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One University – One Book – One City

With its proposal “Global Cotton. One university - One book - One city”, the University of Bremen has won this year’s competition One University – One Book jointly launched by the Stifterverband Deutsche Wissenschaft, the ZEIT Foundation and the Klaus Tschira Foundation. For its entry, the University of Bremen chose the book “Empire of Cotton. A New History of Global Capitalism” by Sven Beckert (2014).

The book offers various points of departure for different disciplines and faculties of the university to engage with the topic. In addition, it refers to many historic and contemporary aspects of the global cotton trade, which are key to the city of Bremen as a port city characterized by colonial history and location of the Bremen Cotton Exchange. Bremen also plays an important role in Sven Beckert’s book, which is why our project has expanded the motto of the competition “One university - one book” by the city. In doing so, we wish to strengthen the dialogue between the city and its campus university.

Organized across different disciplines and in cooperation with numerous actors from the city, a range of different public readings, lectures and other events discussing Sven Beckert’s book are planned for both on campus and at cotton-related locations in the city. Furthermore, a post-colonial city guide and a city tour focusing on cotton are being developed as part of the project.

The purpose of the project is to encourage a discussion on the entanglement of local and global history, on the links between colonialism and contemporary social, political and economic orders, economic myths and violent histories, and around the question what living responsibly and establishing a culture of remembrance might entail.

Interview with Sven Beckert about the Project

[Translate to English:] © Universität Bremen

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