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International Seminar Series: A Spectre Haunting Europe – Angela Merkel and the Challenges of Far-Right Populism
Title of Presentation: A Spectre Haunting Europe: Angela Merkel and the Challenges of Far-Right Populism
Speaker: Joyce Mushaben, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of the Department of Comparative Politics, University of Missouri—St. Louis
Presentation Overview: Germany’s 2017 elections marked the first time that a far-right party with neo-Nazi adherents managed to cross the 5% threshold needed to enter the Bundestag since 1949. Having secured nearly 13% of the vote, the Alternative for German (AfD) has seriously complicated Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ability to pull together a sustainable national coalition including the “C-Party” conservatives, the Greens and the neo-liberal Free Democrats. Violating a long-standing partisan taboo in Germany, the AfD “victory” is but a weak reflection of national-populist forces that have taken hold of other European governments over the last decade. This talk will address the ostensible causes of resurgent ethno-nationalism across EU states, including but not limited to the after-effects of “9/11,” the global financial crisis of 2008/2009, and Merkel’s principled stance on refugees and asylum seekers as of 2015. I argue that the real causes fueling this negative resurgence are more systemic in nature, reflecting the deconstruction of welfare states, the dumbing-down of political discourse, and opportunistic though misguided approaches to demographic change at multiple levels.
Speaker Bio: She received her Ph. D. from Indiana University & serves as a Curators’ Distinguished Professor of Comparative Politics & Gender Studies; also former Director of the Institute for Women’s & Gender Studies. Having spent more than 17 years living/researching in Germany, her early work centered on social movements (peace, ecology, feminism, anti-nuclear protests and even neo-Nazi activism). She moved on to European Union developments, citizenship and migration policies, women’s leadership, Euro-Islam debates and comparative welfare state reforms. A few of the books and monoliths shes written include: From Post-War to Post-Wall Generations: Changing Attitudes towards the National Question and NATO in the Federal Republic of Germany, 1949-1995; Identity without a Hinterland? Continuity and Change in National Consciousness in the German Democratic Republic, 1949-1989 and her latest book assesses the policy performance of Germany’s first eastern, female leader, Becoming Madam Chancellor: Angela Merkel and the Berlin Republic (Cambridge University Press, 2017).
Series Overview: The International Seminar Series offers the Illinois State campus and Bloomington-Normal communities weekly opportunities to learn about a wide range of international topics. Guest speakers are usually experts in their fields across a range of disciplines who cover a wide array of cultural, historical, political and social topics.
Series events have become one of the most popular internationally focused events on campus and continue to draw ever-growing crowds of students, faculty and community members. Audience members are given time at each event to raise questions to enable a two-way participation and learning.
International Seminar Series events are free and open to the public, and occur every Wednesday from noon to 1 p.m. in the Bone Student Center. The spring 2018 series will focus on Europe in a global context.