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54. Deutscher Historikertag in Leipzig | Fragile Sounds, Fragile Humanities: Visions of Musical Humanity in the Transatlantic World Since World War II with Jessica Gienow-Hecht

Sep 21, 2023 | 09:00 AM - 11:30 AM

At the 54th Deutscher Historikertag at the University of Leipzig, Jessica Gienow-Hecht, together with Esteban Buch, Anaïs Fléchet and Tobias Hof (section heads), will present a panel titled "Fragile Sounds, Fragile Humanities: Visions of Musical Humanity in the Transatlantic World Since World War II". Moderated by Brandon Keith Brown. 

Language: English.


This panel offers a critical reflection of the historical genesis, transformation, and problématique of the fragility of the term ‘humanity’ in the transatlantic world with a particular eye on musical representation. Moving the focus from political actors, legal experts, and activists to cultural representation, we wish to examine the notion of ‘humanity’ in the musical international arena, including Amnesty International Festivals, human rights galas, as well as UNESCO concerts.

Notions of “humanity,” we argue, frequently inspired networks of musical actors and practices. Its meanings evolved and were contested in tune with sociopolitical processes and institutions such as racism, nationalism, illiberalism, colonial expansionism and authoritarian regimes, as well as supranational cooperation (U.N., UNESCO), transnational activism, and international cultural events. As a result, understandings of ‘humanity’ have always been fragile and disputed, morphed and clashed remarkably. Music and musical activism have highlighted these tensions in non-textual ways.

In tandem, the panelists wish to show the extent to which cultural actors developed their own set of visions of ‘humanity,’ ranging from a much-contested vision at U.N. human rights concerts since 1949 to an appeal for international action, sanction, and relief for a region in crisis. In doing so, the panel seeks to deepen the dialogue between international history and cultural history.

About the event

Time & Location

Sep 21, 2023 | 09:00 AM - 11:30 AM

Universität Leipzig
Augustuspl. 10
04109 Leipzig