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


calendar & information

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  1. 1) GHIL Seminars
  2. 2) Public Lectures
  3. 3) European Leo Baeck Lecture Series
  4. 4) Conferences and Workshops
  5. 5) Call for Papers
  6. 6) Special Event
  7. 7) Kolloquium
  8. 8) TRG Postdoctoral Fellowships

1) GHIL Seminars

Inspired by a new strand of scholarship, the German Historical Institute London will mark this year’s centenary with a series of lectures that revolve around the auditory dimensions of the First World War. In order to highlight the experience and the impact of sound in history from various angles, the lecture series will take a broad approach, including perspectives from military history, media history, the history of music and the history of collective memory. The lectures will explore what the acoustics of the Great War meant for the soldiers on the battlefield and how they influenced public remembrance, popular media and the arts. The lecture series will thus probe the place of sound both in contemporary experience and the aftermath of the war.
Seminars are held at 5.30 p.m. in the Seminar Room of the German Historical Institute. Guided tours of the Library are available before each seminar at 4 p.m.
27 May
War Noises in Silent Films. First World War Battle Reconstructions in British Instructional Films, 1921-1931

British Instructional Films made a series of battle reconstructions with the aid of the War Office and Admiralty that proved smash hits across the Empire. Now almost entirely unknown, these films attempted to show the people of the Empire exactly what their soldiers and sailors had done on their behalf. Using hundreds of troops and ships lent by the army and navy, BIF was able to create epics which thrilled people whilst also making them consider the cost of the war. Of course, these films were never ‘silent’ – sound effects and music were added to enhance as well as shape the viewing experience. In addition, the frequent use of soldiers’ songs in the musical accompaniment encouraged the audiences to sing along, turning a screening into a community experience resurrecting memories and emotions. The lecture will explore what these films reveal about how people across the British Empire understood the war in its immediate aftermath.
10 June
The Beleaguered Ear. On Fighting Underground and Learning to Listen in the Great War

On the frontlines of the First World War the noise of battle, rattling machine guns, cannonading artillery and bursting shells laid siege to the ear. Soldiers had to learn how to discriminate between these various war noises in order to anticipate looming danger and increase their chances of survival. Technical devices and tactics were designed to detect the sounds of war: listening posts were employed, telephone systems and microphone equipment were installed, sound locators were invented and geophones adapted to the mine war. Unlike the eye that could be closed, however, the ear was always open and constantly in touch with the fighting. Perceiving and identifying war noises became a top priority in the trenches. The lecture will explore the sound of war from the perspective of the soldiers on the battlefields.
24 June
Reflections of War Sounds in German Concert Halls

Shortly after the outbreak of the First World War, composers in the belligerent countries began to comment on the hostilities in their works. A variety of war noises and their musical representation served as semantic symbols to express their views on the war. They did not rely primarily on the sounds of the battlefield, however, but mostly on other war-related acoustic signals, like anthems, patriotic chorales, military music and marching songs. As the war progressed, more and more tones of sorrow, grievance and denunciation entered the music. After 1918, sarcastically distorted military music and noises from military life were used to express criticism of the unprecedented carnage. The lecture will investigate the aims underlying the German composers' treatment of the sounds of war in their work. It will analyse techniques applied and discuss why the sounds of the battlefield were incorporated only to a limited degree.
15 July
War, Impression, Sound and Memory. British Music and the First World War

The First World War occurred at a critical juncture in Britain’s musical history. It led to mass casualties among younger talent, whose cohort had been enjoying a new, more highly respected status as composers and performers, and further marginalized the declining influence of the Victorian pedagogues. The war’s end helped define a musical aftermath of cathartic memory from which the country’s musical institutions had to rebuild. Against this backdrop, British composers not only adopted a new cultural nationalism, but also attempted, in different ways, to represent the sights and sounds of the war in their works. The lecture will analyse how the guns of the Somme, the evocations of the dreadnought battleships, the spectre of mechanized warfare and the sounds of military signals were incorporated into British music of the time.

