U.S. Foundations and Scientific Funding in West Germany, 1945 to the mid-1970s

by Arnd Bauerkämper

Jan 1, 2012
My project seeks to reconstruct and explain to what extent and how U.S. foundations strove to further democratic values and practices in West German academia. It also assesses the impact of these American initiatives on the consolidation of West German democracy beyond its institutional framework and its constitutional foundation, the Basic Law. In particular, the Rockefeller and Ford foundations attempted to ingrain values that were amenable to a vibrant, pluralist civil society into West Germany's community of scholars. Beyond exploring the relationship between philanthropy and democracy, the project seeks to reassess concepts of "Americanization." This process is to be conceived of as an ensemble of non-linear, multilateral, selective and thus limited appropriations according to the needs of the receiving society. This complex relationship has been underestimated in research, not least by advocates of diffusion theory that highlight the preconditions of transfers, but underestimate "the autonomy of the receiving subject as well as the bilateral character of transatlantic communication."
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