Why the United States has never had a Department of Culture – book presentation and discussion with the author Blaž Kosovel￼
WHEN: 7. July @ 16:30
WHERE: Sotočje II
The United States are in a way very close to us, but in another way something really different. This is a land where you can buy a gun in a supermarket before you’re old enough to have a beer. The land of opportunity for everyone with legally mandated segregation only half a century ago. A land of private initiative built on slave labor. Western Civilization is many times presented as something homogenous from the other world. However, this kind of understanding masks substantial differences between the societies on both sides of the Atlantic.
A new book wants to fill the gap in this understanding, mainly though the understanding of the position of culture in society. It was recently published by the Scientific-Research Center of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts. In this book, which presents a systematic history of the concepts of culture and civilization from their first mentions until the 20th century, author Blaž Kosovel, Ph.D., discusses why culture did not play the same significant role in the nation-building process in the United States as it did in Europe.
In fact, unlike the European creation of national culture, the process of creating the nation was very different in the United States. In the New World, the concept of a nation was formulated not as a people with a common past but as a people with a common future. The American nation was founded on a creed—the belief in the existence of a set of universal truths embodied in the functioning of its political institutions that allow economic freedom and the sanctity of private property.
When the second enlargement of the American nation began in the early 20th century, to transform the growing population of heterogeneous immigrant workers in the newly industrialized country into the American nation, the cultural sphere was introduced to establish a consumer society and culture industry. Despite all the geopolitical changes that have taken place in the last decades, and although the United States has never had an institutional place of high culture or as in European countries, a Ministry of Culture, its culture industry and consumer culture still hegemonically rule the world.
The discussion will be moderated by Miha Zadnikar.
Blaž Kosovel is the editor of the Razpotja (Crossroads) magazine, cultural worker, member of the Association of Goriška’s Humanists, tourist guide, author of the documentary series Goriška Walks and the historical trail through Nova Gorica. Philosopher and researcher at heart, he likes to reflect and present self-evident things around us as something not self-evident. In 2013, he was a Fulbright researcher in New York and finished his Ph.D. later. He expanded his dissertation in the featured book, which is also his first one. He attends Sajeta since 2003.