Projects in this research area focus on European-British relationships or comparisons, with Europe in the foreground. They also investigate, or aim to enable, the travel of ideas and methods between Britain, Germany and Europe.
Pauper Letters and Petitions for Poor Relief in Germany and Great Britain, 1770–1914
Andreas Gestrich (University of Trier) and Steven King (University of Leicester)
Pauper letters and applications for relief contain sometimes rudimentary but often extensive information on the applicants’ material situation, their family circumstances, and their relationships with their home parish, or specific officials or friends from whom they expect support. This project proposes to collect and edit a substantial online corpus of these narratives.
Nomadism as a Discursive Figure of (Post)Modernity
Modernity and mobility are ambivalently intertwined, whereby nomadism can be understood as a focal point of modernity’s self-conception as modernity. Nomadism was excluded from the European/Western concept of modernity, until it was rediscovered by postmodern thinkers and intellectuals. Against this backdrop, it is proposed that nomadism be identified as a prominent discursive figure of (post)modernity that calls for a continued reflection on sociality.
Christina von Hodenberg
Ageing and 'Doing Gender' in the Era of Value Change
To what extent did old people, especially ageing women, play an active part in the processes of value change that transformed West Germany and Britain from the 1960s to the 1980s? Contemporary historians have often pointed to student protests and generational conflict between fathers and sons to explain cultural change. In contrast, this project explores the gendered subtext of value conflicts and the agency of women and the elderly.
Christina von Hodenberg
Writing Contemporary History with Social Data: Plans for a Digital Infrastructure
Historians working on the second half of the 20th century are confronted with new types of sources: so-called social data. These are the remains of state-sponsored data collection or social science research projects, and include tax data, polls, psychological interviews, and participant observations. Such data can appear in obsolete formats such as punchcards or magnetic tapes, and may be found in retired researchers’ attics rather than in archives. The GHIL has teamed up with external partners to tackle the challenges tied to the re-use of social data by historians.
Past and completed Projects
- "Conservatism Lost – Conservatism Regained": Political Languages of Conservatism in the United Kingdom and the Federal Republic of Germany in the 1960s and 1970s (Martina Steber)
- The Semantics of Social Justice: Britain and West Germany since 1945 (Felix Römer)
- History of Child Adoption in Europe (Benedikt Stuchtey, now at Philipps Universität Marburg)