A greeting by Prof. Dr. Philipp Schweighauser, Professor of North American and General Literature and Head of the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, University of Basel.
In early 1967, the American Mass Media discovered the counterculture that had been evolving over the previous decade and summarized its style and values under the emblem "hippie." For the next several months, the media focus of the national phenomenon zeroed in on the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood of San Francisco and a scene built largely from the widespread availability of LSD, eventually leading tens of thousands of additional young people to move in by the summer, the so-called Summer of Love.
By that fall, the scene in San Francisco had collapsed under its own weight and a group of the longer-term countercultural residents of the Haight announced the death of the hippie, staging a mock funeral as a theatrical happening. But the hippie lived on in the popular/media narrative reaching its high point with the Woodstock festival in the late summer of 1969. Between those two summers, a mounting carnage of death and destruction, both riots and political assassinations at home and an unfathomably brutal colonial war in Southeast Asia, took its toll on the American psyche. By the time the Manson murders revealed the darkness that had already been lurking in the hippie scene since the Summer of Love, the mass media was finally ready to pronounce the hippie dead.
From the vantage point of fifty years, the simple narrative of the hippie needs to be reexamined and problematized. Sifting through the timeline for unexpected tropes and resonances and with a focus on the music, film, literature, and art of 1967–1969, Peter Price asks who was the hippie, where did he and she come from, and how, when, and why did he and she die.
Peter Price is a composer, digital artist, media theorist, and sonic philosopher. He and his wife Megan Bridge run and curate <fidget>, a platform for experimental, ensemble-derived performance works, both their own as well as those of guest artists and collaborators. He received his MA and PhD from the European Graduate School where he was also Professor of Media Theory and Music. He is an adjunct lecturer at Temple University and author of Resonance: Philosophy for Sonic Art (Atropos Press, 2011) as well as co-author of On Becoming-Music: Between Boredom and Ecstasy (with Tyler Burba, Atropos Press: 2010).
Thursday, 12 September, 14:00
Panel: Music (Chair: Christian Hänggi)
In his New York Times review of the July 1987 Meadowlands concert at which The Grateful Dead played two sets of their own while also serving as Bob Dylan's backup band, Jon Pareles identified a tension that ran through the performance: “[T]he whimsical optimism of the Grateful Dead collided with Mr. Dylan's dour inscrutability.” This characterization of the band's music and ethos leans more on the “grateful” side of the band's name, while seemingly pushing the “dead” side over onto the “inscrutable” Dylan, especially when Pareles notes the double encore that ended the show: “The Dead played ‘Touch of Grey,’ a twinkling, celebratory song that declares ‘I will get by/I will survive.’ Mr. Dylan returned with his ‘Knockin' on Heaven’s Door,’ a song about someone who's dying.” But The Grateful Dead have their own share of songs about death. The Bonnie Dobson folk song “Morning Dew”, one of their most prominent cover songs, is sung from the perspective of survivors of nuclear apocalypse, and the Dead's arrangement turned it into a monumental psychedelic rock number, as they also did with finger-style guitarist Reverend Gary Davis's folk blues tune “Death Don't Have No Mercy.” When the band began to write their best-known original work in late 1969 and on into 1970, death remained a common theme in such songs as “Dire Wolf” (with its chorus of "don't murder me"), “Black Peter” (about an old man on his deathbed), and “Box of Rain” (which lyricist Robert Hunter wrote with bassist Phil Lesh when Lesh's father was dying). This presentation will expore the tensions between that “whimsical optimism” which Pareles so pointedly characterized and the band's visions of death—and life—so aptly summed up in the final lines of “Box of Rain”: “Such a long long time to be gone and a short time to be there.”
Andrew Shields has been a Deadhead since 9 October 1982, when he first saw The Grateful Dead at Frost Amphitheater at Stanford University—the first of over 80 Dead shows he attended. He has taught at the English Department at the University of Basel since 1995. Along with courses on academic writing and seminars in literary studies, including recent seminars on James Baldwin, African-American Film, Contemporary Poetry, and Elizabeth Bishop, he regularly teaches a Creative Writing course on poetry and songwriting. His collection of poems Thomas Hardy Listens to Louis Armstrong was published by Eyewear in June 2015, and his band Human Shields released the album "Somebody's Hometown" in 2015 and the EP "Défense de jouer" in 2016.
The Hippie and the Freak. Reflections on a Pop-Cultural and Sub-Cultural Difference in Regard of Frank Zappa's Art
The rise of the hippie culture in California coincided with the emergence of the freak culture. Frank Zappa was a prominent representative of the freak culture and always striving for a differentiation between these two subcultures. In the early media assessment, hardly any difference is made between hippies and freaks, since both movements are subsumed under the sign of non-conformism. But there is much to suggest that the difference raised by Zappa is to be taken seriously. During the period from 1965 to 1970, several albums were produced that reacted directly to the hippie culture, for example We’re Only In It For The Money as a reaction to the album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band—here even the iconic cover of the Beatles was satirized directly. A rather vast amount of Frank Zappa’s self-statements exist about the difference between hippies and freaks (Miles 138–147). Zappa’s concept of the freak refers to several things, including the rejection of the merciless “American consumer culture” and the “privatization of youth culture by corporations” (Miles 138)—a rejection that has a certain tradition in the European Left but is relatively singular in American subcultures. He analyzes the tendency of non-conformism to realize a new form of uniformity in non-conformity which also shows itself quite concretely in new uniform fashion productions. Zappa’s repeated attention also focuses on the subcultural par excellence’s tendency to form itself into a scene with certain rules and codes of play which must be defended from a certain point in time, and which stages new exclusion and inclusion practices, resulting in a self-satisfaction and isolation of the group. In Zappa’s cultural writings published in the Los Angeles Free Press, the main conflict is a dispute between the individual and the collective. The individual is to be strengthened in his autonomy—a dictum of the hippie culture as well—as it is more resistant against “appropriation by the media” (Miles 140) than the collective. The critical utterance of the individual, the mockery and taunt of the circumstances, receives an ironic heroization, which also is not completely to be trusted, but which is more to be trusted than the “collective action” of the hippies. This context will be explored in the lecture in particular. The following questions will be discussed: What is the difference between hippie culture and freak culture in Frank Zappa’s concept? How can this difference be made visible in his artistic work? What significance do the difference and conflict between hippies and freaks have for the death of hippie culture after 1969? And finally, as a synchronous narrative with only a brief outline: what parallels can be drawn with the development of the student protests of the 1960s and left-wing alternative self-understandings in Europe?
