Contested Legacies
a program and conference

The Project

Contested Legacies

"Contested Legacies" began as a project to reflect on both the work of thinkers and artists forced to flee Hitler's Germany and on fifty years of scholarship in "exile studies." The title refers to the claims and counterclaims of the emigrants about the intellectual legacies they brought with them into exile. Additionally, "Contested Legacies" was about the debates generated by the emigrés' rich and diverse achievements, continuously contested within the emigré cohort itself and then among succeeding generations of their followers and detractors.

The project consisted of a conference assembling an international, interdisciplinary, and intergenerational group of participants consisting of almost forty scholars. The three-day conference took place in the context of the 2002 Bard Music Festival's exploration of Gustav Mahler and His World—another contested legacy. The "Contested Legacies" Conference was prepared at "No Happy End," a workshop in February 2001, which defined the terms of the common project.

The record of the 2001 workshop is available here in a pdf, file of the 64-page brochure containing a preliminary summary of the project and a prospectus of the conference, as well as seventeen brief articles by Peter Baehr (Lingnan University), Jonathan Bordo (Trent University), Peter Breiner (SUNY Albany), Christian Fleck (University of Graz), Larry Friedman (Indiana University), Lydia Goehr (Columbia University), Daniel Herwitz (Durban University), Claudia Honegger (Bern University), Laurent Jeanpierre (École des hautes études en sciences sociales) , David Kettler (Bard College), Claus-Dieter Krohn (Lünenburg University), John McCormick (Yale University), Ernst Osterkamp (Humboldt University), Hanna Papanek (Independent Scholar), Suzanne Vromen (Bard College), Anna Wessely (Eötvös Loránd University), and Jerry Zaslove (Simon Fraser University). The brochure has also appeared in a small edition for libraries published by Galda and Winch.

One selection of articles from the 2002 Conference appeared in a dedicated issue of the European Journal of Political Theory in 2004, and another was published by Palgrave Press in 2005. See Publications for details.

In 2005, the "Contested Legacies" project was extended to comprehend comparative studies of twentieth-century intellectual exiles. The first publication of that broadened direction was a dedicated issue of the Journal of the Interdisciplinary Crossroads. See Project Sequel for downloadable complete text.

Director: David Kettler, Research Professor in Social Studies, Bard College
and Professor Emeritus, Trent University.
Telephone: 845-758-7294
Fax: 845-758-7697