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Petra Kelly at 75: Histories, Legacies, and Contemporary Meanings of Transnational Ecological Politics


14.10.2022 – 15.10.2022

Location: Senatssaal, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich, Germany

Conveners: Andreas Jünger (RCC) and Stephen Milder (RCC)

Sponsors: Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society, Project House Europe (LMU Munich), Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, project no. 509069430), the Stiftung für Transatlantische Kultur und Politik (LMU Munich), and the Elisabeth Schwarzhaupt Stiftung.

Please note: Due to limited capacities, it is mandatory that guests of the conference register by 7 October. Registration is only possible by sending an e-mail to both andreas.juenger@rcc.lmu.de and stephen.milder@rcc.lmu.de.


Photo: courtesy of the "Archiv Grünes Gedächtnis der Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung e. V." (signature: FO-01559-02)

Petra Kelly, social activist, co-founder of the West German Green Party, and recipient of the Right-Livelihood Foundation’s Alternative Nobel Prize, has been the subject of renascent interest. A recent novel has dramatized her life and she is featured prominently in histories and documentary films. She remains an important figure for ecological activists in many parts of the world.

Kelly’s work is well suited to a world beset by a rapidly escalating climate crisis, which reinforces the need to think—and to act politically—beyond borders. The interlinking of grassroots struggles, the celebration of bottom-up activism, and a growing reliance on indigenous knowledge all contain echoes of Kelly’s politics. Kelly advocated an alternative, holistic politics based in nonviolence and love. Her biography spanned the Atlantic inspiring her to see emancipatory struggles all over the world as interlinked. Her prefigurative approach entailed a close connection between words and deeds, causing her to back Bundestag speeches up with direct action protests on the floor of the parliament, across the Iron Curtain, and around the globe.

Were she still alive, Kelly would turn seventy-five in November 2022. The upcoming anniversary of her birth offers an important opportunity to remember Petra Kelly and to reassess her pathbreaking political career and to consider why her life and legacy are gaining meaning in the present. Our conference seeks to place Kelly and her career in this larger context. In close cooperation with the Petra Kelly Foundation and the Heinrich Böll Foundation, the organizers have also prepared two evening events that will complement the conference. For more information, see the program.

If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us:
Andreas Jünger (andreas.juenger@rcc.lmu.de)
Stephen Milder (stephen.milder@rcc.lmu.de)