Alexander Kappe studied Philosophy, Comparative Literature and Creative Writing at Freie Universität Berlin and Deutsches Literaturinstitut Leipzig. Since January 2019 he is working on his doctoral degree with a scholarship of the Friedrich Schlegel Graduate School for Literary Studies at the Freie Universität Berlin, and additionally a scholarship of the Evangelisches Studienwerk Villigst. His work is supervised by Prof. Dr. Anne Eusterschulte at Freie Universität Berlin. Additionally, he is the director of the Gesellschaft für Afrikanische Philosophie (“Society for African Philosophy”), editor of several volumes of literature as well as regularly publishing his own literature.
Why Bob Dylan Did not Sing in Woodstock and Why He Was no Hippie (But a Real Hipster) – The Re-Invention of Popular Music as a Medium of Poetry and Messianic Hope
Bob Dylan was not a hippie, and he did not perform at the Woodstock Festival—but without him, there would have been no Woodstock, and the whole Hippie phenomenon might never have happened. He definitely was the Missing Link between the Beat Movement of Ginsberg, Kerouac et al., i.e. the true hipsters of the 1950s, and the so-called “Counter-Culture” of the (late) Sixties. In fact, 1965/1966 Bob Dylan WAS the ultimate hipster, lionized and admired by Ginsberg and the San Francisco poets. Why then did he “drop out” in 1967 and distance himself from the hippies, consciously refusing a possible star role at Woodstock (where his long-time accompanists The Band played) and choosing to travel to England for an unlikely appearance at the Isle of Wight two weeks later? Everybody knows that Woodstock was did not mark the beginning, but the end of hippiedom; Bob Dylan knew this from the start. In my lecture, I will try to show how and why.
Martin Schäfer was born in 1948 in Mellingen (Aargau); higher education in Basel (philosophy and history). Doctoral thesis on “Science Fiction als Ideologiekritik” (1975; published 1977 by Metzler, Stuttgart, Amerikastudien, Bd.48). Producer at Swiss Radio from 1976 to 2013 (Schweizer Radio DRS/SRF). Lecturer on the history of popular music in Basel from 2002 to 2018 (Medienwissenschaft/Hochschule für Musik FHNW). Recent contributions: Johnny Cash – Leben, Werk, Wirkung (Suhrkamp 2008); “Bob Dylan in Switzerland: A classic case of Love & Theft”, in Refractions of Bob Dylan, edited by Eugen Banauch, Manchester University Press 2015).
Thursday, 12 September, 16:00
Panel: Religion & Spirituality (Chair: Balazs Rapcsak)
In the late 1960s, the Indian guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (later known as Osho) invented a new kind of hippie: the sannyasin. Rajneesh, born Chandra Mohan Jain, was a national debating champion and Professor of Philosophy at Jabalpur University before becoming a spiritual leader popularly known as the “Sex Guru.” Beginning with discourses like From Sex to Superconsciousness (1968) and his early letters to friends (particularly those from 1967–1969), published as A Cup of Tea, I will explore the rhetoric and philosophy that inspired Bhagwan’s vision of “Zorba the Buddha.” Rajneesh's heady mixture of free love, meditation and enlightened hedonism attracted hundreds of thousands of followers, or sannyasins, to communes in Mumbai, Pune, Oregon and around the world. But by the early 1980s, the sannyasins were in a standoff with their neighbours in rural Oregon, which led to accusations of a bioterror attack and fears of a Jonestown-style massacre. Were the reactions of local residents merely a storm in a teacup or had the clouds been brewing since Bhagwan’s first “Love” letters, A Cup of Tea? Combining literary analysis, cultural criticism and personal reflection, I will consider the explosive impact of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh on American popular culture, particularly in the hit Netflix series Wild Wild Country (2018).
Sangam MacDuff was born in Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh’s ashram in Pune, India. He lived in sannyasin communities until 1985, when Rajneesh was arrested on immigration charges and the European communes disbanded. Thereafter, he grew up in the Findhorn Foundation, a spiritual community in north-east Scotland, before attending the universities of Cambridge, London, Edinburgh and Geneva, where he completed his PhD on James Joyce’s epiphanies. His academic research focuses on Joyce and modernism, with articles in the James Joyce Quarterly, Swiss Proceedings in English Language and Literature, European Joyce Studies, the James Joyce Broadsheet and Genetic Joyce Studies. A book on Joyce’s Panepiphanal World is forthcoming from Florida University Press and he is co-editing a critical edition of Joyce’s epiphanies with Morris Beja and Angus McFadzean. Besides criticism, he has also written short stories and a novel about growing up in community.
Zen? Or: the Art of Hippie Maintenance. The Transformation of the Countercultural Value of ‘Quality’ in Contemporary Academia
This presentation aims at complicating the conference’s motto: It prolongs the death of the hippie into the early till mid-1970s because it regards the era as one of transformation of certain lifestyles and/or values.
The presentation centers on a critical analysis of Robert Pirsig’s well-known and influential 1974 autobiography-cum-treatise-cum-novel Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, a book that promises an “inquiry into values.” The book delivers a historical-philosophical discussion of what the narrator calls ‘quality’, a characteristic of human actions – based on ontological presumptions – that ostensibly borrows from the Chinese/Japanese principles of Zen, translating them into US-American (i.e. ‘Western’) environments.
This translation conceptualises ‘quality’ in life as a holistic enterprise which has a clear direction: improvement in practical matters. Pirsig’s Zen is an early example of today’s efforts for the purposes of bettering (professional) performance (e.g. via ‘mindfulness’). If contrasted with the popular motto of the US counterculture “turn on, tune in and drop out,” Pirsig’s Zen shows the ‘productive’ transformation of some countercultural values – openness towards ‘Eastern’ theosophies, individualism, free-mindedness and experimental character of work ethics – into a vehicle on the road towards today’s mainstream acceptance.
Cross-pollinating Pirsig’s novel with examples from contemporary debates on ‘quality’ in the German higher education system, my analysis discusses the early 1970s not as a time of prolonged death of US counterculture(s), but as the pinnacle of its metamorphosis into something still prominent today, albeit in a warped form.
