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HCTS Stadtgespräch at DAI Heidelberg

Jan 17, 2019

On January 10, the latest HCTS Stadtgespräch took place in the library of the DAI. The roundtable discussion was part of the series "1968 Global - China and the World", which the Confucius Institute conducted together with CATS and HCTS, the Ethnological Museum, the Karlstorkino and the Heidelberger Klangforum e.V.

Flash is required!

Full video of the Stadtgespräch with Michael Buselmeier, Claus Koch, Klaus Staeck and Rudolf Wagner.

The Stadtgespräch at the DAI was the fourth event in a series initiated at the HCTS to engage in conversations with members of the Heidelberg community, and took place in the course of the lecture and film series "1968 Global - China and the World". The panel discussion brought together a group of guests who, each in their own way, lived in Heidelberg in 1968: the graphic designer, cartoonist and lawyer Klaus Staeck, the writer and poet Michael Buselmeier, the sinologist Rudolf Wagner and the psychologist and publicist Claus Koch.

The discussion centered around the question how something so often covered in silence or shame could and if it should be given a voice again, as the Cultural Revolutions – not only in China but also in the world – were also characterized through their militant and terrorist elements, the not necessarily innocent faith in Mao, the submission to Marxism-Leninism and Communist cadre organizations. The focus of the discussion also centered around the question, what kind of language could be the appropriate for this subject.

Almost all of the cultural revolutions that happened around the year 1968 have proven to be "revolts with long-term effects" (Claus Koch) - for better or worse. Even if the memory  of these revolts is, like in China, officially, and in this case negatively, classified and the case closed, they are often remembered individually or collectively by the people.

The memories don’t obey such simple reductive classifications, which is why the memory of these cultural revolutions is still part of our identity formation today, as well as of those born after the events. The memories influence our view of ourselves and our society as well as the fantasies of the future that we are and were eager to produce. Have all utopias really left us? (Michael Buselmeier) Is there no longer that "common goal" to radically change existing conditions (and to overthrow the "ruling class" along with capitalism)?

The panel discussion was moderated and introduced by Prof. Dr. Barbara Mittler. Afterwards, a film screening of "The Day of Reckoning" took place in the presence of the well-known Chinese director Xu Xing.

The HCTS Stadtgespräch was initiated in 2017 to establish a lasting connection with the city of Heidelberg and its citizens. The format seeks to create a platform for dialogue and discussion and wishes for researchers and citizens to come together and connect. The events, which can be lectures, discussions, film screenings or concerts amongst others, also always include a representative of the city of Heidelberg and take place in well-known places across the town.

You can find more information about the event here.


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  • HCTS Stadtgespräch at the DAI library, © Son Xin

  • Barbara Mittler and panelists, © Son Xin

  • Lively discussions about 1968, © Son Xin