Past Program

Sep 27 - Oct 01, 2012

Resistance and Readiness: Immigration, Nativism and the Challenge of Ethnic and Religious Diversity in the US and Europe Today


A special four day symposium organized by the Salzburg Seminar American Studies Association will be held at the Salzburg Global Seminar, Salzburg, Austria from September 27-October 1, 2012. The symposium is open to individuals working in the field of the topic; most participants will be university academics and journalists from a wide variety of countries. All activities will take place at the historic Schloss Leopoldskron in Salzburg, Austria, and the adjacent Meierhof.

In some ways the meeting will be a ten year review of issues raised in an American Studies seminar held at Schloss Leopoldskron early in 2002. At that earlier gathering, 38 Americanists from 25 countries addressed "The Continuing Challenge of America's Ethnic Pluralism". That symposium was focused mainly on general issues of race and ethnicity, the impact of then-recent immigrants and refugees in the US, and concern about mounting xenophobia in the USA in the immediately wake of "9/11." Since then much has happened on both sides of the Atlantic in regard to issues of migration, integration, and what some have called "the limits of tolerance." The 2012 symposium will examine these matters once again, but this time from a much more comparative perspective. Distinguished specialists in the field will lead plenary sessions, panels, and discussion groups looking at such topics as grounds for migration (push and pull factors), dichotomies between "natives" and "newcomers" and their significance in the US and various parts of Europe, identities and distinctions between "they" and "we" as expressed in politics and in the art and literature of marginality, patterns of adaptation and integration -- and isolation, and the varied meanings of "tolerance."

Many of these matters were addressed in a recent Council of Europe report, "Living Together: Combining Diversity and Freedom in 21st Century Europe," drafted by the Salzburg Global Seminar's Senior Program Advisor Edward Mortimer on behalf of a Group of Eminent Persons chosen by the Council's Secretary-General. We hope to spend at least one session reviewing that report and responses to it along with comparable American documents. Its central theme will be a leitmotiv throughout all of our deliberations.