Andreas Beer read American Studies, German Literature and Political Science at the Universities of Rostock (Germany), Cork (Ireland) and Murcia (Spain). He earned his PhD in 2014 with a thesis on transnational representations of US filibusters in Nicaragua in the mid-nineteenth century (published by Palgrave Macmillan), has taught at the University of Constance and FU Berlin and currently holds a post as research fellow at the Institute of Higher Education Research at the University Halle-Wittenberg (all Germany). His research interests include transnational Cultural Studies, indigeneity, coloniality and subalternity in the Americas as well as theories of non-representation. The latter loom large in his current research project, which investigates contemporary cultures of dissent in the Americas. More on his (academic) persona, his publications and his current whereabouts can be found at www.andreasbeer.info.
Unveiling the “Hidden Religions:” The Countercultural Spirituality of Diane di Prima and the Way towards Hippie Esotericism
Left to themselves people / grow their hair. / Left to themselves they / take off their shoes. / Left to themselves they make love / sleep easily / share blankets, dope & children / they are not lazy or afraid / they plant seeds, they smile, they / speak to one another. (Diane di Prima, “Revolutionary Letter #4”)
Diane di Prima, poet, playwright, teacher, feminist, and social activist has often been hailed as a literary and public figure who connected the 1950s counterculture of the Beat Generation with the Hippie culture of the 1960s. While she, like most Beats, had a reserved stance on the naïve slogan of “Love and Peace,” she nevertheless promoted the Hippie movement as their rightful heir in poems such as “Revolutionary Letter #4” and through conjoint activism. Only recently has she been (re)discovered by scholars as one of the most genial writers associated with the Beats, in particular for the vast and multi-faceted cosmology her oeuvre creates. Her poetry spins an intricate web of diverse spiritual traditions from Native American culture to European mysticism to Tibetan and Zen Buddhism, creating a metaphysical vision that productively renegotiates the humanist dualisms of body and mind, self and world, human and nonhuman. The cosmology she developed took on a pronounced countercultural element by drawing in particular on what she called the “hidden religions,” spiritual traditions that have evolved counter to the dominant global belief systems, such as Gnosticism, Vajrayana Buddhism, but also Tarot, alchemy, and magic. Di Prima’s work thus calls for and establishes a form of political protest which is substantiated by an eclectic spiritual vision, a concept that inspired Hippie esotericism as a means of defiance against the so-called US military industrial complex. Through a comparative analysis of di Prima’s poems “Magick in Theory and Practice,” “Life Chant,” and “Paracelsus:,” this talk expounds how di Prima fleshes out and employs the countercultural politics of the “hidden religions” and how she thus supplies a methodological template for a political activism that functions via spirituality.
Stefan Benz is an Academic Staff Member and doctoral student at the chair of American Literary and Cultural Studies. He studied English, History, and Philosophy at the University of Mannheim and Swansea University, Wales. His dissertation investigates proto-posthumanist negotiations of cognition and consciousness in the poetry of Michael McClure, Philip Whalen, and Diane Di Prima. His research focuses on theories of posthumanism, the Process Philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead, and Buddhist philosophy. Other research interests include the study of contemporary US American song lyrics and the relationship between literature and music. From August to November 2018, he conducted research into the reception of Alfred North Whitehead’s philosophy in Beat Literature at Wayne State University, Detroit, under the supervision of Steven Shaviro. His most recent publication “Meat Thyself: New Materialist Ethics in the Poetry of Michael McClure” appeared in the Winter 2018 issue of ANTENNAE – The Journal of Nature in Visual Culture.
Thursday, 12 September, 19:00–22:00
Keynote Lecture & Performances
A combined reading, recitation, singing, exorcism,
and analysis of key events 1967–1969
Edward Sanders (*1939) is a poet, musician, activist, historian, writer and one of the central countercultural figures of the late 1960s. He acted as a bridge between the Beat generation and the 1960s counterculture and has been featured on the cover of Life Magazine.
Ed Sanders is the author of around thirty books. His most recent one, illustrated by Rick Veitch, is Broken Glory, the Final Years of Robert Kennedy. His manifesto, “Investigative Poetry” has inspired several book-length biographies in verse, including Chekhov, a Biography in Verse, and The Poetry & Life of Allen Ginsberg. Other books of his include Tales of Beatnik Glory (4 volumes published in a single edition), 1968, a History in Verse; and The Family, a history of the Charles Manson murder group. His 1987 collection Thirsting for Peace in a Raging Century won an American Book Award. In late 2011, Da Capo Press published his memoir of the 1960s, Fug You.
He has received a Guggenheim fellowship in poetry, a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship in verse, an American Book Award for his collected poems, a 2012 PEN-Oakland Josephine Miles Prize, and other awards for his writing.
Sanders was the founder of the satiric folk/rock group, The Fugs, which has released around 18 albums during its nearly fifty-year history. Sanders also released eight solo albums.
He lives in Woodstock, New York with his wife, the essayist and painter Miriam Sanders, and both are active in environmental and other social issues.
The abstract of the keynote lecture will follow soon.
Read Anne Waldman's biography further down, at Friday's keynote lecture.
As the title says, Andrew Shields reads some of his poetry.
Andrew's biography is to be found all the way up under the Grateful Dead heading.
The Grateful Dead cover band Dead Dreams was put together for this conference by Andrew Shields and Lukas Rosenthaler.
The Dead, as their fans knew them for short, were in many senses the "hippie" band of the era. They played at Ken Kesey's Acid Tests in 1965 and 1966 and also organized numerous free concerts in San Francisco, New York, and other cities. Their name alone makes their music particularly appropriate to a conference on "the death of the hippie", but many of their signature songs – in the era mentioned in the title of the conference as well as later – directly thematize death. The Bonnie Dobson folk song "Morning Dew", one of their most prominent cover songs, is sung from the perspective of survivors of nuclear apocalypse, and the Dead's arrangement turned it into a monumental psychedelic rock number, as they also did with finger-style guitarist Reverend Gary Davis's folk blues tune "Death Don't Have No Mercy". When the band began to write their best-known original work in late 1969 and on into 1970, death remained a common theme in such songs as "Dire Wolf" (with its chorus of "don't murder me"), "Black Peter" (about an old man on his deathbed), and "Box of Rain" (from which the title of this performance comes, "Dead Dreams").
