German Historical Institute London

17 Bloomsbury Square
London WC1A 2NJ
United Kingdom

Phone: Tel. +44-(0)20-7309 2050

URI: www.ghil.ac.uk

 

Lectures

 
 

The GHIL regularly holds lectures on topics of general interest to British and German historians. GHIL Lectures are held on Tuesdays at 5.30pm during term time. Papers are normally presented in English; knowledge of the German language is not necessary for participation. Some lectures are presented in cooperation with the Faculty of History, University of Oxford; Modern German History Seminar, Institute of Historical Research; and other distinguished institutions. The Thyssen Lecture Series is organized by the GHIL in collaboration with the Fritz Thyssen Foundation, and the Leo Baeck Institute Lecture Series is organized by the LBI in cooperation with the GHIL. Most lectures are currently held as hybrid online/in person events. Please check individual listings for more details.

 
 

GHIL Lectures

Summer Lecture Series 2024

Register to attend the Summer Lectures now: registration details are listed below with the information on each individual lecture.


25 June 2024 (5:30pm)

GHIL Lecture

Radhika Singha (Shiv Nadar University, Greater Noida)
International Penology in Colonial India: Too Advanced, Too American, Too Expensive?

The Indian Jail Committee report of 1919–20 is often cast as the turning point in colonial penal policy, when reform and rehabilitation were added to deterrence. But it is also acknowledged that very little changed on the ground. Why after all did a cash-strapped, politically-besieged regime sponsor a globe-trotting tour of jails and reformatories? Why did the committee return to enthuse about ‘flexible or indeterminate sentencing’, a principle embraced in the USA but faltering in Britain? To deflect criticism about the harsh treatment of ‘seditionist’ prisoners, the Jail Committee recast spaces of confinement as sites for agendas of post-war economic, institutional, and civic reconstruction. It presented a combined vision of confinement and social engineering that was taken up by colonial successor regimes. 

Radhika Singha taught modern and contemporary Indian history at Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi until her retirement. She is currently a visiting Professor at Shiv Nadar University, Greater Noida. Her research focuses on colonial criminal law, colonial identification practices and protocols, and borders and border-crossing, and it often intersects with labour history. She is currently working on criminology and ‘scientific’ penology in India 1894–1955, and the Foreigners Act and deportability in colonial India.

This lecture will take place as a hybrid event at the GHIL and online via Zoom. In order to attend this event, please register via Eventbrite to take part in person or online.

GHIL/Online

2 July 2024 (5:30pm)

GHIL Lecture

Christine Krüger (University of Bonn)
Analysing Reconciliation and Irreconcilability from a Historical Perspective. The Example of Germany and Britain

Whether in a global political context or within society, irreconcilability seems to be the hallmark of our present times. This explains the growing interest in reconciliation processes. Since the 1990s, ‘reconciliation’ has been an established field of research in political science. Historians, however, have explored this field only to a limited extent, although the topic should be an obvious one for them, as the call for reconciliation always relates to the past. Political science analyses of reconciliation or irreconcilability usually concentrate on political explanations. They pay little attention to social or economic and even less to cultural factors. This is where historical research can contribute to a better understanding. The aim of the lecture is to shed light on the potential of historical reconciliation research, with a particular focus on the entangled history of Germany and Great Britain.

Christine Krüger is Professor of Modern and Contemporary History at the University of Bonn. She completed her doctorate in 2005 (University of Tübingen) and habilitation in 2015 (University of Oldenburg). She has been a visiting scholar at the University of Oxford, Sciences Po (Paris), the Pontífica Universidad Católica de Valparaíso (Chile), and the Colegio de México (Mexico City). One of her main areas of specialization is historical peace and conflict research.

This lecture will take place as a hybrid event at the GHIL and online via Zoom. In order to attend this event, please register via Eventbrite to take part in person or online.

GHIL/Online

Previous GHIL Lectures

2024

20 February 2024 (5:30pm)

GHIL Joint Lecture

Julia Angster (University of Mannheim)
‘Post-Democracy’? Globalization, Democracy, and the Nation State in Germany after 1990

In co-operation with the Modern German History Seminar, Institute of Historical Research (IHR)

Is ‘globalization’ a threat to democracy? From the 1990s to the late 2010s, social scientists, economists, and historians in Western countries thought so. They worried about a loss of national sovereignty and agency, about national identity, and most of all about liberal democracy, which was based upon the national framing of state and society. This discourse was most prominent in post-unification Germany. The lecture will look at perceptions of ‘globalization’ and analyse the underlying assumptions about democracy and statehood. It argues that instead of a crisis of democracy, this was a crisis of national patterns of political thought dating back to the nineteenth century.

Julia Angster is Professor of Modern History at the University of Mannheim. Her fields of research include German contemporary history, transatlantic relations, the British Empire, and international relations. She studied at the University of Tübingen and St. John’s College, Oxford and completed her doctorate and habilitation at the University of Tübingen. From 2010 to 2012 she was professor of British and North American History at the University of Kassel.

This lecture will take place as a hybrid event at the GHIL and online via Zoom. In order to attend this event, please register via Eventbrite to take part in person or online.

GHIL/Online

28 February 2024 (5:30pm)

GHIL Joint Lecture

Uffa Jensen (TU Berlin, Center for Research on Antisemitism)
Right-Wing Terrorism and the Historiography of the Federal Republic: The Antisemitic Double Murder in Erlangen in 1980

In co-operation with the Modern History Research Seminar, University of Oxford

On 19 December,1980, Shlomo Lewin, the former head of the Nuremberg Jewish community, and his partner Frida Poeschke were shot in their home in Erlangen. Instead of following the leads that would take them to the right-wing extremist perpetrator, the state lawyer and the police focused on Lewin’s social environment. This antisemitic murder is part of a long history of terrorist violence by the right in (West-)Germany that has been almost aggressively suppressed. This lecture reconstructs the lives of the victims and examines the activities of the ‘paramilitary sports group’ the murderer had belonged to, and those of its founder Karl-Heinz Hoffmann. It compares this attack to other attacks by right-wing extremists in 1980, discussing the problematic mechanisms behind how Germany as a whole and German historians dealt with right-wing violence.

Uffa Jensen, born in 1969, is a historian and deputy head of the Center for Research on Antisemitism. He focuses on various topics within the history of antisemitism and Jewish history, as well as within the histories of science, emotions, and images.

This lecture will take place as a hybrid event at the GHIL and online via Zoom. In order to attend this event, please register via Eventbrite to take part in person or online.

GHIL/Online

19 March 2024 (5:30pm)

GHIL Lecture

Laury Sarti (University of Freiburg)
Medieval Letter Collections and Mobility: Quantitative and Digital Approaches

Letters are the most pertinent and abundant source for understanding physical mobility in the Middle Ages. They connect individuals who, due to spatial distance, would not have been able to communicate otherwise. Apart from the implicit attestation of messengers who must have carried these letters to the respective recipients’ locations, letters often contain clues as to the further mobility of individuals in the authors’ vicinity at the time of writing. This lecture presents a new project that investigates mobility within medieval societies by analysing a selection of particularly extensive letter collections spanning the period from 800 to 1500. It addresses, using a primarily quantitative approach, questions related to those who travelled, their motives for doing so, and their travelling conditions, in order to gain new insights into medieval exchange processes and their underlying dynamics.

Laury Sarti is a senior lecturer in Medieval History at the University of Freiburg. Her monograph Orbis Romanus: Byzantium and the Legacy of Rome in the Carolingian World is forthcoming with Oxford University Press, and her student handbook Westeuropa zwischen Antike und Mittelalter was published last year. Her field of expertise includes the transition from Antiquity to the Middle Ages, physical mobility, Mediterranean connectivity, the military, and the Roman legacy in the medieval West.

This lecture will take place as a hybrid event at the GHIL and online via Zoom. In order to attend this event, please register via Eventbrite to take part in person or online.

GHIL/Online

26 March 2024 (5:30pm)

GHIL Lecture

Matthias Pohlig (HU Berlin)
Religious Decision-Making in the Reformation

It is a widespread belief that the Reformation introduced the possibility of choosing between different variants of the Christian faith. In contrast, this lecture argues that the early German Reformation created a field of experimentation in which it was disputed who was able, and who was permitted, to decide on which faith options, and how. The Reformation gave rise to new questions of individual and collective religious decision-making, encompassing many different dimensions, such as faith options, the semantic and practical framing of situations in which choices were made, and the actors and procedures involved.

Matthias Pohlig is Professor of Early Modern European History at the Humboldt-Universität in Berlin. He is author of a monograph on Lutheran historiography in the sixteenth century (2007) and a monograph on information-gathering during the War of the Spanish Succession (2016). He has published widely on the Reformation, early modern religion, diplomacy and espionage, and questions of historical theory.

This lecture will take place as a hybrid event at the GHIL and online via Zoom. In order to attend this event, please register via Eventbrite to take part in person or online.

GHIL/Online

7 May 2024 (5:30pm)

GHIL Lecture

Hannah Murphy (King’s College London) and Sarah Schober (University of Zurich)
Artisanal Race-Making in Early Modern Germany (Double Lecture)

Hannah Murphy: Skin, Scarification, and Artisanal Race-Making in Early Modern Germany

The provocation of this paper is that early modern German artisanal writers thought about ethnography, race, and human difference through the lens of Kunst—craft or artisanal knowledge. Exploring early modern travel narratives written primarily by medical practitioners, the paper focuses on a case study of skin and scarification. As a mutable, textured site of beauty, adornment, and surgical skill, skin offered up a contested surface for race-making which reflected internal European preoccupations with expertise and the boundaries of medicine, as well as anxieties around geography, mobility, and embodied difference. By examining accounts of skin practices that were written before race was conceptualized as an epidermal question of colour, we can disaggregate artisans as agents of race-making, as well as recover the complexities and centrality of artisanal skin practices from racialized texts. 

Hannah Murphy is Senior Lecturer in Early Modern History and Director of the Centre for Early Modern Studies at King’s College London. She is a historian of science and medicine, and the Principal Investigator of a £1.4m UK Research and Innovation Future Leaders Fellowship project exploring the role of medical practitioners in the transatlantic slave trade.


Sarah Schober: Loose Threads? Hair, Race, and the Making of Wigs in Early Modern Germany

Between 1650 and 1820 hair became a matter of racial distinction. People were categorized and separated not only by the colour of their skin or the measurements of their skulls, but also by the colour, texture, and abundance of their head and body hair. The talk will analyse the early modern racialization of hair by linking it to the emerging large-scale trade in human and animal hair in the early modern ‘age of the wig’. Reading the scientific discourses on racialized hair alongside sources on the manufacturing of wigs and the dealings within the early modern European hair trade, the talk poses the question of how we might explore hidden and indirect practices of race-making.

Sarah-Maria Schober is a researcher and lecturer in early modern history at the University of Zurich in Switzerland. Her book on early modern urban societies, physicians, and the social value of excess was published in 2019. In her second book project The Civet Cat. Producing Exotica in Early Modern Europe, she is focusing on the history of the civet scent and its producer, the civet cat. Schober is also currently working on a project on hair, early theories of race, and multispecies approaches to history.

This lecture will take place as a hybrid event at the GHIL and online via Zoom. In order to attend this event, please register via Eventbrite to take part in person or online.

GHIL/Online

11 June 2024 (5.30pm)

GHIL Joint Lecture

Ravi Sundaram (Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi)
Populist Media Aesthetics? Using media aesthetics and political theory to understand recent events in India

In co-operation with Goldsmiths and Royal Holloway, University of London

Twenty-first century populist movements have actively mobilised sensory infrastructures of digital media. Sensory infrastructures create vehicles of connection, imitation and temporary collective association. Our contemporary technological milieu increasingly frames political aesthetics, particularly the questions of collective action and public speech. These emerge from the environmentality of contemporary digital media: this expanded landscape suggests that populist affect may not be an exception to liberal normativity but a routine form of the political in the twenty-first century.

This lecture draws from research in India on right-wing populist aesthetic techniques in the context of sensory infrastructures. This lecture draws from two research sites where violence and aesthetic strategies come together. The first is a legal event where activists are tried under anti-terror laws, where selective ‘evidentiary’ information is leaked in right-wing fora. The second looks at the routine referencing of anti-Muslim videos by once-peripheral vigilante actors, these now proliferate across public media, including television. Violence is now a running thread in the sensory world of technological populism. The lecture will look at these questions by bringing in recent debates on media aesthetics and the political.

Ravi Sundaram co-founded the Sarai programme at the CSDS along with Ravi Vasudevan and the Raqs Media Collective. Sarai grew to become one of India’s best-known experimental and critical research sites on media. Sundaram has co-edited the Sarai Reader series, The Public Domain (2001), The Cities of Everyday Life (2002), Shaping Technologies (2003), Crisis Media (2004). Sundaram is the author of Pirate Modernity: Media Urbanism in Delhi (2010) and edited No Limits: Media Studies from India (2015). His recent book Technopharmacology (with Joshua Neves, Aleena Chiaand Susanna Paasonen) came out in 2022. Sundaram’s essays have been translated into various languages in India, Asia, and Europe.

You do not need to register to attend this event.

NEW VENUE: Room 104, Senate House, Malet Street, WC1E 7HU

18 June 2024 (5:30pm)

GHIL Joint Lecture

Philipp Gassert (University of Mannheim)
Contesting Political Spaces: Thoughts on a World History of Street Protest

In co-operation with the Modern German History Seminar, Institute of Historical Research (IHR)

Even though we now live in an age of digital media, physical street protest is not a thing of the past. Anyone knows that even in the twenty-first century, public, symbolically charged spaces continue to be occupied by protesters who hope to score political points. We may even be under the impression that the frequency of street protests has increased. So why does ‘taking to the streets’ still work, even though we can be so wonderfully outraged online today? The obvious answer is: it can be explained historically. I will take my examples from 250 years of history, covering a wide range of societies, issues, and geographical entities in order to present preliminary findings on an ongoing project about a world history of street protest. 

Philipp Gassert teaches contemporary history in Mannheim. He has published widely on the history of the 1968 movements and the 1980s’ peace movements. In 2018 he published the first full-length monography on post-war German protest history Bewegte Gesellschaft: Deutsche Protestgeschichte seit 1945 (Stuttgart, 2018). He is currently writing a world history of street protest from the eighteenth century to the present.

This lecture will take place as a hybrid event at the GHIL and online via Zoom. In order to attend this event, please register via Eventbrite to take part in person or online.

GHIL/Online

2023

21 February 2023 (5.30pm)

GHIL Lecture

Kama Maclean (University of Heidelberg)
(What) Can the Subaltern Hear? The Sounds of Mass Mobilization in Interwar India

Following the interventions of subaltern studies in the 1980s, which pivoted around the question of whether it was possible for the subaltern to speak through the colonial archive, the discipline of history has undergone seismic shifts in terms of moving away from a reliance on colonial texts. However, scholars continue to rely on speeches by leaders as an index of nationalist discourse. Yet photographs of such speeches being made, such as those which show large gatherings of peasants around nationalist leaders such as Gandhi, prompt us to ask: how were nationalist messages audible to the crowds around Gandhi? What could the subaltern hear?

Kama Maclean is Professor of History at the South Asia Institute of Heidelberg University, Germany. She is the author of Pilgrimage and Power (OUP, 2008), A Revolutionary History of Interwar India (OUP, 2015), and British India, White Australia: Overseas Indians, Intercolonial Relations and the Empire, 1901–1947 (UNSW Press, 2020).

This lecture will take place at the GHIL. In order to attend this event, please register via Eventbrite.

GHIL

24 February 2023 (5.30pm)

GHIL Lecture

Stefan Hanß (University of Manchester)
The Scientific Analysis of Renaissance Recipes: Medicine and the Body in the German Material Renaissance

The ‘material Renaissance’, historians have argued, was an age of experimentation, and recipes were at the heart of this cultural movement. New collaborations between the humanities and the sciences allow for novel insights into Renaissance recipe cultures, and more specifically the degree of material experimentation and engagement by ‘recipe practitioners’. Scientific analysis and thorough historical contextualization of the chemical fingerprints of recipe users offer a new understanding of material cultures, medicine, and the history of the body in early modern Germany. Which ingredients were used? How were they used, and what for? Which substances were altered, and why? And what can be said about their impact on the human body? This lecture focuses on early modern Augsburg and discusses topics as wide-ranging as haircare and toothache. It contributes to research on recipes, as well as to the new history of material practices, early modern medicine, and material and medical practitioners in early modern Germany.

Stefan Hanß is Senior Lecturer in Early Modern History at the University of Manchester and the winner of a British Academy Rising Star Engagement Award (2019) as well as a Philip Leverhulme Prize in History (2020). Hanß works on cultural encounters and global material culture, currently with a focus on the history of hair and featherwork, and on establishing new collaborations between the humanities and the sciences. In September 2023, Hanß takes on the role as Deputy Director and Scientific Lead of the John Rylands Research Institute Manchester. His research has been widely published in, among others, History Workshop Journal, Past & Present, Renaissance Quarterly, and The Historical Journal. He is the author of two monographs on the Battle of Lepanto and Narrating the Dragoman’s Self in the Veneto-Ottoman Balkans, c.1550–1650 (Routledge, 2023). Hanß has co-edited Mediterranean Slavery Revisited (500–1800) (2014), The Habsburg Mediterranean, 1500–1800 (2021), Scribal Practice and Global Cultures of Colophons, 1400–1700 (2022), and, most recently, In-Between Textiles, 1400–1800: Weaving Subjectivities and Encounters (2023). He is currently in the final stage of writing a new book on the early modern history of hair.

This lecture will take place as a hybrid event at the GHIL and online via Zoom. In order to attend this event, please register via Eventbrite to take part in person or online.

GHIL/Online

21 March 2023 (5.30pm)

GHIL Lecture

Matthew Vernon (University of California, Davis)
Unexceptional Blackness and ‘Blind Matter’: Visuality, Temporality, and Race

This talk will consider Brandon Jacobs-Jenkins’s play, Everybody, which adapts the fifteenth-century play Everyman. Everyman is a particularly pointed choice for Jacobs-Jenkins to adapt because of its presentation of a Black character unexpectedly confronted by death, a move that cannot help but conjure up familiar ideas around ‘Black Lives Matter’ and the spectre of death that shadows that phrase. At the same time, in the context of Everybody, Jacobs-Jenkins presses the metaphysical boundaries of what ‘matter’ can mean and how one might continue to expand the political potency of the phrase ‘Black Lives Matter’. In reading between these plays, I will interrogate the relationships between Blackness, visibility, materiality, and necropolitics. Central to this discussion will be an argument about reading race ‘counterfactually’, that is, how we read against the habits of representation that delimit the possibilities for recognizing Black lives.

Matthew Vernon is an associate professor of English Literature at the University of California, Davis. His first book, The Black Middle Ages, explores the understudied relationship between medievalism and Blackness in nineteenth and twentieth-century literature. He has also written articles on his interests in issues of race and genre, including on the post-truth phenomenon in nineteenth-century novels, Black speculative fiction, and comic books about displacement and vulnerability. He is currently working on an article on the adaptation of the medieval play, Everyman.

This lecture will take place online via Zoom ONLY. In order to attend this event, please register here via Eventbrite.

Online

28 March 2023 (5.30pm)

GHIL Joint Lecture

Nina Verheyen (Free University of Berlin)
Global Connections and Personal Achievements. (De)centring the Self in Fin de Siècle Germany

In co-operation with the Modern German History Seminar, Institute of Historical Research (IHR)

Within a few decades, people in Imperial Germany witnessed a dramatic rise in global exchange, as well as an increased public interest in personal achievement. Work performance, intelligence, sporting achievements, and so on were measured, standardized, optimized and—above all—cherished. This lecture scrutinizes the link between both of these trends. It highlights two aspects: on the one hand, global exchange allowed and helped certain people in Germany to achieve new and sometimes outstanding things, but on the other, the idea of a purely personal achievement made the global factors behind such achievements invisible. In other words, the fin de siècle cult of personal achievement relied on global interactions and at the same time concealed them.

PD Dr Nina Verheyen is currently a guest professor at the Free University of Berlin. She is a historian of cultural anthropology and of modern Europe in a transnational and global perspective. She has published on oral communication, emotions, masculinities, materialities, the theory and history of historiography, and the social construction of personal achievement.

This lecture will take place as a hybrid event at the GHIL and online via Zoom. In order to attend this event, please register via Eventbrite to take part in person or online.

GHIL/Online

9 May 2023 (5.30pm)

GHIL Lecture

Herman Bennett (City University of New York/Queen Mary University of London)
‘In ein fremdes Land’ (Into a Strange Land): Sex, the Political, and Black Domesticity in Post-War Germany

Imagining the African American military experience during and immediately after the Second World War as a conscripted diaspora, ‘Into a Strange Land’ directs our attention to a Black masculine political culture mediated by sex and domesticity that engenders a distinctively American incarnation of Afro-Germans.

Herman L. Bennett is Distinguished Professor at the CUNY Graduate Center and Director of the Institute for Research on the African Diaspora in the Americas and the Caribbean (IRADAC). He was recently named a Global Professorial Fellow at Queen Mary University of London, which comes with a three-year residency. Notable publications include Colonial Blackness: A History of Afro-Mexico (2009) and African Kings and Black Slaves: Sovereignty and Dispossession in the Early Modern Atlantic (2019).

This lecture will take place as a hybrid event at the GHIL and online via Zoom. In order to attend this event, please register via Eventbrite to take part either in person or online.

GHIL/Online

13 June 2023 (5.30pm)

GHIL Lecture

Awadhendra Sharan (Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi)
India’s Atmospheric Modernity: Smoke, Particulate Matter, and the Modern City

Around the mid nineteenth century, air pollution began to be discussed in India, especially in its largest cities, Calcutta and Bombay. The concern was with black smoke and the impact that this had on the quality of urban life, human health, and economic efficiency. In time, visible smoke yielded to invisible particulate matter as a serious object of concern. And, more recently, heat waves and extreme weather events have become significant public issues.

In my lecture, I revisit these earlier historical concerns around air quality, underlining both their specificity and what lessons they have to offer to us in the age of the Anthropocene.

