German History Intersections

Children at a Berlin-Kreuzberg school in front of a “wall of nations” representing the countries of origin of the student body (1979). Courtesy of the German Information Center.

The German History (GH) Intersections project is a transatlantic initiative that will begin by examining three broad themes – German identity; migration; and knowledge and education – over as many as five centuries. The initial product will be a dynamic, open-access website consisting of three modules, each of which will include primary source documents (in German and English), high-resolution images, historic audio and video clips, and a variety of additional resources, including podcasts and online interviews. Additional thematic modules are envisioned. The organizer of this project is the German Historical Institute (GHI), Washington, DC. It has been funded by the Transatlantic Program of the European Recovery Program (German Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy).  

The three chosen themes currently occupy the forefront of public debate on both sides of the Atlantic. They were selected on the basis of their topicality, but also because they fit within the larger framework of intersections between peoples, cultures, nations, and ideas. By taking a long view on three critical themes in German history, the GH Intersections project will offer an alternative to standard histories – whether in printed or electronic form – that are organized according to chronology. 

GH Intersections is geared toward audiences in North America, Germany, and throughout the world. Target groups include high school students and undergraduates; teachers, professors, and instructors at a range of institutions; researchers, journalists, and policymakers; and members of the interested public. The project aims to publish thought-provoking materials for use in research and curricula and to encourage public and scholarly debate. 

  • Multimedia Primary Sources

    Documents, Images, Sound and Video Clips

    Each module will include a selection of approximately 100 primary source documents representing a variety of genres. The documents will appear in their original language (typically German) and in English translation. In some cases, documents will be accompanied by facsimiles. In addition to texts, each module will include a selection of approximately 100 high-resolution images, including 360° photographs of material objects. By featuring multimedia source materials, specifically audio and video clips, the project will appeal to today’s visually oriented audiences. 

  • Secondary Sources

    Introductory Texts, Further Resources

    The primary sources in each module will be complemented by a wealth of secondary source texts, including document abstracts, image captions, and brief introductions to the historic audio and video clips. Furthermore, each module will feature a long-format introduction that provides a framework for interpreting the various source materials. Lastly, each module will include additional resources in diverse media. This section will include reviews of current literature and exhibitions, links to articles in the general and academic press, video-clips from interviews, and podcasts. 

  • Website

    Features and Functionality

    As a web-based project, GH Intersections will offer its users free access to a range of innovative materials, all of which will be presented in dynamic and interactive form. Furthermore, the website will feature a robust search engine that will allow for both full-text searches and searches by author, subject, keyword, and other parameters. The GH Intersections website will rely on Scalar 2.0, an open-source platform for authoring, editing, and publishing long-form digital scholarship. Among other advantages, Scalar provides tools to integrate textual content with images, videos, and other multimedia sources.

  • Participating Scholars

    “German” Identity/“Germanness”

    • Winson Chu (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee)
    • Hannah Margaret Elmer (Columbia University)
    • Martina Kessel (University of Bielefeld)
    • Eva Marie Lehner (University of Duisburg)

    Migration

    • Deniz Göktürk (University of California at Berkeley)
    • Dirk Hoerder (Arizona State University)
    • Annika Orich (University of California at Berkeley)
    • Sakine Yildiz (University of Osnabrück)

    Knowledge and Education

    • Anne Mariss (University of Regensburg)
    • Christopher Neumaier (ZZF, Potsdam)
    • Michael Printy (Yale University)
    • Jeffrey Zalar (University of Cincinnati)
  • Feedback and Collaboration

    The GH Intersections project was initiated in September 2016 and will run for approximately three years. During this time, the GHI plans to organize various conference panels and workshops on the themes covered in the project – German identity; migration; and knowledge and education. If you have recommendations for additional thematic modules or are interested in potential collaboration, please contact the GHI at intersections@ghi-dc.org