Andrew Shields (guitar, vocals)
Lukas Rosenthaler (organ)
Giulio Vögeln (bass)
Rémy Sträuli (drums)
Friday, 13 September, 11:00
Panel: Altering Minds (Chair: Pius Vögele)
Imagine being very stoned at a party in the Haight-Ashbury in 1968. Word somehow circulates that a police raid is imminent (reminder: everything we were high on was illegal in the summer of love). You make it down the stairs and out into the street, walk along till you come into Golden Gate Park, and there, as if it has just landed from Mars, is the Conservatory of Flowers, all lit up. Eventually you make it along 19th Avenue to San Francisco State, where you teach a class.
This anecdote is an example of what was going on there in those days. Another: Picked up a hitch-hiker one day who told me he was part of a group that followed the dictates of Helter Skelter. I did not understand, but gave him a couch for the night. Later it turned out he belonged to the Manson gang, before it broke itself up. I don’t know what happened to him, but I think he was headed home to his mum. I didn’t recognize him on any of the pictures of the gang.
Neil Forsyth, Professor Emeritus at the University of Lausanne, is the author of The Old Enemy: Satan and the Combat Myth (1989/93), The Satanic Epic, 2002(both Princeton), a biography of Milton (Oxford: Lion, 2008) and essays on topics as various as Gilgamesh, Homer, Marlowe, Shakespeare, Milton’s Bible, Andrew Marvell, Frankenstein, Emily Dickinson, Dickens, Rushdie, Alice’s Wonderland, D.H. Lawrence, Angela Carter in Japan, Gaston Bachelard, and the relation of art to science. His article on filming the Shakespearean supernatural was updated for an edition of Macbeth in 2011, while an essay on Milton’s Satan was published in the Cambridge Companion to Paradise Lost in 2014. His work on Shakespeare and the supernatural has been extended, and is soon to be published by Ohio UP.
De-conditioning, Brainwashing or Enlightenment? LSD and the Psychedelic Revolution Against the Backdrop of the Vietnam War
https://hippie-conference.unibas.ch/ This talk will focus on one of the most important and unique ingredients of the 1960s counterculture, namely, the psychoactive compound known as LSD or ‘acid.’ From the Human Be-In to the San Francisco Sound, the colorful posters associated with the period, the fascination with Eastern religion and the memorable slogan ‘Turn On, Tune In and Drop Out’, LSD shaped the arts, music, spirituality and politics of the era. This presentation will argue that LSD provided the impetus for many of the key political and spiritual values of the period, especially in its earlier phase (up to and including 1967), including the antiwar movement, the nascent environmental movement, and the quest for authenticity and inclusiveness in human relationships. Each of these goals is closely linked to the specific effects produced by this molecule on the human nervous system, a topic which was the subject of intense interest by the United States government and military as well as by hippies and spiritual seekers. I will therefore also discuss the complex and surprising relationship of LSD to the Vietnam War, another key influence on the tone and development of 60s counterculture. Finally, I will look at the two figures most closely associated with the promotion of psychedelics, Ken Kesey and Timothy Leary, critically contrasting their radically different philosophies (one playful and demystifying, the other serious and sanctifying), especially in relation to how LSD ended up illegal and demonized by the mainstream press (with the help of state agencies like the CIA and FBI).
Agnieszka Soltysik Monnet is Professor of American Studies at the University of Lausanne and co-director of the New American Studies Master’s specialization program. Her publications include Writing American Women (2008, with Thomas Austenfeld), The Poetics and Politics of the American Gothic: Gender and Slavery in the Nineteenth Century American Gothic (Ashgate, 2010), Emotion, Affect, Sentiment: The Language and Aesthetics of Feeling (2014, with Andreas Langlotz), War Gothic in Literature and Culture (Routledge, 2015), co-edited with Steffen Hantke, and Neoliberal Gothic (Manchester UP, 2017), co-edited with Linnie Blake, as well as numerous articles on intentional communities, counterculture, feminism, queer theory, race, film studies and popular culture.
The Doors of Conception: On The Importance of Unlearning and a Return to Innocence Through the Psychedelic Sublime in 1960s Happenings
Among the most iconic moving images associated with the hippie movement is the liquid light show, the visual component of a multimedia onslaught on the senses. Underlying the sensory bombardment that was a mainstay of happenings is an idea important not only to hippie counterculture but that also harkens back to Romanticism: one must unlearn and transcend the conceptual trappings of reason in order to have the truth revealed. For the Romantics, encounters with nature provided sublime experience. For many hippies, it was happenings: light shows, in conjunction with psychedelic music and hallucinogens, that artificially created an excess of sensory intuitions to overwhelm the imagination, ideally leading to a Kantian sublime and rational synthesis where the pleasure of a deeper meaning is revealed. In case the overstimulation and synesthesia didn’t do the trick, psychedelic drugs were used to give the sense of touching the deeper meaning. Indeed, many studies have shown the meaning-enhacing effects of hallucinogens on test subjects. While proponents of LSD such as Timothy Leary and Aldous Huxley focused on the individual mystical potential of the experience, Ken Kesey created communal happenings that focused on the external by use of multimedia to simulate and inspire transcendent experience. Kesey’s aesthetic was also more geared to a violent disruption of the ego akin to an experience of the sublime and one can hear this approach to transformation in the somewhat violent and jarring nature of much of psychedelic music. This emphasis on unlearning through sensory experience developed and continued after the 1960s. It became an important aspect in Stan Brakhage’s visual music which strove to teach its audience to see synesthetically and to unlearn the habit of seeing conceptually.
Tyler Burba is a musician, poet, and scholar whose work focuses on existential issues and the role of art in transcendence. He is the co-author of On Becoming Music: Between Boredom and Ecstasy (with Peter Price) and "The Transnational Guqin Revival in Flushing, New York." Two albums entitled Existential Hymns and "Now Everybody—”: Visit Interprets Songs by Thomas Pynchon are due out this fall from his band Visit. He lives in New York City where he teaches inner-city students music history and composition. www.existentialhymns.com
Friday, 13 September, 14:00
Panel: Film (Chair: Ridvan Askin)
From On the Road to Easy Rider: The “Energy Unconscious” and the Deadly Illusion of Freedom in Literature and Film
“[H]ow often do Dean Moriarty and Sal Paradise stop for gas?” This question by the American literary scholar Patricia Yaeger addresses a crucial aspect of Jack Kerouac’s famous novel On the Road (1957), one of the foundational texts of the hippie movement. The aspect that Yaeger observed is what she calls “The Energy Unconscious” (in reference to Fredric Jameson): for her, the protagonists of Kerouac’s novel are “gasaholics”, obsessively crisscrossing the continent in all available vehicles. Just like all of their fellow American citizens since the proliferation of the car and the huge national investment in the interstate highway system after the Second World War, they depend on fossil fuel. In Imre Szeman’s words, they indulge in the “fiction of an energy surplus”. Dean Moriarty and Sal Paradise are not bothered by environmental concerns, to say the least, or as Yaeger puts it: “[…] On the Road is fascinated with clean raw materials and their transformation into dirty culture.”
