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The Arts of Autonomy: Pamphleteering, Popular Philology, and the Public Sphere, 1988-2018

Project description

Unfolding the legacy of pamphleteering

Since the early Enlightenment and throughout history, pamphlets have been printed and distributed in hopes of shaping public opinion with ideological texts. The pamphlet has been at the forefront of major philosophical, social and political transformations, as well as processes of (de-)democratisation and (de-)colonisation. For instance, since the fall of the Berlin Wall, pamphleteering has re-emerged as a vital transformative and polemical force in liberal Western societies, prompting often-polarised discussions of contentious issues. The EU-funded ArtsAutonomy project will study pamphletary events, including analytic 'slices' of evolving public opinion on pamphletary statements, as recorded in transcripts of public deliberations, open letters, online commentary, user and consumer feedback, and social media.

Objective

Concise, massively ideological texts have long been perceived as constitutive of the development and transformation of opinion and policy in the public sphere. At least since the early Enlightenment, the pamphlet has been at the forefront of major philosophical, social, and political transformations, including processes of democratization and dedemocratization, colonization and decolonization, the universalization of civil and civic rights, the enforcement of political or territorial autonomy, and the critique of labor exploitation. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, pamphleteering has reemerged as a vital transformative and polemical force in liberal Western societies, prompting often polarized discussions of contentious issues. By integrating philological, historical, and politological research perspectives, ArtsAutonomy will produce a first systematic, large-scale account of contemporary pamphleteering and shed new light on the perceived ongoing radicalization of political, cultural, and social ideals and discourses in contemporary Europe and the United States. We intend to achieve our epistemic goals by studying “pamphletary events”, i.e. events which unfold in the public sphere and which engage both a pamphletary text and interpretative competences widely distributed among the general reading public. ArtsAutonomy will produce several thematically organized case studies of pamphletary events, including analytic “slices” of evolving public opinion on pamphletary statements, as recorded in transcripts of public deliberations, open letters, online commentary, user and consumer feedback, and social media. Our multidisciplinary approach will provide a unique insight into the concrete current political agency of one of the oldest literary forms, as well as into the philological-interpretative competences upon which pamphletary events and their normalization are predicated.

Host institution

LUDWIG-MAXIMILIANS-UNIVERSITAET MUENCHEN
Net EU contribution
€ 1 229 665,00
Address
GESCHWISTER SCHOLL PLATZ 1
80539 Muenchen
Germany

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Region
Bayern Oberbayern München, Kreisfreie Stadt
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
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Total cost
€ 1 229 665,00

Beneficiaries (1)