News |Selection of the Thomas Mann Fellows 2024

2024 Thomas Mann Fellowship Recipients | Foto: Mike Kelley

Thirteen outstanding personalities from the fields of science, culture and media will discuss the annual topic "Democracy and Vulnerability" at the Thomas Mann House in Los Angeles next year.

How should a democracy deal with its own vulnerabilities? How do democracies need to evolve to deal successfully with increasing global levels of ecological, geo-political and economic precarity? How much vulnerability can a democracy endure? In the context of the 2024 U.S. election year, thirteen selected Thomas Mann Fellows will explore questions of democracy and vulnerability. During their stays of several months at the former exile residence of the Mann family, the Thomas Mann House, they will work on their projects on the annual theme "Democracy and Vulnerability" in exchange with US experts and the public there.

These thirteen fellows have been nominated by the independent advisory board of the Thomas Mann House for stays in the coming year: law scholar Susanne Baer, sociologist Sabine_ Hark and philosopher Rahel Jaeggi, journalist Aida Baghernejad, author and journalist Theresia Enzensberger, author Julia Franck, political scientist Johannes Gerschewski and social scientist Pola Lehmann, historian and lawyer Dieter Gosewinkel, author and journalist Ciani-Sophia Hoeder, author and moderator Friedemann Karig, communication scientist Ulrike Klinger and communication and political scientist Andrea Römmele.

→ To the Biographies

Das Thomas Mann House | Foto: Mike Kelley

In their projects, the fellows deal with the following topics:

How do we want to live together as a society? This question will be explored by Susanne Baer, Sabine_ Hark, and Rahel Jaeggi during their time at the Thomas Mann House. By bringing critical legal studies and comparative constitutionalism into conversation with social philosophy, critical theory, feminist and queer theory, they aim to contribute to a practice theory of solidarity.

During her residency in California, Aida Baghernejad will explore the intersection between pop culture and politics in times of multiple crises. She will engage with the history of the Thomas Mann House and of the émigrés in Southern California, and their lasting impact on German and American culture.

During her fellowship, Theresia Enzensberger, through essay and reportage, will examine spaces outside of governmental structures and how they relate to nation states and community building.

During her stay in Los Angeles, Julia Franck will explore the conditions of emigration and exile, of staying and living together, and process her thoughts and impressions in an upcoming novel linking past and present.

During their fellowship at the Thomas Mann House, Johannes Gerschewski and Pola Lehmann will explore the value of compromise in democratic societies. Is there empirical evidence that political debates are becoming increasingly heated and polarized? What can we do to counteract this, and what are the limits of compromise?

During his stay in Los Angeles, Dieter Gosewinkel will research the practice of excluding enemies of the state from rule-of-law democracies, thus pointing to an inner vulnerability of democracy.

During her time at the Thomas Mann House, Ciani-Sophia Hoeder will explore issues of ecological racism. She will examine if BIPOC urban farming, as a practice of resistance to White Supremacy, can be a tool to improve democracy, empower underrepresented communities, and protect the environment.
During his fellowship, Friedemann Karig will examine protest cultures in the United States. Taking as his starting point Henry David Thoreau’s term "civil disobedience," he will look at the civil rights movement, Occupy Wall Street, and Black Lives Matter and ask which protest cultures make today’s democracies vulnerable.

Ulrike Klinger will take a transatlantic perspective on the 2024 election campaigns. In 2024, there will be elections for a new European Parliament in May and U.S. presidential and congressional elections in November. Her project will focus on actors and allegations that challenge the legitimacy of elections themselves, on election fraud campaigns and disinformation about the electoral process.

Andrea Römmele explores the impact that major societal megatrends – such as technology and AI, urbanization, demographic and social change, climate change and resource scarcity, or global growth markets – have on democracies. How do different systemic and societal structures in Germany and the U.S. affect these developments?

The selection of the Fellows was made by the independent Advisory Board of the Thomas Mann House: Prof. Dr. Helmut Anheier (Professor of Sociology at the Hertie School, Member of the U.S. Advisory Board of the TMH), Dr. Cathleen Fisher (Executive Director of the German-American Fulbright Commission), Lorena Jaume-Palasí (Founder of The Ethical Tech Society), Prof. Dr. Peter Jelavich (Professor of History at Johns Hopkins University), Esra Küçük (Executive Member of the Board of Trustees of the Allianz Cultural Foundation and Member of the Board of Directors of the Allianz Environmental Foundation), Dr. Ingomar Lorch (Team Leader Funding Department - Areas of Science, Culture and Education of the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach Foundation) Prof. Dr. Ulrich Raulff (President of the IfA - Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations), Alex Ross (Journalist The New Yorker, Member of the US Advisory Board of TMH).

The residencies are financed by the Berthold Leibinger Stiftung, the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach-Stiftung. Villa Aurora & Thomas Mann House is funded by the Federal Foreign Office, the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media, and the Goethe-Institut.


Go back