What motivates Kerouac’s protagonists to drive excessively through the US – and what may have inspired the hippie movement the most – is their longing for freedom. A decade later in Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper’s iconic road movie Easy Rider (1969), this alleged trip to freedom turns into a trip to death. A few years before the first oil crisis in 1973 Easy Rider, what Michael Ziser calls the “grim tale of gasoline-powered liberty” and its “[f]etishistic treatment of the combustion engine” still celebrates the myths of the road and the unlimited mobility of postwar American society. However, beneath the surface of its social critique lurks the abyss of the disenchanting of that “fiction of an energy surplus”.
In my presentation I will compare the novel On the Road and the movie Easy Rider with respect to their narrative treatment of gasoline, the fuel for their dreams of freedom. The inherent death drive of their “Energy Unconscious” may only become visible from the vantage point of fifty to sixty years later.
Ania Mauruschat is an independent radio scholar and radio artist who has published on literature, film, sound/noise, avant-garde, media art and digital culture. She was trained as an editor at the Deutsche Journalistenschule (DJS) and received an interdisciplinary diploma in journalism and literature from the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, both in Munich (Germany). Currently she is writing her doctoral thesis at the University of Basel on the epistemology of radio art with a special focus on noise, the avant-garde and digitization. Since 2018 she has been an elected member of the doctoral program Epistemologies of Aesthetic Practices (ETH/UZH/ZHdK) at the Collegium Helveticum in Zurich.
This paper examines attempts by Jean-Luc Godard and Agnès Varda, two significant members of the French New Wave, to document and deconstruct the late-1960s counterculture movement in America. Godard’s primary vision of Hippie culture occurs in his abandoned project 1 AM (1 American Movie), shot during the fall of 1968 in New York and California, later reconstructed by famed documentarian D.A. Pennebaker into the film 1 PM (1 Parallel Movie). Varda’s primary work is Lions Love (…and Lies), shot in California, June 1968. Using counter-cinematic forms inspired by cinema verité-style shooting and Brechtian reflexivity, each film struggles to become not only a witness but a catalyst of the counterculture movement.
Paradoxically, in striving to be revolutionary themselves, these “outsider” filmmakers offer reflexive glimpses into Hippie culture’s approaching demise. Although Godard is known in this period for rejecting his own status as famous auteur, Pennebaker captures his various attempts at authorial control over countercultural chaos. Take for example the famous rooftop performance by Jefferson Airplane; Godard’s frantic attempts at direction from the building across turn it into a comedy of errors. Varda’s work goes further in its embrace of madness and even death. As Hollywood-fringe stars (including Warhol starlet Viva, the composers of the musical Hair, and filmmaker Shirley Clarke) act out Hippie fantasies bathed in the sunshine of the Hollywood Hills, Bobby Kennedy’s assassination intervenes as a real-life death knell, and by the end of the film Varda herself will perform a suicide attempt which may or may not be connected to reality.
Seen in tandem, these portraits reveal both a utopian Hippie dream and a world in crisis which belittles or ignores it. They are time capsules of the hope, confusion and ultimate downfall of late-1960s counterculture in America.
Glen W. Norton teaches in the Department of English and Film Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University, Ontario, Canada. His primary research focuses on phenomenological approaches toward the study of cinema, with a special interest in ties between the expression of lived temporality and existential ethics. His most recent publications include an analysis of temporality in the road movies of Benoît Jacquot, as well as a discussion of modernist character embodiment in the early work of Jean-Luc Godard. He is the digital curator of Cinema=Godard=Cinema, an online, open access website dedicated to the scholarly study of Godard's work. His forthcoming book, Lived Moments: From Neorealism to the New Wave, charts evolving modernist conceptions of the intertwining of cinema and lived experience within and between these movements.
Contemporary interest in the “prolonged death of the hippie” includes “the darkness that had been lurking in the hippie scene”—as if hippie culture was marked by a certain version of the Freudian death drive, resonant with Pynchon's poignant concept of “Inherent Vice”: Historically, aspects like Aryan suprematism, sexual exploitation, or capitalist greed continue to mark the flower power of 1967–1969. What then can we salvage from the era? This paper offers a Lacanian reading of how and what we “inherit” from the hippies and it does so through an analysis of the film Inherent Vice.
Think of the scary figurines from ancient Egypt or Afghan death cults sitting on Freud's desk: Freud knew our ancestors, family, culture, or predecessors like the hippies hold sway over us in the unconscious. Therefore, what we inherit, is not “constructed” by society or manageable on the level of the ego but inheritance as Freud observed in “The Ego and the Id” runs through the id. The id is the reservoir of jouissance, of forms of disgusting enjoyment that disturb the subject. I will thus argue that it is precisely through an “acceptance” of these disturbing leftovers that we can inherit political potentialities from the hippies. Lacan is clear on this theoretical dimension of inheritance in “Encore”, adding that the jouissance we inherit has a communist dimension, it belongs to all.
On the level of form as well as on the level of diegesis, the film Inherent Vice fights any offer of identification and political epiphany. Doc, the protagonist, leads the viewer through an endless accumulation of at times shocking or incomprehensible leftovers of hippie culture and their jouissance. To support the diegesis formally, Anderson employs two cinematic techniques. He uses the long take (sequences without cuts) the way Hitchcock did in Rope, his 1948 film on fascism in which the lack of cuts signifies the negation of difference that marks fascism. Instead of transcendence, a way out, hope, etc., Inherent Vice offers disgusting, discombobulated narrative sequences like the 6-minute sex scene between Doc and Shasta that calls on the viewer to negate, negotiate, or somehow integrate jouissance.
In another re-definition of a cinematic technique that made him famous, Anderson overuses the close-up, irritating the viewer with a recurrent display of Joaquin Phoenix's face. We are bored to the point of being annoyed by the close-ups, namely, the focus on Doc's face and its opacity undermine the identification with a character and its context that a close-up normally provides (c.f. Pasolini's “Gesichtspanorama”).
