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Previous Public Lectures 2019

23 January

Elissa Mailänder (Paris)
Self-Confident, Autonomous, and Liberated? Politicized Gender Relations in Nazi Film, 1939–1945

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

The Nazis drew upon a wide range of media first to mobilize voters, then to consolidate power, and, ultimately, to motivate German citizens in waging war. The flourishing German film industry lured more than a million spectators into cinemas each year during the war. Blockbusters such as Wunschkonzert, Stukas, and Die grosse Liebe explicitly targeted a young audience who, in their entertainment, craved romance, adventure, and escapism from the realities of everyday life. By juxtaposing these action films and romantic comedies with contemporary events the movies showcased a ‘fun’ and dynamic Nazi society while promoting highly politicized images of ‘modern’ gender relations.

Elissa Mailänder is an Associate Professor of Contemporary History at Sciences Po in Paris. Her research interests include the history of violence, gender, and sexuality. Mailänder’s previous work has focused on perpetrator history and the everyday in Nazi concentration and extermination camps. Her new project examines heterosexual relationships in Nazi Germany and highlights the importance of mass participation and practices of everyday conformity with mass dictatorship.

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28 February

Stefanie Michels (Hamburg)
Connected Families: West Africa and Southern Germany, 1891–1896

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

Taking the example of Tube Meetom and Rudolf Duala Manga Bell, two boys from elite families of Duala, Cameroon, living with a petty bourgeois German family, this lecture discusses child circulation practices of the Atlantic contact zone in relation to notions of ‘family’ and home-making. On the level of colonial control the ambivalent practices of state control through the male custodian and the agency of the African father by means of financial and social interaction are highlighted. On the affec-tive level an array of relations between extended families points to bonds not governed by the logic of ‘race’ and coloniality. Although in the end the German colonial authorities forcefully limited the ambitions of the two boys by exiling one and executing the other, their life stories advanced African independence movements in the 1930s.

Stefanie Michels focuses on German colonial and African history. She teaches at the University of Hamburg and has recently co-edited Global Photographies (2018) and Koloniale Verbindungen — Transkulturelle Erinnerungstopographien: Rheinland und Grasland, Kamerun (forthcoming).

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