Awadhendra Sharan is Director and Professor at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi. His research interests are in the fields of urban and environmental studies. He is the author of Dust and Smoke: Air Pollution and Colonial Urbanism. India, c.1860–c.1940 (2020) and In the City, Out of Place: Nuisance, Pollution, and Dwelling in Delhi, c.1850–2000 (2014). His ongoing research is on climate thinking and urbanism in India.

This lecture will take place as a hybrid event at the GHIL and online via Zoom. In order to attend this event, please register via Eventbrite to take part either in person or online.

GHIL/Online

20 June 2023 (5.30pm)

GHIL Lecture

Regina Toepfer (University of Würzburg)
Homer’s Heroes in Early Modern Germany: A Translational Anthropology

In this lecture Regina Toepfer will present her concept of translational anthropology and show how philological comparisons can reveal patterns of thought, systems of knowledge, and values held by historical individuals and societies. She considers literary translations to be key anthropological texts and sees shifts in meaning between the source and target text not as aesthetic shortcomings, but as cultural gains.

This model will be presented through an analysis of the first translation of Homer into German in 1537/8. Simon Schaidenreisser’s Odyssee offers numerous insights into social norms, ideals, and difficult issues in the early modern period. For example, core ideas about poetry, politics, and religion, about morality, masculinity, and family, and about guilt, misfortune, and death are addressed in the invocation of the muse and the assembly of the gods at the beginning of Homer’s epic.

Regina Toepfer is the Chair of German Philology at the University of Würzburg, the Spokesperson of the German Research Foundation Priority Programme 2130 ‘Early Modern Translation Cultures’, and the President of the Medievalists’s Society (Mediävestenverband). Her research interests include translated literature, narratology, and gender studies. She recently published a study on Infertility in Medieval and Early Modern Europe: Premodern Views on Childlessness (2022).

This lecture will take place as a hybrid event at the GHIL and online via Zoom. In order to attend this event, please register via Eventbrite to take part either in person or online.

GHIL/Online

27 June 2023 (5.30pm)

GHIL Lecture

Kokou Azamede (University of Lomé)
The Perception of Colonial Cultural Goods and Human Remains among Communities in the Former German Colony of Togo in the Context of the Restitution Debate

The issue of restitution continues to animate public debate in both European and African societies. The search for ways and means to present the problem and to involve communities is becoming a challenge for some African leaders because opinions on the issue tend to diverge between the communities and social groups concerned, depending in part on the quality of information available to them. This lecture aims to show the perception of colonial cultural goods and human remains among communities of the former German colony of Togo, now located in Togo and Ghana, and how their positions have developed in response to the social changes that have occurred in their respective environments.

Dr Kokou Azamede is Associate Professor in the Department of German Studies of the University of Lomé. His research focuses on transcultural studies, German missions and colonialism, and German colonial photography in West Africa. He has received postdoctoral fellowships from the Hanns Seidel, Volkswagen, and Fritz Thyssen Foundations, as well as from the German Academic Exchange Service and the Merian Institute for Advanced Studies in Africa. He is the 2022 laureate of the Jakob and Wilhelm Grimm Award.

This lecture will take place online via Zoom. In order to attend this event, please register via Eventbrite.

Online

12 September 2023 (5.30pm)

GHIL Lecture

Ravi Vasudevan (Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi)
Short Film as Global Form: India c. 1940–60

This presentation explores the short film and documentary as a global form that is used to engage and instruct audiences. The history of the genre is inflected by the logics of colonial power, nationalist mobilization, developmental and consumer imaginaries, and cold war agenda. Taking India as a focus, the lecture examines connected and comparative histories, referring to colonial film units and the ‘official’ films of the nation-state period in Africa, South-East Asia, and East Asia, as well as the role of international institutions such as UNESCO and the Technical Cooperation Mission of the USA.

Ravi Vasudevan is a film and media historian. His recent publications include Documentary Now (ed.: 2018) and Media and the Constitution of the Political: South Asia and Beyond (ed.: 2021). He co-founded the screen studies journal Bioscope and, with Ravi Sundaram, directs Sarai, the media research programme of the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies.

This lecture will take place as a hybrid event at the GHIL and online via Zoom. In order to attend this event, please register via Eventbrite to take part in person or online.

GHIL/Online

10 October 2023 (5.30pm)

GHIL Lecture

Philipp Rössner (University of Manchester)
Peasants, Wars, and Evil Coins: Towards a ‘Monetary Turn’ in Explaining the Revolution of 1525

The ‘Great German Peasant War’ of 1524–6 has quietly slipped off the historian’s agenda. Structural-materialist interpretations have waned since the fall of the Iron Curtain, giving rise to several ‘cultural’ and other ‘turns’, most of which have also passed. One phenomenon, however, has been missed completely, in older as well as more recent historiography: the monetary problem. Monetary issues—relating to currency and how different coins were used to pay fines, dues, and tithes—featured in most known medieval peasant grievances up to the Peasant War proper, significantly contributing to the peasants’ economic cause for revolt. This paper suggests how a ‘monetary turn’ may shed new light on Germany’s first modern revolution.

Philipp Robinson Rössner is Professor of Early Modern History at the University of Manchester. He has published books on early modern Scotland, Reformation Germany, Martin Luther as an ‘economist’, mercantilism, cameralism, and economic development. He held a Heisenbergstipendium (senior research fellowship) at Leipzig University, and he won the 2012 Walter Hävernick Prize for the best book in numismatics and monetary history.

This lecture will take place as a hybrid event at the GHIL and online via Zoom. In order to attend this event, please register via Eventbrite to take part in person or online.

GHIL/Online

17 October 2023 (5.30pm)

GHIL Lecture

John-Paul Ghobrial (University of Oxford)
Becoming Catholic in the Middle East: Early Modern Fantasies and Modern Myths

The history of Eastern Christianity has been distorted by several myths that have their origins in the fantasies of early modern Catholic missionaries. This lecture seeks to identify (and debunk) some of these myths through a close study of the first generation of Catholic missionaries who travelled to Aleppo, Diyarbakir, and Mosul in the seventeenth century. In doing so, it asks: how does the history of the Catholic Reformation change if we begin our enquiry not with ideas of ‘global’ reformation, but with the specific process of becoming Catholic as it was experienced in everyday life in the Ottoman Empire?

John-Paul Ghobrial is Professor of Modern and Global History at the University of Oxford, and Lucas Fellow and Tutor in History at Balliol College, Oxford. He has published extensively on a range of themes in Middle Eastern history including early modern mobility, Eastern Christianity, and the history of information, archives, and record-keeping.

This lecture will take place as a hybrid event at the GHIL and online via Zoom. In order to attend this event, please register via Eventbrite to take part in person or online​​​​​​​.

GHIL/Online

FRIDAY 10 November 2023 (5.30pm)

GHIL Joint Lecture

Stefanie Middendorf (University of Jena)
Societies under Siege: Experiencing States of Emergency in the Long Twentieth Century

Postponed from 1 March 2023

In co-operation with the Modern History Research Seminar, University of Oxford

Today, the state of emergency seems to be as permanent as it is omnipresent. The term became ubiquitous in the early twentieth century and continues to guide the self-description of contemporary societies. Yet, referring to ‘emergencies’ implies a large range of meanings, from actual states of war to moments of humanitarian crisis, from abstract realms of the law to concrete territories under siege. The lecture argues for a history of emergency experiences in the long twentieth century that reaches beyond ‘classical theories’ and focuses on the social dimensions of administrative agency instead. It treats the ‘state of emergency’ as an imaginary that informs technocratic practices and legal theory at the same time, and argues that historicizing it can help us to understand the critical role of the state apparatus in moments of transformation.

Stefanie Middendorf is Professor of Modern and Contemporary History at Friedrich Schiller University Jena. Her research centres on German and European history, especially the social history of statehood, experiences of crises and war, and cultural dimensions of capitalist economies. Her book Macht der Ausnahme: Reichsfinanzministerium und Staatlichkeit (1919–1945) was published in 2022, and a collective volume on practices of public debt is due out in September 2023.

This lecture will take place as a hybrid event at Senate House (Meeting Room G5) and online via Zoom. In order to attend this event, please register via Eventbrite to take part in person or online.

Senate House, Meeting Room G5/Online

12 December 2023 (5.30pm)

GHIL Lecture

Jesse Bucher (Roanoke College, Salem, VA) and Bettina Brockmeyer (Justus Liebig University Giessen)
Chasing a Phantom: An African Skull in European Politics

This presentation addresses some of the ways in which the skull of Chief Mkwawa has functioned as an object of European politics, memory, and imagination. It will trace claims about the skull that have appeared in political treaties, scientific research, novels, films, and comics in order to demonstrate how human remains—even ones that do not always exist as ‘real objects’—feature within European cultural heritage. The talk will also address how two historians respectively based in Europe and the United States have sought to both investigate the known history of Mkwawa’s skull and problematize their own work on this history.

Bettina Brockmeyer is Professor of Modern History at Justus Liebig University Giessen, Germany. Her research focuses on gender, the body, and colonial history. Her book Geteilte Geschichte, geraubte Geschichte (2021) analyses colonial biographies in East Africa, and, together with Frank Edward and Holger Stoecker, she published the article ‘The Mkwawa Complex: A Tanzanian–European History about Provenance, Memory, and Politics’ in the Journal of Modern European History in 2020.

Jesse Bucher is Director of the Center for Studying Structures of Race, and Associate Professor of African History at Roanoke College, USA. Bucher’s research utilizes postcolonial and critical theory to interpret the history of political violence, colonialism, and slavery in Tanzania, South Africa, and the United States. He published ‘The Skull of Mkwawa and the Politics of Indirect Rule in Tanganyika’ in the Journal of Eastern African Studies in 2016.

This lecture will take place as a hybrid event at the GHIL and online via Zoom. In order to attend this event, please register via Eventbrite to take part in person or online.

GHIL/Online

2022

11 January 2022 (5.30pm)

GHIL Lecture

Bernhard Dietz (Mainz) - CANCELLED
Following the Neo-Tories from Interwar Fascism to Postwar Democracy: The Revolt of British Conservatives against Political Modernity – and its Aftermath

This event has been cancelled due to sickness.

Why did right-wing extremism fail in interwar Britain? This question is usually answered with reference to the failure of British fascism. This lecture, however, argues that the threat to British parliamentary democracy also came from a network of radical British Conservatives known as Neo-Tories. The Neo-Tories regarded liberal democracy as being in a state of degeneration and worked towards anti-democratic change through a ‘revolution from above’. The lecture will examine this thread of political history from the 1930s, but it will also look at the aftermath of the story and investigate whether and how the Neo-Tories came to terms with the overseas immigration and European integration which marked post-war democracy. 

Bernhard Dietz teaches Modern History at the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz. He received his Ph.D. in history from the Humboldt University of Berlin in 2010 and finished his second book on the cultural history of West German capitalism in 2018. He has been President of the German Association of British Studies (AGF) since 2016.

Postponed from 9th December

This lecture will take place online via Zoom. In order to register for this event, please follow this link to Eventbrite.

Online

1 February 2022 (5.30pm)

GHIL Lecture

Shiru Lim (Aarhus) and Avi Lifschitz (Oxford)
Frederick the Great and the Public Sphere

King Frederick II of Prussia enjoys the reputation of a philosopher king and a major author in his own right. But integral to that reputation is his chequered relationship with an increasingly energetic and volatile eighteenth-century public sphere. This joint lecture explores two key episodes in this history.

Shiru Lim: Frederick II meets the Public Sphere: The Composition and Circulation of the Anti-Machiavel

The Anti-Machiavel (1740) is best known as a manifesto for virtuous kingship. A closer look at how it was composed, published, and responded to, however, sheds light on ways of conceiving a public in Enlightenment Europe. This paper therefore examines Frederick and Voltaire’s collaboration on the work and their attempts to control its immediate reception.

The Anti-Machiavel was read as a straightforward statement of Frederick’s vision of kingship, but it is important to remember that this reaction was deliberately orchestrated by Voltaire. Voltaire bore a large part of the responsibility for shifting the arbitration of political legitimacy out of Frederick’s hands and into European public opinion, and the whole episode prompts us to rethink the dynamics in this most emblematic of relationships between ruler and philosopher.

Shiru Lim is an intellectual historian and a fellow at the Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies. Her research explores the relationship between knowledge and power, and between intellectuals and the state, focusing on the eighteenth century. She is working on a monograph on Philosophy and Government in Enlightenment Europe: Frederick II, Catherine II, and the philosophes.

Avi Lifschitz: From Controlled Circulation to Public Readership: The Illicit Publication of Frederick II’s Philosophical Poems

The year 1760 began with a publishing sensation in Europe: Frederick II’s Œuvres du philosophe de Sans-Souci, long circulated among a small number of the King’s confidants, appeared in two widely distributed editions in Lyon and Paris. The timing, in the middle of the Seven Years’ War, was not accidental. The French government, Frederick’s enemy in this major struggle, orchestrated the publication of these poems, which exposed the Prussian ruler as an irreverent and irreligious author.

The lecture charts the failure of Frederick’s attempt to maintain control over a circumscribed set of copies and addressees, and his efforts to reverse the reputational damage. As with the publication of his Anti-Machiavel in 1740, the timing and format of the publication of Œuvres du philosophe de Sans-Souci took the monarch largely by surprise. 

Avi Lifschitz is Associate Professor of History at the University of Oxford, where he is a Fellow of Magdalen College and Academic Programme Director of the Voltaire Foundation. Having recently edited the first modern English edition of a wide range of Frederick II’s writings (Princeton UP, 2021), he is now working on a monograph on the monarch as a philosopher and public author.

This lecture will take place online via Zoom. In order to register for this event, please follow this link to Eventbrite.

Online

9 March 2022 (5.30pm)

GHIL Joint Lecture

Christina Morina (Bielefeld)
Broken Balance: A Political–Cultural History of Germany since the 1980s

In co-operation with the Modern History Research Seminar, University of Oxford

The political culture of the ‘Berlin Republic’ has its roots as much in the era of German division as in the transformative years around 1989. Yet it is much more than a story of the convergence of triumphant (West German) democracy and failed (East German) dictatorship. Taking as its point of the departure the increasingly polarized political climate in Germany in recent years and the strong support for right-wing populism, particularly in the East, the project explores the ways in which ordinary citizens in East and West understood themselves as citizens, ‘their’ state, and the meaning and purpose of (democratic) politics. This integrated political–cultural history ‘from below’, crossing the watershed of 1989, illustrates that dramatically divergent conceptions of citizenship and democracy account for many of the enduring differences between the democratic cultures and practices in East and West.

Christina Morina is Professor of Contemporary History at the University of Bielefeld. Her research focuses on major themes in nineteenth and twentieth-century German and European history, especially Nazi Germany and the Holocaust, political and memory cultures in Germany since 1945, and the history of political ideas, particularly socialism, Marxism, and communism.

This lecture will take place as a hybrid event at the GHIL and/or online via Zoom. In order to register for this event, please follow this link to Eventbrite.

GHIL/Online

16 March 2022 (5.30pm)

GHIL Joint Lecture

Martina Heßler (Darmstadt)
Flawed Humans, or What Makes Technology Better than Humans: Historical Considerations on Humans as ‘Faulty Constructions’

In co-operation with the Modern German History Seminar, IHR

It is said that to be human is to be flawed, limited, and finite; however, the meaning of ‘flawed’ has changed over time. The lecture argues that in the nineteenth century a new conceptual framework for human deficiency emerged that compares humans with technology. This concept became ubiquitous in the twentieth century and still determines discourses on technology today. Unlike philosophical and anthropological theories of man as a deficient creature (Herder, Gehlen), I do not assume that human beings are biologically deficient by ‘nature’; instead, I examine the cultural construction of faultiness in different contexts such as work, mobility, love, and decision-making. Or, to echo Günther Anders, I ask how humans have become a ‘faulty construction’ in a technological world.

Martina Heßler is Professor of the History of Technology at the Technical University of Darmstadt. Her research interests centre on the man–machine relationship in the twentieth century and on the history of emotions. She is currently writing a monograph on the history of ‘flawed humans’.

This lecture will take place as a hybrid event at the GHIl and/or online via Zoom. In order to register for this event, please follow this link to Eventbrite.

GHIL/Online

CHANGE OF DATE: 29 March 2022 (5.30pm)

GHIL Lecture

Gurminder K. Bhambra (Sussex)
A Decolonial Project for Europe

There is a disconnection between, on the one hand, Europe regarding colonial history as ‘the past’ and of little consequence to its contemporary self-understanding and, on the other hand, formerly colonized countries and populations living with the ongoing legacies of that colonial past as a present reality. In this lecture, I argue for a decolonial project for Europe. This is a project that would acknowledge Europe’s past as one largely constituted by its colonial activities. Further, it would seek to rethink the idea of ‘Europe’, and its contemporary relations to the rest of the world, on that basis.

Gurminder K. Bhambra is Professor of Postcolonial and Decolonial Studies at the University of Sussex. She is a Fellow of the British Academy and President of the British Sociological Association. Her publications include Colonialism and Modern Social Theory (with John Holmwood) and the award-winning Rethinking Modernity: Postcolonialism and the Sociological Imagination.

This lecture will take place as a hybrid event at the GHIL and/or online via Zoom. In order to register for this event, please follow this link to Eventbrite.

GHIL/Online

5 May 2022 (5.30pm)

GHIL Joint Lecture

Torsten Hiltmann (Berlin)
Orality – Literacy – Digitality: Medieval Perspectives on the Digital Age

This event was rescheduled from 13 January.

In collaboration with the IHR's "European History 1150-1550" seminar

This talk argues that, rather than the invention of the printing-press, the processes of digitalisation in the present resemble the rise of the written word in the Middle Ages, which reshaped all aspects of society, from institutions and law to education and trade. Our knowledge of this medieval transition allows us to better understand our own, modern-day engagement with digital media. Intermediary steps such as recording and emulating the spoken word in the medium of text show how new media remained initially tied to customary ways, but would soon enable entirely new practices of use that alter culture and society irrevocably.

All welcome - this seminar is free to attend but booking in advance is required. 

Book here

Online

24 May 2022 (5.30pm)

GHIL Lecture

Martina Steber (Munich)
‘A very English superstar’ : John Rutter, Popular Classical Music, and Transnational Conservatism since the 1970s

It has gone largely unnoticed by musicologists and historians that the British composer, conductor, and music entrepreneur John Rutter has become a leading figure in popular music since the 1980s. Successful on the global music market, popular in the English-speaking world, and regularly topping the classical music charts with his Christmas carol compositions, Rutter embodies the opposite of commercial pop culture. He is the antitype of a pop star: he succeeds with sacred music, he addresses the middle class, and he personifies family values, community spirit, and the preservation of tradition. Using the example of Rutter, the lecture will demonstrate the importance of conservative pop cultures for the emergence and development of transnational conservatism in Europe and North America since the 1970s.

Martina Steber has been Deputy Head of the Munich Research Department of the Leibniz Institute for Contemporary History (IfZ) since 2017. She was previously a Research Fellow at the German Historical Institute London from 2007 to 2012, a Fellow of the Historisches Kolleg in Munich in 2012/13, a Research Fellow at the IfZ, and Deputy Professor at the Universities of Augsburg, Konstanz, and Wuppertal in 2016–18 and 2020. Her research focuses on modern German and British history, especially the history of the Nazi regime, conservatism, and regional history.

This lecture will take place as a hybrid event at the GHIL and online via Zoom. In order to register for this event, please follow this link to Eventbrite.

GHIL/Online

1 June 2022 (5.30pm)

GHIL Joint Lecture

Ute Frevert (Berlin)
The Power of Emotions in German History

In co-operation with the Modern German History Seminar, IHR

Everyone knows from experience that emotions are powerful: they motivate us to act in a certain way, they colour our experiences and shape our memories. But what impact do they have on history? What do we learn about history from looking through the lens of emotions? And what do we learn about emotions by applying a historical perspective? The talk explores those questions with regard to Germany in the twentieth century, a period of dramatic changes that deeply affected people’s lives, mindsets, and feelings.

Ute Frevert is Director of the Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin, where she founded the Center for the History of Emotions in 2008. She has previously been a professor of modern history at the universities of Berlin, Konstanz, Bielefeld, and Yale. She is a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy. Her book Powerful Emotions in German History will be published by CUP later this year.

This lecture will take place as a hybrid event at the GHIL and online via Zoom. In order to register for this event, please follow this link to Eventbrite.

GHIL/Online

21 June 2022 (5.30pm)

GHIL Lecture

Carsten Jahnke (Copenhagen)
The Hanseatic League as a National Project

Today, the Hanseatic League is anchored in the general consciousness of Germans as the ‘secret superpower’. Around 1800, however, the Göttingen professor Sartorius chose it as the subject of a major work because he could find nothing more irrelevant than this ‘half-forgotten antique’. How could a half-forgotten antique become a superpower? The lecture will trace the mnemonic strategies which were used by historians from 1830 to anchor the Hanseatic League in the minds of the Germans, first as a history of the Third Estate and the Free Cities, then as a (proto-)Protestant unifier against the hated Habsburgs, and finally as a Germanic national maritime power against England.

Carsten Jahnke (1968) is an Associate Professor of Medieval History at the Saxo Institute, University of Copenhagen. His main areas of interest are medieval economic and social history, and especially the history of the Hanseatic League. He is a member of the Board of the Hansischer Geschichtsverein and author of monographs and articles on the history of the Hanseatic League and Lübeck.

This lecture will take place as a hybrid event at the GHIL and online via Zoom. In order to register for this event, please follow this link to Eventbrite.

An RMT strike affecting trains and the tube will take place on Tuesday. Please check carefully before you travel.

