Axel Heck, DAAD/AICGS Research Fellow
AICGS is pleased to welcome Axel Heck as a DAAD/AICGS Research Fellow from May to mid-July 2019.
Dr. Axel Heck is a senior lecturer in International Relations at Kiel University in Germany. Prior to his appointment in Kiel, Dr. Heck was a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Freiburg, research associate at the University of Mainz, and lecturer at the University of Frankfurt. He received a graduate fellowship from the Konrad-Adenauer-Foundation for his PhD and he was a visiting fellow at the Center for Transatlantic Relations at Johns Hopkins University (SAIS) in Washington, DC. Dr. Heck is the author of Macht als soziale Praxis: Die Herausbildung des transatlantischen Machtverhältnisses im Krisenjahr 1989 (Power as social practice: the formation of the transatlantic relationship in the crisis of 1989) on power in transatlantic relations and several articles on representations of war in media, culture, and society.
During his fellowship at AICGS, Dr. Heck will compare collective memory formation regarding the Afghanistan war in Germany and the United States.
Today, it remains unclear how Western societies that sent their soldiers to Afghanistan are remembering the military intervention. Will Americans and Germans remember this intervention similarly? Will Afghanistan remain in the collective memory as a legitimate response to fight al-Qaeda and the Taliban or as useless endeavor to “spread freedom” that ultimately strengthened international terrorism and de-legitimized Western politics toward Muslim countries? Or could memory narratives even contradict each other in the two countries?
Dr. Heck will look at political and societal actors (i.e., individuals or social or political groups) who can participate in public discourses by articulating or performing practices of commemoration and remembrance. The project will analyze statements by politicians and official representatives of governments and armies as well as actors from civil society such as representatives of veteran associations, journalists, artists, filmmakers, and peace movements. The main focus of the project will be on cultural practices of commemoration and remembrance as they appear in various multimodal forms such as films, documentaries, museums; as embodied in rituals such as ceremonies, parades, and performances; or as public spaces such as monuments, parks, gardens, or statues.