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GHI Washington - Fall Newsletter
September 27, 2017
The German Historical Institute at 30 The Founding of a Historical Institute at the Intersection of Scholarship and Politics
On the occasion of its 30th anniversary, the GHI is presenting a panel discussion, featuring four historians, on the founding of the German Historical Institute, which opened its doors in 1987. Hartmut Lehmann, the GHI’s first director, will offer his recollections on the opportunities and challenges involved in establishing the new Institute; Doris Bergen (University of Toronto) will share her experiences and insights as someone who has frequently cooperated with the GHI; Jacob Eder (Friedrich Schiller University Jena), author of Holocaust Angst (2016), will shed light on the place of the GHI in the transatlantic memory politics of the 1980s; Scott Krause (ZZF Potsdam & UNC Chapel Hill), who is working on a history of the Institute’s founding, will outline the findings of his recent examination of the newly declassified files from the German Ministry of Research and Technology as well as Helmut Kohl’s chancellery.
Before the panel discussion, a new video celebrating the GHI’s 30 years of working with historians on both sides of the Atlantic will be shown along with a display highlighting some of the many publications supported by the Institute.
31st Annual Lecture of the GHI What Kind of Intelligence Calculates? Prodigies, Drudges, and Machines, 1750-1950
The 31st Annual Lecture of the GHI is being delivered by Lorraine Daston, Director of the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science’s (MPIWG) Department II “Ideals and Practices of Rationality.” She has published widely on the history of science, including the history of probability and statistics, the emergence of the scientific fact, the moral authority of nature, and the history of scientific objectivity. Her current projects include a history of rules, the emergence of Big Science and Big Humanities in the context of nineteenth-century archives, and the relationship between moral and natural orders. In addition to her position at MPIWG, she is a regular visiting professor in the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago and Permanent Fellow of the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin.
The comment will be provided by Jaime Cohen-Cole, an Associate Professor of American Studies at George Washington University. His research focuses on the how science shapes and is molded in modern life. His book, Open Mind: Cold War Politics and the Sciences of Human Nature (University of Chicago, 2014), chronicles the development and promulgation of a scientific vision of the rational, creative, open-minded self in the context of the Cold War era.
26th Annual Symposium of the Friends of the German Historical Institute: Presentation of the Fritz Stern Dissertation Prize
The 2017 Fritz Stern Dissertation Prize will be awarded to Bradley J. Nichols (Virginia Tech) for his dissertation "The Hunt for Lost Blood: Nazi Germanization Policy in Occupied Europe" (Ph.D. dissertation, University of Tennessee, 2017) advised by Prof. Vejas Liulevicius. The award ceremony will take place at the 26th Annual Symposium of the Friends of the German Historical Institute on November 10, 2017. The selection committee was composed of Monica Black (chair, University of Tennessee-Knoxville), Yair Mintzker (Princeton University), and Annemarie Sammartino (Oberlin College).
Legacies of the Reformation Lecture Series at the German Historical Institute, Fall 2017
The historical significance of Martin Luther’s challenge to the authority and teachings of Rome has long been the subject of intense debate. The modern individual free to act according to the dictates of conscience has been held up as a product of the Reformation, for instance, but so too has the authoritarian state claiming the right to regulate morality and belief. The 500th anniversary of the publication of Luther’s “Ninety-five Theses” offers occasion to revisit the question of the meaning of the Reformation for the present. The series will present lectures at the GHI by three renowned scholars: Thomas Maissen (GHI Paris) will discuss "Conscience, Authority, and the Right of Resistance: How Religious Choice Framed the Individual and the State System" (Oct. 19); Jesse Spohnholz (Washington State University) will speak about "Remembering and Forgetting the Reformation, 1517-2017" (Nov. 2); and Ann Blair (Harvard University) will give a talk on "Writing in Stressful Times: The Anxieties of Authorship During the Reformation" (Dec. 7).
Opening Celebration for GHI West - Pacific Regional Office of the German Historical Institute Washington DC
Thirty years after opening its doors in the U.S. capital, the German Historical Institute Washington DC is expanding its operations. Please join us for the opening of our new Pacific Regional Office, GHI West, for the First Annual Bucerius Lecture delivered by Armin Nassehi on “The Knowledge of/about Migrants: Preconceptions, Misconceptions, Limits” at the Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life at University of California Berkeley.
Armin Nassehi is a Professor of Sociology at LMU Munich and editor of Kursbuch, one of Germany’s leading intellectual magazines. An outspoken participant in public debate, he is considered “among the most thoughtful intellectual voices in Germany today” (New York Review of Books). Nassehi's keynote is the first in a series of annual Bucerius lectures funded by the ZEIT-Stiftung Ebelin und Gerd Bucerius, one of the major German private foundations active in the field of migration and transformation studies. Prior to the public lecture, GHI WEST is hosting the Bucerius Young Scholars Forum, a new program designed to bring together a group of ten junior scholars each year from Germany, Europe, and North America to explore new research and questions in the history of migration with a particular focus on questions arising from intertwining the perspectives of migration and knowledge.
