ASL's Frank Usbeck Presents at International Conferences in the US and France


Frank Usbeck participated in a number of conferences during the fall 2011 to present the findings of his dissertation on the Nazis’ appropriation of the German euphoria for Native Americans. In November, he visited the annual meeting of New England American Studies Association at Plymouth, Massachusetts. The topic for this year’s meeting was “American Mythologies” and its location at Plimoth Plantation provided for lively on-site discussions of myths in American history. Usbeck focused his talk on myth-making in German nationalism and on the quest for the Germans’ tribal ancestors which, to a large extent, spurred the German interest in the tribal cultures of North America. In Plymouth, Frank Usbeck met with Steven Bradley, former Fulbright Professor at Leipzig, who presented on German perceptions of the American West, and with Alice Hofmann, who currently holds a Fulbright scholarship at SUNY Albany.


From 7-10 December 2011, Frank Usbeck participated in the international and interdisciplinary conference “Indigenous Peoples and the Environment” at the Université Michel de Montaigne in Bordeaux. This conference was the start-off point for an international research grant at Bordeaux. Frank Usbeck emphasized the link between spirituality, perceptions of nature, and the imagined tribal past among German nationalists, reformers, and political activists during the early twentieth century. Other presentations addressed the interrelations of resource development, indigeneity and environmentalism in indigenous communities, as well as issues of social justice, historical and present. The conference organizers videotaped several of the speeches to document the range of topics.