Past events
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Heroes and heroines have characterised societies since ancient times: they fascinate and are role models – or enemy images. They polarise and unite, they provide orientation, question orders and rules and confirm them. But they also provide material for exciting stories, entertainment and advertising. In view of global crises and ‘strong men’ in politics, they are perhaps even more influential today than they were a few years ago. In any case, the theory that we are living in a post-heroic era is increasingly being called into question.

Which heroic figures do societies produce, which do they reactivate? What traditions does this follow? What significance do we ascribe to heroes from a historical perspective, and what questions do we ask about heroisation today?

Since 2012, the Collaborative Research Centre (Sonderforschungsbereich, SFB) 948 at the University of Freiburg has made a scientific contribution to the discussion of these topics and researched the heroic from the perspective of various disciplines: history and literature, cultural studies, music, art and visual studies, Islamic studies, sinology, sociology, theology and philosophy. The current exhibition ‘Principle Hero*’, which will be shown from 20 June 2024 to 31 October 2024 at the Military History Museum of the Bundeswehr Berlin Gatow Air Base, is based on the results of the research and will be accompanied by a book.

With the panel discussion, which will take place one day after the opening of the exhibition, the SFB would like to encourage a critical debate.The research of the SFB and the panellists are intended as a contribution to opening them up to new questions, research and discussions. Academics and the public are invited to reflect on how we deal with heroes today and to identify future perspectives. What opportunities and dangers do they harbour, and: Do we need a critical examination of heroes now, and how can it succeed?

Further information on the research project: https://heroicum.net/

Participants of the discussion

René Aguigah – Deutschlandfunk Kultur

Susan Neiman – Einstein Forum Potsdam

Friederike Pannewick – Universität Marburg, Arabistik

Ralf von den Hoff – Universität Freiburg i.Br.: SFB 948, Moderation

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