German Historical Institute London

17 Bloomsbury Square
London WC1A 2NJ
United Kingdom

Phone: +44 (0)20 - 7309 2050
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Public Lectures 2018

25 January

Nicholas Martin (Birmingham)
Hölderlin and the First World War

Lecture organised by the English Goethe Society

Venue: German Historical Institute London

31 January

Daniel Speich Chassé (Lucerne)
The ‘Third World’ as an Effect of the Social Sciences

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

The lecture will analyse the history of the term ‘third world’ since the early 1950s. The guiding question is how a plural world full of economic differences turned into the orderly fiction of nation-states—ranked according to their GDP. What is the cost of quantification in global political communication?

Daniel Speich Chassé is Professor of Global History at the University of Lucerne. His research interests lie in economic history, global history, the history of knowledge, environmental history, Swiss history, and modern African history. His publications include Die Erfindung des Bruttosozialprodukts: Globale Ungleichheit in der Wissensgeschichte der Ökonomie (2013) and (co-edited with Alexander Nützenadel) Global Inequality after 2011 (2011).

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9 May

Katharina Karcher (University of Bristol)
An anti-authoritarian threat to national security? Rudi Dutschke’s exile in the UK

This is an opening talk for the exhibition “ANTI-AUTHORITARIANS; Berlin 1968 / 2018” that will be hosted by the GHIL from 10 May to 31 July 2018. The talk starts at 5.30pm and will be followed by a general discussion and the opportunity to see the exhibition over a glass of wine afterwards.

The 1960s saw a wave of student revolts around the world. Britain remained largely unaffected by the revolutionary spirit of the time; but anxieties flared when in December 1968 Rudi Dutschke, the charismatic icon of the West German student movement, moved to England after being shot in the head by a right-wing extremist in Berlin. As a result of the attempt on his life, Dutschke suffered memory loss, epileptic fits, and had to re-learn the ability to read and write. Nevertheless, the Home Office considered him a potential threat to national security and expelled him from the country when he wanted to continue his studies in the UK. Drawing on previously unconsidered archival sources in Germany and in the UK and on interviews with contemporary witnesses, this talk will give a brief overview of Rudi Dutschke’s exile in the UK. Particular attention will be paid to conflicting narratives of disability and notions of political activity in the Dutschke case. I will conclude by asking: what can we learn from the Dutschke case when it comes to academic freedom and immigration in post-Brexit Britain?

Katharina Karcher is Lecturer of German Cultural Studies at the University of Bristol. She holds a PhD in German Studies from the University of Warwick. Her work focuses on radical protest and political violence in the Federal Republic of Germany. She has published essays on feminist theory and politics, women's involvement in political violence and feminist activism in the FRG. Her recent monograph (published by Berghahn books) deals with militant feminism in the Federal Republic of Germany since 1968. Currently, she is working on a study of the UK exile of the prominent German student leader Rudi Dutschke.

21 June

Ulrich Herbert (Freiburg)
The Russian October Revolution and the German Labour Movement

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

German History Society Annual Lecture

What did the German workers’ movement know about the course, outcome, and effects of the Russian October Revolution; how were the events perceived and judged? The lecture examines the significance of the revolutionary events in Russia and the subsequent civil war for the course of the majority SPD after the November Revolution and for the splitting of the workers’ movement. Of particular interest is how the reports on Russia influenced Ebert’s decision to co-operate with the Reichswehr leadership in suppressing the revolutionary workers, and what role the Bolshevik leadership played in initiating the numerous left-wing uprising attempts until 1923.

Ulrich Herbert is Professor of Modern History at the University Freiburg. His publications include A History of Germany in the Twentieth Century (2018); Hitler’s Foreign Workers: Enforced Foreign Labor in Germany under the Third Reich (1997); National Socialist Extermination Policy: Contemporary German Perspectives and Controversies (1999); and A History of Foreign Labor in Germany, 1880–1980 (1990).

