Farewell to dreamland

1989 and its legacy

Three decades after the fall of the Berlin Wall, we are yet to come to terms with 1989’s historical significance, let alone the challenges of the present. What is the actual meaning of the ‘annus mirabilis’ and everything that followed? If this question is still unanswered, perhaps our approach is flawed, suggests Karl Schlögel.

1989 and its aftermath gave life to a liberating yet frightening era of ‘wild thinking’, whose manifold meanings and consequences refuse to be caged in a historical sermon. ‘All we can do is to tell our stories and listen to those of others’, setting aside teleological interpretations of history and taking up the radical challenges of our troubled times. Watch the video or listen to the address in Gagarin, the Eurozine podcast onSpotify, Apple podcastsCastbox, Stitcher or Soundcloud.

Historian and professor Karl Schlögel’s speech kick-started the second day of the 30th European Meeting of Cultural Journals ‘Europe ‘89: The promise recalled’ held in Berlin between 1 and 3 November 2019.

Read Schlögel’s corresponding article here.

Schlögel’s keynote was followed by his conversation with Karolina Wigura, sociologist, historian and editor of the Polish journal Kulturna Liberalna.

Find out more about the Eurozine conference ‘Europe ‘89: The promise recalled’, 1-3 November 2019 here.

The essay based on this address is published in our brand new anthology, The legacy of division: East and West after 1989.

Published 23 July 2020
Original in English
First published by Eurozine

© Karl Schlögel / Heinrich Böll Stiftung / Eurozine



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