German Historical Institute London

17 Bloomsbury Square
London WC1A 2NJ
United Kingdom

Phone: +44 (0)20 - 7309 2050
Fax: +44 (0)20 - 7309 2055 / 7404 5573


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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.

Seminars - Spring 2016

1 March

Paul Readman (London)
Historical Pageants and the Medieval Past in Twentieth-Century Britain

Many thousands of large-scale historical pageants were performed in Britain across the twentieth century. In these spectacular re-enactments of history, myth, and folklore, the medieval past loomed large, even in modern centres of industry such as Manchester and Birmingham. This lecture considers what this ‘pageant fever’ tells us about the place of the past and the relationship between local and national identities in modern British social and cultural life.

Paul Readman is Professor of Modern British History at King’s College London. His publications include Land and Nation in England (2008); as co-editor, The Land Question in Britain, 1832–14 (2010); Borderlands in World History, 1700–1914 (2014); and Walking Histories, 1800–1914 (2016). His present research focuses on historical pageants and the place of the past in modern Britain, and on meanings of landscape in England between c.1750 and c.1950.

15 March

Andreas Bihrer / Julia Ilgner (Kiel / Freiburg)
Narrating the King: Historiographical and Literary Representations of Alfred the Great in German–English Discourse on Power in the Nineteenth Century

In nineteenth-century Germany public opinion about the Anglo-Saxon king Alfred the Great was shaped both by leading historians and well-known poets of the time. This interdisciplinary lecture will analyse how historians such as Gervinus or Winkelmann established influential narratives, while Wilhelminian poets like Fontane and Dahn worked towards Alfred’s ‘refunctionalization’ and heroic ‘reinterpretation’.

Andreas Bihrer is Professor of Medieval History at Kiel University. He specializes in diocese history, historiography and hagiography, and Anglo-Saxon history from a European perspective. He is the author of Begegnungen zwischen dem ostfränkisch-deutschen Reich und England (2012); Reformverlierer 1000–1800, ed. with Dietmar Schiersner (forthcoming 2016); and Die Angelsachsen in Europa (forthcoming 2017).

Julia Ilgner is a Ph.D. student at Freiburg University specializing in the genre of the German historical novel. She is co-editor of Arthur Schnitzlers Filmskripts and Transformations of History (both 2015).

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 Spring 2016   (PDF file)

Public Lectures 2016

3 March

Jörg Baberowski (Berlin)
Spaces of Violence

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

The lecture challenges our cultural beliefs about extreme violence. Modern societies tend to think of violence as an aberration that can be banned—yet violence is a contingent part of social relations that can only be contained, but never abolished, as the lecture will argue. From the wish to contain violence follows the need for order: building on these insights, the lecture will explore the interconnectedness of extreme violence, political orders, and political spaces.

Jörg Baberowski is Professor of East European History at Humboldt University, Berlin. He has published widely on tsarist Russia, Stalinism, and the dynamics between states, political spaces, and extreme violence. His current research focuses on Nikita Khrushchev and the process of de-Stalinization. He is the author of Der Feind ist überall: Stalinismus im Kaukasus (2003); Der Rote Terror: Die Geschichte des Stalinismus (2004); Räume der Gewalt (2015); and Scorched Earth: Stalin’s Reign of Terror (forthcoming 2016).

Download flyer   (PDF file)


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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