GHIL/Online

12 July 2022 (5.30pm)

GHIL Lecture

Prabhu Mohapatra (New Delhi)
A Genealogy of Labour Regulation in India: The Career of the Employment Contract

When was the employment contract introduced in India? This is a perfectly reasonable question, given that 93 per cent of the 50 million strong workforce in India is officially classed as ‘informal labour’, and that the much hyped Labour Codes, which have yet to be implemented, are more a mere assemblage of the fragments and ruins of the once vaunted Formal Employment Contract than coherent pieces of ‘code’. Despite this, the story of the forging of the Formal Employment Contract in the first decades of the twentieth century, of its tortuous career and eventual dismantling over the next hundred years may give us a clue to the persistent paradoxes of India’s labouring landscape. My presentation will examine how the employment contract came into being in India, and how it was transformed and destroyed over the last century.

Prabhu Mohapatra is Professor of Modern Indian History at the University of Delhi, where he teaches economic history, labour history, and global history of servitude to Masters students. He researches and supervises research on the history of long-distance migration, the history of education, the history of informality, and labour law. He has held appointments at the Humboldt University of Berlin, the University of Göttingen, the École normale supérieure, Cachan, the University of Amsterdam, Yale University, and the University of Cambridge.

This lecture will take place as a hybrid event at the GHIL and online via Zoom. In order to register for this event, please follow this link to Eventbrite.

GHIL/Online

26 July 2022 (5.30pm)

GHIL Lecture

Janaki Nair (New Delhi)
The Classroom as Sensorium: Tactility, Attention, and Perception in the Mysore School, 1860–1930

How was the hand to be guided, the eye to be trained, the senses sharpened in preparing the child for an adult world?  In princely Mysore in southern India, the missionaries, who took the initial steps in opening up education to wider circles than those entitled to forms of knowledge, and the Government efforts that followed were faced with new and complex challenges in a society wracked by the proscriptions of caste and gender. On the one hand, the classroom presented opportunities for ordering space and time, and for remaking bodies and habits in the process of building new skills.
But the classroom and the boarding school were perforce also sites of unlearning, of breaking down habits and prejudices relating to touch/sight, as well as older skills and styles of learning, in order to enable the modern educated subject to emerge. A small but suggestive body of visual and other records allows for speculation  about the experience of schooling in late nineteenth and early twentieth-century Mysore.


Janaki Nair taught Modern History at the Centre for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, and since retirement has also taught at Azim Premji University, Bengaluru. Most of her research, teaching, and writing have been on labour, urban, and legal history, feminist history, and visual culture. Her books include Mysore Modern: Rethinking the Region under Princely Rule (2011); The Promise of the Metropolis: Bangalore’s Twentieth Century (2005); and Women and Law in Colonial India: A Social History (1996). Professor Nair is a Visiting Fellow of the India Research Programme at the GHIL in summer 2022.

This lecture will take place as a hybrid event at the GHIL and online via Zoom. In order to register for this event, please follow this link to Eventbrite.

GHIL/Online

1 November 2022 (5.30pm)

GHIL Lecture

Imaobong Umoren (LSE)
Eugenia Charles’s Conceptions of the Global

In 1980 Eugenia Charles was elected prime minister of Dominica, a small island in the eastern Caribbean, becoming the first woman to serve in that position in the anglophone Caribbean. This talk focuses on Charles’s conception of the global as a political sphere, showing the paradoxes at play in her vision of Dominica as a modern state worthy of global attention rather than a peripheral, insignificant former British colony. Charles’s global vision for Dominica brought some benefits during the Cold War, but by the 1990s, as Western powers turned their gaze away from the Caribbean, this exposed Dominica’s vulnerability.

Imaobong Umoren is Associate Professor of International History at the London School of Economics and Political Science. She is currently completing a book entitled Empire Without End: An Interconnected History of Britain and the Caribbean and a political biography of Dominica’s former prime minister, Eugenia Charles.

This lecture will take place as a hybrid event at the GHIL and online via Zoom. In order to register for this event, please follow this link to Eventbrite. When registering for your ticket, please select whether you would like to attend in person or online via Zoom.

GHIL/Online

8 November 2022 (5.30pm)

GHIL Lecture

Amanda Power (Oxford)
The Anthropocene Made Modernity

The Anthropocene is formally diagnosed through physical markers of human transformations of the earth. This materiality asks ‘when’ before ‘how’ and ‘why’. Yet ‘Anthropocene’ values were central to ancient and medieval states, and thus foundational for modern states. Across the globe, early expansionist polities envisaged ‘civilization’ as the successful exploitation by elites of landscapes, ecologies, and human and non-human life. Ceasing to dominate the earth was an illegitimate choice. Our present is best understood as a terrible acceleration of established practices through colonial theft, slavery, harnessing of fossil fuel energy, and the remorseless eradication of alternatives and those who lived them. A better understanding of this history enables us to chart new directions.

Amanda Power is Sullivan Clarendon Associate Professor in History at the University of Oxford. She is currently working on a monograph, Medieval Histories of the Anthropocene. She co-convenes the Climate Crisis Thinking in the Humanities and Social Sciences network and the IHR’s Anthropocene Histories seminar.

This lecture will take place as a hybrid event at the GHIL and online via Zoom. In order to register for this event, please follow this link to Eventbrite. When registering for your ticket, please select whether you would like to attend in person or online via Zoom.

GHIL

15 November 2022 (5.30pm)

GHIL Lecture

David Kuchenbuch (Giessen)
Mediating Globalism in the Twentieth Century:The Cases of R. Buckminster Fuller and Arno Peters

Many scholars have argued that historical concepts of the global are under-researched. In my talk, I will argue that filling this gap will mean taking a closer look at media representing global connections and differences. I will do this by presenting my research on American designer R. Buckminster Fuller and (West) German historian Arno Peters, both of whom rose to prominence as mediators of the global after the Second World War. Yet, while Fuller epitomized a highly optimistic globalism based on notions of technological progress typical of the 1960s, Peters’s works resonated with a more self-critical globalism, which gained traction in the 1970s. Analysing the history of globalism through the prism of media (and biography) points us to important shifts in twentieth-century political cultures.

David Kuchenbuch is Assistant Professor at Justus Liebig University Giessen. His main fields of interest are the history of knowledge, media history, and transnational history. He is the author of Geordnete Gemeinschaft: Architekten als Sozialingenieure— Deutschland und Schweden im 20. Jahrhundert (2010); Pioneering Health in London, 1935–2000: The Peckham Experiment (2019); and Welt-Bildner: Arno Peters, Richard Buckminster Fuller und die Medien des Globalismus, 1940–2000 (2021).

This lecture will take place as a hybrid event at the GHIL and online via Zoom. In order to register for this event, please follow this link to Eventbrite. When registering for your ticket, please select whether you would like to attend in person or online via Zoom.

GHIL

24 November 2022 (5.30pm)

GHIL Joint Lecture

CANCELLED: Ulla Kypta (Hamburg)
Weak Ties, Flourishing Trade - Merchants and their Agents in 16th century Antwerp

In collaboration with the IHR's "European History 1150-1550" seminar

All welcome - this seminar is free to attend but booking in advance is required.

Book here:

https://www.history.ac.uk/events/weak-ties-flourishing-trade-merchants-and-their-agents-16th-century-antwerp

Online

29 November 2022 (5.30pm)

GHIL Lecture

Patrick Anthony (Munich/Cambridge)
Terrestrial Enlightenment: Ruin and Revolution in an Eighteenth-Century Climate Crisis

Some scholars and scientists identify the Enlightenment as an inflection point in the Anthropocene, a geological age in which humans act as a planetary force. My talk suggests that this inflection point was characterized not only by new means and scales of environmental exploitation, but also by the emergence of climate politics. The naturalist Georg Forster provides a helpful itinerary through this time, from his study of Saxon hydraulics in the wake of the flood of 1784 to his death in Paris during the Terror of 1794. On either side of the Rhine, resource management and disaster mitigation constituted political power.

Patrick Anthony received his Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University in 2021. He is currently a DAAD PRIME Fellow at LMU Munich and the University of Cambridge and is working on a global social history of Alexander von Humboldt’s science as it developed through extractive industries in Prussia, Mexico, and Siberia.

This lecture will take place as a hybrid event at the GHIL and online via Zoom. In order to register for this event, please follow this link to Eventbrite. When registering for your ticket, please select whether you would like to attend in person or online via Zoom.

GHIL

6 December 2022 (5.30pm)

GHIL Lecture

Eva Marlene Hausteiner (Erlangen-Nuremberg)
Should Federations be Made to Last?

In political theory and political debates, an implicit expectation looms large: a ‘good’ polity is durable, ideally even permanent. Federal polities are accordingly conceptualized as orders which can regulate heterogeneity and resolve conflict—for the sake of long-term stability. The lecture will question this expectation of permanence by pointing to exceptions in global intellectual history from early Soviet proponents of federalism and the founding fathers and mothers of the Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany: when and to what normative end is the idea of permanent federation subverted? 

Eva Marlene Hausteiner holds the Chair in Political Theory and History of Political Thought at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, a Dr. phil. from the Humboldt University of Berlin, and a Habilitation from the University of Bonn. Her research focuses on the conceptual and intellectual histories of empire and federalism, and on story-telling in politics through conspiracy theories, metaphors, and images. 

This lecture will take place as a hybrid event at the GHIL and online via Zoom. In order to register for this event, please follow this link to Eventbrite. When registering for your ticket, please select whether you would like to attend in person or online via Zoom.

GHIL

2021

9 February (5.30pm)

GHIL Lecture

Peter Burschel (Wolfenbüttel)
The Dance of the Tapuya: On the Cultural Coding of Skin Colour in the Early Modern Period

Peter Burschel is Professor of Medieval and Early Modern Cultural History at the University of Göttingen and Director of the Herzog August Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel. Among his many publications is Die Erfindung der Reinheit: Eine andere Geschichte der frühen Neuzeit (2014).

This lecture will show how European perceptions of skin colour – rather than primarily of skin markings, as was the case in the Middle Ages – increasingly began to influence European perceptions of non-European ‘aliens’. Peter Burschel will argue that it was not until the sixteenth century that skin was seen as a ‘supra-individual’ distinguishing characteristic that made it possible to structure, classify, and, not least, to hierarchize intercultural encounters chromatically. This shows that the process was not merely about the perception of skin colour per se, but always also addressed the question of who was white, and who was not.

Originally scheduled for March 2020 and postponed due to Covid-19 lockdown.

To register for this event, please follow this link to Eventbrite.

Online event

23 February (5.30pm)

GHIL Lecture

Nandini Gooptu (Oxford)
New Cultures of Work, Youth, and Politics in India

India has, in recent decades, witnessed a sea change in the nature and settings of work. New workplaces and work cultures have grown in tandem with India’s consumer revolution, notably in the burgeoning interactive service sector. Here, the demands of customer service are reshaping the political subjectivity and democratic sensibility of the predominantly young workforce. Workers develop new forms of critical understanding of the self and society through the assessment of customers’ needs and conduct, as well as through emotional reflexivity, self-control, and self-awareness that are critical components of customer care. These, in turn, stimulate a personalized, individualized, transactional, and clientelistic approach to politics in preference to collective action, while also unleashing a critique of class, power, and hierarchy.

Nandini Gooptu is Associate Professor of South Asian Studies in the Oxford Department of International Development and a Fellow of St Antony’s College, Oxford. She is the author of The Politics of the Urban Poor in Early-Twentieth Century India (2001), editor of Enterprise Culture in Neoliberal India (2013), and joint-editor of India and the British Empire (2012), and The Persistence of Poverty in India (2017).

To register for this event, please follow this link to Eventbrite.

Online event

25 February (5.30pm)

GHIL Joint Lecture

Patrice G. Poutrus (Erfurt)
Contested Asylum: The History of the 2015 Refugee Crisis

Modern German History Seminar, Institute of Historical Research, University of London

After 1945, both the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic included asylum law, and thus the admission of politically persecuted persons, in their constitutions. Since then, debates about the admission of refugees/displaced persons have continued in West German and East German society, persisting into the decades after reunification. Time and again, issues such as flight, asylum, and admission have mobilized the German public and provoked deep controversies. Patrice G. Poutrus argues that these discussions are not so much about specific questions of admission policy, but more about a fundamental struggle regarding German society’s political and moral self-understanding. They raise questions such as: what consequences should follow from the history of National Socialism? Do we want to live in a pluralistic society? What identity does German society have and who belongs to it? Patrice G. Poutrus is the author of a book about this ‘contested asylum’ in which he examines its history from 1945 to the present.

Patrice G. Poutrus studied history and social sciences at Humboldt University, Berlin and wrote his Ph.D. on the social and economic history of the GDR at the Europa University Viadrina, Frankfurt (Oder). He works on the history of divided Germany after 1945, and on historical refugee and migration research. He is currently working on a research project at Erfurt University about family memories in the GDR and the post-1990 transformation of Thuringia.

To register for this event, please follow this link to Eventbrite.

Online event

10 March (5.30pm)

GHIL Joint Lecture

Svenja Goltermann (Zurich)
Perceptions of Interpersonal Violence: A History of the Present

GHIL in co-operation with the Faculty of History, University of Oxford

Our understanding of what violence actually is has changed considerably in the second half of the twentieth century. When violence against children and women first became a public and political issue in the 1960s, it was exclusively considered as physical violence. Today, however, violence is no longer regarded as a physical act alone; psychological, emotional, and linguistic violence is also problematized. Looking at three cases—gender-based violence, language as violence, and bullying—this lecture will examine the preconditions and effects of this development and argue that our ideas of vulnerability have changed fundamentally over the last fifty years.

Svenja Goltermann is Professor of Modern History at the University of Zurich. She has published widely on the history of violence, the history of psychiatric knowledge, and changing perceptions of victimhood. Her latest book, provisionally titled Victims: Perceptions of Suffering and Violence in Modern Europe, will be published by OUP.

To register for this event, please follow this link to Eventbrite.

Online event

30 March (5.30pm)

GHIL Lecture

Hannah Skoda (Oxford)
‘How I long for the good old days’: Nostalgia and Social Change in the Long Fourteenth Century

The fourteenth century is characterized by a series of profound structural changes. This lecture forms part of a larger monograph project arguing that one of the ways in which people in England, France, and Italy responded to these changes was in a nostalgic mode. It was by articulating a longing for ‘the good old days’ that contemporaries tried to come to terms with plague, extreme demographic shifts, rapid commercialization, growing social mobility, rapid political change, pervasive warfare, and so on. After exploring the wider context of nostalgia in this period, the lecture will focus on medieval critiques of social mobility and flux, expressed through a nostalgic lens.

Hannah Skoda is Fellow and Tutor in medieval history at St John’s College, Oxford. She has published on medieval violence, law, and Dante in particular, and is currently writing a monograph on nostalgia in the long fourteenth century.

To register for this event, please follow this link to Eventbrite.

Online event

4 May (6pm)

GHIL Lecture

Round Table: Corinne Fowler, Susan Neiman, Michael Rothberg, and Mark Terkessidis. Chair: Samira Ahmed
Confronting Histories of Violence and Populism: What can be learnt from “the Germans”? What have "the Germans" yet to learn?

Organizers: German Historical Institute London in collaboration with the Goethe-Institut London

For many countries, the ‘German model’ of coming to terms with the past has long been considered exemplary with regard to the Holocaust. Many saw that Vergangenheitsbewältigung could serve as a model for other difficult histories. Yet in the recent years, this model’s character has come under scrutiny, with the debate around the Humboldt Forum showing that Germany has widely ignored other dark chapters, such as its colonial past. Furthermore, it raised the question of how to place different histories of violence into relation with one another and whether, as Michael Rothberg puts it, memories of atrocity must stand in a hierarchy. The rise of populism in Germany has led to a resurgence of narratives that were supposed to have been laid to rest, and which seek to avoid difficult chapters entirely and focus on other, more ‘glorious’ moments of the past instead.

So, where does this leave us? Can German efforts to atone for Nazi atrocities still serve as a model for how other countries might come to terms with their own legacies? To what extent is the old model of ‘Vergangenheitsbewältigung’ still relevant in a post-migrant Germany? What other histories need to be written? How can we steer away from competitive models of history writing? And what tools do we have to answer populist or even extremist criticism of contemporary means of dealing with the past?

This round table brings together four leading experts from Germany, the US, and the UK to discuss these pressing questions of our time: Corinne Fowler, Susan Neiman, Michael Rothberg, and Mark Terkessidis. BBC Radio 4‘s Samira Ahmed will lead the discussion.

For more information on the speakers and to register for this event via Eventbrite, please follow this link to the Goethe Institut.

Online event with Goethe-Institut London

25 May (5.30pm)

GHIL Lecture

Amy S. Kaufman
‘Medievalism, Extremism, and “White History”’

The attack on the US Capitol in January 2021 showed right-wing extremists sporting a chaotic and cross-temporal panoply of symbols : from Spartan helmets and Confederate flags to Templar patches, Norse runes, an Indigenous headdress, and video game logos. This talk will explain how extremists weave symbols from particular historical moments, and from renditions of those moments in popular culture, into an alternate historical narrative that can most accurately be called ‘White History’ – a mythical understanding of the past that elevates whiteness, colonialism, and masculinity. Moreover, this talk will explore the way mainstream cultural forces such as textbooks, media, and political speech reinforce these narratives even though they contradict real, recorded history.

Amy S. Kaufman is a medievalist working as a full-time writer and speaker on medieval literature, popular culture, and the relevance of the Middle Ages to contemporary politics. Most recently she co-authored the book The Devil’s Historians: How Modern Extremists Abuse the Medieval Past (2020).  
 

To register for this event, please follow this Zoom registration link.

Online event

15th June (5.30m)

GHIL Lecture

Barbara Manthe (Bielefeld)
‘Writing a History of Right-Wing Terrorism in Post-WWII Germany: Chances, Challenges, and the Need for New Narratives’

Although right-wing terrorism has been a highly relevant issue to German society in recent years, there is still surprisingly little knowledge about its history. This observation applies not only to the general public and the media, but also to historians, who have only recently begun to fill this gap. This lecture examines interpretations of right-wing terrorism in Germany after the Second World War. How do they relate to the master narratives of the Federal Republic and how are they entangled with interpretations of National Socialism? What current challenges do historians face in seeking new narratives of right-wing terrorism, and to what extent are these narratives contested by existing legends and speculations?

Barbara Manthe is a Research Fellow at the University of Bielefeld and an expert on the history of radical right-wing terrorism and violence in the Federal Republic of Germany since 1945.

To register for this event, please follow this Zoom registration link.

Online event

24 June (5.30pm)

GHIL Joint Lecture

Frank Bajohr (Munich)
‘Holocaust Research: Achievements, Changes, Problems, and Challenges’

Modern German History Seminar, Institute of Historical Research, University of London

The last two and a half decades have seen a veritable boom in Holocaust research. This development coincided with a range of new research trends, perspectives, and approaches, which are markedly different from those that guided the pioneering work of scholars in the postwar years. The lecture discusses some of these new trends in detail, but also addresses problems and challenges like the ritualization of memory and nationalist functionalization of the Holocaust.

To register for this event, please follow this Zoom registration link.

Online event

29 June (5.30pm)

GHIL Lecture

Tanika Sarkar (New Delhi)
‘The Past in the Present: Historical Pedagogy of Hindu Nationalism in India’

This lecture discusses the historical pedagogy of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (‘National Volunteer Organisation’), which is the ideological inspiration behind India’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The BJP has been continuously in power for the last seven years. Together, the two movements are interrelated parts of an intricate organizational apparatus which has innumerable affiliates all over the country. A particular version of Indian history has long been a core part of their propaganda machinery, and their vast range of formal and informal educational institutions propagate identical historical lessons. After a brief overview of the cardinal tenets of this history, this talk focuses on the methods of dissemination which have captured the popular discourse to a large extent and have predisposed significant sections of the electorate towards the BJP. The conclusion will highlight how and why this version of history has proved so successful in dislodging far more credible and compelling alternatives. 

Tanika Sarkar is Emeritus Professor of History at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Her work investigates questions of religion, gender, and politics in both colonial and post-colonial South Asia, with a particular focus on women and the role of the Hindu Right. Her most recent book is Hindu Nationalism in India (2021).

To register for this event, please follow this Zoom registration link.

Online event

10 November 2021 (5.30pm)

GHIL Joint Lecture

Fabian Klose (Cologne)
The Quest for a New World Order: International Politics Between Visions of Global Governance and Catastrophic Failures in the 1990s

In co-operation with the Faculty of History, University of Oxford

After the end of the Cold War, the 1990s mark the beginning of the quest for a new world order. During this decade new visions of global governance emerged, based on a redefinition of fundamental principles such as peace, security, sovereignty, and the idea of responsibility associated with these multilateral approaches. Far from being linear and triumphalist, however, these developments were overshadowed by mass violence, ethnic cleansing, genocide, and the international community’s failure to prevent them. Investigating these visions and accompanying failures offers a way of historicizing the 1990s and analysing the decade’s lasting impact on our world today.

Fabian Klose is Professor of International History and Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Cologne. His research focuses on the history of decolonization, international humanitarian law, human rights, and humanitarianism in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. His most recent book, In the Cause of Humanity: A History of Humanitarian Intervention in the Long Nineteenth Century, will be published by Cambridge University Press in February 2022.

This lecture will take place online via Zoom. In order to register for this event, please follow this link to Eventbrite.

Online

16 November 2021 (5.30pm)

GHIL Lecture

Barbara Schlieben (Berlin)
On the Difficulty of Describing and Interpreting the Present: Atto of Vercelli’s Polypticum

After many months of living through a pandemic, we know how difficult it is to describe and interpret the present without being able to assess what the future will bring. Some idea of the future is always needed, as this talk will discuss with reference to the writings of the northern Italian bishop Atto of Vercelli in the first half of the tenth century. The lecture will begin by examining the contemporary issues that Atto responded to in his texts before looking at his assumptions regarding the history of knowledge. Finally, it will show that Atto’s understanding of the office of bishop had a substantial impact on his specific manner of describing the present.

Barbara Schlieben was awarded a Ph.D. from the Goethe University Frankfurt for her thesis on the court of Alfonso X of Castile and León. In 2009 she was appointed Junior Professor at the Humboldt University of Berlin. After an interim professorship at the University of Hamburg and a fellowship at the Historisches Kolleg in Munich, she became a Professor of Medieval History at the HU Berlin in 2017.

