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The Alternative Liste Westberlin and the Evolution of the German Left

Dr. Keith Alexander, Department of History

Wednesday, September 13th, 2017 At 12:00 PM
Byrd Center For Legislative Studies Auditorium

In October 1978, diverse members of the West Berlin Left founded the Alternative Ballot for Democracy and Environmental Protection (AL). This presentation examines the origins and evolution of the AL. Initially, the new political organization fundamentally opposed the parliamentary system. Within three years, however, the AL won a significant presence in the West Berlin Parliament, and in 1989, the party joined the Social Democrats in governing West Berlin. The AL’s parliamentary participation had a moderating, integrative effect on the party and its members. From the late 1970s to the end of the 1980s, a significant segment of the radical West German Left grew to accept parliamentary democracy, demonstrating the strength of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Dr. Keith Alexander is an Assistant Professor in the history department at Shepherd University. His research interests include the history of the German Green Party, green historic preservation, and service learning in historic preservation education. He teaches classes in architectural history, oral history, modern history, and historic preservation. In the field of German history, he has published an article in German Politics and Society, and contributed chapters to Mauerkrieger and Jahrbuch des Archivs Grünes Gedächtnis. In the field of historic preservation, he has published an article on service learning and cemetery preservation in Preservation Education and Research Journal. His most recent projects include examining Senator Robert Byrd’s role in fostering historic preservation in West Virginia, as well as exploring historic preservation and architecture in Cuba. Along with Dr. Julia Sandy, Dr. Alexander co-directs the Historic Preservation and Public History concentration within the history major.