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The Passport as Home: Comfort in Rootlessness

Professor Andrei Markovits Arthur F. Thurnau Professor; Karl W. Deutsch Collegiate Professor of Comparative Politics and German Studies

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Wednesday 8th June, 2022: 4pm, Ramphal Building R0.04, Warwick University

The event will be chaired by Ulf Liebe, Professor of Sociology and Quantitive Methods

Professor Andrei Markovits

In this seminar Professor Markovits will speak about his recent memoir - The Passport as Home: Comfort in Rootlessness

This is the story of an illustrious Romanian-born, Hungarian-speaking, Vienna-schooled, Columbia-educated and Harvard-formed, middle-class Jewish professor of politics and other subjects. Markovits revels in a rootlessness that offers him comfort, succor, and the inspiration for his life’s work. As we follow his quest to find a home, we encounter his engagement with the important political, social, and cultural developments of five decades on two continents. We also learn about his musical preferences, from classical to rock; his love of team sports such as soccer, baseball, basketball, and American football; and his devotion to dogs and their rescue. Above all, the book analyzes the travails of emigration the author experienced twice, moving from Romania to Vienna and then from Vienna to New York.

Markovits’s Candide-like travels through the ups and downs of post-1945 Europe and America offer a panoramic view of key currents that shaped the second half of the twentieth century. By shedding light on the cultural similarities and differences between both continents, the book shows why America fascinated Europeans like Markovits and offered them a home that Europe never did: academic excellence, intellectual openness, cultural diversity and religious tolerance. America for Markovits was indeed the “beacon on the hill,” despite the ugliness of its racism, the prominence of its everyday bigotry, the severity of its growing economic inequality, and the presence of other aspects that mar this worthy experiment’s daily existence.

About the speaker

Andrei Markovits is currently an Arthur F. Thurnau Professor and the Karl W. Deutsch Collegiate Professor of Comparative Politics and German Studies in the Political Science Department. He is the author and editor of many books, scholarly articles, conference papers, book reviews and newspaper contributions in English and many foreign languages on topics as varied as German and Austrian politics, anti-Semitism, anti-Americanism, social democracy, social movements, the European right and the European left. Markovits has also worked extensively on comparative sports culture in Europe and North America. 

Professor Markovits is also the recipient of the Bundesverdienstkreuz Erster Klasse, the Cross of the Order of Merit, First Class, the highest civilian honor bestowed by the Federal Republic of Germany on a civilian, German or foreign. It was awarded on behalf of the President of the Federal Republic of Germany by the Consul General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Chicago in March 2012.

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