In post-1945 German culture the Enlightenment has generally been a source of celebration. Since at least the publication of Dialektik der Aufklärung (1947), however, intellectuals have considered the possibility that Enlightenment philosophy may have contributed to twentieth-century totalitarianism.Continue reading Beyond Heroes and Villains: Reassessing Racism in the German Enlightenment
It is tedious and exhausting to identify and name mechanisms of disadvantage. To remember those anecdotes that keep coming back, although you don’t want to remember. Memories that eventually become part of your own narrative about yourself, although you might want it to be different.Continue reading ‘Who remains?’ (Part 1): Before we even start our research…
This text by Christina Morina and Norbert Frei was first published, in German, on the L.I.S.A. blog of the Gerda Henkel Stiftung. It was translated by Jenny Price.
Where are you from. Here we go again, I thought, and answered: Tricky question! It depends on what you mean by where. The geographic location of the hillside on which the maternity ward stood? The national borders at the time of the last contractions? My parents’ background? Genes, ancestors, dialect? Whichever way you look at it, your origin is a construct! A kind of costume that you are forced to wear for the rest of your days once it has been fitted. And thus a curse! Or, with a bit of luck, a fortune, derived not from talent but adorned with benefits and privileges.
Saša Stanišić, Herkunft (2019)
At the end of the day, the shelf life of a text on contemporary history, especially one that intervenes in current affairs, depends on the pace at which present events unfold and respond to it.Continue reading Racism and Historiography
In last week’s blog post, we addressed recent calls for equity and structural change in historical disciplines by looking inwards, in a moment of self-reflection. But what practical steps can we take to transform our field into a more inclusive environment—one in which not only scholars with privileged backgrounds can pursue a career? How can we address discrimination, diversity, and inclusion beyond tokenistic statements and designated research areas? What would a commitment to anti-racism look like if we were to spell out a concrete action plan, as colleagues have done in the UK?Continue reading History is Located Inside, not Outside Racial Biases – Can Historians in Germany Break the Silence after Black Lives Matter? (Part 2)
In the weeks following the murder of George Floyd, hundreds of higher education institutions and other organizations around the world issued statements of solidarity. Yet despite mounting pressure, most German universities, research institutions, and associations remained silent. The hashtags #ShutDownAcademia and #BlackInTheIvory scarcely registered on German-speaking social media. Criticism was on the rise in the US and the UK because many historians felt the tokenistic statements of their institutions fell far short of plans for concrete action; yet in German academia, many colleagues were still waiting for an initial reaction.Continue reading History is Located Inside, not Outside Racial Biases – Can Historians in Germany Break the Silence after Black Lives Matter? (Part 1)