German Historical Institute London

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Seminars and Lectures

The GHIL regularly holds seminars and lectures on topics of general interest to British and German historians. Seminars are held Tuesdays at 5.30pm during term time. Seminar papers are normally presented in English; knowledge of the German language is not necessary for participation.

Narrating the Nineteenth Century: New Approaches

Seminar Series | Summer Term 2016

3 May

Richard J. Evans (Cambridge)
Writing the History of Nineteenth-Century Europe

In the era of global history, is it still possible to write European history? How should it be periodized? Does it make sense to try to cover the huge variety of subjects that have formed the focus of historical research in recent decades? This talk attempts to answer these and other questions raised in the writing of volume 7 of the new Penguin History of Europe, The Pursuit of Power: Europe 1815–1914, to be published this September.

Sir Richard is President of Wolfson College, University of Cambridge, and Provost of Gresham College in the City of London. He is the author of numerous books on modern German and European history, and is currently preparing a biography of the historian Eric Hobsbawm.

17 May

Willibald Steinmetz (Bielefeld)
Writing a History of Nineteenth-Century Europe: Challenges, Conundrums, Complexities

This lecture deals with ways of narrating the history of Europe in the nineteenth century. How should we define Europe? What were its specific features in the nineteenth century? One suggestion is that nineteenth-century Europeans were obsessed with comparisons and competitions. Another idea is that they were caught in endless paradoxical demands for equality and recognition of difference.

Willibald Steinmetz is the current Richard von Weizsäcker Fellow at St Antony’s College, Oxford, and is Professor of Modern and Contemporary Political History at Bielefeld University. Among his publications in English are the edited volumes Writing Political History Today (2013), and Political Languages in the Age of Extremes (2011).

31 May

Johannes Paulmann (Mainz)
How Close is the Nineteenth Century? Contemporary Reflections on a History of Europe

The nineteenth century has just passed from being a memory of the living into the cultural memory of Europe. To some, it seems to have become a very distant past. This talk shows how historians have interpreted the period facing their own contemporary issues. It discusses the changing frames which bring the nineteenth century close to us, or, indeed, have turned it into a foreign country.

Johannes Paulmann is Director of the Leibniz Institute of European History in Mainz. His publications include Pomp und Politik: Monarchenbegegnungen in Europa zwischen Ancien Régime und Erstem Weltkrieg (2000); The Mechanics of Internationalism: Culture, Society, and Politics from the 1840s to the First World War (2001); and Dilemmas of Humanitarian Aid in the Twentieth Century (2016).

21 June

David Cannadine (Princeton)
Rewriting the British Nineteenth Century

The nineteenth century was incontrovertibly the ‘British century’, in which the UK seemed to dominate the globe, and when, for good or ill, ‘British history’ took place in many other parts of the world as well. At a time when global history has become so prominent, this seems an appropriate opportunity to revisit the years 1800 to 1906.

Sir David is Dodge Professor of History at Princeton University. He is the author of numerous books on the history of modern Britain and its empire, capitalism, philanthropy in nineteenth and twentieth century America, and the history of historiography. He was recently appointed editor of the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

Seminars are held at 5.30 p.m. in the Seminar Room of the German Historical Institute.
Tea is served from 5.00 p.m. in the Common Room, and wine is available after the seminars.

Guided tours of the Library are available before each seminar at 4.30 p.m.

Download the list of Seminars Summer 2016   (PDF file)

Previous Seminars

Public Lectures 2016

26 May

Uffa Jensen (Berlin)
Did Freud Really Invent Psychoanalysis? A Global History in Berlin, London, and Calcutta 1910–1940

GHIL in co-operation with the Seminar in Modern German History, Institute of Historical Research, University of London

The lecture discusses the transnational history of psychoanalysis by examining therapeutic practices in Berlin, London, and Calcutta. By situating the major protagonists in a wider therapeutic culture, complex issues of the diffusion of knowledge and practices emerge. Studying a non-Western setting like Calcutta challenges many assumptions about the history of psychoanalysis, among them Freud’s pivotal role in it.

Uffa Jensen is a post-doctoral researcher at the Center for the History of Emotions at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin. He is currently writing a global history of psychoanalysis from the perspective of the history of emotions. His publications include Das Selbst zwischen Anpassung und Befreiung: Psychowissen und Politik im 20. Jahrhundert, edited with Maik Tändler (2012); and Rationalisierungen des Gefühls: Zum Verhältnis von Wissenschaft und Emotionen 1880–1930, edited with Daniel Morat (2008).

Download flyer   (PDF file)

If not otherwise stated, lectures are held in the Seminar Room of the German Historical Institute.
Tea is served from 4.30 p.m. in the Common Room, and wine is available after the lectures.

Previous Public Lectures


European Leo Baeck Lecture Series London, 2015-16

The Politics of Land. Archaeology, Architecture and City Planning in Israel

This season’s theme intends to approach its broad subject via a spectrum of political, legal and cultural perspectives. We will examine more closely how the realities of ‘land’ or ‘territory’ impact on the daily lives of Israeli and foreign citizens living in the State of Israel, be they Israeli, Palestinian, Jewish, Muslim or Christian.

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