In July 2017, Andrea Westermann joined the GHI as a research fellow. On October 1, she will arrive in Berkeley and will begin her position as head of GHI West – the GHI’s new pacific regional office. Andrea will help establish a research network on "Knowledge in Transit: Migrants' Knowledge in Comparative Perspective." Her own research is dedicated to the knowledge of environmental migrants in Spain, California, and Chile. In addition, she is working on her habilitation titled "Earth matters. Geology around 1900 interpersonal measure and earth scale." Before joining the GHI, Andrea was a senior fellow at the Historical Seminar at the University of Zurich and an associated member of the Center for the History of Knowledge (ETH / University of Zurich). She is a member of the h-soz-kult editorial team.
German History in Documents and Images Receives DFG Grant for Relaunch
In August 2017, the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) awarded the GHI a generous grant in support of the relaunch of the German History and Documents and Images website. The three-year grant, which was awarded through the “Infrastructure for Electronic Publications and Digital Science Communication” program, will support the creation of a new technical platform for the website, as well as the revision and expansion of GHDI’s content. Together, these changes will transform a popular legacy site into a new digital resource that responds to the current state of technology, historiography, and methodology.
GHI Launching "Gerda Henkel Lectures" for GHI West in Cooperation with the Gerda Henkel Stiftung
The GHI is pleased to announce a new program for GHI West in cooperation with the Gerda Henkel Stiftung, one of Germany’s most important non-profit foundations. Starting in 2018, the Gerda Henkel Lectures will bring German historians to the West Coast where they will present their research at up to four different universities. The Gerda Henkel Lectures will not only aim to broaden the individual speaker's personal research networks; they will also aim to facilitate the general dialogue between German historians and their colleagues in the U.S. and Canadian west.
New Visiting and Tandem Fellows for the 2018/19 Academic Year
During the 2017/2018 academic year, the GHI will be hosting seven new visiting long-term and tandem fellows. The new visiting fellows will contribute to the diverse and wide-ranging research profile of the Institute for the year. You can read more about their projects by following the links in their photos to the right.
Left to right: Juliane Braun (University of Bonn) and Benjamin Fagan (Auburn University) - Tandem for the History of Knowledge and Knowledge Cultures; Bryant Simon (Temple University) and Anke Ortlepp (University of Kassel) - Tandem for Global and Transregional History; Jan Hansen (Humboldt University Berlin) - Fellow in the History of the Americas; Sarah Lemmen (University of Bremen) - Fellow in the History of Migration; and Frederik Schulze (University of Münster) - Fellow in the History of Knowledge.
GHI West will also welcome its first Binational Visiting Tandem Fellows in the History of Migration in October: Albert Manke (University of Bielefeld) and Lok Siu (University of California, Berkeley).
Space and Spatiality in Modern German-Jewish History
Simone Lässig, director of the GHI, and Miriam Rürup, director of the Institut für die Geschichte der deutschen Juden (and a former GHI research fellow), are co-editors of a new volume, Space and Spatiality in Modern German-Jewish History, in the Berghahn Books series "New German Historical Perspectives." This wide-ranging volume revisits literal as well as metaphorical spaces in modern German history to examine the ways in which Jewishness has been attributed to them both within and outside of Jewish communities, and what the implications have been across different eras and social contexts. Working from an expansive concept of “the spatial,” these contributions look not only at physical sites but at professional, political, institutional, and imaginative realms, as well as historical Jewish experiences of spacelessness. Together, they encompass spaces as varied as early modern print shops and Weimar cinema, always pointing to the complex intertwining of German and Jewish identity.
Bright Modernity: Color, Commerce, and Consumer Culture
Color is a visible technology that invisibly connects so many puzzling aspects of modern Western consumer societies—research and development, making and selling, predicting fashion trends, and more. Bright Modernity: Color, Commerce, and Consumer Culture, edited by Regina Lee Blaszczyk and Uwe Spiekermann (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017), examines transatlantic and multidisciplinary dimensions of the “color revolution” (Blaszczyk), which has shaped our world in ways we take for granted. Covering history from the mid-nineteenth century into the immediate past, it examines the relationship between color, commerce, and consumer societies in unfamiliar settings and in the company of new kinds of experts.
Featured Post from the History of Knowledge Blog: Placing Indigenous & European Knowledge on Equal Footing in the Delgamuukw Land Claim
Andrew Taylor (University of Ottawa)
The s that is now often added to turn the history of knowledge into the history of knowledges marks a huge challenge. While scholars working within European academic traditions increasingly recognize in principle that there are many kinds of knowledges and endeavor to respect them, any attempt to bring fundamentally different kinds of knowledge into sustained contact is extremely difficult. This challenge is particularly acute in the case of indigenous land claims. Such claims generally appeal to the principle that a people has the right to continue using land in the ways its ancestors did and so depends upon knowledge of a distant past. The indigenous record of past land use is usually oral, not written, and the record is maintained through cultural practices that may be very alien to a court working in a European legal tradition. The differences run deep. What sustains many indigenous land claims is not just a difference of culture but a different way of knowing, hence the relevance of Wissensgeschichte.