Nina Zimnik is a full-time professor at the University of Applied Sciences, Lucerne, School of Engineering and Architecture, Institute of Humanities and Natural Sciences. Areas of research include psychoanalysis, gender, film, communication studies, writing, “Swissness”, film. In 1997, she received her PhD in Comparative Literature from the State University of New York at Buffalo (USA).
Marking the ten-year anniversary of hippie death, Joan Didion famously reflected on the Manson cult murders as an irascible scene of cultural rupture: “Many people I know in Los Angeles believe that the Sixties ended abruptly on August 9, 1969, ended at the exact moment when word of the murders on Cielo Drive travelled like brushfire through the community, and in a sense this is true. The tension broke that day. The paranoia was fulfilled” (The White Album). Director Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (OUTH) (2019) inscribes itself into the very same chronotope described by Didion in order to rewrite this peripatetic scene of hippie death. Following Inglorious Basterds (2009) and Django Unchained (2012), OUTH is the third installment in Tarantino’s revisionary cinema. While each film returns to a historical scene of trauma whose impact has left an indelible mark on the (American) cultural imaginary, the revisionary films are also comparable in their deployment of the cine-aesthetic story-telling techniques that have made Tarantino’s signature style distinctive. His encyclopedic indexing of pop-culture references draws on an eclectic mix of nostalgic audio-affect and iconic-memory intertexts, which are aesthetically arranged through a register of self-reflexive (post-postmodern) ironic pastiche. Another important shared attribute in Tarantino's revisionary cinema is the Brechtian fusion of aesthetic, generic, ideological and, consequently, political oppositions: comedy and the horrific, historical record and narrative fiction, pop-culture and counter-culture, and a poetics-politics of social inclusion with and through an aesthetics of violence. Marking the fiftieth anniversary of hippie death, what sets OUTH apart from Tarantino’s revisionary cinema is the manner in which the culturally, medially, and ideologically specific gesture of the film performs the very chronotope it inscribes itself into.
Scott Loren teaches new media studies at the University of St. Gallen. He received a PhD in English Literature with a focus on American Studies from the University of Zurich in 2005 and is currently writing a post-doctoral thesis on representations of technosocial transition. His research interests include gender, genre, media hybridity, posthumanism, psychoanalysis and visual culture. He is coeditor of the volume Screening Economies: Money Matters and the Ethics of Representation (Cuonz, Loren, Metelmann; transcript, 2018).
Friday, 13 September, 16:15
Panel: Hippies around the World (1): Czechoslovakia (Chair: Lesley Loew)
The Life and Death of the Czechoslovak Hippie: The Entanglement of the Beat Generation and the Czech Underground Movement
This thesis sets out to offer a central-eastern European perspective on the Hippie by exploring the entanglement of the Czech underground movement with both the Beat Generation and the later Hippie movement. While the thesis will also consider the simultaneous developments in the countercultures of both the US and Czechoslovakia as far back as the 1940s and 1950s, the main focus will be on Czech underground literature of the 1960s and the 1970s. I will examine Beat literature – and the American countercultural spirit that came with it—which found its way to Czechoslovakia thanks to the Czechoslovak politics of the liberalisation period of the 1960s, as a source of inspiration for the production of Czech underground literature and journals, specifically the samizdat journal Vokno. The figure of Ivan Martin Jirous, known as „Magor,“ will function as a centrepiece connecting the different relevant art forms: from music to literature to visual arts. In attempting to establish a Czechoslovak model of the Hippie, the central question will be to what degree Beat literature can be credited as an instigator of the Czech underground and in how far the Czech underground refers back to its own Czech literary history and tradition.
Nataša Pavković studies Literary Studies at the University of Basel with a focus on English and Slavic literatures. She is currently part of the Russian-Swiss translation project "Vzaimodeystviya – Wechselwirkungen." Her research interests include literary and cultural translation as well as 20th century Czech literature.
Although we have been living behind the Iron Curtain there were inofficial flows of information about the hippies, their lifestyle, ideas and music. All of this strongly resonated among young people. Girls and boys were wearing long hair, dressed like their contemporaries in San Francisco, and wanted to live the same life they did. Something that under strict rules of our regime was not so easy and everybody had to count on police harassment and prosecution by the state power.
As in California, West Germany or Denmark, the independent hippie communes started to grow. Young people tried to buy deserted country houses, farms, renovate them and live there by their own standards. And not only that, in all of these communes there was a rich cultural life. They printed illegal samizdats, made independent—uncensored—culture, writing, poetry, music. Each weekend there were hundreds of visitors coming from the whole country to be there and to listen to the rock music they could not listen to elsewhere as these bands were officially banned. Of course, the secret police and the Communists hated this cultural subversion and did all they could to crush it. The secret police set these houses on fire, the state confiscated them. There were constant police searches and arrests.
Despite this the people kept finding new country houses as the old ones were being liquidated. This went on until late the 1970s and they are an important witness to the fight with the totalitarian power. David fighting Goliath. Fight doomed to defeat but important to be fought.
Josef Rauvolf (* 1953) is a Czech journalist, writer and translator (his translations include numerous works by W. S. Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac and others). He is the leading Czech expert on the Beat Generation, widely publishing and lecturing on the subject. In addition to that, he is the author of a number of documentaries for Czech public service TV and radio broadcasts about the Beat Generation and the counterculture in general. Currently, he works on a book about Allen Ginsberg’s 1965 Prague visit. He was a co-author of awarded 60 minutes 27 part documentary series for Czech TV Alternative Culture (1977) about beats, hippies, punk, squats, independent cinema etc. One part was dedicated to the Czech country communes.
Friday, 13 September, 19:00–22:00
Keynote Lecture & Performances
As a native New Yorker and denizen of the Lower East Side and an infrastructure poetics/activist worker and one of the founders of The Poetry Project at St Mark's Church In-The-Bowery in 1966, Anne Waldman will present a keynote on the “scene.” The presentation will include poetry, commentary, memoir, history, manifesto, discussion entheogens, and slides of fellow poets.
