| Philosophische Fakultät, Forschung

Gerda Henkel Foundation supports new research project "Gender, race and sex in US American contemporary history"

Over the next three years, the Gerda Henkel Foundation will support a new research project at the Chair of North American History at the University of Erfurt (Prof. Dr. Jürgen Martschukat) with funds totalling around 161,000 euros. It is entitled "Contested Democracy. Gender, race and sex in US American contemporary history". The funds will be used to finance a postdoctoral and a doctoral fellowship.

Prof. Dr. Jürgen Martschukat
Prof. Dr. Jürgen Martschukat

The project investigates struggles for hegemony and democracy along gender, race and sex in the form of a conflict history of the USA in the second half of the 20th century and in the beginning of the 21st century. On the one hand, it sheds light on historical configurations and policies which, since the 1960s, have led women to inscribe themselves as actors and as a category of analysis in the historical production of knowledge and science policy; an inscription which was deeply political and which, through the participation of "the many", was to contribute to fulfilling the promise of democracy. On the other hand, the project analyses the emergence of a hegemonic identity politics of "reactionary" political forces from the 1970s onwards, which thus appropriated a central political strategy of social movements and generated themselves as defenders of an established order and "American greatness".

In two subprojects (A and B) on US history, the research group is working out how democracy has been shaped by intersectional conflicts over social participation along the lines of gender, race and sex from the mid-20th century to the present. In a postdoctoral project (subproject A), she is investigating transformational mobilisations of gender that aimed at the equal political and social participation of all. The life and work of the Jewish historian Gerda Lerner and her commitment to women's history, which aimed at a democratisation of science and society, are at the centre of this project. Complementary to this, a doctoral project (Subproject B) focuses on hegemonic identity politics, which aim to preserve the privileges of a particular social group or its hegemony. The analytical focus of this subproject is on three conservative journalists and political consultants. The research group combines actor-centred and intersectional perspectives which, in the form of a histoire croisée, specifies the analysis of hegemony and interwoven power relations. The research project thus shows how female actors have contributed to establishing gender and identity politics as a decisive form of politics in the social and political conflict constellations of the later 20th and early 21st centuries.

The main result of both sub-projects will be a monograph. The research group will be expanded by a dissertation project at the Chair of North American History at the University of Erfurt on nostalgia in US-American contemporary history.