German Historical Institute London

17 Bloomsbury Square
London WC1A 2NJ
United Kingdom

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


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Public Lectures

Leo Baeck Institute Lecture Series

Max Weber Lecture Series

Seminars - Autumn 2019

15 October

F. Benjamin Schenk (Basle); comment by Andy Willimott (London)
‘Hubs of Global Migration’: Organizing Transcontinental Flows of People in the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth Centuries

Scholars have long treated the history of the trans-Atlantic migration to the Americas and the trans-Ural movement of peasant colonists within the Russian Empire at the end of the nineteenth 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 Basle 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

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

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 rules in India, and defeats 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 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.

19 November

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’.

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Seminars are held at 5.30 p.m. in the Conference Room of the German Historical Institute (unless indicated otherwise). Tea is available from 5.00 p.m. in the Common Room, and wine is served after the lectures.

Guided tours of the Library are available before each seminar at 4.30 p.m.

Previous Seminars

Public Lectures 2019

10 October

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 eleventh century onwards. The origins of the castle are generally assigned to the ninth and tenth 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 ninth and twelfth centuries.

Attendance is free, but seats are limited. If you would like to attend the public lecture, please register with Carole Sterckx  sterckx(ghi)  by 8 October 2019.

13 November

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.

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Previous Public Lectures

Leo Baeck Institute Lecture Series London, 2018-19

The Seeing Jews in Art: Networks, Fantasies and Dreams

Full details are available here.

Max Weber Lecture Series

The Max Weber Lectures are a part of a series of lectures related to the themes of the research projects of the India Branch Office. Well-known experts from any of the research themes of the IBO are specially invited to India to share their expertise with project partners and other researchers in India.

Full details are available here.