German Historical Institute London

17 Bloomsbury Square
London WC1A 2NJ
United Kingdom

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

URI: https://www.ghil.ac.uk

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Previous Public Lectures 2017

1 February
(5.30pm)

Martin H. Geyer (Munich)
Writing the History of Financial Scandals and Capitalism in the Interwar Period

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

By looking at a series of interrelated financial scandals in Germany, Belgium, France, and the Netherlands, this lecture will raise questions that pertain to issues concerning democracy, capitalism, and the rise of fascism in the interwar period. In particular, it will focus on the challenges of historical representation vis-à-vis complicated technical details on the one hand, and an overabundance of political discourses, pictures, and conspiracy narratives on the other. It examines the opportunities and limitations of biographical approaches and, in particular, the issue of empathy.

Martin H. Geyer is Professor of Modern German History at the Ludwig Maximilian University Munich. He has worked and published widely on political scandals, the state of emergency in the interwar period, and political and social theories in the 1970s and 1980s. Among his books are Verkehrte Welt. Revolution, Inflation und Moderne: München 1914–1924 (1998) and Die Reichsknappschaft: Versicherungsreformen und Sozialpolitik im Bergbau 1900–1945 (1987). He is currently finishing a book on financial scandals in Germany, Belgium, France, and the Netherlands in the interwar period.

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14 February
(6.30pm)

Mark Chinca and Christopher Young (Cambridge)
The Mythification of Charlemagne: An Introduction to and Reading from the Kaiserchronik

GHIL in co-operation with the Department of German and Dutch, University of Cambridge

Charlemagne (768–814) ruled over regions and territories that today form part of several European countries. As a result, in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries his legacy was disputed, as both French and German historians claimed him as the father of their respective countries. Today, the Frankish ruler is praised as a father of a unified Europe and as a patron of learning and the arts in the Carolingian Renaissance.

The mythification of the emperor, however, had already begun in his lifetime. In the Middle Ages, in particular, his memory was manipulated to serve a variety of needs. He was not only remembered as the first Christian Emperor, but also became a literary figure at whose court Frankish and French heroes gathered. And he could also be seen as a crusading hero himself. In 1165, in the incipient conflicts between French and German claims to his tradition, the emperor was even declared a saint.

Mark Chinca, Reader in Medieval and Early Modern German Literature, and Christopher Young, Professor of Modern and Medieval German Studies at the University of Cambridge, will provide an introduction to the Kaiserchronik, the first vernacular verse chronicle in Europe, and a central source for twelfth-century historical memory in general and the image of Charlemagne in the Holy Roman Empire in particular. The introductory remarks will be followed by a reading from the new English translation of the Kaiserchronik.

The seminar is the concluding part of a workshop on the memory and the myth of Charlemagne which will take place on 14 February from 2 p.m.

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9 March
(5.30pm)

Britta Schilling (Utrecht)
Germany’s Colonial Material

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

This talk will consider the relationship between German colonialism and material culture. It will argue for the importance of the material in attempts to establish and maintain German political power and cultural identity in its overseas empire between 1884 and 1919 and beyond. It will also consider the utility of material culture analysis for understanding more recent developments in ‘postcolonial’ Germany.

Britta Schilling is Assistant Professor of Cultural History at Utrecht University. She is the author of Postcolonial Germany: Memories of Empire in a Decolonized Nation (2014) and ‘German Postcolonialism in Four Dimensions: A Historical Perspective’, Postcolonial Studies, 18 / 4 (2015). She is currently working on a comparative history of European homes in sub-Saharan Africa in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

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18 May
(5.30pm)

Andreas Wirsching (Munich)
Nazi Legacies? The Question of Continuities in Postwar Germany

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

Annual Lecture of the German History Society

Initiated first by private enterprises, later by federal ministries and other public institutions, contracted research on the history of the Nazi period and its legacies after 1945 is currently experiencing strong growth. The exploration of new archival sources has re-opened the question of Nazi continuities in postwar Germany. The problem of how far former members of the Nazi Party and thus antidemocratic mentalities influenced the policies of the early Federal Republic (but also the German Democratic Republic) has become a dominant research question in current German contemporary history. The paper will discuss the preconditions for this trend, its implications and problems, and will ask what new results are to be expected.

Andreas Wirsching is Director of the Institut für Zeitgeschichte München–Berlin and Professor of Modern History at the University of Munich. His recent publications include Dr. Oetker und der Nationalsozialismus: Geschichte eines Familienunternehmens 1933–1945 (with Jürgen Finger and Sven Keller, 2013), and Demokratie und Globalisierung: Europa seit 1989 (2015). With Frank Bösch he is directing a research project on the history of the West and East German Ministries of the Interior from 1949 to 1970.

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8 June
(5.30pm)

A.R. Venkatachalapathy (Madras Institute of Development Studies)
From Pulavar to Professor: Policy, politics and professionalization of Tamil Pandits, 1812-1949

TRG Event

Venue: German Historical Institute London

This lecture traces the changing status of Tamil pulavars, or pandits, in colonial Tamilnadu. Pulavars encountered colonial modernity through the College of Fort St George established in 1812 to train civil servants in Indian languages. Following Macaulay’s minute of 1835, the policy of imparting western education undermined the status of language teachers. Hierarchizing languages as ‘classical’ and ‘vernacular’ further impacted the professionalization of Tamil teachers. Pulavars received substantially lower salaries, and could not hold administrative posts. Seen as symbols of a lost world, the carriers of a hidebound tradition, and therefore impediments to modernity they were objects of ridicule. However, Orientalist scholarship – exemplified by Caldwell’s A Comparative Grammar of the Dravidian Languages (1856) – empowered the Tamil language, contributing to the formation of a new identity based on language, ‘race’, and caste: Tamil, Dravidian, and Non-Brahmin. Tamil teachers were mobilized by this movement for a new identity – a key moment being the anti-Hindu agitation (1937-39) – which enhanced their social status.

A.R. Venkatachalapathy is a professor at the Madras Institute of Development Studies, Chennai. He is also a Tamil writer, translator, and editor. A recipient of the V.K.R.V. Rao Prize (History, 2007), his publications include In Those Days There Was No Coffee: Writings in Cultural History (2006) and The Province of the Book: Scholars, Scribes, and Scribblers in Colonial Tamilnadu (2012).

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11 September
(7pm)

Ranald Michie (Durham)
London as a Financial Centre: Banks, Exchanges, Regulators and Markets. The Basis of London’s Enduring Success as a Financial Centre

12 October
(6pm)

Ruth Mazo Karras (Minnesota)
Thou Art the Man: King David and Masculinity

Public Lecture

Professor Ruth Mazo Karras, Distinguished Teaching Professor of History at the University of Minnesota, will give a lecture entitled: “Thou Art the Man: King David and Masculinity”

Medieval societies took a variety of approaches to male sexual activity, but adultery - the appropriation by one man of sexual rights that belonged to another man - was not considered acceptable anywhere. Examination of one story common to Christian, Jewish, and Muslim cultures, that of David and Bathsheba, allows us to see the different ways of deploying shared ideas about men's sex drive and how it contributes to ideals of manhood.

This lecture forms part of the Medieval History Seminar which takes place at the GHIL from 12 – 14 October.

If you would like to attend the public lecture, please register with Carole Sterckx sterckx(ghi)ghil.ac.uk by 10 October.