1989 within the perspective of global history'
The conference and publication project "1989 within the perspective of global history" organised by the University of Leipzig looks at 1989 as the decisive turning point for Central and Eastern Europe with a much wider significance. The year 1989 is regarded as the beginning of a new stage of globalisation:
Hopes for new forms of "global governance" and a peace dividend after the Cold War speak in favour of this. Integrating 1989 in the context of global history also means rethinking the significance of the revolution that began in Leipzig.
The field of research into the Peaceful Revolution in a global context
This places the project at the crossroads between two important traditions: with the Peaceful Revolution of 1989 Leipzig gained for itself a place in world history at the end of the twentieth century. For two decades the breakthrough which was created in September/October 1989 and led to a non-violent end to the division of Europe and the socialist order by the Leipzig demonstrators has inspired a culture of self-confident civil movements. The University of Leipzig, which established itself at the end of the 19th century as a pioneer in internationally oriented research on global interconnections, is continuing this tradition today in an age of advancing globalisation.
If we take both traditions together they prompt us to reflect on the global significance of the kind of upheaval which was initiated in the autumn of 1989. The University of Leipzig conference focused on four questions:
- The European integration of the Peaceful Revolution and the significance of overcoming the division of Europe in a global context
- The strategic realignment of China and the development of eastern and southern Asia within the perspective of the weakened geopolitical role of the Soviet Union/Russia
- The new opportunities for overcoming fossilised political regimes, stagnating economic development in exploited national economies and Apartheid in Africa by more or less successful democratisation
- The new geopolitical role of the USA as the remaining superpower and the significant changes taking place in Central and South America
These four areas were explored with international partners at preparatory workshops and the basis was created for a major closing conference in Leipzig in October 2009. The conference took place in Leipzig's Forum for Contemporary History and presented the latest research findings of a worldwide research network.
At the conference from 14 to 16 October 2009 in the lecture halls of the University of Leipzig and Leipzig's Forum for Contemporary History a volume of studies was presented which analyses the history of the upheavals of 1989 within a global perspective for the first time and documents four thematic areas:
- the foundations of a new world order
- interrelationships between global events and their perception
- contingent interconnectedness of events or structural context
- the politics of commemoration