German Historical Institute London

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Seminars 2015

27 January

Patrick Harries (Basel)
The Long Middle Passage: Cape Town, the Americas, and the East African Slave Trade

The lecture will treat the organization and legal provisions behind the slave trade around the southern tip of Africa from c.1780 to 1850. Special attention will be paid to the changing nature of this trade and its influence on the system of migrant labour that later served the mining industry in South Africa.

Patrick Harries, Professor of African History at the University of Basel, was previously at the University of Cape Town. Currently he is a Visiting Professor at the Institute of Advanced Studies in Nantes. He specializes in the history of labour, the history of missions, the history of knowledge, and visual history. His publications include Work, Culture and Identity: Migrant Workers in Mozambique and South Africa, c.1860–1910 (1994); Butterflies and Barbarians: Swiss Missionaries and Systems of Knowledge in South-East Africa (2007); and an edited volume, The Spiritual in the Secular: Missionaries and Knowledge about Africa (2012).

10 February

David d’Avray (London)
Medieval and Early Modern Catholicism: How Different were They?

The paper focuses on the implications of the Congregazione del Concilio, which was responsible for implementing the decrees of the Council of Trent and, in practice, for most other high-level non-dogmatic religious decision-making for centuries after the Council. It will explore the relation between the kind of law generated by the Congregazione del Concilio’s decisions and the Canon Law derived from the Middle Ages, and whether the relation between hierarchy and condensed symbolism that characterized the medieval church continued unchanged in the early modern period.

David d’Avray is Professor of Medieval History at UCL. He has written on the history of mendicant, memorial, and marriage preaching; on the social influence of marriage symbolism; and on the history and sociology of rationality in its Weberian sense. His most recent book is Dissolving Royal Marriages: A Documentary History (2014).

17 February

Harriet Rudolph (Regensburg)
Entangled Objects? The Material Culture of Cross-Cultural Negotiations: Habsburg–Ottoman Diplomacy (1527–1648)

The lecture examines the various forms, functions, and semantics of objects in diplomatic interaction between representatives of the Habsburg Empire and the Ottoman Empire. It applies the methods of Material Culture Studies to the fields of diplomacy, foreign policy, and international law. The lecture thus aims at a more profound understanding of individual political processes of negotiation between these two empires in peace and war.

Harriet Rudolph is Professor of Early Modern History at Regensburg University. She specializes in European political cultures, the history of diplomacy, and material cultures. Her publications include Eine gelinde Regierungsart. Peinliche Strafjustiz im geistlichen Territorium: Das Hochstift Osnabrück, 1716–1803 (2001); and Das Reich als Ereignis: Formen und Funktionen der Herrschaftsinszenierung bei Kaiserauftritten, 1558–1618 (2011).

3 March

Alexander Nützenadel (Berlin)
Capitalism from Below: Urban Real Estate Markets and Homeownership in Europe around 1900

The lecture explores the dynamics of urban real estate markets in Europe around 1900, a period characterized by brisk urbanization and the emergence of novel financial instruments. It will argue that ordinary people learned the rules and dynamics of modern capitalism through homeownership. By analysing real estate markets, we can understand the history of capitalism from below.

Alexander Nützenadel is Professor of Social and Economic History at the Humboldt University, Berlin. His general area of research is the social and economic history of Europe since the late eighteenth century. More recently, his research has focused on the role of clientelism and corruption in modern societies, urban real estate markets, and the history of globalization in the twentieth century. He is the author of Stunde der Ökonomen: Wissenschaft, Experten kultur und Politik in der Bundesrepublik 1949–74 (2005).

12 May

Joachim Scharloth (Dresden)
Computing Historical Watersheds. A Linguistic Approach

The automated analysis of huge digital text collections as a method of historical research is becoming more and more popular. But along with its rising popularity, its explanatory power is coming under scrutiny. The talk will explore how we can use computational methods for a deeper understanding of cultural change from a linguistic angle. Starting with a short introduction to the basic principles of data-driven methods, the lecture will discuss different linguistic categories which can be used as indicators for cultural change and illustrate the corpus-driven approach using empirical evidence from large German newspaper corpora (1946-2014).

Joachim Scharloth is Professor of Applied Linguistics at TU Dresden. His research focuses on developing linguistic methods for automated digital text analysis. His main publications include 1968. Eine Kommunikationsgeschichte (2011); 1968 in Europe. A History of Protest and Activism, 1956-77 (with Martin Klimke, 2008).

26 May

Helen Baker and Tony McEnery (Lancaster)
The Language Surrounding Poverty in Early Modern England

This talk will examine the textual portrayal of beggars and vagrants by seventeenth-century English writers by means of a corpus-based analysis. The lecture will discuss what language was used to describe beggars and vagrants and what shift, if any, took place in their representation as the seventeenth century progressed. It aims to show what these findings can reveal about early modern English attitudes towards people experiencing poverty.

Tony McEnery is a Distinguished Professor at the Department of Linguistics and English Language at Lancaster University. He has authored numerous books on corpus linguistics, including (with Andrew Hardie) Corpus Linguistics: Method, Theory and Practice (2012).

Helen Baker is a trained historian and a Senior Research Associate in the interdisciplinary research project ‘Newspapers, Poverty and Long-term Change‘ at the ESRC Centre for Corpus Approaches to Social Science at Lancaster University.