This lecture will take place online via Zoom. In order to register for this event, please follow this link to Eventbrite.

Online

7 December 2021 (5.30pm)

GHIL Lecture

Hannah Ahlheim (Giessen) and Elizabeth Hunter (QMUL)
Sleeping Through the Ages: Two Lectures on the History of Sleep in the Seventeenth and Twentieth Centuries

Elizabeth Hunter: Wonderful Sleepers: Medical and Supernatural Explanations for Extraordinary Sleep in Seventeenth-Century England

Seventeenth-century readers were fascinated with stories of wonderful sleepers. Wonder books contained marvellous and terrible tales of people who slept without interruption for days, months, or even years, and of those who got out of bed while still asleep to compose poetry, walk on rooftops, or commit terrible acts of violence. These were linked to descriptions of the amazing sleeping habits of the dormouse and the snake in books of natural history, and to accounts of witchcraft, possession, and ghost sightings. While wonderful sleep might appear to provide evidence of a world beyond the material, it was generally agreed that the explanation could be found in the secret workings of the body.

Elizabeth Hunter is an Honorary Research Fellow at Queen Mary, University of London. She is currently writing a monograph entitled The Secrets of Sleep, funded by the Wellcome Trust. Some of this research has been published in the journals Social History of Medicine (forthcoming) and The Seventeenth Century (2020).

Hannah Ahlheim: The Sleep of our Dreams?

We sleep away almost a third of our lifetimes. This unconscious, unproductive third often seems to be an obstacle to a lively 24/7 society. At the same time, sleep is not only vital for life and health, but offers space for dreaming. How does a modern society governed by science, rationality, and efficiency deal with the unruly phenomenon of sleep? The lecture tells a history of sleep in the twentieth century that is linked to a history of work and tired soldiers, but also to a history of culture, consumption, and the sciences.

Hannah Ahlheim is Professor of Contemporary History at the University of Giessen. After studying in Berlin, she received her doctorate from the Ruhr University Bochum and taught at the University of Göttingen. Her research interests include the history of National Socialism and antisemitism, the social and cultural history of sleep, and science and the history of time.

UPDATE: Due to sickness, Elizabeth Hunter is unable to attend, so the lecture is moving to a purely online format (via Zoom). Her talk will be read by a member of GHIL staff. Hannah Ahlheim will be present virtually via Zoom. In order to register for this event, please follow this link to Eventbrite.

Online

9 December 2021 (5.30pm) POSTPONED

GHIL Lecture

Bernhard Dietz (Mainz)
(NEW DATE: 11 January 2022) Following the Neo-Tories from Interwar Fascism to Postwar Democracy

This lecture has been postponed to 11th January. If you have already signed up to attend then you should receive an email about the change.

14 December 2021 (5.30pm)

GHIL Lecture

Stefan-Ludwig Hoffmann (Berkeley)
Charlotte Beradt and Reinhart Koselleck on Dreaming in the Age of Extremes

Recently, there has been an uptick of interest in the late Reinhart Koselleck’s theoretical writings. Whenever scholars across the humanities deal with issues of temporality, with present pasts or past futures, Koselleck’s work is invoked. Yet new histories of fascist and Nazi times oddly omit one of Koselleck’s most incisive essays, ‘Terror and Dream’. This talk will explore Koselleck’s thinking in conversation with Charlotte Beradt’s The Third Reich of Dreams: The Nightmares of a Nation, 1933–1939, especially their insistence that dreams are the most telling historical source for understanding how experiences of time fundamentally changed in the 1930s.

Stefan-Ludwig Hoffmann is Associate Professor of Late Modern European History at the University of California, Berkeley. He is working on several books at the moment, including an intellectual biography of Reinhart Koselleck (19232006).

This lecture will take place online via Zoom. In order to register for this event, please follow this link to Eventbrite.

Online

2020

21 January

Seminar

Ralf Lützelschwab (Berlin)
Where are all the Sermons? Carmelite Preaching in the Late Middle Ages

Ralf Lützelschwab is a former Assistant Professor of Medieval History at the Freie Universität Berlin and specializes in church history of the late Middle Ages, with a strong focus on the Avignon papacy and monastic history.

This lecture examines the Carmelites, the great unknown in Western monastic history. They experienced their very own migration history, moving from the hills of Mount Carmel to Europe. If they had not opted for exile, they would not have survived. In new surroundings, sermons became part of their regular pastoral routine. The paper will focus on sermons and sermon collections, both manuscript and print, held in a number of Carmelite libraries in Germany and England. How did the Carmelites fulfil their task as preachers? How did they shape the conscience of their flocks?

German Historical Institute London

9 June (podcast 8 July)

Seminar

Jane Whittle (Exeter) and Laura Schwartz (Warwick)
Women and Work Round Table

***   Please note that this event has been cancelled!   ***

This lecture was instead recorded and made available as a GHIL podcast, 8 July 2020.

16 June (podcast 15 July)

Seminar

Maud Bracke (Glasgow)
Inventing Reproductive Rights: Sex, Population and Feminism in Europe (1945–1980)

***   Please note that this event has been cancelled!   ***

This lecture was instead recorded and made available as a GHIL podcast, 15 July 2020.

23 June (podcast 1 July)

Seminar

Chiara Bonfiglioli (Cork)
Internationalist Waves and Feminist Waves in Italy, Yugoslavia, and Cuba

***   Please note that this event has been cancelled!   ***

This lecture was instead recorded and made available as a GHIL podcast, 1 July 2020.

28 July

Seminar

Imaobong Umoren (LSE)
Race Women Internationalists: Black Women, Feminism, and Freedom Struggles

***   Please note that this event has been cancelled!   ***

29 September (5.30pm)

GHIL Lecture

Samita Sen (Cambridge)
Making Coolies: Labour Brokerage and the Tea Industry in India, 1830–1930

Samita Sen is Vere Harmsworth Professor of Imperial and Naval History at the University of Cambridge. Her lecture will focus
on the recruitment of labour for the Assam tea industry. She will argue that recruitment for plantations in colonial India gave
rise to institutions and agencies which became separate businesses in themselves. They maintained close links with the
industry to which they supplied labour, but these two interests were not convergent since the recruiting agencies’ profitability
depended on their ability to leverage the buyers. Moreover, the commercial brokerage of labour, which expanded its
net across the country, drew into its profitable sway a vast network of recruiters at different levels, as well as whole sets of
social relationships and institutions. Exploring the specificities of this recruitment system helps us to understand of modes
of mobilizing labour, social forces, and institutions at play in the creation of labour markets and the processes that entangled
migration and trafficking.

Samita Sen’s recent publications include, with Nilanjana Sengupta, Domestic Days: Women, Work,
and Politics in Contemporary Kolkata
(2016); and ed. with Suhit Kumar Sen, Passage to Bondage: Labor in the Assam Tea
Plantations
(2016).

Online Event

14 October (6.30pm)

GHIL Joint Lecture

Margaret MacMillan (Toronto/Oxford)
Total War and European Society

British German Association in collaboration with the GHIL

Margaret MacMillan is a Professor of History at the University of Toronto and Emeritus Professor of International History at the University of Oxford. She is the author of The War that Ended Peace (2014); The Uses and Abuses of History (2008); and the international bestsellers Seize the Hour: When Nixon Met Mao (2006) and Peacemakers: The Paris Conference 1919 and its Attempt to End the War (2001), which won the 2002 Samuel Johnson Prize.

Watch the event video at the BGA website.

Online Event

27 October (5.30pm)

GHIL Lecture

Stefan Berger (Bochum)
Comparing De-Industrialization: Initial Thoughts on a Global Phenomenon

Stefan Berger is Professor of Social History and Director of the Institute for Social Movements at the Ruhr University Bochum, and Executive Chair of the History of the Ruhr Foundation. De-industrialization is usually associated with the industrial nations of the Global North. Whilst there have been earlier phases of de-industrialization, studies of the phenomenon usually focus on the decades from the 1960s on. De-industrialization in the Global North is associated with processes of industrialization in the Global South. However, there have also been processes of de-industrialization in pockets of the Global South. The lecture will reflect on how de-industrialization might be studied in a global perspective. It will argue that de-industrialization studies should be brought together with social movement studies, memory studies, and heritage studies in order to find a framework within which processes of structural change might usefully be compared in their transregional entanglements. Among Prof Berger's most recent publications is the edited volume Constructing Industrial Pasts: Heritage, Historical Culture and Identity in Regions Undergoing Structural Economic Transformation (2019).

Online Event

3 November (5.30pm)

GHIL Lecture

Giorgio Riello (Florence)
A ‘Material Turn’ in Global History? The World of Early Modern Things

Giorgio Riello is Professor of Early Modern Global History at the European University Institute in Florence. His lecture charts the confluence and overlap between two different fields of historical enquiry: early modern global history and material culture. At a basic level, global historians’ interest in ‘things’ is the result of the fact that material artefacts – whether commodities, luxuries, scientific instruments, ethnographic specimens, or unique art objects – have been seen as being as mobile as people, if not more so. Yet the ‘material turn’ in global history also raises a series of methodological and theoretical questions concerning agency, mobility, and what is now called global microhistory. Among his works are Cotton: The Fabric that Made the Modern World (2013); with Peter McNeil, Luxury: A Rich History (2016); and Back in Fashion: Western Fashion from the Middle Ages to the Present (2020).

Online Event

4th November (5.30pm)

GHIL Joint Lecture

Annelie Ramsbrock (Potsdam)
Metamorphoses of Violence: A History of the Prison in West Germany

GHIL in co-operation with the Faculty of History, University of Oxford

How did West Germany try to contain state violence against prisoners from the late 1960s onwards, and even to present prisons as institutions that reflected the paradigm of liberalization? To what extent did ideas and perceptions of legitimate and illegitimate violence change? A number of prison scandals led to increased sensitivity in media coverage and in politics regarding acts of violence in prisons. These were countered by new ‘social rehabilitation’ approaches, with limited success. Looking at prison reform in West Germany, the lecture will focus on violence as a problem in processes of creating social order.

Annelie Ramsbrock is a Research Associate at the Leibniz Centre for Contemporary History in Potsdam. She received her doctorate from the FU Berlin and was Visiting Professor of Modern European History at the University of Göttingen. She is the author of The Science of Beauty: Culture and Cosmetics in Modern Germany, 1750–1930 (2015) and Geschlossene Gesellschaft: Das Gefängnis als Sozialversuch – eine bundesdeutsche Geschichte (2020).

Online Event

1 December (5.30pm)

GHIL Lecture

Alice Rio (London)
Legal Role-Playing and Storytelling in Early Medieval Francia

Alice Rio is Professor of Medieval History at King’s College London. An enduring problem in early medieval history is what to make of the legal material, which is abundant relative to the total surviving evidence (legislation, acts of practice, models, old texts, new texts), and paints extremely contradictory pictures of contemporary legal practices both within and across legal genres. The lecture will try to show that this level of contradiction results from people calling on many different legal and cultural frameworks for representing their own actions, all of which were potentially valid provided that they could be sold successfully to one’s audience: what mattered was success in getting others to play along through scene-setting and role-play. Alice Rio has written two books on early medieval legal and legal-ish practices: Legal Practice and the Written Word in the Early Middle Ages: Frankish Formulae, c.500–1000 (2009); and Slavery After Rome, 500–1100 (2017).

Online Event

2019

23 January (5.30pm)

GHIL Joint Lecture

Elissa Mailänder (Paris)
Self-Confident, Autonomous, and Liberated? Politicized Gender Relations in Nazi Film, 1939–1945

GHIL in co-operation with the Faculty of History, University of Oxford.

The Nazis drew upon a wide range of media first to mobilize voters, then to consolidate power, and, ultimately, to motivate German citizens in waging war. The flourishing German film industry lured more than a million spectators into cinemas each year during the war. Blockbusters such as Wunschkonzert, Stukas, and Die grosse Liebe explicitly targeted a young audience who, in their entertainment, craved romance, adventure, and escapism from the realities of everyday life. By juxtaposing these action films and romantic comedies with contemporary events, the movies showcased a ‘fun’ and dynamic Nazi society while promoting highly politicized images of ‘modern’ gender relations.

Elissa Mailänder is an Associate Professor of Contemporary History at Sciences Po in Paris. Her research interests include the history of violence, gender, and sexuality. Mailänder’s previous work has focused on perpetrator history and the everyday in Nazi concentration and extermination camps. Her new project examines heterosexual relationships in Nazi Germany and highlights the importance of mass participation and practices of everyday conformity with mass dictatorship.

12 February

Seminar

Sabine von Heusinger (Cologne)
Fire, Siege, and the Jews: Real and Imagined Threats to Water Supply in the Late Medieval City

Focusing on water at times of war, fire, and plague, this talk will look at a premodern society struggling with life-threating dangers and trying to find remedies. Three case studies from the ‘Regnum Teutonicum’ explore war (the Siege of Neuss), precautions taken against fire (Strasbourg), and accusations of well-poisoning made against Jews in the Late Middle Ages. They demonstrate that the life-sustaining power of water was crucial for the community. Every threat to water supply – real or imagined – had serious consequences.

Sabine von Heusinger is Professor of Late Medieval History at the University of Cologne. Her current research on water as a precondition for human life allows her to investigate many aspects of social, cultural, and intellectual history in the Late Middle Ages.

26 February

Seminar

Kim Siebenhüner (Jena)
Blumer’s Journey: Swiss Cotton and the Great Divergence Debate

The history of cotton has been the subject of much recent research, but blind spots remain. International debates have barely acknowledged the role of early modern Switzerland as one of the most important European areas producing, marketing, and selling cotton cloth in the 18th century. This talk shows how Swiss producers and merchants were integrated into global cotton networks and reflects on how cultural history approaches may be reconciled with the debate, dominated by macro-economics, about the Great Divergence.

Kim Siebenhüner is Professor of Early Modern History at the Friedrich Schiller University of Jena. She has worked on early modern religious history, material culture, and cross-cultural exchange. She is the author of Die Spur der Juwelen: Materielle Kultur und transkontinentale Verbindungen zwischen Indien und Europa (2018) and co-editor of Cotton in Context: Manufacturing, Marketing and Consuming Textiles in the German-Speaking World World (1500–1900) (2019).

28 February (5.30pm)

GHIL Joint Lecture

Stefanie Michels (Hamburg)
Connected Families: West Africa and Southern Germany, 1891–1896

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

Taking the example of Tube Meetom and Rudolf Duala Manga Bell, two boys from elite families of Duala, Cameroon, living with a petty bourgeois German family, this lecture discusses child circulation practices of the Atlantic contact zone in relation to notions of ‘family’ and home-making. On the level of colonial control, the lecture highlights the ambivalent practices of state control through the male custodian and the agency of the African father by means of financial and social interaction. On the affective level, an array of relations between extended families points to bonds not governed by the logic of ‘race’ and coloniality. Although in the end the German colonial authorities forcefully limited the ambitions of the two boys by exiling one and executing the other, their life stories advanced African independence movements in the 1930s.

Stefanie Michels focuses on German colonial and African history. She teaches at the University of Hamburg and has recently co-edited Global Photographies (2018) and Koloniale Verbindungen – Transkulturelle Erinnerungstopographien: Rheinland und Grasland, Kamerun (forthcoming).

12 March

Seminar

Hugo Drochon (Nottingham) and Philipp Felsch (Berlin)
Born Posthumously: Two Lectures on Nietzsche’s Legacy

Hugo Drochon will speak first on ‘Nietzsche’s Great Politics: From Bismarck to Hitler’, discussing how Nietzsche’s productive life maps perfectly onto Bismarck’s reign, which was characterized by the ‘great politics’ of German unification and the power politics of the European balance of power. Yet ‘great politics’ was also the way in which Heidegger, Jaspers, and Baeumler of the ‘Hitler prophecy’ tried to make sense of Nietzsche’s politics in the inter-war period, and Drochon’s paper will reflect on how these two moments can help us make sense of our own politics. This will be followed by Philipp Felsch speaking on the ‘The Italian Job: Nietzsche’s Return in the Cold War’ about the return of Nietzsche after the Second World War that was due equally to the new French reception (Deleuze, Klossowski, Foucault, and others) and the critical edition of Nietzsche’s works by the Italian antifascists Giorgio Colli and Mazzino Montinari. Felsch will dedicate his talk to the latter’s political philology.

Hugo Drochon is a historian of late 19th and 20th-century political thought, currently Assistant Professor in Political Theory at the University of Nottingham. He is the author of Nietzsche’s Great Politics (2016).

Philipp Felsch is Professor of Cultural History at the Humboldt University Berlin. His recent publications include Der lange Sommer der Theorie (2015) and BRD Noir (2016).

19 March (5.30pm)

Seminar

Prashant Kidambi (Leicester)
‘Greengrocer, Tailor and Champion Wrestler’: The Transnational Career and Times of Buttan Singh, c.1900–1914

This paper examines the extraordinary career of Buttan Singh, a Sikh wrestler who became the national wrestling champion of Australia in the early 1900s. Later in that decade, he travelled to Britain and Australia. The paper considers Buttan’s transnational peregrinations within three discrete historical contexts. First, it places his story into the broader streams of Sikh migration within the British Empire. Second, it shows how Buttan’s story became entangled in the making of a frontier society in Western Australia. Finally, the paper relates Buttan’s career to that of other peripatetic sportsmen who breached the ‘colour line’ before the First World War.

Prashant Kidambi is Associate Professor of Colonial Urban History at the University of Leicester. He is the author of The Making of an Indian Metropolis: Colonial Governance and Public Culture in Bombay, 1890–1920 (2007; 2016), and is currently completing Cricket Country, a book on the making of the first Indian cricket team.

6 June (5.30pm)

GHIL Joint Lecture

Maren Möhring (Leipzig)
Travelling around the World: Mass Entertainment in the ‘Haus Vaterland’ in Berlin

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

Annual Lecture of the German History Society

In 1928, a consortium headed by the internationally renowned wine merchant Kempinksi opened a huge entertainment complex at the Potsdamer Platz in Berlin. It consisted not only of a cinema and ballroom, but also of several themed restaurants – among them a Spanish bodega, a Japanese tea room, a Wild West bar, and a Viennese wine tavern. ‘Haus Vaterland’, despite its patriotic name, promised to assemble ‘the world under one roof’ and in this sense borrowed from the World’s Fair imaginaries. Investigating how ‘the world’ was arranged and performed in one of the most prominent places of public entertainment in Weimar Germany can help us better to understand how knowledge and imaginations about ‘the world’ were produced, circulated, and experienced, and how they shaped modern mass entertainment.

Maren Möhring is Professor of Comparative Cultural and Social History at Leipzig University. She is the author of Fremdes Essen: Die Geschichte der ausländischen Gastronomie in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland (2012) and is currently working on a publication about ‘Haus Vaterland’ and the transnational history of mass entertainment.

15 October

Seminar

F. Benjamin Schenk (Basle); comment by Andy Willimott (London)
‘Hubs of Global Migration’: Organizing Transcontinental Flows of People in the Late 19th and Early 20th Centuries

Scholars have long treated the history of the transatlantic migration to the Americas and the trans-Ural movement of peasant colonists within the Russian Empire at the end of the 19th century separately. In fact, the two processes were interconnected and had a number of striking similarities. One common feature was modern reception and transit camps for immigrants and migrants, which emerged almost simultaneously at various locations along global migration routes. These ‘hubs of global migration’ became important laboratories of migration management in the modern age.

F. Benjamin Schenk is Professor of Russian and East European History at the University of Basel and currently a Visiting Fellow at the Department of International History, LSE. His most recent monograph is Russlands Fahrt in die Moderne: Mobilität und sozialer Raum im Eisenbahnzeitalter (Stuttgart, 2014; Russian translation, 2016).

Commentator Andy Willimott is Lecturer in Modern Russian History at the QMUL School of History.

29 October

Seminar

Sarah Stockwell (London)
‘Losing an empire, winning friends’? Sandhurst, Military Assistance, and British Decolonization

In the 1950s and 1960s British institutions delivered a variety of forms of technical and military assistance to emergent Commonwealth states. As a result, the ‘end’ of empire saw large numbers of Britons still working in the public services of newly independent countries and a great influx of students from former colonies to train and study in Britain, including at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, where British authorities struggled to cope with the high demand for places. This lecture explores what the history of Commonwealth and foreign cadets at post-war Sandhurst tells us about Britain’s management and experience of decolonization.

Sarah Stockwell is Professor of Imperial and Commonwealth History at King’s College London. Her research focuses on British decolonization. Her most recent book, The British End of the British Empire (2018), explores the domestic impact of decolonization principally through analysis of the history of British institutions that had acquired roles within Britain’s imperial system.

5 November

Seminar

Jochen Johrendt (Wuppertal)
Prester John and his Letter: Between Intellectual Joke and Contemporary Criticism

In his History of the Two Cities (written about 1157), Otto of Freising reports on a ‘Prester John’, allegedly a descendant of the three wise men, who ruled in India, and defeated the armies of Muslim rulers. A few years later, the priest king John supposedly addressed a letter to the Byzantine emperor describing his own kingdom as an ideal: a realm of abundance, health, wondrous people, truth, and faith. But why did contemporaries invent this letter, which some crusaders, in particular, believed to be genuine?

Jochen Johrendt is Professor of Medieval History at the University of Wuppertal. He works on the history of the papacy and on Italy, in particular, Rome. His most recent publication is Der Investiturstreit (2018) and he is currently working on a monograph on the medieval papacy.

13 November (5.30pm)

GHIL Joint Lecture

Ulrike Jureit (Hamburg)
Chronicle of an Announced Death: Affiliation, Violence, and the Appropriation of Urban Space in Provincial Germany, 1934

GHIL in co-operation with the Faculty of History, University of Oxford

On 25 March 1934 the Jewish population of the small town of Gunzenhausen in central Franconia experienced one of the first pogroms, in which two Jews lost their lives. The lecture reconstructs the spatial appropriation of this urban space and analyses the interdependence of space, violence, and collective belonging. In Gunzenhausen the spatial appropriation was extremely violent. The pogrom proved to be a revolutionary moment of commitment to a way of life that, although it had been following a racial concept of social order for some time, still had to reach agreement on binding forms of social exclusion and racial community-building.

