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Public Lectures 2012

14 February

The King, the Missionary, and the Missionary's Daughter: The Relationship between King Sekhukhune and the German Missionary J. A. Winter

GHIL in co-operation with the Christian Missions in Global History Seminar, Institute of Historical Research, University of London

Venue: University of London, 32 Russell Square, Stewart House, Room ST274 (2nd floor)

In 1881 the Pedi King Sekhukhune and the German missionary J. A. Winter were drawn into a close relationship which included a wide-ranging discussion of their beliefs and values. It also involved their families. Indeed, the most startling outcome of their interactions was the planned betrothal of Sekhukhune to the missionary’s infant daughter, Anna. Their developing alliance was cut short by tragedy but their brief encounter provides telling glimpses into the worlds that they inhabited. It also casts light on the wider intersection and cross fertilization of European and African forms of family, gender, religion, and, more broadly, the nature of power in a colonial context. Their relationship reverberated through the decades that followed, both within their families and in the conflicts which simmered and sometimes erupted in the region.

Peter Delius is Professor of History at the University of the Witwatersrand. He is the author of numerous books and articles on the history of South Africa from 1500 to the present. His most recent publications include Mpumalanga: History and Heritage (2007). He has, at various stages of his career, drawn on the archival and published records of the Berlin Missionary Society.

Kirsten Rüther is a Lecturer in History at the Leibniz University in Hanover (Germany). Her research focuses on the history of Christianization in southern Africa and the professionalization of African healers in South Africa. Her monograph Meandering Paths: African Healers' Professionalization and Popularisation in Processes of Transformation in South Africa, 1930-2004 is in preparation.

Peter Delius and Kirsten Rüther are cooperating on a project on the trans-generational and trans-continental history of a German-South African family which, in the course of four generations, changed from Pomeranian Pietists into Black Muslims. A first outcome of this cooperation is the article ‘J. A. Winter – Visionary or Mercenary? A Life in Colonial Context’, South African Historical Journal 62: 2 (2010), pp. 303-324.

23 February

West Germany in a World of Oil: Energy and Foreign Policy in the Oil Crisis 1973–4

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

When OPEC quadrupled the price of oil and its Arab members curtailed production in 1973–4, Western industrialized countries accelerated the transformation of energy policies that had already started. Concentrating on the West German government’s negotiations with its transatlantic and European partners and with the Eastern bloc, the Arabs, and the ‘Third World’, the paper asks whether the first oil crisis changed West Germany’s position in the world.

Rüdiger Graf received his Ph.D. from the Humboldt University Berlin for a dissertation on visions of the future in Weimar Germany. He teaches contemporary history at the Ruhr University Bochum. In 2010/11 he was a fellow at the Center for European Studies at Harvard University working on his current project, ‘Petroknowledge and Politics in the United States and Western Europe in the 1970s’. In the current academic year he is a Fellow of the Historisches Kolleg in Munich. His recent publications include Die Zukunft der Weimarer Republik: Krisen und Zukunftsaneignungen in Deutschland 1918–1933 (2008); Europäische Zeitgeschichte nach 1945 (coauthored, 2010); and a number of articles on Weimar Germany, the history of oil and energy, and historical theory and methodology.

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1 May

The Rescue of Memory: Retracing the Wartime Activities of an Anti-Nazi Group

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

The paper seeks to recover the lived experience of a small group of politically motivated rescuers in Nazi Germany from the oblivion into which it fell after the war. That means both identifying what the group was able to achieve and also understanding why its actions failed to enjoy post-war resonance and recognition. The lecture will explore how, partly in response to the difficulty of telling a convincing ‘story’ in the post-war period, the group itself began to reconfigure its own past experiences, so that our act of historical recovery has in part to work against the grain of the group’s own accounts. In this way the paper offers a case study of how post-war political and normative pressures both in and outside Germany have refracted and distorted our memory of rescue.

Mark Roseman holds the Pat M. Glazer Chair of Jewish Studies and is Professor of History at Indiana University, Bloomington. He is the author of The Past in Hiding (2000); The Villa, the Lake, the Meeting: Wannsee and the Final Solution (2002); and most recently Jewish Responses to Persecution, vol. 1: 1933–1938 (co-authored, 2010). He has also edited several volumes on modern German and Jewish history, and has received a number of international prizes, including the Geschwister Scholl Prize, the Jewish Quarterly’s Wingate Prize, and the Fraenkel Prize.

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24 May

The Worst Fears Come True? Germany and European Integration since 1945

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


The ongoing euro crisis will change the European integration process forever. It has given Germany an unprecedented role in the EU, with some, such as Polish Foreign Minister Sikorski, asking for more German leadership, while others fear German hegemony in Europe. The lecture sets present developments against the background of the history of Germany’s role in European integration since 1945. Are the worst fears about Germany coming true? What does history tell us about where we stand today?

Kiran Klaus Patel is Professor of European and Global History at the University of Maastricht, where he also serves as head of department. His most recent publications include The United States and Germany during the Twentieth Century: Competition and Convergence (co-ed., 2010); Europeanization in the Twentieth Century: Historical Approaches (co-ed., 2010); and Europäisierung wider Willen: Die Bundesrepublik in der Agrarintegration der EWG (2009).

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29 May

The Great War in British History, 1914–2014

Discussant: UTE DANIEL (London/Brunswick)

This lecture will address three themes: the place of the Great War in popular memory; the shift in historical treatments of the Great War from the political to the social and the cultural domain; and new transnational approaches to the history of the conflict.

Jay Winter received his doctorate in history at Cambridge, where he taught for many years. He is now Charles J. Stille Professor of History at Yale, and is a specialist on the history of the First World War. He was one of the founders of the Historial de la grande guerre at Péronne Somme, and is editor-in-chief of the three-volume Cambridge History of the First World War, to be published in 2014, in English and in French.

This lecture forms part of a series of events organized by the Foundation of German Humanities Institutes Abroad (DGIA) marking the hundredth anniversary of the start of the First World War.

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17 October

Individual Choices with Global Repercussions: Family Planning Programmes and ‘Third World’ Development in the Post-War Era

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

In the post-1945 era, rapid population growth in the so-called developing countries caused anxiety among politicians and experts concerned with the economic and social development of these countries. Family planning programmes were promoted by international agencies, national governments, and non-governmental actors in order to reduce population growth and accelerate ‘modernization’. The talk will look at the nexus between the social scientific approaches of the post-war era and population programmes, and the transnational transfer of knowledge between c.1945 and 1970.

Corinna R. Unger is Associate Professor of Modern European History at Jacobs University Bremen, Germany. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Freiburg and worked as a Research Fellow at the German Historical Institute Washington, D.C. She has published on the history of development and modernization, exile, science, and the Cold War. She is currently working on a project on the history of modernization policies and practices in post-1947 India.

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6 December

The Passion to Perform: Meritocracy and the Self in Germany around 1900

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

What turned the modern self into an achievement-oriented creature, always ready to perform: at the work place, in sports and leisure, and even in the realm of sexuality? The lecture tackles this question from a historian’s perspective, using the example of Germany between the fin de siècle and the First World War.

Nina Verheyen is a cultural historian of modern Europe. She studied history, sociology, and film in Berlin, Rome, and New York and received a Ph.D. from the Free University of Berlin in 2008. After working at the Center for the History of Emotions at the Max Planck Institute in Berlin and at the University of Vienna, she is now a Lecturer at the University of Cologne.

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