Call for Papers: Transformation of Democracy – Mobilisation, Representation and Responsiveness

Annual Meeting of the Political Science Section of the German Society for American Studies

Transformation of Democracy – Mobilisation, Representation and Responsiveness

Date: Thursday, 15th - Saturday, 17th, November 2018

Location: University of Passau, Innstraße 40, 94032 Passau

Organizer: Michael T. Oswald (Passau), Winand Gellner (Passau), David Sirakov (Kaiserslautern)

Call for Papers (in pdf)

The USA is the world's oldest working democracy. But two and a half centuries in, it is not the same democracy envisioned by its founding fathers. The challenges and developments of the 21st century, especially, have wrought wrenching changes. Political power remains in the hands of the people, but there is a camp that feels a deep dissatisfaction, a cultural decline and an economic indignation. It has set out on an anti-liberal, anti-intellectual path - conspiracy theories abound. A part of the electorate is in denial about climate change. Many would seem to condone willful authoritarianism. The ideological divide is vast. The uncompromising stances of polar opposites have locked policymakers in a permanent stalemate. At this point grass-roots movements appear to build more and more momentum. Protests and civil disobedience are on the rise. There is a new political vigor and dynamism in the air and maybe a more democratic and empowering form of democracy in the offing.

The 2018 Annual Meeting of the Political Science Section of the German Association for American Studies will deal with questions of a transforming democracy but will also take a look at a broader perspective with topics like

  • New media: a disrupting or a liberating force?

  • The growing public distrust in US politics

  • The ever more politicized judicial system

  • Grassroots and astroturf

  • Conservatism and the influence of the alt-right

  • Trump and the democratic system

  • The effects of a post-democracy

and many more aspects of the contemporary American democracy. We seek to understand how the changes in culture, technology and economics have transformed the way of governing but also affect our understanding of democracy to include these new challenges.

Authors are invited to submit paper proposals of at least one full page by June 15, 2018; decisions will be made by the end of June. Proposals should be submitted as Word or PDF attachments to Dr. Michael Oswald ( We particularly encourage PhD candidates to participate in an additional PhD-panel.

As in the years before, the Atlantic Academy Rheinland-Pfalz will co-host the conference and the organizers of the conference will invite keynote speakers from the United States to participate in the event. The Academy offers the community of political scientist working on American politics an opportunity to exchange and discuss their ideas and research.