Since 2000 the historian Ulrike Jureit has been a Research Fellow at the Hamburg Foundation for the Advancement of Research and Culture, associated with the Hamburg Institute for Social Research.

19 November

Seminar

Mark Knights (Warwick)
Corruption and the Invention of Public Office in Britain and its Empire, 1600–1850

The talk will explore several case studies that allow us to chart shifts in attitudes to office-holding, from the idea that an office was a piece of personal property or duty owed to a monarch towards office as a public, disinterested, and accountable responsibility. The examples of Samuel Pepys, Lord Chancellor Macclesfield, Charles Bembridge, and Sir Edward Colebrooke will be used to explore debates over the blurred boundary between gifts and bribes, the sale of office, breach of trust, what constituted a public official, and over how far a universal set of standards should apply across Britain’s empire.

Mark Knights is Professor of History at the University of Warwick and his principal research interest is early modern British political culture. His most recent work is The Devil in Disguise (2011, paperback 2015), which one kind Amazon reviewer describes as an ‘interesting and unusual history book that is so gripping that at times it reads like a murder mystery novel’.

Special Lectures

Special lectures regularly take place at the GHIL. They consist of the annual Gerda Henkel Professorship Lecture, our own Annual Lecture (for invited attendees only), collaborative lectures that fall outside our usual lecture series, and lectures open to the public that are given as part of specific events, such as conferences.


There are currently no lectures

Previous Special Lectures

2024

23 January 2024 (5.30pm)

Public Lecture

Clare Anderson (University of Leicester)
Convicts, Creolization and Cosmopolitanism: aftermaths of penal transportation in the British Empire

Royal Historical Society Lecture

Between the late eighteenth and mid-twentieth centuries, the British transported over a quarter of a million convicts to colonies and settlements including in Australia, the Andaman Islands, Indian Ocean, and Southeast Asia. About one percent of the approximately 167,000 convicts shipped to the Australian colonies (1787-1868) were of Asian, African or Creole heritage; convicted either in Britain or British colonies. Most of the c. 108,000 convicts sent to penal settlements in Penang, Mauritius, Singapore, Malacca, Burma, and the Andamans (1789-1945) were from British India or Ceylon.

This paper will explore some of the histories and aftermaths of these convict flows, including their relationship to experiences and legacies of enslavement and other forms of imperial labour, and to Indigenous dispossession. It will draw on research in archives and with descendants and communities in Australia, Mauritius, Penang, and the Andamans to show how over time penal transportation broke and remade families, and to think through the ways in which economic, social, and cultural factors relating to race, ethnicity, religion and (for Hindus) caste, social background, education, and status intersected in the formation of convict and convict-descended societies. It will suggest that through genealogical research in recent years these societies have become connected to sending (and origin) locations and to sites of onward migration in Britain and the settler world. In some cases, descendants of ‘colonial’ descent are together creating new histories and forms of kinship to make sense of complex and sometimes elusive pasts.

Clare Anderson is a Professor of History at the University of Leicester, where she is dean for research excellence (interim) and director of the Leicester Institute of Advanced Studies (LIAS). Clare is a scholar of the history of empires and global history and focuses on the history and legacies of colonial prisons, penal colonies, and forced migration and labour. She has given public and keynote lectures in many countries and has been a visiting fellow at UT Sydney and the University of Tasmania. Clare has held both the Caird Research Fellowship and Sackler-Caird Senior Research Fellowship at the National Maritime Museum. She is a fellow of the Royal Historical Society, Higher Education Academy, and British Academy.

This lecture will take place as a hybrid event at the GHIL and online via Zoom. In order to attend this event, please register via Eventbrite to take part in person or online. There will be a drinks reception after the lecture.

GHIL/Online

6 June 2024 (6pm)

Public Lecture

Barbara Stollberg-Rilinger (Berlin)
Ein gespenstisches Welttheater? Der alte Goethe, der junge Hegel und das Ende des Römisch-deutschen Reiches

The 2024 Wilkinson-Willoughby Lecture
English Goethe Society Lectures

Als Goethe sich an die feierliche Krönung Josephs II. in Frankfurt zurückerinnerte, gab es das Römisch-deutsche Reich nicht mehr. Rückblickend stilisierte er das Schauspiel, dessen Augenzeuge er als Kind gewesen war, als gespenstisches 'Welttheater', das 'eine gewisse Deutung verbarg, irgend ein innres Verhältnis anzeigte'. Wenige Jahre zuvor hatte der junge Hegel den Deutschen vorgeworfen, sie verwechselten die uralte Krönungszeremonie aus 'Aberglauben an die äußeren Formen' mit der Verfassung des Reiches selbst. Der Vortrag fragt danach, wie Goethe und Hegel die Reichsverfassung wahrnahmen und welche Rolle den symbolisch-rituellen Formen des Politischen dabei zukam.

This English Goethe Society lecture will take place at the German Historical Institute, 17 Bloomsbury Square, WC1A 2NJ and will be streamed via Zoom. All welcome; attendance free. Advance online booking via the website of the Institute of Languages, Cultures and Societies (School of Advanced Studies, University of London) is essential whether attending in person or online (please select appropriate ticket when registering). For those attending in person, drinks will be available from 17:15. The lecture will begin at 18:00. 

GHIL/Online

12 June 2024 (5.30pm)

Public Lecture

Sara Lorenzini (University of Trento)
Sustainable Development as a European Project: A New Civilising Mission?

Green Europe has fully entered the pantheon of founding myths of the European Union. In her keynote speech, Sara Lorenzini will explore how ecological concerns, captured in the concept of sustainable development and culminating in today's projects for a European Green Deal, have been interpreted since the 1970s as part of Europe's new civilising mission.

This lecture is the public keynote lecture of the conference "Afterlives of Empire: How Imperial Legacies Shaped European Integration", convened by Alexander Nützenadel (HU Berlin) and Heike Wieters (HU Berlin). 

This lecture will take place as a hybrid event at the GHIL and online via Zoom. In order to attend this event, please register via Eventbrite to take part in person or online.

GHIL/Online

2023

16 March 2023 (5.45pm)

Public Lecture

Anne Bohnenkamp-Renken (University of Frankfurt am Main)
Genesis. Beobachtungen zur Interdisziplinarität bei Goethe

English Goethe Society Lectures, organised by the Institute of Languages, Cultures and Societies, School of Advanced Study, University of London

This lecture will be held in person at the German Historical Institute, 17 Bloomsbury Square, London WC1A 2NJ, and will be streamed live via Zoom. You can read more about this lecture and/or register for this event here.

Attendance is free. Advance registration is essential. 

GHIL

14 June 2023 (6pm)

Public Lecture

Virtual Exhibition Panel: Jewish Archives, Artefacts and Memory in Transit

The Wiener Holocaust Library’s current exhibition, Holocaust Letters, examines Holocaust-era private correspondence as sites of knowledge production as well as for their traces of the material past, including enforced Jewish migration.

This event is organised as part of the Holocaust Letters exhibition events series organised by the Holocaust and Genocide Research Partnership in partnership with the German Historical Institute London, the German Historical Institute Washington with its Pacific Office at UC Berkeley, and the California Institute of Technology.

Speakers:

  • Dr Christine Schmidt, Deputy Director and Head of Research, Wiener Holocaust Library: Introduction and Holocaust Letters
  • Prof Simone Lässig, Director, German Historical Institute Washington: The Research Field „In Global Transit“ – An Introduction
  • Dr Anna-Carolin Augustin, Research Fellow, German Historical Institute Washington: Jewish Ritual Objects in Transit: Archives of Knowledge or Vessels of Memory?
  • Dr Indra Sangupta, Head of India Research Programme, German Historical Institute London: Notes on The City as Refuge: Jewish Calcutta and Refugees from Hitler’s Europe. An Exhibition held in Calcutta in February 2018
  • Prof Christina von Hodenberg, Director, German Historical Institute London: Closing Remarks

Online

5 October 2023 (6pm)

Public Lecture

Dorothea Weltecke (Humboldt-Universität Berlin)
On how and why religions became exclusive social formations – a historian‘s view

Cults and magical practices have existed since the StoneAge. However, cults and practices are not the same as “religion”. In the study of the ancient history of religions, the modern term "religion" has become questionable; furthermore, it did not become the dominant concept until the early modern period. What happened between the 7th and 15th centuries? How and why did specific cults and theological traditions become exclusive social formations? These questions pose a challenge for the study of medieval history.

This lecture is part of the 13th Medieval History Seminar, an event designed to bring together Ph.D. candidates and recent Ph.D. recipients in medieval history from American, Canadian, British, Irish, and German universities for three days of scholarly discussion and collaboration.

This lecture will take place as a hybrid event at the GHIL and online via Zoom. In order to attend this event, please register via Eventbrite/Zoom to take part in person or online.

GHIL

3 November 2023 (5:30pm)

Annual Lecture

Willibald Steinmetz (Bielefeld)
Comparisons that Hurt: The Politics of Outrage from the Reformation to the Holocaust

GHIL Annual Lecture 2023

In recent decades there seems to be a growing concern about offensive uses of language. Improper or unfavourable comparisons are among the more specific communicative practices that are most likely to cause strong negative feelings such as outrage, disgust, or contempt. Since the end of the Second World War, analogies to the Nazis and the Holocaust have been the paradigmatic examples of ‘comparisons that hurt’. The phenomenon as such, however, has a much longer history that merits a study of its own.

The lecture will begin with conceptual clarifications and some elements of a typology before proceeding to a rapid historical survey in four chronological steps. Exemplary cases relate to (1) the German Reformation and political-religious struggles in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century England, (2) the controversies over the French Revolution in Britain around 1800, (3) the Anglo-German imperial rivalry around 1900, and (4) the disputes over Nazi and Holocaust comparisons in the decades after 1945. These examples should help to detect regular patterns of provocative comparison (and the ensuing emotional reactions) on the one hand, and substantial transformations of topics, reservoirs of images, media constellations, and actors involved on the other. 

GHIL

28 November 2023 (6 pm)

Public Lecture

Stefanie Schüler-Springorum
German Zeitgeschichte from the Margins: The Post-War Experience of Nazi Victims

The Annual Gerda Henkel Foundation Visiting Professorship Lecture

Germany’s “coming to terms with the past” has been described and debated in historical writing and novels, in panel discussions and movies. With amazing uniformity, it has centred on the memories, fears, and wishes of those who had—voluntarily or not—belonged to the former German Volksgemeinschaft (People’s Community), while neglecting those groups who had been its victims. In my talk, I explore the post-war experiences and perspectives of these groups and ask what their stories might mean for the overall narrative of democratization and liberalization in the history of the Federal Republic.

This public event is free and open to all but registration is required. In order to attend this lecture either in person or via Zoom, please follow this link to the LSE sign-up page.

The Visiting Professorship is a joint project of the German Historical Institute London (GHIL) and the International History Department of The London School of Economics and Political Science and is funded by the Gerda Henkel Foundation.

MAR.2.08, Marshall Building, LSE

2022

16 June 2022 (6.30pm)

Public Lecture

Images of the Grotesque and Arabesque: The Discovery of Kafka's Drawings
Panel discussion

The Leo Baeck Institute London and the German Historical Institute London

Speakers: Prof Andreas Kilcher (ETH Zurich, CH) and Prof Nicholas Sawicki (Lehigh University, USA)

Chair: Dr Daniel Wildmann (Leo Baeck Institute London, UK)

Over 100 completely unknown drawings by Franz Kafka of fascinating figures, shifting from the realistic to the fantastic, the grotesque, the uncanny and the carnivalesque have been made accessible in Prof Andreas Kilcher’s highly acclaimed book Franz Kafka: The Drawings (Yale University Press, 2022). The drawings illuminate a previously unknown side of the quintessential modernist author. Three fascinating stories can be told about Kafka’s drawings: the story of their transmission, the story of Kafka as a draftsman, and the story of his drawing in relation to his writing.

This lecture will take place as a hybrid event at the GHIL and online via Zoom. Admission is free but places are limited and must be reserved in advance by contacting info@leobaeck.co.uk or booking via Eventbrite. Please also let us know how you wish to attend.
Zoom details: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/88690122832?pwd=bUl3N2RWTlViaGRpWnJveGdYSTJWdz09

GHIL/Online

8 September 2022 (5pm)

Public Lecture

Anne Gerritsen (Warwick)
Serges, Shagreen and Sea Cucumber: Chinese Merchants and Global Goods in Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-century Canton

This lecture is the keynote lecture of the conference "Things on the move: Materiality of Objects in Global and Imperial Trajectories, 1700–1900", organized by the German Historical Institute London in collaboration with the Prize Papers Project.

Chair: Dagmar Freist

This event will take place online via Zoom. In order to attend, please register here.

Online

4 November 2022 (5.30pm)

Annual Lecture

Miri Rubin (London)
‘I am black’: Medieval Commentators and the Meanings of Blackness

Miri Rubin is Professor of Medieval and Early Modern History at Queen Mary University of LondonFellow of the Medieval Academy of America, of the Royal Historical Society, and of the Academia Europea. Since January 2021, she has served as President of the Jewish Historical Society of England. Miri’s research explores social relations within the religious cultures of Europe with a variety of analytical approaches, and with attention to diversity in medieval communities.

This is a hybrid event: invited guests may take part in person at the GHIL but all others should join the talk online via Zoom. In order to register for this event, please follow this link to Eventbrite.

GHIL/Online

1 December 2022 (6pm)

Public Lecture

Constantin Goschler
Cultures of Compromise in Germany and Britain 1945–2000

The Visiting Professorship is a joint project of the German Historical Institute London (GHIL) and the International History Department of The London School of Economics and Political Science and is funded by the Gerda Henkel Foundation.

The current discussion on the crisis of liberal democracy repeatedly bemoans the loss of the ability to compromise as a result of increasing social polarization. Compromise as a fundamental technique —albeit not the only one—for dealing with societal and political conflicts is a voluntary agreement between at least two individual or collective parties or their representatives. It has often been claimed that readiness for compromise as an option for resolving such conflicts is tied to historically changeable preconditions, that is, specific cultures of compromise. Sociologist Norbert Elias regarded Britain and Germany as prime examples of contrasting cultures of compromise. However, political scientist Martin Greiffenhagen claims that the relationship between the cultures of compromise of the two countries has been reversed since 1945: allegedly, it is no longer Britain that now possesses a pronounced culture of compromise, but the Federal Republic of Germany. This lecture will discuss these claims on the basis of a comparison of both countries. To what extent can we speak of different cultures of compromise in Britain and Germany; how did they develop during and after the Cold War; and what does this mean for the history of liberal post-war democracy?

This public event is free and open to all but registration is required. For those who are unable to join us on this date, there will be a recording of the lecture.

In order to register to attend this event in person, please follow this link to Eventbrite. To take part online via Zoom you can register here

Wolfson Theatre, LSE

2021

5 November 2021 (5.30pm)

Annual Lecture

Annual Lecture: Monica Juneja (Heidelberg)
Modernism’s Relational Geographies – Global (Art) History With and Beyond the Nation

This is a hybrid event: invited guests may take part in person at the GHIL but all others should join the talk online via Zoom (join here)

Monica Juneja is Professor of Global Art History at the Heidelberg Centre for Transcultural Studies, University of Heidelberg. She has been Professor at the University of Delhi, has held visiting professorial positions at the Universities of Vienna, Hannover, Zurich and Emory University, Atlanta. She has written extensively on transculturality and visual representation, the disciplinary practices of art history in South Asia, the history of visuality in early modern South Asia, heritage and architectural histories in transcultural perspective. She is a member of the Advisory Board of the Walter-Benjamin-Kolleg at the University of Bern, the Tate-Hyundai Research Centre, London and the Deutsches Zentrum für Kulturgutverluste that supports provenance research of objects acquired in colonial contexts.

GHIL/Online

24 November 2021 (6.00pm)

Public Lecture

Alexander Nützenadel (Berlin)
Fascism and Finance. Economic Populism in Interwar Europe (The Gerda Henkel Foundation Visiting Professorship Lecture)

The Gerda Henkel Foundation Visiting Professorship Lecture 2021, hosted by the German Historical Institute and London School of Economics and Political Science, will be held online and at the GHIL on Wednesday, 24 November 2021 at 6.00pm (UK time).

This is a hybrid event: invited guests may take part in person at the GHIL but all others should join the talk online via Zoom (join here)

After 1918, populist movements regularly appealed to economic conflicts between nations and to a loss of financial sovereignty. By comparing Italy, Germany, France and Britain, this lecture will explore the emergence of economic populism and its transnational dynamics in interwar Europe. Authoritarian models of financial regulation, often based on a combination of charismatic leadership and technocratic government, gained tremendously ground. They transcended fascist rule and had a lasting impact on economic policy after 1945.

The Visiting Professorship is a joint project of the GHIL and the International History Department of The London School of Economics and Political Science and is funded by the Gerda Henkel Foundation.

Download flyer (PDF)

GHIL/Online

2020

20 February (5.30pm)

Public Lecture

Stefanie Schüler-Springorum (Berlin)
Sex and Violence: Race Defilement in Nazi Germany

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

Stefanie Schüler-Springorum studied modern history, ethnology, and political science at the Universities of Göttingen and Barcelona, and received her Ph.D. from the Ruhr-University Bochum in 1993. She was Director of the Institute for German Jewish History and Professor at Hamburg University from 2001 to 2011; Head of the German branch of the Leo Baeck Institute from 2009; and since 2011 she has been Director of the Center for Research on Antisemitism in Berlin.

This talk will look at the entanglement of antisemitism, gender, sexuality, and emotion in Nazi Germany. It will focus on Nazi Germany’s violent practices and dynamics, which encompassed other forms of resentment and hostility, but treated men and women conspicuously differently in each case, as can be shown in the race defilement propaganda and persecution of the 1930s and 1940s. The paper will argue that the peculiar ambivalence of these cases was inherent in the attraction of Nazi propaganda and deterrence at the same time.

Download flyer (PDF)

11 March (5.30pm)

Public Lecture

Cornelius Torp (Bremen)
Speculation and Gambling in Germany and Britain around 1900

GHIL in co-operation with the Faculty of History, University of OxfordThe worldwide economic crisis since 2007 is not the first time that financial speculation has been accused of resembling a casino game. The dividing line between speculation and gambling has always been fragile and contested. The debate about the legitimation of certain types of speculation and their resemblance to games of chance enjoyed a heyday around 1900, in both Germany and Britain. Around this time, the anti-gambling movement reached its apogee in both countries and resulted in the legal prohibition of various forms of gambling. At the same time, new financial instruments opened up space for speculative transactions on a hitherto unseen scale. From a comparative perspective, the lecture tries to bring these two strands together and traces how politicians, journalists, economists, and speculators strove to draw a line between honourable economic activity and illicit wagering.

Cornelius Torp is Professor of Modern History at the University of Bremen. He recently served as the DAAD Hannah Arendt Visiting Chair of German and European Studies at the University of Toronto and was a Research Fellow at the Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies (FRIAS) and a Marie Curie Fellow at the European University Institute in Florence. He has published widely on modern German and European history, the history of globalization, the history of the welfare state, and the history of gambling.

12 March (5.30pm)

Public Lecture

Jenny Pleinen (German Historical Institute London)
The Landed Gentry in British Politics after the Second World War: From Taxed Decadence to Subsidized Cultural Heritage

GHIL in co-operation with the Seminar 'Britain at Home and Abroad', Institute of Historical Research, University of London

Jenny Pleinen is a Research Fellow in Modern History at the GHIL. She received a Ph.D. in history for her study of western European migration regimes after the Second World War. Her current research concerns the political economy of government redistribution in Britain since the middle of the 19th century.

Her lecture will focus on the period after the Second World War, when the landed gentry’s image in British politics underwent a fundamental reconfiguration, with demands for higher taxation losing momentum and a bipartisan consensus for public subsidies emerging. The lecture explores how this change came about and what role the invention of the ‘stately home’ as a key feature of British cultural heritage played in it.

11 June (5.30pm)

Public Lecture

Frank Bajohr (Munich)
Research on the Holocaust since the 1990s: Achievements, Changes, Problems, and Challenges

***   Please note that this event has been cancelled!   ***

6 November (6.00pm)

Annual Lecture

Peter Mandler (Cambridge)
The Crisis of the Meritocracy: How Popular Demand (not Politicians) Made Britain into a Mass Education Society

Online Event

2019

9 May (5.15pm for 5.45pm)

Public Lecture

Martin Mulsow (Erfurt/Gotha)
Die Illuminaten, Schiller und die Anfänge des Kantianismus

English Goethe Society lecture

In the years after 1784, the centre of the Order of Illuminati, which had been founded by Adam Weishaupt in Bavaria, moved to central Germany, where it became active in Gotha, Weimar, and somewhat later in Jena – no longer working against reigning princes, but, at least in Gotha, together with them. The lecture will focus on the small Illuminati group in Jena, which met from 1785 to 1788. It consisted mainly of law students, whose meetings we can reconstruct on the basis of unpublished protocols and lecture scripts. The remarkable thing about this group is that it was closely bound up with the early reception of the work of Immanuel Kant and paved the way for its broad impact on the thought of Friedrich Schiller and German Idealism.

21 May (5.30pm)

Public Lecture

Thomas Mergel (Berlin)
Modern Revolutions: The History of a Mimesis

The idea of the modern revolution rests on the idea that all individual revolutions are part of one great and all-embracing movement and this is why, in the 19th century, ‘the’ revolution became singular. Marx’s philosophy of history is pivotal in this respect. The lecture conceptualizes the idea of a ‘script’ of the revolution, and discusses how the history of the modern revolution can be grasped as the history of a tradition and, in practical terms, as the history of a constant mimesis. It also pursues the problem of how, in the course of the 20th century, this script began to fade, as revolutions resembled the Marxian concept less and less, so that today we again speak of a plurality of revolutions.

