German Historical Institute Seminars – Summer 2018

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Date / time: 1 May - 12 June, 5:30 pm

German Historical Institute, London

German Historical Institute Seminars - Summer 2018

The GHIL regularly holds seminars and lectures on topics of general interest to British and German historians. Seminars are held Tuesdays at 5.30pm during term time. Seminar papers are normally presented in English; knowledge of the German language is not necessary for participation.

1 May: Pat Thane (King’s College London)Divided Kingdom: Inequalities in the UK since 1900

This paper surveys patterns of equality in the UK since c.1900, in particular, how income inequality narrowed, especially from 1945 to the late 1970s, but has now returned to much earlier levels. It asks how changes—for better and worse—in this and other inequalities, including gender, race, and age, have come about.

Pat Thane, MA (Oxon), Ph.D. (LSE), FBA, is Research Professor in Contemporary British History, King’s College London. Her research interests include gender, welfare, and social inequalities in Britain in the last century. Her recent publications include Sinners? Scroungers? Saints? Unmarried Motherhood in Twentieth Century Britain, with Tanya Evans (2012). Her monograph Divided Kingdom: A History of Britain since 1900 will be published by CUP in May 2018.

15 May: Keith RobbinsOxford University Press 1970–2004: Organizing a Publishing History

Oxford University Press reasonably claims to be the largest university press in the world, operating in many different locations and meeting complex needs. It is the unusual department of a great university and committed to its educational purpose and academic mission. The challenge before it in this period has been to survive and prosper during decades of publishing turbulence and technological change. Its situation can be put simply: making a surplus is not its purpose but it has had to make a surplus in order to survive. This talk explores how it has responded.

Keith Robbins, FRSE, FRHistS, FLSW, has been Professor of Modern History at Bangor and Glasgow universities and Senior Vice-Chancellor of the University of Wales. He has published widely on nineteenth and twentieth-century political, diplomatic, cultural, and religious history including Munich 1938 (1968); Sir Edward Grey (1971); Nineteenth-Century Britain: Integration and Diversity (1988); Britain and Europe 1789–2005 (2005); England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales: The Christian Church 1900–2000 (2008).

29 May: Amanda Power (St Catherine’s College Oxford)Medieval Histories of the Anthropocene

The ‘global middle ages’ is a relatively new idea in both medieval and global history. The conventional view of ‘the global’ as a post-1500 process extends the work that ignorance of the medieval past has long done to legitimize the political, economic, and intellectual regimes of modernity. It strategically obliterates the planet itself by locating the meanings and significance of ‘the global’ narrowly in the history of human connections. The concept of a ‘global middle ages’ can run against all this. Drawing on new work in the environmental humanities, anthropology, political theory, the ‘nonhuman turn’, and much else, medievalists can develop fresh approaches to invigorate both the discipline of global history, and the study of our own period.

Amanda Power is Associate Professor in History at the University of Oxford. She works on questions of religion, power, and public rationality in medieval Europe and is involved in the development of the new field of global medieval history. Her publications include Roger Bacon and the Defence of Christendom (2012).

12 June: Matthew P. Fitzpatrick (Flinders, South Australia)The Kaiser’s Weltpolitik? Constitutional Monarchy in the Age of Empire

Via a series of case studies, this lecture interrogates the idea that Wilhelm II was the guiding hand on Germany’s foreign policy tiller. Through a discussion of the genocidal war in South-West Africa, the development of the Baghdad Railway, and the aftermath of the Boxer Rebellion, the lecture looks at the royal prerogative in action and suggests that despite claims to the contrary, the Kaiser’s scope for independent action was surprisingly limited.

Matthew P. Fitzpatrick is Associate Professor of International History at Flinders University, South Australia. He is the author of Purging the Empire: Mass Expulsions from Germany, 1871–1914 (2015) and Liberal Imperialism in Germany: Expansionism and Nationalism in Germany, 1848–1884 (2008). He is a past winner of the Chester Penn Higby Prize and has been a Humboldt Fellow at the Westphalian Wilhelms University in Münster.

Seminars are held at 5.30 p.m. in the Seminar Room of the German Historical Institute. Tea is served from 5.00 p.m. in the Common Room, and wine is available after the seminars.