May 68 Cycle Prague/Berlin – West Winds, East Winds

Venue & time: Marc Bloch Center (Germaine Tillion room, 7th floor, Friedrichstr. 191, Berlin), from 10 to 5:30 pm
Organizers: Catherine Gousseff (Marc Bloch Center – CMB), Sylvie Robic (Nanterre University), Clara Royer (CEFRES), Dominique Treilhou (French Institute in Berlin)
Partenaires : CMB, French Institute in Berlin, Paris-Nanterre University and CEFRES
Languages: French, German and English

This conference takes place within the May 68 Cycle taking place in Nanterre, Berlin and Prague, which centers around conferences, round tables, exhibitions and screenings dedicated to the year  1968.

From the Berlin February demonstration against US involvement in the Vietnam War, through the March student protests in Poland and the  student unrest in Italy, to Prague Spring or French May ’68, a insurgent spirit swept across the European continent in 1968. The chronicle of the events that shook in different ways European societies, suggests the existence of a rebellious impetus that ignored the Iron Curtain and defied the various political regimes in place. The 1968 new generation held a common ground as they dared asserting their aspirations, upsetting the established order. Still, the diversity of protest configurations, whether speaking of the actors engaged in them or of the political answers prompted by the events, calls for a confrontation of these historical moments which, caught between celebration and tragedy, have become engraved in collective memory.

On the 15th of May, witnesses of 1968 from various parts of Europe  will speak about the expectations they had then.
The next day, on the 16th of May, the conference will propose a reflection between East and West through the gathering of specialists on three major topics: violences in 1968, the emergence of women’s movements and the birth of alternative cultures.
What disparities, what common trends can be perceived in the rebellious spirit of 1968?

10-10:45 am: “Grasping the Desire for Revolution”

Keynote speech by Claus Leggewie

11-12:30 am
68 Between Revolt and Repression: From Radical Uprisings to State Violence


  • Oliver Davis (Warwick University)
  • Gisela Diewald-Kerkmann (tbc)
  • Piotr Oseka  (Institute of Political Studies, Polish Academy of Sciences)
  • Matĕj Spurný (Charles University, Prague)

Moderator: Fabien Jobard (CNRS – CMB)

2-3:30 pm
68 Through Women: Voicing Women’s Liberation


  • Natalia Jarska (Institut of History, Polish Academy of Sciences)
  • Renata Ada Ruata (French language writer, co-author of Filles de Mai, mémoires de femmes, Paris, 2018)
  • Alena Wagnerová (Czech sociologist and writer)
  • Emeline Fourment (sociologist, CMB)

Moderator: Ioana Cirstocea (sociologist, CNRS-EHESS)

4-5:30 pm: 1968 and the Underground


  • Michael Esch (Germany)
  • Petra James (Université Libre de Bruxelles)
  • Jan Mervart (Institute of philosophy, Czech Academy of Sciences)
  • Ádám Takács (Loránd Eötvös University, Budapest)

Moderator: Jean-Yves Potel (historian, Fondation pour la Mémoire de la Shoah)

See the other events of Cycle Mai 68 : round table « 1968, Which Expectations ? » and the Concluding Lectures « 68 in Prague ».

Check out Berlin programmation here