Thomas Mergel is Professor of 20th-Century European History at the Humboldt University of Berlin. He works on the cultural history of politics since the 18th century, focusing in particular on the history of political communication. His publications include Parlamentarische Kommunikation in der Weimarer Republik: Politische Kommunikation, symbolische Politik und Öffentlichkeit im Reichstag (3rd ed. 2012)

10 October (6pm)

Public Lecture

Simon MacLean (St Andrews)
The Carolingian Origins of the Medieval Castle

The castle is perhaps the most recognisable feature of the western European landscape in the Middle Ages, dominating medieval social and political order from the 11th century onwards. The origins of the castle are generally assigned to the 9h and 10th centuries, beginning with defensive fortifications established against the Vikings. In this paper, I argue that there are problems with this origin story by re-evaluating some of the key sources and assumptions on which it rests. This argument has broader implications for how we think about the significance of fortifications in the last years of the Carolingian Empire and the evolution of the castle between the 9th and 12th centuries.

8 November

Annual Lecture

Professor Ulrike Freitag (FU Berlin)
Cosmopolitanism in a Global Perspective

10 December (6.30pm)

Public Lecture

Ulrich Herbert (University of Freiburg)
The Short and the Long 20th Century: German and European Perspectives

Gerda Henkel Visiting Professorship Lecture

Venue: German Historical Institute London

The Gerda Henkel Visiting Professorship is a joint project of the GHIL and the International History Department of the LSE and is funded by the Gerda Henkel Foundation.

 
 

Thyssen Lectures

Science, Knowledge, and the Legacy of Empire

Organized by the German Historical Institute London in collaboration with the Fritz Thyssen Foundation.

The GHIL is proud to announce a new collaborative lecture series with the Fritz Thyssen Foundation on Science, Knowledge, and the Legacy of Empire. The series consists of two lectures a year, in May and October, which will be delivered by distinguished international scholars. Initially given at Bloomsbury Square, each lecture will be repeated at a British university outside Greater London. The series is planned to run for four years, starting in October 2022.

The imperial and colonial contexts in which modern science and scholarship came of age haunt us to this day. Be it the origin of museum collections, the Eurocentrism of history textbooks and academic curricula, or the lack of minority ethnic university staff—the shadows of an imperial past loom large. This lecture series will engage with the field of ‘science and empire’ and the analytical category of ‘colonial knowledge’. Postcolonial studies has long identified ‘colonial knowledge’ as a hegemonic tool of empire-building. Drawing on this conceptual frame, but also questioning it, we at the GHIL see the production and circulation of knowledge in colonial settings as an unsettled and fractious process that challenged and destabilized colonial state power as often as it supported it. We are interested in examining the relationship between localized sites of knowledge production and wider, inter-imperial, and potentially global networks of circulation. We ask how such forms of circulation affected the nature of knowledge thus produced, and the power relationships that have long informed our understanding of colonial knowledge and structures of domination and subordination. Most importantly, we are keen to explore the afterlife of colonial knowledge and imperial science in recent, twenty-first century history in Britain, Germany, and beyond. How do imperial legacies shape present-day academia and knowledge production? How are the colonial past, and obligations arising from it, debated today? How do these figure in memory cultures, and what role do they play in political relations within Europe, and in Europe’s relations with the non-European world?

Thyssen Lectures:

  1. Sumathi Ramaswamy (Duke University), October 2022: “Imagining India in the Empire of Science”
    published as Worlding India = Das Weltmachen Indiens
  2. Sebastian Conrad (Berlin), May 2023: “Colonial Times, Global Times: History and Imperial World-Making”
    published as Colonial Times, Global Times: History and Imperial World-Making = Koloniale Zeiten, globale Zeiten: Geschichtsschreibung und imperiale Weltgestaltung
  3. Frederick Cooper (New York University), October 2023: “Understanding Power Relations in a Colonial Context: Top-Down, Bottom-Up, In-Between”
  4. Dhruv Raina (New Delhi), May 2024: “After Colonial Forms of Knowledge and Post-Colonial Technoscience: Revisiting the Historiography of Techniques and Technology”
  5. Gudrun Kraemer (FU Berlin), October 2024: “Local Modernity: Agency, Entanglement, and the Making of the Modern Middle East”

See published lectures

Press Release (22 October 2022) (PDF file)


21 October 2024

Thyssen Lecture

Gudrun Kraemer (Freie Universität Berlin)
Local Modernity: Agency, Entanglement, and the Making of the Modern Middle East

Current critical scholarship tends to cast the colonial West as the prime actor in shaping the non-Western world, ‘producing’ types of knowledge specific to itself and alien to others, ‘inventing’ not just tradition(s) but entire religions, and imposing boundaries premised on colonial knowledge and interest. The insight gained from this scholarship is deeply important. But it also carries the risk of overrating the power of imperial world-making. In large parts of the non-Western world, the formation of modern subjectivity and statehood drew on concepts, practices, and institutions that predated the colonial era and informed what was understood as articulations of local, or rather alternative, modernity. A look at the Middle East reveals that these processes of creation and contestation were driven by a complex interplay of political, socio-cultural, and religious factors which did not revolve exclusively around the colonial Other. The project of Islamic modernity, based on the education of the modern Muslim subject and the establishment of an Islamic state and society, as propagated by Hasan al-Banna and the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood in the 1930s and 1940s, exemplifies these processes. The project was specifically Islamic in form and outcome, yet the combination of ideas, mechanisms, and institutions understood as either part of the ‘authentic’ tradition or European in origin is characteristic of attempts to create an alternative, non-colonial modernity in general. For this reason, these endeavours invite comparison well beyond the Middle East and Islam at large.

Gudrun Krämer is Professor Emerita of Islamic Studies at Freie Universität Berlin, where she taught from 1996 to 2019 and directed the Berlin Graduate School Muslim Cultures and Societies from 2007 to 2018. She subsequently joined the Collaborative Research Group/ Kolleg-Forschungsgruppe multiple secularities – multiple modernities at Leipzig University as a senior fellow and the Berlin-based Excellence Cluster Contestations of the Liberal Script as Senior Professor. Having originally studied history, political science, English language and literature, and Islamic studies at the universities of Heidelberg, Bonn, and Sussex, she obtained both her PhD and her Habilitation from Hamburg University. Her research focuses on the history of the Near East and North Africa since 1800, Islam, modernity, and secularity, Islamism, and non-Muslims under Islamic rule. A former visiting scholar in Beijing, Beirut, Bologna, Cairo, Delhi, Erfurt, Jakarta, Paris, and most recently Salzburg, she is also a member of the Berlin Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and associated member of the Tunisian Academy of the Arts and Humanities, a member of the German National Research Council and executive editor of the Encyclopaedia of Islam Three. In 2006, she was awarded an honorary doctorate from Tashkent Islamic University, Uzbekistan, and in 2010, she received the Gerda Henkel Prize for her achievements in the historical humanities.

This lecture will be repeated at the University of Nottingham on 22 October.

GHIL

Previous Thyssen Lectures

13 May 2024

Thyssen Lecture

Dhruv Raina (JNU Delhi)
After Colonial Forms of Knowledge and Post-Colonial Technoscience: Revisiting the Historiography of Techniques and Technology

Several discourses about the non-European/non-Western world emerged out of the encounter between Europe and Asia in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and went on to play a formative role in the crystallization of the social science disciplines. As far as South Asia is concerned, Ângela Barreto Xavier and Ines Županov remind us that some of these discourses go back to the sixteenth century. This talk does not foray into that territory. Late twentieth-century scholarship has indicated that there is no purely European discourse on India and its knowledge forms. What we have instead are ever so many national discourses that differ among themselves in focus and framing. Nevertheless, despite important differences, there is a family resemblance in the description, naming, and troping of colonial forms of knowledge—characterized by metonyms and tropes such as decline, deficit, a lagging behind, and so on. Furthermore, as historians of science and empire have recognized, in the framing of the distinction between science and technology there are common aspects to stories of the history of techniques and technology in the Global North and South. In other words, the framing of the history of technology is anchored in certain hierarchies and is punctuated with ideological prejudices that are employed in descriptions of techniques and technology as much in Europe as elsewhere. Thus there are noticeable distinctions between the descriptions of the history of techniques and the history of sciences in South Asia, and probably elsewhere. For example, the agronomist J. A. Voelcker, consulting chemist to the Royal Agricultural Society of England, had a very different assessment of agricultural practices and techniques on the subcontinent. He pointed out in the late nineteenth century that agricultural practices and knowledge in certain terrains and regions of India were far more developed than those back in England and that there was much to learn from them. This fissure in the two accounts—one on the history of sciences and the other on the history of technology—opens up other ways of historicizing the evolution of techniques and technology in colonial South Asia, despite the capaciousness of the trope that machines became the measure of man in the nineteenth century. Arguing against the grain of technological obsolescence, an idea so firmly anchored in modernist theories of technological progress, the lecture seeks to explore the conceptual stages towards a more comprehensive history of techniques and technology. In so doing it draws upon some of the current debates on the global history of technology in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. 

Dhruv Raina is a leading philosopher and historian of science and technology in India. He has recently retired as Professor at JNU, New Delhi. His research has focused upon the politics and cultures of scientific knowledge in South Asia in historical and contemporary contexts, as well as the history and historiography of mathematics. Important publications include Needham’s Indian Network (2015); co-edited with Feza Gunergun, Science between Europe and Asia (2010). His most recent publication is co-edited with Hans Harder, Disciplines and Movements. Conversations between India and the German-speaking World (2022).

This lecture will be repeated at the University of Warwick on 14 May 2024.

In order to register for this event, please follow this link to Eventbrite.

Lecture Flyer (PDF)

GHIL

23 October 2023 (5pm)

Thyssen Lecture

Frederick Cooper (New York University)
Understanding Power Relations in a Colonial Context: Top-Down, Bottom-Up, In-Between

Some years ago, historians reacted to the elite bias of much historical writing by advocating a ‘bottom-up’ approach focusing on peasants, workers, the urban and rural poor, racial minorities, women, and others of subordinate status in their social contexts. To do so is not only to bring out the violence, exploitation, and suffering to which people at the bottom of a social order were subjected, but to look beyond the categories of knowledge through which dominant elements in society operate and to explore alternative conceptual schemes. The resulting scholarship has enriched different fields of history, not least my own field of African history and colonial and postcolonial studies more generally. Of course, some people are on the bottom because others are at the top, so bottom-up and top-down histories need each other. In this talk I will approach the study of power from a different angle, inspired by categories developed by the Senegalese politician, poet, and political thinker Léopold Sédar Senghor. Starting in 1948, Senghor began in his writing and speeches to distinguish two forms of political solidarity: horizontal solidarity, defined by people sharing a common culture or position in the social order; and vertical solidarity, the relationship between top and bottom. As an African political leader challenging French colonial rule, Senghor used the concept of horizontal solidarity to call on Africans across the continent to act in unison to turn Africa’s vertical relationship with France into claims for resources. Horizontal solidarity by itself meant unity in poverty, vertical solidarity by itself the continuation of colonialism, but the two together could transform an exploitative but intimate relationship into a dynamic one. The vertical relationship would offer postcolonial France a continued existence as a great world power and postcolonial Africans the resources for social and economic development. One can contrast Senghor’s conjugation of vertical and horizontal solidarities with Frantz Fanon’s evocation of the biblical phrase, ‘the last shall be first’, an insistence that the only alternative to colonial domination was its complete reversal. My talk uses the concepts of vertical and horizontal solidarities to explore ways in which one can conceptualize power relations in colonial and postcolonial contexts. Since decolonization, vertical solidarity has manifested itself on a global scale in the concept of ‘development’. States at the bottom of the global hierarchy have tried to develop solidarity among themselves to demand changes in the world order, as in the Afro-Asian movement of the 1950s or proposals for a New International Economic Order in the 1970s. A coalition of poorer states at the 2022 Climate Change Conference (COP 27) called for reparations from rich states for damage to their environment caused in part by imperial dominance and the exploitative extraction of resources. The talk will ask how we can think about power relations that are unequal, but still relations, pulled and pushed in different directions. It will thus challenge some of the most common frameworks used by historians and social scientists to understand colonial power relations and their postcolonial afterlives.

Frederick Cooper is Professor Emeritus of History at New York University. His research has focused on twentieth-century Africa, empires, colonization and decolonization, and citizenship. Among his books are Colonialism in Question: Theory, Knowledge, History (2005); Empires in World History: Power and the Politics of Difference (with Jane Burbank, 2010); Citizenship between Empire and Nation: Remaking France and French Africa, 19451960 (2014); Africa in the World: Capitalism, Empire, Nation-State (2014); Citizenship, Inequality, and Difference: Historical Perspectives (2018); and Africa since 1940: The Past of the Present (2nd edn., 2019).

Please click here to register for this lecture via Eventbrite.

This lecture will be repeated at the University of Glasgow on 24 October 2023.

GHIL

15 May 2023 (5.30pm)

Thyssen Lecture

Sebastian Conrad (Berlin)
Colonial Times, Global Times: History and Imperial World-Making

Colonial hierarchies were constituted not by military and economic power alone, but also by imperial world-views. Chief among their ingredients was a particular temporality. The expansion of the European (and, soon, American and Japanese) empires, and the grafting of imperial structures onto colonized communities, confronted large groups of people with new temporal norms. This ‘temporal invasion’ found expression in the proliferation of clocks as levers of punctuality and temporal discipline; the alignment of calendars and the concomitant synchronization of the globe; and the dissemination of history as the privileged way of linking past, present, and future. Consequently, as I will argue, historians emerged as imperial agents in their own right. They helped introduce ‘historical time’ and a cosmology that redefined narratives about the past and trajectories into the future in the colonizing/colonial world. How did historians achieve this revolutionary form of world-making? Was this only a colonial imposition, or must it be seen as a response to global conjunctures? What are the legacies of this refashioning of temporality in an age of imperial globality, and how does it resonate today? 

Sebastian Conrad is Professor of Modern History at the Free University of Berlin. His work has focused on issues of coloniality/postcoloniality, global history, intellectual history, the history of nationalism, and the theory of history. At the Free University he directs the MA programme ‘Global History’ and the graduate school in ‘Global Intellectual History’. Among his publications are What is Global History? (Princeton University Press, 2016); German Colonialism: A Short History (Cambridge University Press, 2012); An Emerging Modern World, 1750–1870 (Harvard University Press, 2018, edited with Jürgen Osterhammel); and ‘Enlightenment in Global History’, American Historical Review, 117/4 (2012), 999–1027.

This lecture will take place at the GHIL. In order to attend this event, please register via Eventbrite.

This lecture will be repeated at the University of Manchester on 16 May 2023

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GHIL

11 October 2022 (5.30pm)

Thyssen Lecture

Sumathi Ramaswamy (Duke University)
Imagining India in the Empire of Science

‘Imperialism . . . is an act of geographical violence through which virtually every space in the world is explored, charted, and finally brought under control. For the native, the history of his or her colonial servitude is inaugurated by the loss to an outsider of the local place’. Taking its inspiration from this provocation by the late Edward Said (1990), my paper focuses on a range of modern disciplinary formations which I gloss here as earth sciences, among which I include geology, palaeontology, natural history, and most especially, geography and cartography. I consider how these sciences ‘worlded’ one specific location on the earth’s surface, ‘India’, as a knowable, calculable, intelligible, and masterable place over the course of two centuries of British colonial rule (Spivak, 1985). I then go on to discuss three ‘scenes of world-imagining’ that surfaced among inhabitants of the subcontinent in response to this worlding of their (home)land (Wenzel, 2014). I explore how these responses cope with the demands and (dis)enchantments of empire’s worlding projects through operations that I characterize as ‘geo-reverencing’, ‘geographies of loss’, and ‘topographies of plenitude’. As I do so, I draw inspiration from political philosopher Jane Bennett’s The Enchantment of Modern Life (2001) in which she rightly asks us to ‘to come to terms as closely as possible with enchanting events and affects residing within or alongside scientific calculation, instrumental reason, secularism, or disciplinary power.’ My goal is to show that these contending world imaginings are not simply ‘enchanted’ reclamations of a (home)land violently worlded by the disciplinary practices of the dominant colonial project; rather, they demonstrate a ‘conflicted intimacy’ between science, art, and imagination—between all manner of strategic archaisms and atavisms on the one hand, and the scientific and novel on the other (Terdiman, 1985). This state of conflicted intimacy is what I gloss as ‘off-modern’, a concept I adapt from Svetlana Boym (2001) to argue that for world-making projects in colonial and postcolonial India, the empire’s gift of science is indispensable but inadequate (Chakrabarty, 2000).

Sumathi Ramaswamy is James B. Duke Professor of History at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, USA. She has published extensively on language politics, gender studies, spatial studies and the history of cartography, visual studies and the modern history of art, and more recently, digital humanities and the history of philanthropy in modern India. Her published writings in global history include Terrestrial Lessons: The Conquest of the World as Globe, and Empires of Vision (co-edited). She is a co-founder of Tasveerghar: A Digital Network of South Asian Popular Visual Culture. Her most recent works are Gandhi in the Gallery: The Art of Disobedience (New Delhi: Roli Books), a digital project on children’s art titled B is for Bapu: Gandhi in the Art of the Child in Modern India, and a co-edited volume (with Monica Juneja) titled Motherland: Pushpamala N.’s Woman and Nation (New Delhi: Roli Books, 2022). She is currently working on a new project on educational philanthropy in British India.

This lecture will be repeated at Cardiff University on 13 October at 5pm.

In order to register for this event, please follow this link to Eventbrite.

Lecture flyer (PDF file)

GHIL

Leo Baeck Institute Lecture Series 2024

Outsiders in German-Jewish History

Organized by the Leo Baeck Institute London in cooperation with the German Historical Institute London.

This season’s lecture series seeks to uncover the shared experiences of individuals and communities who found themselves on the margins of society. Transcending both time and geography, talks will offer different perspectives on the resilience and tenacity of those who have grappled with the challenges of being outsiders. How have they found identity and a sense of belonging in societies that have not understood or even accepted them?

Read the flyer here.

Lectures will be held in Room G3, Ground Floor, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU. They will also be streamed live on Zoom. Places at Senate House are strictly limited and must be reserved by contacting the Leo Baeck Institute London at info@leobaeck.co.uk. Zoom links will be advertised closer to the dates of individual events. Please check the Leo Baeck Institute website.


11 July 2024 (6 pm)

Leo Baeck Institute Lecture

Dan Stone (Holocaust Research Institute, Royal Holloway)
LBI Summer Lecture: Psychologists in Auschwitz: Accounting for Survival

The writings of Dutch Auschwitz survivors Eddy de Wind, Elie Cohen and Louis Micheels merit analysis not only because they anticipated what later became known as PTSD and much of the underpinnings of trauma theory. They also advocated a theory of survival that offers a compelling contrast to well-known “self-help” theories put forward by Bruno Bettelheim and, especially, Viktor Frankl. This lecture traces the ways in which this theory of survival challenged these simplistic narratives, explains how their work informed the changing field of psychiatry after the war, and considers its relevance for the historiography of the Holocaust today. 

Dan Stone is Professor of Modern History and Director of the Holocaust Research Institute at Royal Holloway, University of London, where he has taught since 1999. He is the author of numerous articles and books, including, most recently, The Holocaust: An Unfinished History (Penguin, 2023) and Fate Unknown: Tracing the Missing after World War II and the Holocaust (OUP, 2023). He is co-editor, with Mark Roseman, of volume 1 of The Cambridge History of the Holocaust (forthcoming with CUP) and, with Dieter Steinert, of Holocaust Memory in Britain in the 1960s (forthcoming with Bloomsbury). He is currently writing a book on the Holocaust in Romania. Dan chaired the academic advisory board for the Imperial War Museum's revamped Holocaust Galleries, and sits on the UK's Oversight Committee for the Arolsen Archives and the UK government's Spoliation Advisory Group.

This lecture will take place as a hybrid event at the GHIL and online via Zoom. In order to attend this event, please register via Eventbrite to take part in person or online.

GHIL/Online

10 October 2024 (6pm)

Leo Baeck Institute Lecture

Kay Schiller (Durham)
A German-Jewish Athlete during the Age of Extremes: Alex Natan (1906–71)

As a gay high-performance runner, antifascist intellectual and sportswriter, Alex Natan was a quintessential outsider in Weimar Berlin. His marginal status also remained a constant during his forced emigration to Britain, as a precarious refugee in pre-war London, as a long-time internee during World War II, as well as a schoolteacher in the Midlands and author and journalist in post-war Britain and West Germany. This lecture will demonstrate how an unusual German Jew was affected by the ‘age of extremes’, making his life story quite typical of the predicaments of the 20th century.

Kay Schiller is Professor of Modern European History at the University of Durham. He has published articles and books on German cultural and sports history, including on the history of the Olympics, on football history, on modern German-Jewish history and on the history of the Federal Republic and the GDR. He is currently researching (with Udi Carmi) the influence of German sports models on sports in Palestine and Israel, with a special focus on the activities of the Zionist functionary Emmanuel Ernst Simon (1898–1988).

Senate House/Online

28 November 2024 (6pm)

Leo Baeck Institute Lecture

Grzegorz Kwiatkowski
More Light – Art Against Hate

The ability to accurately describe the past is not confined to historians alone. Artists use their creative expression to explore the cruelties of history, aiming to shape a more ethical present and future. In the case of Grzegorz Kwiatkowski, art is also mixed with activism and active efforts to preserve the memory of the victims and their cultural heritage. Kwiatkowski, whose grandfather was a prisoner of the Stutthof concentration camp, and whose wife’s Jewish family hid during the war in a forest near Rzeszów, has been leading an artistic and activist battle to fight antisemitism, denialism and violence for years. He does this through poetry, music (as a member of the psychedelic band Trupa Trupa), and as a guest lecturer at many universities. Grzegorz Kwiatkowski will talk about effective ways to fight violence, oblivion and denial, using the example of his work and his family history and the history of the city of Gdańsk.

