fascism in History

Panel 2: Antifascism in History

Panel 3: Mapping Fascism

Panel 4: Mapping Antifascism

Panel 5: The Contemporary Far Right and Populism

Panel 6: Restisting Authoritarianism

Event series

Mapping Memories

Mapping Memories is an event series focusing on commemorative culture in Eastern Europe and beyond. Current events include conferences, summer schools and practical workshops.

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Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte (APuZ 42-43/2017)

(Anti-) Faschismus

Das weltweite Erstarken nationalistischer, autoritärer und gegen Minderheiten gerichteter Strömungen hat neues Interesse am historischen (Anti-)Faschismus geweckt. Ab wann ist es gerechtfertigt, rechtsgerichtete Bewegungen und Regierungen als faschistisch zu bezeichnen? Wie real ist die Gefahr des Faschismus heute, wer sind seine Gegner?

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