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6 July

Andreas Gestrich (GHIL)
Land of Hope and ... The Past and Future in the Language of Modern British Politics

Valedictory Lecture

Venue: London School of Economics, Sheikh Zayed Theatre, Lower Ground Floor, New Academic Building, 54 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London WC2A 3LJ

Seating is limited, registration is via email events(ghi) only.

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11 October

Neil Gregor (Southampton)
German Orchestras, the Volksgemeinschaft, and the Persecution of the Jews, 1933–1945

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

This lecture examines the ways in which antisemitism manifested itself in German concert life during the Nazi era. Drawing on a wide variety of examples ranging from prestige civic institutions such as the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra to small provincial theatre orchestras, it examines how the social practice of the symphony concert became infected with the racist agendas of the National Socialist movement. It also notes, however, the presence of other social and political logics in operation in the concert hall, and argues that the underlying forms of bourgeois sociability centred on this space remained largely intact, providing a site on which forms of social distinction were maintained despite the social egalitarianism of the regime.

Neil Gregor is Professor of Modern European History at the University of Southampton. He has published widely on twentieth-century German history, including Daimler-Benz in the Third Reich (1998) and Haunted City: Nuremberg and the Nazi Past (2008), both of which won the Fraenkel Prize for Contemporary History. He is currently completing a book on the symphony concert in Nazi Germany.

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18 October

Benjamin Ziemann (Sheffield)
History in the Active Voice: Rethinking the German Revolution 1918/1919

German Historical Institute London

This lecture will open an international conference, sponsored by the Fritz Thyssen Foundation, on the German Revolution – a historical turning point at which, following the catastrophe of the Great War, soldiers and civilians rose up to overthrow the German Empire’s political and military leadership. The approaching centenary offers a timely occasion to re-evaluate its contested history and memory by focussing on the socio-cultural realm of expectations, experiences and responses.

There is a limited number of places available for this lecture which must be booked in advance. Please email Carole Sterckx by 16 October 2018 to secure your place: sterckx(ghi)

Conference programme  (PDF file)

21 November

Jakob Vogel (Paris)
Through Humboldt’s Glasses? Latin America in European History of the Early Nineteenth Century

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

Apart from Alexander von Humboldt’s voyages in the Spanish Empire and to the United States between 1799 and 1804, Latin America is rarely mentioned in the general narratives about nineteenth-century European history. But the political and cultural interactions between Europe and the Latin American world were much more important and diverse in the early nineteenth century than the standard narrative suggests. The lecture explores the ways in which the myth of Alexander von Humboldt as the ‘ideal’ German traveller focused attention on specific elements of a broader history of Latin American–European relations that were increasingly neglected by general European historiography.

Jakob Vogel is Professor of Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century European History at the Centre d’Histoire, Sciences Po, Paris. His publications include Europa: Notre Histoire (ed. with E. François et al., 2017) and Shaping the Transnational Sphere: Experts, Networks and Issues (ed. with D. Rodogno and B. Struck, 2015).

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27 November

Johanna Gehmacher (University of Vienna)
Translating Feminism in National and Transnational Spaces. A Biographical Perspective on Women's Movements around 1900

Gerda Henkel Visiting Professorship Lecture

Venue: London School of Economics and Political Science (CLM.4.02, Clement House, Aldwych, London WC2A 3LJ)

Political movements such as women’s movements around 1900 operated mostly in national arenas. The ideas and demands they propagated were, however, circulated (and transformed) transnationally. The talk takes the example of Käthe Schirmacher (1865-1930), a Danzig-born political activist who travelled widely through Europe before the Great War to discuss how women’s movements could share their different political concepts.

Johanna Gehmacher’s research focuses on women’s and gender history of the 19th and 20th century in Europe. Among other issues she is interested in the history of biographical thinking as a site of recurring de- and reconstructions of gendered and nationalised identities.

The Gerda Henkel Visiting Professorship is a joint project of the GHIL and the International History Department of the LSE and is funded by the Gerda Henkel Foundation.