Grzegorz Kwiatkowski (b. 1984) is a Polish poet and musician. He is the author of several books of poetry revolving around the subjects of history, remembrance, and ethics. He is a member of PEN America and the European literature platform Versopolis. He is a member of the psychedelic rock band Trupa Trupa. Kwiatkowski co-hosts the workshop ‘Virus of Hate’ at the University of Oxford. Together with UCLA professor Vinay Lal, he created the series ‘Sangam and Agora: A Forum of Poets, Philosophers, Scholars, and Autodidacts’. Together with University of Oxford professor Paul Lodge, he launched the series ‘It Sings Therefore We Are: Philosophy and Music in Conversation’. He is taking part in ‘The Surviving Memory in Postwar El Salvador’ collaborative research initiative. More at www.grzegorzkwiatkowski.com

Senate House/Online

Previous Leo Baeck Institute Lectures

2024

2 May 2024 (6pm)

Leo Baeck Institute Lecture

Baijayanti Roy (Frankfurt)
Heinrich Zimmer, Nazi Racial Politics and the University of Heidelberg, 1933–1938

This talk examines the grey zones that exist between the established paradigms of persecution and exile in the ‘Third Reich’, as demonstrated by the trajectory of the Indologist Heinrich Zimmer (1890–1943). Zimmer, who taught at the University of Heidelberg, lost his teaching license in 1938 since his wife Christiane was classified as a Mischling (mixed race) by the Nazi regime. He tried to battle his fate by offering diverse political capital to the Nazi political establishment and by counting on some sympathetic colleagues. Zimmer was able to flee Germany with his family in 1939.

Baijayanti Roy is a postdoctoral researcher affiliated to the University of Frankfurt. Her monograph, The Making of a Gentleman Nazi: Albert Speer’s Politics of History in the Federal Republic of Germany was published in 2016. Another monograph, The Nazi Study of India and Indian Anti-Colonialism: Knowledge Providers and Propagandists in the ‘Third Reich’, will be published by Oxford University Press. She has published and spoken on different subjects including Nazi Germany, German Indology and the historical relationship between Germany and India.

Senate House/Online

13 June 2024 (6pm)

Leo Baeck Institute Lecture

Dani Kranz (Mexico City)
Jewish Life in Contemporary Germany

Germany is home to Europe’s third largest Jewish community. Yet surprisingly little is known about them. After the Shoah, about 15,000 German Jews returned to Germany or emerged from hiding. The growth of the Jewish population in Germany after 1945 was due entirely to immigration, which is somewhat counter intuitive. Who are the Jews who live in contemporary Germany? How do they live out their Jewishness? What Jewish cultures did they bring with them, and what kind of Jewish culture is forming in Germany?

Dani Kranz is the incumbent DAAD Humboldt chair at El Colegio de México, Mexico City, and an applied anthropologist and director of Two Foxes Consulting, Germany and Israel. Her expertise covers migration, integration, ethnicity, law, state/stateliness, political life, organisations, memory cultures and politics as well as cultural heritage.

This event is organised in collaboration with the British-German Association (BGA).

Senate House/Online

2023

9 March 2023 (6.30pm)

Leo Baeck Institute Lecture

Cathy Gelbin
Gender, Sex and Jewishness in Weimar Cinema’s Monsters

The monstrous Jew of popular imagination found perhaps his most salient expression in Weimar cinema’s love of the uncanny. These films derive their lasting fascination from the often-ironic interplay of their  separate and yet related gendered, sexualised and racialised portrayals. The talk explores how spectatorial pleasure can arise from the emerging gaps where the incoherence of these categories, presumed to be absolute in the biologized discourses of modernity, is playfully made visible and ridiculed.

Cathy Gelbin is Professor of Film and German Studies at the University of Manchester. Her work on feature film, video testimony, literary texts and live art has focused on Holocaust representations and the  dynamics of German-speaking Jewish culture.

UPDATE: This lecture will be held online via Zoom ONLY. Please inform the Leo Baeck Institute London of your intention to take part online prior to the event by emailing info@leobaeck.co.uk. Details on how to join the event via Zoom can be found on the Leo Baeck Institute London website.

Online ONLY

4 May 2023 (6.30pm)

Leo Baeck Institute Lecture

Nadia Valman
The Virtuous Jewess

British culture has always been fascinated by the figure of the Jewess. This lecture will explore its roots in nineteenth-century theology, and its popularisation through literature. In contrast to the more well-known stereotypes of Fagin and Shylock, the virtuous Jewess was an emblem of the privileged status accorded to both women and Jews in Victorian Protestant culture and demonstrates that Jews could function not simply as an ‘other’ within modern cultures, but also, simultaneously, an ideal self.

Nadia Valman is Professor of Urban Literature at Queen Mary, University of London. She is the author of The Jewess in Nineteenth-Century British Literature (2007) and has co-edited several books on Jews and literary culture including Between the East End and East Africa: the ‘Jew’ in Edwardian Culture (2009), Nineteenth-Century Jewish Literature (2013) and British Jewish Women Writers (2014). She is currently Principal Investigator of an AHRC-funded research project, Making and Remaking the Jewish East End.

This lecture will be held at the GHIL and online via Zoom. Please inform the Leo Baeck Institute London of your intention to take part either in person or online prior to the event by emailing info@leobaeck.co.uk. Details on how to join the event via Zoom can be found on the Leo Baeck Institute London website.

GHIL/Online

8 June 2023 (6.30pm)

Leo Baeck Institute Lecture

Sara Lipton
Marked Off in the Eyes of the Public: Anti-Jewish Imagery and the Politics of Prejudice

Art can be a powerful force in shaping the way we see and think about the world: pictures craft our ideas of beauty and ugliness, good and bad, power and weakness. This lecture traces how medieval Christian images of Jews, originally designed to aid religious devotions, made Christians look at Jews with new curiosity and interest, and drew their attention to previously unnoticed aspects of Jewish life and  looks. As images of Jews evolved from benign but outdated Hebrews to caricatured usurers and demonic sorcerers, Christian society developed new – and increasingly hostile – ideas about and policies toward  Jews, whose effects have endured to this day.

Sara Lipton is Professor of History at the State University of New York, Stony Brook and a Fellow of the Medieval Academy of America the Royal Historical Society (UK). She is currently a Visiting Fellow at All Souls College, Oxford. Her most recent book is Dark Mirror: The Medieval Origins of Anti-Jewish Iconography (2014).

This lecture will be held at the GHIL and online via Zoom. Please inform the Leo Baeck Institute London of your intention to take part either in person or online prior to the event by emailing info@leobaeck.co.uk. Details on how to join the event via Zoom can be found on the Leo Baeck Institute London website.

GHIL/Online

29 June 2023 (6.30pm)

Leo Baeck Institute Lecture

John Hilary (Honorary Professor, University of Nottingham)
German Jews, English Gentry: The Messel Family and the Cultural Expression of a Changing Identity

Leo Baeck Institute London Special Event

John Hilary is an honorary professor at the University of Nottingham and author of From Refugees to Royalty: The Remarkable Story of the Messel Family of Nymans (Peter Owen, 2021). An affiliate of the Jewish Country Houses project run out of the University of Oxford, he co-edited a special issue of the Journal of the History of Collections in 2022 on the theme of ‘Bildung beyond borders: German-Jewish collectors outside Germany, c.1870–1940’.

This lecture will be held at the GHIL and online via Zoom. Please inform the Leo Baeck Institute London of your intention to take part either in person or online prior to the event by emailing . Details on how to join the event via Zoom can be found on the Leo Baeck Institute London website.

GHIL/Online

12 October 2023 (6.30pm)

Leo Baeck Institute Lecture

Daniel Magilow
What a shayna punim!: Cute Jews, Photography, and Jewish Regeneration

Jüdische Kinder in Erez Israel, a collection of twenty-one photographs of adorable Jewish children in Mandatory Palestine, was the last overtly Jewish-themed photobook published in Germany before the Holocaust. Yet its propaganda mission transcended its diminutive size and surface superficiality. This talk examines how this photobook creates an allegory of Jewish vulnerability by eliciting responses associated with the minor aesthetic category of ‘cuteness.’ In so doing, it broadens our understanding of how photobooks helped expand the visual lexicon and aesthetic strategies central to Jewish cultural and political regeneration.

Daniel H. Magilow is Professor of German at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and Co-Editor-in-Chief of Holocaust and Genocide Studies. His research centers on photography and its intersections with Holocaust Studies, Weimar Germany, and postwar memory. He has authored and edited six books, including The Photography of Crisis: The Photo Essays of Weimar Germany and Holocaust Representations in History: An Introduction.

This lecture will be held at Senate House and online via Zoom. Please register via Eventbrite in order to attend. Details on how to join the event via Zoom can be found on the Leo Baeck Institute London website.

Senate House/Online

30 November 2023 (6.30pm)

Leo Baeck Institute Lecture

Sarah Lightman
Re-drawing Biblical Women through Comics

Jewish women have been at the forefront of feminist autobiographical comics since the 1970’s as they challenged sexism in popular culture. But how have they revised misogynistic images and stories closer to home? Sarah Lightman will illustrate how Sharon Rudahl in her bildungsroman ‘The Star Sapphire’, Miriam Katin in her Holocaust memoir, We Are on Our Own, and her own graphic novel, The Book of Sarah, transform biblical narratives and images to reflect their own, lived, experiences.

Sarah Lightman is an artist, writer and Faculty member at The Royal Drawing School, London. She attended the Slade School of Art for her BA and MFA, University of Glasgow for her PhD and was an Honorary Research Fellow at Birkbeck, University of London (2018-21). She edited the multi-award-winning Graphic Details: Jewish Women’s Confessional Comics in Essays and Interviews (McFarland, 2014), published her autobiographical graphic novel, The Book of Sarah (Myriad Editions and Penn State UP, 2019) and co-edited Jewish Women in Comics: Bodies and Borders (Syracuse UP, 2023).

This lecture will be held at Senate House and online via Zoom. Please register via Eventbrite in order to attend. Details on how to join the event via Zoom can be found on the Leo Baeck Institute London website.

Senate House/Online

2022

3 February 2022 (6.30pm)

Leo Baeck Institute Lecture

Sonia Gollance (London)
Dangerous Attractions: Mixed-Sex Dancing and Jewish Modernity

Contemporary popular culture often portrays Jewish mixed-sex dancing as either absolutely forbidden or as the punch line of a dirty joke. Fictional portrayals of women who leave Orthodoxy sometimes use transgressive dancing to underscore the temptation of secular society – and gentile men. Yet long before the Netflix miniseries Unorthodox, Jewish writers used partner dance as a powerful metaphor for social changes that transformed Jewish communities between the Enlightenment and the Holocaust. Scandalous dance scenes in German and other literatures are part of a larger conversation about acculturation and courtship norms, allowing writers to convey their concerns with Jewish modernity while simultaneously entertaining their readers.

Sonia Gollance is Lecturer in Yiddish at University College London. She taught previously at the University of Vienna, The Ohio State University, and the University of Göttingen. She is the author of It Could Lead to Dancing: Mixed-Sex Dancing and Jewish Modernity (Stanford University Press, 2021). Dr Gollance is Managing Editor of Plotting Yiddish Drama, an initiative of the Digital Yiddish Theatre Project.

Online

17 March 2022 (6.30pm)

Leo Baeck Institute Lecture

Hanno Loewy (Hohenems)
Jukebox? Jewkbox!

The history of ‘Pop’ is a history of music, migration and transcultural exchange. Following the invention of recording technologies and the worldwide production and distribution of records at the end of the 19th century, the new music industry created a new global culture. Jews were prominently involved in that process on all planes, from the creation of the Shellac record and the Gramophone by Emil Berliner, to the pioneers of the music industry and Tin Pan Alley. They were composers of musicals and popular songs and popularized ‘Jewish culture’ through cantorial music, Yiddish theatre or the invention of the iconic ‘Jewish humour’. All this was often the product of disturbing and painful experiences of migration, uprooting and newly ‘invented identities’.

Hanno Loewy, PhD, is a scholar of literature and film, an exhibition curator, and, since 2004, the Director of the Jewish Museum Hohenems, Austria. He is the author and editor of several books on film theory, Holocaust, Jewish history and popular culture.

Online

5 May 2022 (6.30pm)

Leo Baeck Institute Lecture

Lisa Schoß (Berlin)
A Story of Ambivalences. Jewish Topics and Characters in East German Television

In general, East German television attempted to combine so-called ‘political-operational cultural work’ with attractive programming. The same balancing act can also be observed in the presentation of Jewish topics and characters on TV. This talk covers so-called anti-fascist films about the Nazi era; campaign films against the West, e. g. courtroom dramas and crime movies; the aspect of ‘Jewish heritage’; Yiddish music; and Jewish contributions to entertainment shows.

Dr des Lisa Schoß is a scholar of film and literature. Her monograph Von verschiedenen Standpunkten. Die Darstellung jüdischer Erfahrungen im Film der DDR (From Differing Perspectives, The Representation of the Jewish Experience) is forthcoming. She is associated with the Selma Stern Centre for Jewish Studies Berlin-Brandenburg and a member of the DFG network ‘German-Jewish Film History of the FRG’.

Online

13 October 2022 (6.30pm)

Leo Baeck Institute Lecture

Moshe Zimmermann (Jerusalem)
Post-Holocaust German-Jewish Symbiosis: Ephraim Kishon and the Germans

The bon mot ‘A German joke is no laughing matter’ is attributed to Mark Twain. Improvising on Adorno’s dictum ‘writing poetry after Auschwitz is barbaric’ one might consider writing humour in the German language after Auschwitz a contradiction in terms. Yet, this was the gap into which the Israeli author Ephraim Kishon, a Holocaust survivor from Hungary, stepped. The most successful humourist of the Federal Republic, his humour was rooted in the everyday life of Israeli Jews, his writing tradition belonged to Central-Europe, his Hebrew-German translator was a well-known Austrian author and his German audience was the generation of the perpetrators and the post-war generation. The lecture will examine explanations for Kishon’s success in Germany.

Moshe Zimmermann is Professor emeritus for German History. Formerly Director of the Richard-Koebner-Center for German History, Hebrew University, Jerusalem (1986-2012), he held many Visiting Professorships around the world and has won numerous academic prizes for his work. He is the author of several books and involved with curriculum planning at the Ministry of Education.

This lecture will be held online via Zoom on Thursday, 13th of October 2022 and will start punctually at 6.30pm (UK time). 

To join the event please click this link: us06web.zoom.us/j/89845454538;at the appointed date and time, wait to be admitted by the host and follow the instructions on your screen. If you have any difficulty joining us on the night, please contact volunteer@leobaeck.co.uk and a member of staff will be able to assist you.

Admission is free but we would welcome if you could inform us of your intention to participate prior to the event by emailing us on info@leobaeck.co.uk. This would help us to prepare in advance for participant numbers and management.

Online

17 November 2022 (6.30pm)

Leo Baeck Institute Lecture

Tobias Ebbrecht-Hartmann (Jerusalem)
In Our Image: Meeting our Ultraorthodox Other on Netflix

In recent years, streaming networks have offered new encounters with the lives and traditions of ultraorthodox Judaism through means of pop cultural representations. While some praised the accuracy with which series such as Shtisel (2013-2021) or Unorthodox (2020) presented ultraorthodox customs, others identified problematic anti-Semitic stereotypes in those depictions. This lecture examines how far the representations in either series serve as a distancing mirror of our own societies and looks at them in comparison to modes of classical serial storytelling in television as exemplified by series such as Dallas or Dynasty.

Tobias Ebbrecht-Hartmann is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Communication and Journalism and the European Forum at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He has published on visual history and memory of the Holocaust and on German and Israeli film history. He is a consortium member in the Horizon 2020 research and innovation action Visual History of the Holocaust: Rethinking Curation in the Digital Age (2019-2022).

This lecture will be held online via Zoom. Please check the Leo Baeck Institute London website closer to the date of the lecture for details on how to attend.

Online

2021

11 February (6.30pm)

Leo Baeck Institute Lecture

Hanno Loewy (Hohenems)
Unrewarded Love: Alpine Clubs, Ski-Tourism, Folklore and the Jews

Among the pioneers turning the Alps into the playground of Europe, the urban Jewish middle class played a crucial role. While cities like Vienna, Berlin or Prague offered Jews access to secular culture, industry or higher education, the domesticated ‘wilderness’ of the mountains provided ‘innocence’ of togetherness and belonging beyond confines of class, religion and ethnicity. Jewish climbers, environmentalists and pioneers of tourism were among the first to organize Alpine clubs, while others reinvented folklore dressing. All of them lost faith in the Alpine pastorale after 1933. Memories of innocent moments enshrined in memorabilia and tales live on. Some of this has its afterlife in the Alps, even today.

Hanno Loewy, PhD, is a scholar of literature and film, an exhibition curator, and, since 2004, the Director of the Jewish Museum Hohenems, Austria. He is the author and editor of several books on film theory, Holocaust, Jewish history and popular culture.

This lecture will be held online.

Please check the Leo Baeck Institute website (www.leobaeck.co.uk) closer to the date of the event for a Zoom link to participate in this talk or alternatively register at info@leobaeck.co.uk.

Admission is free but please inform the Leo Baeck Institute in advance of your intention to attend by contacting info@leobaeck.co.uk, in order to enable preparations to be made for participant numbers and management. 

As soon as this will be possible again, lectures will be held at: German Historical Institute, 17 Bloomsbury Square, London WC1A 2NJ. Places at the GHI are strictly limited and must be reserved in advance by contacting the Leo Baeck Institute London. Admission is free. Lectures will begin promptly at 6.30pm. Latecomers may not be admitted.

Online event

22 April (6.30pm)

Leo Baeck Institute Lecture

Ofer Ashkenazi (Jerusalem)
Heimat as a Shelter from Nazism

This talk analyses the presence of generic Heimat imagery in German-Jewish family albums from the 1930s and highlights two major tendencies: the appropriation of Heimat iconography in photographs of the Jewish home, and the endeavour to situate Jewish family members within generic Heimat scenes. In both cases, Heimat iconography alluded to an alternative notion of German identity – and of belonging in the German landscape – which allowed and encouraged the integration of Jews within it. Consequently, in Jewish family albums, Heimat imagery provided an imagined landscape that sheltered Jews from the menace of Nazism.

Ofer Ashkenazi is an Associate Professor of History and the Director of the Koebner- Minerva Center for Germany History at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem. He is the author of three monographs on German film (most recently, Anti-Heimat Cinema: The Jewish Invention of the German Landscape, 2020). His current research project considers Jewish photography under Nazism.

This lecture will be held online.

Please check the Leo Baeck Institute website (www.leobaeck.co.uk) closer to the date of the event for a Zoom link to participate in this talk or alternatively register at info@leobaeck.co.uk.

Admission is free but please inform the Leo Baeck Institute in advance of your intention to attend by contacting info@leobaeck.co.uk, in order to enable preparations to be made for participant numbers and management. 

As soon as this will be possible again, lectures will be held at: German Historical Institute, 17 Bloomsbury Square, London WC1A 2NJ. Places at the GHI are strictly limited and must be reserved in advance by contacting the Leo Baeck Institute London. Admission is free. Lectures will begin promptly at 6.30pm. Latecomers may not be admitted.

Online event

14 October (6.30pm)

Leo Baeck Institute Lecture

Natasha Gordinsky and Katja Petrowskaja (Haifa)
‘Your Heimat is our Nightmare’: Post-Soviet Poetic Interventions in German Culture

In the past decade, post-Soviet Jewish writers, poets and artists who live and work in Germany, have been playing a crucial
role in the ongoing debate on the various forms of migrant belonging in contemporary German culture. This lecture explores how these different cultural agents reflect and de-stabilize, performatively, the meaning of Heimat, a concept that is highly charged both in German and Soviet contexts.

Dr Natasha Gordinsky is a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Hebrew and Comparative Literature at the University of Haifa. She is co-author of Canon und Diskurs: Über die Literarisierung der jüdischen Erfahrungswelten (2008), written with Susanne Zepp, and author of In Three Landscapes: Lea Goldberg’s Early Writings (2016, Hebr.) She is currently working on a book-length project that deals with spatial history of World War II in post- Soviet Germanophone literature.

Dr Katja Petrowskaja holds a PhD in Literary Studies from the Russian State University in Moscow and works in Berlin as an author and free-lance journalist for press and radio. Her first book Maybe Esther (2014) was translated into 20 languages and has won several prestigious literary prizes.

This talk will take place online via Zoom. Please follow the instructions on the Leo Baeck website to participate in the talk.

Online event

11 November (6.30pm)

Leo Baeck Institute Lecture

Sarah MacDougall (London)
From Heartland to Homeland? – German-Jewish Émigré Artists in Britain, c. 1933-45

Founded as an arts society in 1915 in London’s East End, Ben Uri’s collection, exhibition history and programming were significantly impacted from the 1930s onwards by the artistic influx of the so-called ‘Hitler émigrés’. This lecture examines the conception of Heimat in relation to the lives and work of German-Jewish artists from this cohort, among them Frank Auerbach and Eva Frankfurther, as they navigated their new host culture, touching on notions of national cultural heritage and belonging.

Sarah MacDougall is Director of Ben Uri Gallery and Museum, where she has been a curator since 2002 and Head of Collections since 2012. Her research focuses on Jewish and/or immigrant artists in Britain in the 20th century with exhibitions including Forced Journeys: Artists in Exile in Britain (2009–10) and Finchley Strasse (German Embassy, London, 2018). She is a member of the Research Centre for German and Austrian Exile Studies at the University of London.

This talk will take place online via Zoom. Please follow the instructions on the Leo Baeck website to participate in the talk.

Online event

2020

23 January (6.30pm)

Leo Baeck Institute Lecture

Kerry Wallach (Gettysburg College)
‘Coming Out’ as Jewish in Weimar Germany

In the 1920s and early 1930s – as today – Jews in Germany were concerned about growing antisemitism, and many took precautions to conceal their Jewishness by dressing and behaving in certain ‘assimilated’ ways. Yet there were still occasions when it was beneficial to be openly Jewish. This lecture explores the tensions that came with being visible as a Jew – an identity play that often involved appearing simultaneously non-Jewish and Jewish. Drawing on a wide range of images and films, this presentation explores controversial aspects of German- Jewish visibility and invisibility, as well as the complex reasons why Jews chose to appear distinctly ‘Jewish’.

