Spring Lecture Series 2023 – German Historical Institute London

Date / time: 21 February - 28 February, 12:00 am

The GHIL invites you to its upcoming Spring Lecture Series 2023. Lectures are held in a hybrid format at the GHIL and via Zoom unless specified otherwise. GHIL Joint Lectures are presented in cooperation with the Faculty of History, University of Oxford; Modern German History Seminar, Institute of Historical Research, and other distinguished institutions.

Click to download full events programme

Please register to attend in person or virtually by following this link to our website: https://www.ghil.ac.uk/events/lectures#c1116.

21 February 2023 (5.30pm) |GHIL Lecture 

Kama McLean (University of Heidelberg) | (What) Can the Subaltern Hear? The Sounds of Mass Mobilization in Interwar India

Following the interventions of subaltern studies in the 1980s, which pivoted around the question of whether it was possible for the subaltern to speak through the colonial archive, the discipline of history has undergone seismic shifts in terms of moving away from a reliance on colonial texts. However, scholars continue to rely on speeches by leaders as an index of nationalist discourse. Yet photographs of such speeches being made, such as those which show large gatherings of peasants around nationalist leaders such as Gandhi, prompt us to ask: how were nationalist messages audible to the crowds around Gandhi? What could the subaltern hear?

Kama Maclean is Professor of History at the South Asia Institute of Heidelberg University, Germany. She is the author of Pilgrimage and Power (OUP, 2008), A Revolutionary History of Interwar India (OUP, 2015), and British India, White Australia: Overseas Indians, Intercolonial Relations and the Empire, 1901–1947 (UNSW Press, 2020).

24 February 2023 (5.30pm) | GHIL Lecture

Stefan Hanß (University of Manchester) | The Scientific Analysis of Renaissance Recipes: Medicine and the Body in the German Material Renaissance

The ‘material Renaissance’, historians have argued, was an age of experimentation, and recipes were at the heart of this cultural movement. New collaborations between the humanities and the sciences allow for novel insights into Renaissance recipe cultures, and more specifically the degree of material experimentation and engagement by ‘recipe practitioners’. Scientific analysis and thorough historical contextualization of the chemical fingerprints of recipe users offer a new understanding of material cultures, medicine, and the history of the body in early modern Germany. Which ingredients were used? How were they used, and what for? Which substances were altered, and why? And what can be said about their impact on the human body? This lecture focuses on early modern Augsburg and discusses topics as wide-ranging as haircare and toothache. It contributes to research on recipes, as well as to the new history of material practices, early modern medicine, and material and medical practitioners in early modern Germany.

Stefan Hanß is Senior Lecturer in Early Modern History at the University of Manchester and the winner of a British Academy Rising Star Engagement Award (2019) as well as a Philip Leverhulme Prize in History (2020). Hanß works on cultural encounters and global material culture, currently with a focus on the history of hair and featherwork, and on establishing new collaborations between the humanities and the sciences. In September 2023, Hanß takes on the role as Deputy Director and Scientific Lead of the John Rylands Research Institute Manchester. His research has been widely published in, among others, History Workshop Journal, Past & Present, Renaissance Quarterly, and The Historical Journal. He is the author of two monographs on the Battle of Lepanto and Narrating the Dragoman’s Self in the Veneto-Ottoman Balkans, c.1550–1650 (Routledge, 2023). Hanß has co-edited Mediterranean Slavery Revisited (500–1800) (2014), The Habsburg Mediterranean, 1500–1800 (2021), Scribal Practice and Global Cultures of Colophons, 1400–1700 (2022), and, most recently, In-Between Textiles, 1400–1800: Weaving Subjectivities and Encounters (2023). He is currently in the final stage of writing a new book on the early modern history of hair.

21 March 2023 (5.30pm) Zoom only | GHIL Lecture

Matthew Vernon (University of California, Davis) | Unexceptional Blackness and ‘Blind Matter’: Visuality, Temporality, and Race

This talk will consider Brandon Jacobs-Jenkins’s play, Everybody, which adapts the fifteenth-century play Everyman. Everyman is a particularly pointed choice for Jacobs-Jenkins to adapt because of its presentation of a Black character unexpectedly confronted by death, a move that cannot help but conjure up familiar ideas around ‘Black Lives Matter’ and the spectre of death that shadows that phrase. At the same time, in the context of Everybody, Jacobs-Jenkins presses the metaphysical boundaries of what ‘matter’ can mean and how one might continue to expand the political potency of the phrase ‘Black Lives Matter’. In reading between these plays, I will interrogate the relationships between Blackness, visibility, materiality, and necropolitics. Central to this discussion will be an argument about reading race ‘counterfactually’, that is, how we read against the habits of representation that delimit the possibilities for recognizing Black lives.

Matthew Vernon is an associate professor of English Literature at the University of California, Davis. His first book, The Black Middle Ages, explores the understudied relationship between medievalism and Blackness in nineteenth and twentieth-century literature. He has also written articles on his interests in issues of race and genre, including on the post-truth phenomenon in nineteenth-century novels, Black speculative fiction, and comic books about displacement and vulnerability. He is currently working on an article on the adaptation of the medieval play, ‘Everyman’.

28 March 2023 (5.30pm) | GHIL Joint Lecture

Nina Verheyen (Free University of Berlin) | Global Connections and Personal Achievements. (De)centring the Self in Fin de Siècle Germany

In co-operation with the Modern German History Seminar, Institute of Historical Research (IHR)

Within a few decades, people in Imperial Germany witnessed a dramatic rise in global exchange, as well as an increased public interest in personal achievement. Work performance, intelligence, sporting achievements, and so on were measured, standardized, optimized and—above all—cherished. This lecture scrutinizes the link between both of these trends. It highlights two aspects: on the one hand, global exchange allowed and helped certain people in Germany to achieve new and sometimes outstanding things, but on the other, the idea of a purely personal achievement made the global factors behind such achievements invisible. In other words, the fin de siècle cult of personal achievement relied on global interactions and at the same time concealed them.

PD Dr Nina Verheyen is currently a guest professor at the Free University of Berlin. She is a historian of cultural anthropology and of modern Europe in a transnational and global perspective. She has published on oral communication, emotions, masculinities, materialities, the theory and history of historiography, and the social construction of personal achievement.