Anne Waldman is a poet, professor, activist, and co-founder of two of the most important poetry/cultural institutions in the USA: The Poetry Project at St Mark’s Church In-the-Bowery and The Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at the Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado, a program she co-directed with Allen Ginsberg for a number of years. They were both arrested in the 1970s with Daniel Ellsberg protesting at the Rocky Flats Nuclear Plant. She continues to curate the celebrated Summer Writing Program in Boulder and also works on projects in NYC. She has been called “a counter-cultural giant” by Publishers Weekly. She is the author of over 50 books of poetry including TRICKSTER FEMINISM (Penguin 2018), a series of meditations on emergency and sanctuary. Fast Speaking Woman (City Lights) continues to stay in print. Her book-length poems from Penguin include Marriage: A Sentence, Structure of The World Compared toThe World, Manatee/Humanity and Gossamurmur, an allegory about the rescue of poetry’s archive. Her 1000-page feminist epic The Iovis Trilogy: Colors In The Mechanism of Concealment from Coffee House Press won the USA Pen Award for Poetry. She was also a recipient of a Guggenheim, the Shelley Award, and a lifetime achievement award from the Before Columbus Foundation. She appears in the recent Rolling Thunder Review – A Bob Dylan Story directed by Martin Scorsese (2019). She wrote the libretto for “Artaud In the Black Lodge” for composer David T. Little which will premiere at Opera Philadelphia in 2020. Bard, Kinetic, a new book of commentary, memoir and poetics poetics will be published by Coffee House Press on 2020. She has performed with Meredith Monk, Douglas Dunn, Thurston Moore and collaborated with artists Pat Steir and Richard Tuttle. She performs with her family band Fast Speaking Music (Devin Brahja Waldman and Ambrose Bye) in many parts of the world. She recently worked with a team of young artist & poets & translators at the CECAM music school in Tlahuitotepec, Mexico.
Agnieszka Soltysik Monnet introduces Anne Waldman's keynote lecture.
Read his biography under the Thursday keynote heading.
Tyler Burba is joined by Simon Truog (bass) and Dario Meier (drums) expressly for this conference. They perform songs from the upcoming album by Tyler's band Visit, an album with interpretations of songs from Thomas Pynchon's novels (disclaimer: produced by conference organizer Christian Hänggi) and songs from Visit's last album Think God!
Saturday, 14 September, 11:00
Panel: Resonances (Chair: Peter Price)
While the counterculture of the 1960s and 1970s is often ridiculed as faraway and dreamy, recent discussions showed their relation to the development of the personal computer and our current networked culture. In his talk, Shintaro Miyazaki discusses not only the cultural context of psychedelia but moreover excavates its deep linkages with audio circuitry and electronic media. Tape manipulation, echo-effects, analog audio synthesizers and film cameras were the favorite media gadgets of this generation trying to synthesize man, machine and environment with their multi-sensorial experiments.
Shintaro Miyazaki is a researcher and lecturer at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland, within the Academy of Art and Design, Institute of Experimental Design and Media Cultures in Basel. He studied Media Studies, Musicology, and Philosophy at the University of Basel and completed his PhD on the media archaeology of computation and algorhythmics at Humboldt-University of Berlin in 2012 (under Wolfgang Ernst).
Sound is an important part of the eco-aesthetics and environmental pastoralism of hippiedom. Arising as a temporal and cultural nexus of late-twentieth-century art, writing and activism, music and “sonological competence” (Schafer) as acoustic landscaping, stage broader relations, value systems, class and race boundaries of hippie ethos that are as potent as they are problematic. From the early popular science writing of Rachel Carlson in Silent Spring to the ecomusicological design project of Murray Schafer’s World Soundscape Project, to works like Alvin Lucier’s “I Am Sitting in A Room,” sonic metaphors and practices of this era enclose potentials for integration with, and responsibility for, nonhuman surrounds. Projections of calm quietude, harmonious incorporation, balance and one-ness, charged with difficult cultural, racial and class presumptions, were a poison-cure for the hippie, and may still be prolonging our own ecological ruination today.
Jamie Allen investigates what technologies teach us about who we are as individuals, cultures and societies. He has been an electronics engineer, a polymer chemist and an exhibition designer. He likes to make things with his head and hands — experiments into the material systems of media, electricity, and information as artworks, events, and writing. He attempts to recompose the institutions he works with in ways that assert the importance of generosity, friendship, passion and love in knowledge practices like art and research. Jamie is Canada Research Chair in Infrastructure, Media & Communications and Senior Researcher at the Critical Media Lab Basel, Institute of Experimental Design and Media Cultures, FHNW.
“As one encounters radiant outer-space landscapes, bolts of cosmic energy, swaths of psychedelic colors, and the imagery of the occult, there is the striking feeling, underlying it all, that the Summer of Love somehow occurred a decade earlier on Chicago’s South Side.” (Daniel Kreiss, 2012).
Sun Ra became known as one of the most productive avant-garde jazz musicians with over a hundred albums recorded together with his Intergalactic Arkestra. From early on, he also wrote poetry and was an avid reader. His philosophical spirituality was at odds with the main tenets of the Western, Christian worldview. Mainly, he denied the very concept death. Influenced by biblical exegesis, etymology, theosophical mysticism and mythology of Kemet, the ancient black Egypt, he developed his system of MythScience, which served the construction of an alien, angelic identity. According to Ra, “the possible has been tried and failed.” Therefore, he fully embraced and explored the notion of impossibility. His reluctance to mention the date of his birthday, his origin from planet Saturn and references to ancient Egyptian myths, while at the same time embracing new technology such as the synthesizer, make him one of the pioneering and most characteristic proponents of the later coined term Afrofuturism. While putting emphasis on being, his off-worlding and chronopolitical outer space becomings aim at immortality and transcending earthly life. Focusing on the years 1967–1969, this paper will broadly investigate Sun Ra in the context of the hippie counterculture and his reception therein.
Pius Vögele studies Anglophone Literary and Cultural Studies and History at the University of Basel. He wrote his master thesis on Afrofuturism and South African Hip Hop. He is assistant at the Center of African Studies in Basel and at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland in Brugg-Windisch.
Saturday, 14 September, 14:00
Panel: Hippies around the World (2) (Chair: Ania Mauruschat)
Joan Didion’s “Slouching Towards Bethlehem,” written in 1967, famously documented “the social hemorrhaging” on display in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood of San Francisco, with children, barely adolescents, at the forefront. This paper argues that Didion’s choice of title, opening lines, and overall narrative approach are a deliberate effort to foreground San Francisco not just as a site of “social hemorrhaging,” but as something far more comprehensive: as the epicenter of societal destruction and rebirth in America, amid a scene of “mere anarchy” being unleashed. From the “Eden” that she compares California to in a separate essay, the state has devolved into something far more ambiguous in the late 1960s, returning back to the ever-present Didion question: how to figure a true Californian sense of place when that same place is ravaged by disorder. As Didion’s “Slouching” unfolds, it parallels and engages with the apocalyptic predictions and visions in William Butler Yeats’ poem “The Second Coming,” which she includes as an epigraph to the collection that includes “Slouching” and from which her essay draws its name.
