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 - Autumn 2015

20 October

Elizabeth Harvey (Nottingham)
Gender, Race, and the Wartime Workforce: The Nazi Labour Administration and Female Forced Labour from Occupied Eastern Europe

This lecture will explore why such a substantial proportion of the civilian forced labourers recruited from occupied Poland and the occupied Soviet territories for work in wartime Nazi Germany was female. It will consider factors influencing the demand for and supply of female foreign labour and explore the recruitment policies and practices of the Reich labour administration.

Elizabeth Harvey is Professor of History at the University of Nottingham. She specializes in the history of twentieth-century Germany and Europe with a focus on gender history and the Second World War period. She is the author of Women and the Nazi East: Agents and Witnesses of Germanization (2003); and Youth and the Welfare State in Weimar Germany (1993).

27 October

Lawrence Goldman (London)
Founding the Welfare State: The Collective Biography of William Beveridge, R. H. Tawney, and William Temple

This lecture will examine the close personal relations between three of the most prominent British social reformers of the twentieth century. Tawney and Temple were at school together; all three overlapped as students in the same Oxford college; Tawney married Beveridge’s sister; they remained friends and colleagues for the rest of their lives. What do these personal relationships tell us about social politics in Britain between 1900 and 1950? Can the welfare state be reduced to three interlocking biographies?

Lawrence Goldman is Director of the Institute of Historical Research, London. He was formerly Fellow and Tutor in History at St Peter's College, Oxford and also editor of the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography for ten years from its publication in 2004. His biography of R. H. Tawney was published in 2012.

24 November

Joanna Bourke (London)
‘Going Ballistic’: A New History of Aggression

Aggression is an essentially contested concept. What is meant by ‘aggression’ has changed dramatically over the past two centuries. What ideological, political, and economic forces have produced practices that are categorized as ‘aggressive’ at any period of time and for any particular group? The lecture will explore what these systems of classification and regulation can tell historians about gender and power in late nineteenth- and twentieth-century culture.

Joanna Bourke is Professor of History at Birkbeck College. She is the prize-winning author of eleven books, including histories of modern warfare, military medicine, psychology and psychiatry, the emotions, and rape. In 2014 she was the author of The Story of Pain: From Prayer to Painkillers and Wounding the World: How Military Violence and War- Play are Invading our Lives.

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 Autumn 2015 (PDF file)

Previous Seminars

Public Lectures

10 December

Klaus Weinhauer (Bielefeld)
The Return of the ‘Many-Headed Hydra’? Protest, Social Movements, and Violence in the Phase of Global Upheaval (c.1916–23)

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

The years between 1916 and 1923 saw multiple and overlapping upheavals around the globe. Labour historians have studied the strikes and social movements while other historians have discussed the revolutionary, social, and consumer protests of this phase. However, we still lack globally orientated integrative studies of these important years. Starting from a social and cultural historical translocal perspective, the lecture will suggest a space-sensitive re-interpretation of this phase, focused on the struggle about local order in a phase of global change.

Klaus Weinhauer is Professor of Modern History at Bielefeld University. He recently co-edited Germany 1916–23: A Revolution in Context (2015), and a special journal issue on terrorism, gender, and history (2014). Currently he is working on two books. One is about urban violence in the USA and Latin America during the twentieth century, and the other analyses the phase of global upheaval between c.1916 and 1923.

Download flyer (PDF file)

Previous Public Lectures