2 June

Naomi Tadmor (Lancaster)
The Settlement of the Poor and the Rise of the Form in Eighteenth-Century England

As computational linguistics shows, the concept of 'settlement' developed in England in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries in direct relation to the administration of the poor laws. This paper will examine the relationship between the law, civil society, and print culture, exploring how the legislation concerning the settlement of the poor, enacted in England since the seventeenth century, gave rise to an administrative system where settlement certificates and forms were increasingly employed.

Naomi Tadmor is Professor of History at Lancaster University. She is the author of Family and Friends in Eighteenth-Century England: Household, Kinship, and Patronage (2001), and The Social Universe of the English Bible: Scripture, Society and Culture in Early Modern England (2010), and co-editor of The Practice and Representation of Reading in England (1996).

23 June

Gregor Rohmann (Frankfurt a.M.)
Conceptualizing ‘Contagion’ before the Black Death. An Approach to Political Language in the Middle Ages

The lecture discusses the methodology and findings of the research project ‘Political Language in the Middle Ages. Semantic Approaches’ at the Goethe University Frankfurt am Main. It will present the digital tools developed by the project team for the analysis of semantic structures in medieval Latin sources based on the methodology of corpus linguistics. The lecture will focus on the concept of ‘contagion’ as a case study to demonstrate how these tools can help us to understand how semantic change evolved in general, and especially how people conceptualized power, social conflicts, and group relations in times before politics as a social subsystem emerged.

Gregor Rohmann teaches Medieval History at the University of Frankfurt a.M. and was the project manager of the research project mentioned above. His books include Tanzwut. Kosmos, Kirche und Mensch in der Bedeutungsgeschichte eines spätmittelalterlichen Krankheitskonzepts (2013); and Das Ehrenbuch der Fugger. Darstellung – Kommentar – Transkription (2004).

6 October

Martin Mulsow (Erfurt/Gotha)
Drugs and Oriental Studies in the Seventeenth Century: Towards an Intellectual History beyond East and West

In the early 1670s Martin Fogel, a physician and linguist from Hamburg, inquired into rumours about Maslach, a drug that the Ottoman Turks supposedly gave their soldiers to enhance their fighting abilities. The lecture will trace the entangled history of the Maslach debate from Fogel’s perspective and the Ottoman side. It will demonstrate how an intellectual history focusing on scholarly practices can contribute to a transcultural history of this era.

Martin Mulsow is Professor of Intellectual History at the University of Erfurt and Director of the Gotha Research Centre for Early Modern Studies. His main areas of research are Renaissance philosophy, the history of early modern scholarship, clandestine literature, and radical Enlightenment. His most recent book is Prekäres Wissen: Eine andere Ideengeschichte der Frühen Neuzeit (2012).

20 October

Elizabeth Harvey (Nottingham)
Gender, Race, and the Wartime Workforce: The Nazi Labour Administration and Female Forced Labour from Occupied Eastern Europe

This lecture will explore why such a substantial proportion of the civilian forced labourers recruited from occupied Poland and the occupied Soviet territories for work in wartime Nazi Germany was female. It will consider factors influencing the demand for and supply of female foreign labour and explore the recruitment policies and practices of the Reich labour administration.

Elizabeth Harvey is Professor of History at the University of Nottingham. She specializes in the history of twentieth-century Germany and Europe with a focus on gender history and the Second World War period. She is the author of Women and the Nazi East: Agents and Witnesses of Germanization (2003); and Youth and the Welfare State in Weimar Germany (1993).

27 October

Lawrence Goldman (London)
Founding the Welfare State: The Collective Biography of William Beveridge, R. H. Tawney, and William Temple

This lecture will examine the close personal relations between three of the most prominent British social reformers of the twentieth century. Tawney and Temple were at school together; all three overlapped as students in the same Oxford college; Tawney married Beveridge’s sister; they remained friends and colleagues for the rest of their lives. What do these personal relationships tell us about social politics in Britain between 1900 and 1950? Can the welfare state be reduced to three interlocking biographies?

Lawrence Goldman is Director of the Institute of Historical Research, London. He was formerly Fellow and Tutor in History at St Peter's College, Oxford and also editor of the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography for ten years from its publication in 2004. His biography of R. H. Tawney was published in 2012.

24 November

Joanna Bourke (London)
‘Going Ballistic’: A New History of Aggression

Aggression is an essentially contested concept. What is meant by ‘aggression’ has changed dramatically over the past two centuries. What ideological, political, and economic forces have produced practices that are categorized as ‘aggressive’ at any period of time and for any particular group? The lecture will explore what these systems of classification and regulation can tell historians about gender and power in late nineteenth- and twentieth-century culture.

Joanna Bourke is Professor of History at Birkbeck College. She is the prize-winning author of eleven books, including histories of modern warfare, military medicine, psychology and psychiatry, the emotions, and rape. In 2014 she was the author of The Story of Pain: From Prayer to Painkillers and Wounding the World: How Military Violence and War- Play are Invading our Lives.


Seminars — Spring 2015  (PDF file)
Seminars — Summer 2015 Digital History  (PDF file)
Seminars — Autumn 2015  (PDF file)