2) Public Lectures

7 May (5.30pm)
Changing Concepts of Conversion: The Basel Mission in South India and the Emergence of a Contact Religiosity, 1834–60
Venue: Institute of Historical Research, Senate House, Gordon Room (G34)

GHIL in co-operation with the Christian Missions in Global History Seminar, Institute of Historical Research, University of London
When Basel missionaries went to India in the nineteenth century, they interacted closely with the people there, both Indians of various religious affiliations and Europeans. They tried to understand local cultures and religions so that they could better convert the locals. They immersed themselves in local thinking and practices, which in turn modified their own religiosity. This paper examines these modifications by focusing on the example of conversion, the central concern of the missionaries in India. The paper contributes to a deeper understanding of contact religiosity.
29 May (5.30pm)
The Individual and the Community: New Research on the History of National Socialism

Seminar in Modern German History, Institute of Historical Research, University of London in co-operation with the German Historical Institute London
Historiography has long focused on the National Socialist regime’s structures and methods of rule. More recent research, by contrast, concentrates on the role of society, highlighting consent and cooperation, perpetrating and participating, relations between the public and private spheres, and processes of individualization and collectivization. These recent studies are inspired by such approaches as the cultural history of the political and the history of emotions, and incorporate sources such as photographs and diaries.

3) European Leo Baeck Lecture Series

This season’s topic examines how the experience of the First World War reshaped Jewish history and culture and challenged perceptions of Jewish identity in the UK, Palestine, Germany and Eastern Europe.
22 May (6.30pm)
Jews in Palestine during the Great War

In this lecture Glenda Abramson will describe life in the Jewish settlement in Palestine under the autocratic rule of Jemal Pasha. Once the war took hold, Palestine was in a parlous condition, almost entirely cut off from the rest of the world, short of essential goods, medical supplies and funds to support those in the Jewish settlement who depended on international charity. The lack of supplies led to large-scale starvation and disease. How did the Jewish settlement in Palestine cope with these dramatic political, economic and cultural challenges?
12 June (6.30pm)
Hermann Cohen and Franz Rosenzweig – German Jewish Patriots in the Great War

The lecture explores the German patriotism of the eminent Jewish philosophers Hermann Cohen and Franz Rosenzweig. While Cohen thought that his messianic ideas found their realization in the Kaiser’s German Reich, Rosenzweig was more sober and modern. He equally did not see any contradiction between his Jewishness and his Germanness, however, less naive than Cohen, he supported Friedrich Naumann’s idea of a German hegemony in Central Europe. After the Holocaust, this seems almost incredible! However, were their ideas really that wrong and do we not owe justice to them? Was there a Jewish cause in it after all?
These events are organised by the Leo Baeck Institute London, the Jewish Museum, Frankfurt am Main and the Fritz Bauer Institut, Frankfurt am Main, in cooperation with the German Historical Institute London.
Lectures will be held at the German Historical Institute London. Admission is free.
More information is available on the GHIL website.

4) Conferences and Workshops

19-20 June
Remembering (Post)Colonial Violence: Silence, Suffering & Reconciliation
Venue: German Historical Institute London
14-18 July
12th Summer School in British History: 1066 – The Norman Conquest
Venue: Historisches Seminar der Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich

5) Call for Papers

Dreams of Germany – Music and (Trans)national Imaginaries in the Modern Era
Closing date: 30 April 2014


6) Special Event

23 May (5pm)
Book Launch: “Visions of Community in Nazi Germany. Social Engineering and Private Lives”
, edited by Martina Steber and Bernhard Gotto, Oxford University Press 2014.
Venue: St Antony's College Oxford

7) Kolloquium

The research seminar in German language offers an opportunity for the GHIL’s scholarship-holders to present and discuss their research projects. It can also serve as a general forum for British and German PhD-students and post-docs to discuss their work in progress.
22 April (5pm)

Fremd- und Selbstwahrnehmung im 12. Jahrhundert: Deutschland und England im Vergleich
29 April (5pm)

Education for Work: The Basel Missionary Society in Malabar (1854-1914)
6 May (5pm)

A tale of two cultures. Deutschsprachige Historiker in der britischen Emigration nach 1933
13 May (3pm)

The Kaiser-Panorama in the German Empire and the Weimar Republic
Das humanistische Bildungsideal im öffentlichen Diskurs. Die Entwicklungen des altsprachlichen Unterrichts im deutsch-englischen Vergleich 1920-1980
20 May (5pm)

(Ein)Geschlossene Räume. Eine Medienarchäologie der Box im Film
27 May (2.30pm)

Nützlich oder wahr? Die Entwicklung des modernen Wissenschaftsverständnisses im deutsch-englischen Vergleich (18. und 19. Jahrhundert)
3 June (2.30pm)

Kontinentale Einflüsse auf die britische Kunstwelt im 16. und 17. Jahrhundert
10 June (2.30pm)

Nation und Geschlecht in der britischen Malerei des 18. Jahrhunderts
24 June (2.30pm)

Die Elektrokrampftherapie und ihr Apparat zwischen 1938 und 1950

8) TRG Postdoctoral Fellowships

Postdoctoral fellowships TRG “Education Policy in India since the Nineteenth Century”
Closing date for application: 20 April 2014