The paper analyzes whether a compromised sense of place propelled the apparent “death drive” of the hippie movement that Didion describes witnessing in the summer of 1967, linking the choice of Haight-Ashbury as a gathering place for the children of the hippie movement to Didion’s extended analysis of California in her other works as a site of inherent contradictions, confused origin myth, and conflicted sense of place. The paper draws on examples and theories from the fields of human geography, semiotics, theology, and narratology to make this case.
Sofia Baliño is a PhD candidate in the English Literature Department at the Université de Genève and is writing her dissertation on Joan Didion and narratives of disorder under the supervision of Prof. Simon Swift. She has a Master of Arts in English Literature from the Université de Genève, as well as a Master of Public Policy from Duke University. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature and economics from the College of William and Mary in Virginia and is a graduate of the Columbia Publishing Course at the Columbia University School of Journalism. In addition to her academic background and research, she is a writer and editor with a decade of experience working on international economic affairs, specializing in trade and investment policy and politics, as well as sustainable development.
The Transnational Life and Afterlife of the Hippie: On the Entangled History of a Counterculture in the United States and Mexico
The recently established field of historical research on the “global sixties” promises a fundamental broadening of scholarly perspectives on the decade considered to be of crucial importance for worldwide developments between the end of the Second World War and the end of the Cold War. Particularly, the field’s agenda aims at strengthening transnational analytical approaches which include experiences in the then so-called “Third World” in much more prominent ways than has been done hitherto. The coincidence of apparently or evidently similar phenomena of political protest and counterculture around the world makes such a re-perspectivation an important endeavour of historical scholarship. Mexico is one of the few “Third World” countries of which European and US historiography on “1968” has always taken account. This has mainly been due to the massacre of Tlatelolco, with which the Mexican government successfully repressed the student movement on the eve of the Olympic Games. For about two decades, historical scholarship has analyzed political and countercultural developments in Mexico before and after 1968 increasingly in their interrelatedness, shedding also new light on transnational aspects of this past, particularly with regard to the United States. The paper sums up the insights and interpretations which these studies have presented up to date and discusses critically the ways Mexico continues to be conceived in the history of the hippies, also under the analytical approach of the “global sixties”.
Stephan Scheuzger has been a Research Professor of the Swiss National Science Foundation and an Associate Professor of History ad interim at the University of Bern. He is Privatdozent at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich and will take up the position of Senior Researcher at the Liechtenstein Institute. He has been a guest scholar at institutions such as the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, the Universität Konstanz, or Harvard University and a fellow of the Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies in Germany. Before having shifted his research interest to the field of global history, he had worked on and in Mexico for several years. His research covers, among others, the areas of the history of dealing with past injustice and the politics of memory; the history of punishment and social control; the history of political repression and human rights; the history of Marxism and communism; the history of social movements and countercultures; the history of migration and its control.
“The year 1968 is regarded as the central turning point of modern society. The year before, 1967, probably changed the world more than anything that followed.” This is what an article in the Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZ) stated in 2017. This may be a commonplace for specialists of hippie culture, but for Swiss historians it is not. Thirty or forty years earlier, the NZZ judged the Swiss hippie culture differently. But was there any? Was there more in Switzerland than the dismantling of the Zurich Hallenstadion at the Stones concert in 1967, the refusal of asylum and the expulsion of Timothy Leary in 1972, and the fact that LSD was invented in Switzerland? In my contribution I want to ask these questions and talk about what Swiss society looked like in 1967, when hippies challenged bourgeois societies.
Regina Wecker is Professor Emerita of Women's and Gender History at the University of Basel. She is known for her work in feminist history and gender theory, women’s work, citizenship and eugenics. Her work focuses primarily on Switzerland. Her most recent book is on eugenics in Switzerland and recent articles centre on the vote and the development of women’s citizenship. Currently she is President of the Founding Board of the new research project on Basel history.
Saturday, 14 September, 15:45
The Prolonged (Ecological) Rebirth of the Hippie: Assessing the Counterculture’s Heritage 50 Years On
This paper takes as its starting point the recognition that since the Summer of Love and its brief but intense wake, we have practically lost 50 years—perhaps not entirely in terms of civil rights and sexual freedom, but certainly as to what regards environmental degradation and the combined geopolitics of war and resource extractivism. The problems facing our planet have hardly changed, and the outcry as well as practical actions spearheaded by the hippies haven’t lost much of their actuality. The swift and pitiless backlash that combined with media overexposure to usher in the “Death of Hippie” left the true heritage of the 1960s counterculture practically untapped—and therefore bruised but mostly intact. The paper’s substantive claim is that, as a result, today's movements for social and environmental justice as well as ecological sustainability have at their disposal—and are actually (sometimes unconsciously) reviving—a treasure trove of countercultural values inherited from the mid-1960s. Whether it is in Neopaganism or in the rapidly expanding permaculture and ecovillage movements, the Hippie is undergoing a process of rebirth which might well last longer than the first birth spurt of 1967–69, and which offers fascinating perspectives on what consciousness change and political change meant in the 1960s, and what they still mean today. In short, the hippie heritage may never have been more relevant than it is in the years 2017-2019, and this paper will attempt to explain why.
Christian Arnsperger is professor of sustainability and economic anthropology at the Institute for Geography and Sustainability of the Faculty of Geoscience and Environmental Studies at the University of Lausanne. He holds a PhD in economics from the University of Louvain (Belgium) and has been teaching and researching for many years at the interface between economic analysis, human sciences, and existential philosophy. A specialist of post-consumerist/ post-growth economic alternatives and of the link between ecological transition and the change of mentalities and lifestyles, he is also a scientific adviser to the Alternative Bank Switzerland and, in that capacity, he develops “action research” field projects and collaborations in the area of sustainable finance. He has published on bioregionalism, indigenous lifeways of sustainability, the existential and cultural dimensions of a sustainable future, and the legacy of the hippies.
Christian Hänggi wraps up the conference.