Kerry Wallach is Associate Professor and Chair of German Studies and an Affiliate of the Judaic Studies Program at Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania. She is the author of Passing Illusions: Jewish Visibility in Weimar Germany (2017) and a number of articles on German-Jewish literature, history, film, and visual and consumer culture. She serves as co-editor for the German Jewish Cultures book series published by Indiana University Press and sponsored by the Leo Baeck Institute London.

4 March (6.30pm)

Leo Baeck Institute Lecture

Adi Heyman (Fashion Blogger)
The Big Cover-Up: Modest Fashion

What started out as a religious niche has matured into a 250 billion-dollar industry largely pioneered by a group of diverse women embracing unique identities on social media. Fashion stylist-turned-blogger Adi Heyman’s inspiration for launching a Jewish fashion and lifestyle blog in 2010 stemmed from her personal and professional experience as an Orthodox Jew working in the fashion industry.In her talk, Heyman explores the possibility of being an ‘Orthodox fashion influencer’, and reflects on the lack of authentic content highlighting modest fashion, as well as the under-representation of women from minority cultures. As one of the leading religion-focused Jewish influencers, she promotes conservative silhouettes with a contemporary twist that resonate with the religiously observant consumer. Her work interprets Western identities alongside religious belief in a way that enables women to feel empowered by personal fashion and lifestyle choices. In 2019, Heyman founded the Jewish Fashion Council (JFC) to build a global community of Jewish fashion professionals and to provide funding and support for Jewish student life at the Fashion Institute of Technology and Parsons School of Design.

8 October (6.30pm)

Leo Baeck Institute Lecture

Paul Herzberg (Actor and Writer)
Acting Jewish: Perception and Reality

What does ‘acting Jewish’ really mean? Is it a style of performance drawing on the alleged traits of global Jewry? Or is it perhaps about ancient perceptions? Paul Herzberg offers a view, drawing on his four decades in the entertainment industry.

Paul Herzberg is an actor and writer. His most recent appearances as an actor were as John Vorster in Antony Sher’s I.D. at the Almeida; Shylock in The Merchant of Venice at The Arcola; at the RSC as Vincentio in The Taming of The Shrew; and in 2017 as Shimon Peres in the award-winning play, Oslo. Recent television appearances include Daniel Borgoraz in the award-winning serial The Honourable Woman. His screenplay Almost Heaven won the Nashville International Best Feature Award, and his stage play, The Dead Wait, was shortlisted for The Verity Bargate Award and, nominated in three categories for the MEN theatre awards, winning best actor. His commissioned screenplay Anna’s Story was selected for the 2018 Brit List.

Originally scheduled for Thursday, 23rd April 2020 and postponed due to the Covid-19 lockdown.

Online Event

19 November (6.30pm)

Leo Baeck Institute Lecture

Svenja Bethke (University of Leicester)
How to dress in Eretz Israel? Clothing, Fashion and Nation Building, 1880s–1948

The identities of many eastern European and German Jews who immigrated to Eretz Israel between the 1880s and the foundation of the Israeli state in 1948 oscillated between their roots and their identification with the new Zionist project. This lecture explores how immigrants expressed social, cultural, and political belonging through clothing and, focusing on gender and visual materials, offers fresh perspectives on how clothing became fashion, or ‘anti-fashion’, and to what extent a consensual mode of dress emerged. It also explores how the clothing habits of Arab people and the changing Ottoman and British occupying authorities influenced ‘Jewish’ fashion.

Svenja Bethke is a Lecturer in Modern European History and the former Deputy Director of the Stanley Burton Centre for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at the University of Leicester. Her research interests include the Holocaust, legal history, the history of modern Palestine/Israel, visual culture and fashion history. She is currently a visiting Marie Curie Fellow at the Abraham Harman Institute for Contemporary Jewry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem for her project on ‘Clothing, Fashion and Nation-Building in Eretz Israel’.

Originally scheduled for Thursday, 21st May 2020 and postponed due to Covid-19 lockdown.

Online Event

2019

24 January (6.30pm)

Leo Baeck Institute Lecture

Cilly Kugelmann (Jewish Museum Berlin)
Jewish Museums between Self-Assertion and Self-Defence

In the 19th century Jews gradually began to free themselves from their ambivalence towards the fine arts. Rabbis repeatedly placed the depiction of people in pictures and sculptures close to idolatry and viewed it with reservations. The discovery of a visual culture in Judaism by the Haskala, the Jewish Enlightenment, fulfilled a double function: it was intended to strengthen a new Jewish selfconfidence internally and at the same time to ward off the antisemitic prejudice that Jews were incapable of artistic expression. This process will be illustrated by the example of the emergence and development of Jewish museums in Europe.

Cilly Kugelmann was the Program Director and Vice Director of the Jewish Museum Berlin from September 2002 until March 2017 and she is currently chief curator on the museum’s new permanent exhibition. She has worked for the museum since May 2000, first as head of the Education department, and later also of the Science and Scholarship and Exhibitions departments. Previously, Kugelmann directed the education program, ran public relations, and curated historical exhibitions at the Jewish Museum in Frankfurt am Main.

14 February (6.30pm)

Leo Baeck Institute Lecture

Richard I. Cohen (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)
Moses Mendelssohn: The German-Jewish Icon of Modernity (1780s–2019)

Moses Mendelssohn has engaged artists of Jewish and non-Jewish origin from his lifetime until today. The lecture will show how, over this long period, Mendelssohn has been turned into the icon of German-Jewish modernity by being represented in a myriad of ways and techniques.

Richard I. Cohen is the academic director of the Israel Center of Research Excellence (ICore) for the Study of Cultures of Place in the Modern Jewish World. Formerly the Paulette and Claude Kelman Chair in French Jewry Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, he has published widely on the history of Jews in western and central Europe and on the inter-relationship between art and society in the modern period. Among his publications: The Burden of Conscience: French-Jewish Leadership during the HolocaustJewish Icons: Art and Society in Modern Europe;  co-curator and co-editor of From Court Jews to the Rothschilds: Art, Patronage, and Power, 1600–1800,  and Le Juif Errant: Un témoin de temps. He recently edited and introduced Place in Modern Jewish Culture and Society [vol. 30 of Studies in Contemporary Jewry, Oxford University Press, New York].

4 April (6.30pm)

Leo Baeck Institute Lecture

Nathan Abrams (Bangor University)
Treyf Jews? Jewish Gangsters in McMafia and Peaky Blinders

In this illustrated lecture, Professor Nathan Abrams will explore recent British representations of Jews on television focussing on the role of the Jewish gangster in McMafia and Peaky Blinders in particular.

Nathan Abrams is Professor in Film at Bangor University in Wales where he directs the Film Studies programme and the Centre for Film, Television, and Screen Studies. He is the author of Stanley Kubrick: New York Jewish Intellectual (2018) and Eyes Wide Shut: Stanley Kubrick and the Making of His Final Film (2019), and co-founding editor of Jewish Film and New Media: An International Journal.

2018

1 March (6.30pm)

Leo Baeck Institute Lecture

Thomas Harding (Journalist)
“You’re doing what?” - My family’s response to my trying to save the house stolen by the Nazis

In 2013, Thomas Harding visited his Jewish family’s old weekend house outside of Berlin. He found it shrouded in a jungle of bushes and trees, its windows broken, graffiti painted across its walls and that it was destined for demolition. When he told his family that he wanted to work with the locals to save the house they reacted with intense emotion, triggering a debate about memories, the value of history and the possibility of reconciliation.

Thomas Harding is an international bestselling author and journalist who has written for the Financial Times, Sunday Times, Washington Post, Guardian and Der Spiegel, among other publications. His books include Hanns And Rudolf, Kadian Journal, The House By The Lake and Blood On The Page. Thomas Harding is president of www.alexanderhaus.org, an education and reconciliation charity near Berlin. On 24 June 2016, the day of Brexit, Thomas applied for the restoration of his German citizenship.

8 March (6.30pm)

Leo Baeck Institute Lecture

Atina Grossmann (The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art)
Trauma, Privilege and Adventure in the ‘Orient’: A Refugee Family Archive

The talk examines, through the intimate – yet also distant – lens of family history, the ambivalent and paradoxical experiences, sensibilities, and emotions of bourgeois Berlin Jews who found refuge and romance in the ‘Orient’ of Iran and India after 1933. Drawing on an extensive collection of family correspondence and memorabilia from Iran and India (1935-1947), Grossmann probes her own parents’ understanding of their unstable position as well as the perils and pleasures of writing a ‘hybrid’ border-crossing family story folded into a larger historical drama of war, Holocaust, and vulnerable Empires.

Atina Grossmann is Professor of History at the Cooper Union in New York City. Publications include Jews, Germans, and Allies: Close Encounters in Occupied Germany (2007), and Wege in der Fremde: Deutsch-jüdische Begegnungsgeschichte zwischen New York, Berlin und Teheran (2012). Her current research focuses on ‘Remapping Survival: Jewish Refugees and Lost Memories of Displacement, Trauma, and Rescue in the Soviet Union, Iran, and India’, as well as the entanglements of family memoir and historical scholarship.

12 April (6.30pm)

Leo Baeck Institute Lecture

Martin Doerry (Der Spiegel, Germany)
Lifting a Taboo: The story of a Holocaust victim which has never been told before

After the death of German politician Gerhard Jahn in 1998, his four sisters found hundreds of letters in his house, which they had written during the war to their Jewish mother Lilli, who had been detained in a labour camp and, finally, killed in Auschwitz in 1944. Fifty years of silence had followed, but now, for the first time, the family was able to talk about Lilli once again. But should the letters be published? Lilli’s grandson Martin Doerry undertook the tasks of both convincing his family that they should, and conducting the necessary research, thus finding himself in the dual role of family member and professional historian simultaneously.

Martin Doerry is an editor of Der Spiegel in Hamburg, Germany. From 1998 until 2014 he was deputy editor-in-chief of the German news magazine. He studied History and German Literature in Tübingen and Zürich and received his PhD in 1986 with a thesis on the political mentality of the generation of Emperor Wilhelm II. In 2002, he published My Wounded Heart. The Life of Lilli Jahn, 1900-1944, the story of his Jewish grandmother who was killed in Auschwitz. The book was translated into 19 languages.

1 November (6.30pm)

Leo Baeck Institute Lecture

Katrin Kogman-Appel (Münster)
A Jewish Look on World Politics: The Catalan Mappamundi (1375)

The richly illustrated Catalan Mappamundi is among the most celebrated medieval maps surviving to this day. Commissioned by Peter IV of Aragon as a gift to Charles V of France it was put to parchment by Elisha Cresques, a Jewish scribe, illuminator, and cartographer in the City of Majorca. The talk explores how Elisha, from his delicate position as a Sefardi intellectual in the service of the Court coped with his patron’s agendas while, at the same time, voiced his own views of the politics of his time.

Katrin Kogman-Appel holds an Alexander von Humboldt Professorship (2015–2020), which she assumed in Jewish Studies at the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität in Münster. She has published work on medieval Jewish art and is particularly interested in Hebrew manuscript illumination and its cultural and social contexts. Publications include A Mahzor from Worms (2012). She recently completed a study on Elisha Cresques ben Abraham, a fourteenth-century Jewish scribe, illuminator, and map maker in Majorca.

6 December (6.30pm)

Leo Baeck Institute Lecture

Ruth Oren (Haifa)
‘Coming back to History’: The Jewish Image in Landscape Photographs of ‘Eretz-Israel’, 1898–1961

This visual presentation about Zionist landscape photography in Palestine (Eretz- Israel), from its beginning in 1898 until 1961, explores the ‘returning’ of the Jews to modern history and geography and the formation of the ‘mental landscape’ of Israel as it was created in the Zionist photographic narrative. Landscape photography, produced and consumed within the National Zionist Institutions, created a utopian image of the Jewish environment by developing a coherent iconography rooted in the hegemonic ideology of cultivating and ‘building’ a country for the Jewish nation.

Ruth Oren’s academic and artistic work ranges from photography to visual communication. She has been a lecturer at the University of Haifa and other academic colleges and has published widely on the history of Israeli photography and Zionist imagery. Dr Oren has curated numerous exhibitions on photography, such as ‘Local Memory – Photography in Haifa 1912–1949’ (Haifa, 1998) and ‘Zoltan Kluger, Chief Photographer 1933–1958’ (Tel Aviv, 2008).

2017

26 January (6.30pm)

Leo Baeck Institute Lecture

Michel Dreyfus (Paris)
The Two Lefts in France: Divisions over Zionism and Israel

The Balfour Declaration (1917) boosted Zionism in France. Although the movement enjoyed the support of the Socialists in the inter-war period, it was denounced by the Communist Party (CP) and the ultra-left. The creation of the State of Israel marked the beginning of a new era. While support for Israel grew strongly among French socialists from 1954 due to their opposition to Nasser’s politics in Algeria, the CP took a more critical stance. Post 1967 changes in the French-Israeli relationship left the left sharply divided: While the Socialists continue to support Israel unconditionally, the CP backs the Arab countries. This vigorous debate continues until today.

Michel Dreyfus is a Historian and Research Director at the CNRS (Centre d’histoire sociale du XXe siècle-Université de Paris 1). He has written about the Dreyfus Affair and published numerous books on the history of the French and the international labour movements. His work L’antisémitisme à gauche. Histoire d’un paradoxe (1830-2009) appeared in 2009 (2nd ed. 2011).

This lecture is available as a MP3 download (this will take you to the Leo Baeck Institute website)

16 March (6.30pm)

Leo Baeck Institute Lecture

Panel Discussion: The Legacy of the Left and Israel, 1967–2017

Nick Cohen
The Observer and The Spectator
Nick Cohen is a journalist, author and political commentator. He writes for The Observer, The Spectator and many other publications. He is the winner of the 2015 European press prize and the author of You Can’t Read This Book and What’s Left which was shortlisted for the Orwell Prize for political writing in 2008.

David Feldman
Birkbeck University of London
David Feldman is the Director of the Pears Institute for the Study of Antisemitism at Birkbeck, University of London where he also is a Professor of History. He has published widely on the history of Jews, migrants and minorities in British society. In 2016 he was a Vice-Chair of the Shami Chakrabarti Inquiry into antisemitism and other forms of racism in the Labour Party.

Christina Späti
University of Fribourg, Switzerland
Christina Späti is Associate Professor of Contemporary History at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland. She received her PhD in 2003 with a thesis on the Swiss left and its positions on Israel and Zionism between 1967 and 1991. Her research focuses on processes of dealing with the National Socialist past, anti-Zionism, antisemitism and Orientalism, language politics in multilingual states, and 1968 in Western Europe, with a particular emphasis on Switzerland.

Peter Ullrich
Technische Universität Berlin, Germany
Peter Ullrich is a sociologist and head of the research unit Social Movements, Technology, Conflicts at the Centre for Technology and Society and fellow at the Centre for Research on Antisemitism (both Technische Universität Berlin). He is especially interested in public discourse and debates about antisemitism. Among his (German language) books are The Left, Israel and Palestine (2008) and Germans, Leftists and the Middle East Conflict (2013).

A recording of this event is available as a MP3 download (this will take you to the Leo Baeck Institute website)

7 December (6.30pm)

Leo Baeck Institute Lecture

Lisa Appignanesi (King’s College London, UK)
Losing the Dead: Before and After

Lisa Appignanesi teases out some of the hurdles she encountered researching her critically acclaimed family memoir, Losing the Dead. These extended post publication: memoir writing elicits the kinds of responses historical texts rarely do.Lisa Appignanesi OBE is a writer and novelist. She is a Visiting Professor at King’s College, London, Chair of the Royal Society of Literature and Chair of this year’s Man Booker International Prize. Amongst her books are Mad, Bad and Sad: A History of Women and the Mind Doctors and The Memory Man.

Please note: A short 15 minute film called Ex Memoria, will also be shown. Ex Memoria is a film about memory, loss and survival; Eva Lipschitz is a survivor, but she is now locked away in the twilight world of Alzheimer’s disease. The film shows the world from Eva’s point of view, at her eye level, and how a chance encounter with a caring young nurse breaks through the barriers. Directed by Josh Appignanesi and starring Sarah Kestleman.

2016

24 November (6.30pm)

Leo Baeck Institute Lecture

Brian Klug (Oxford)
Denouncing Israel: Anti-Colonialism or Antisemitism on the British Left?

A significant part of the British left, especially since the June 1967 war, tends to denounce Israel as a state and Zionism as an idea. Ostensibly, these attitudes are grounded in the anti-colonialism and anti-racism which have been staple causes for the British left since the sun began to set on the Empire. These grounds, however, are called into question by those who detect the hidden hand of antisemitism at work. The lecture will examine key concepts and arguments in this controversy, seeking to bring the issues into sharper focus.

Brian Klug is Senior Research Fellow in Philosophy at St. Benet’s Hall, Oxford, a member of the faculty of philosophy at the University of Oxford, and Honorary Fellow of the Parkes Institute for the Study of Jewish/non-Jewish Relations, University of Southampton. His most recent books are Words of Fire: Selected Essays of Ahad Ha'am (2015), Being Jewish and Doing Justice (2011) and Offence: The Jewish Case (2009).

This lecture is available as a MP3 download (this will take you to the Backdoor Broadcasting Company website)

8 December (6.30pm)

Leo Baeck Institute Lecture

Christina Späti (Fribourg)
The German-Speaking Left and Israel: Legacies and Developments since 1948

The positions and attitudes of the political Left in Germany, Austria and Switzerland towards Israel have undergone many changes since 1948. If the 1950s and 1960s were characterized by a romanticizing, pro-Zionist alignment with Israel, mainly expressed by Social-democratic parties and trade unions, the rise of the New Left after 1968 considerably changed the perspectives on the Middle East conflict and eventually had an impact on wider sections of the political Left. The lecture will also look into the various legacies, ranging from the Holocaust to Internationalism, which influenced this development.

Christina Späti is Associate Professor of Contemporary History at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland. She received her PhD in 2003 with a thesis on the Swiss left and its positions on Israel and Zionism between 1967 and 1991. Her research focuses on processes of dealing with the National Socialist past, anti-Zionism, antisemitism and Orientalism, language politics in multilingual states, and 1968 in Western Europe, with a particular emphasis on Switzerland.

This lecture is available as a MP3 download (this will take you to the Leo Baeck Institute website)

2015

5 November (6.30pm)

Leo Baeck Institute Lecture

Gunnar Lehmann (Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Israel)
Past and Politics in the Archaeology of Israel

The different concepts of the past are an integral part of Israeli politics today. Jewish politics in Israel often seek legitimation through a connection with the physical remains of the past. As stones do not speak, their presence and their past meanings are explained within the present political discourse of the Israeli society. In some sense, every generation creates its own past. While the national religious and right wing secular sections of the Jewish society have a deep interest in connecting their identities with assumed past collective meanings, other sectors of the society express less interest in this discourse. The Arab sector feels that archaeology leads to a delegitimization of their interests. The secular Jewish sector on the other hand does not feel a need to refer to the past. They consider their Israeli identity as an established fact that does not require legitimation through the past. Gunnar Lehmann is Professor of Archaeology working today in various projects in Israel and Turkey.This lecture is available as a MP3 download (this will take you to the Leo Baeck Institute website)

3 December (6.30pm)

Leo Baeck Institute Lecture

Thabet Abu Rass (Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Israel)
Land, Power and Resistance in Israel: The Case of the Bedouins of the Negev

In this lecture the state policies toward tens of thousands of the indigenous inhabitants of the Negev region in Israel who live in ‘unrecognized villages’, will be highlighted. Militarizing space to secure land has always been one of the means to control land. The Prawer Plan is the current attempt of displacing the Bedouins to finalize their land claims and urbanize them against their will. The landowners have tried all means of resistance including the legal and political ones, however, they didn’t succeed. Therefore, they returned to their tribal roots in a last, but incredibly effective attempt to challenge the imminent confiscation of the lands of their ancestors.

Abu Rass is a political geographer and an expert in land and planning. He teaches courses at Ben Gurion University. His research interests include minority-majority relations, local governments, land and planning. He has been writing extensively about the Bedouin community in the Negev and he is currently the Executive Director of the Abraham Fund Initiatives (Jerusalem).

This lecture is available as a MP3 download (this will take you to the Leo Baeck Institute website)

2014

2 April (6.30pm)

Leo Baeck Institute Lecture

ROZ CURRIE (JEWISH MILITARY MUSEUM, LONDON)
Curating the Jewish Experience of the First World War

The First World War was a pivotal time of change for the Jewish community in Britain and indeed throughout Europe and the Middle East. Roz Currie has curated the Jewish Military Museum and Jewish Museum London joint exhibition on this subject. This lecture will discuss the challenges behind telling this story, it will touch on newly uncovered narratives of those at war and also question what it meant to be a British Jew at the outbreak of war.

Roz Currie earned an MA in Japanese and Chinese archaeology at School of Oriental and African Studies. After having completed an MA in museum studies at UCL, she started at the Jewish Military Museum in January 2012 as its first professional museum curator.

This lecture is available as a MP3 download (this will take you to the Leo Baeck Institute website)

3 July (6.30pm)

Leo Baeck Institute Lecture

JAY WINTER (YALE UNIVERSITY)
The Great War and Jewish Memory

The Great War shattered Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi’s celebrated distinction between history and memory in Jewish cultural life. Jay Winter argues that Jewish history and Jewish memory collided between 1914 and 1918 in ways which transformed both and created a new category he terms ‘historical remembrance’. The war unleashed both, centripetal forces, moving Jews to the core of their societies and centrifugal forces, dispersing huge populations of Jews in Eastern Europe and Russia, creating terrifying violence, the appearance of which was a precondition for the Holocaust 25 years later.

Jay Winter is the Charles J. Stille Professor of History at Yale University. His latest monograph René Cassin and the Rights of Man. From the Great War to the Universal Declaration was published in 2013. He is editor-in-chief of the three-volume Cambridge History of the First World War (2014) and a founder of the Historial de la grande guerre at Péronne, Somme, France.This lecture is available as a MP3 download (this will take you to the Leo Baeck Institute website)