Passing on the Microphone: Unfurling German History

12.07.2024 | Instagram-Live | GHI London | online

An Instagram Live Event

12 July 2024 (3pm UK time)

Interviewer: Maria Alexopoulou
Interviewee: Fatima El-Tayeb

What is German history today, and where might it be going? The borders of German history as a field have become more porous and inclusive, looking at the global entanglement of the German lands from medieval to modern times. Colonial history has taken centre stage. Victim groups of Germany’s various violent pasts have long asked for recognition; these previously neglected histories are now increasingly being studied and heard. Queer and gender historians are not simply filling gaps but questioning the categories and methods of German history, as well as challenging the erasures of minoritized communities. The war in Ukraine raises new questions about Germany’s involvement in Europe’s east and its political consequences today, revealing blind spots in public knowledge about the Holocaust. Long-established ruptures have proven to be continuities on the pre- and post-1945 timeline as historians pay more attention to the history of race, racism, and antisemitism. As a result of these new histories, German memory culture is also undergoing a radical shift as an increasingly diverse society demands new forms of commemoration. We will take some of these topics as a starting point, yet we do not want to assume universality. Each of our interviewees will select and interview another expert—a model that will be continued in this new Instagram Live series. The outcome of this long-term debate is open, as historians and other people entering the conversation will reflect not simply on the past, but where the debate might go in the future.

Fatima El-Tayeb is Professor of Ethnicity, Race & Migration and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Yale University. She was previously a member of the departments of Literature and Ethnic Studies and director of Critical Gender Studies at the University of California, San Diego. She received an MA in American Studies and Modern European History and a PhD in History from the University of Hamburg, Germany. Her research interests include Black Europe, comparative diaspora studies, queer of color critique, critical Muslim studies, decolonial theory, transnational feminisms, visual culture studies, race and technology, and critical European studies. Her publications deconstruct structural racism in “colorblind” Europe and center strategies of resistance among racialized communities, especially those that politicize culture through an intersectional, queer practice.

She is the author of three books - Schwarze Deutsche. ‘Rasse’ und nationale Identität 1890 – 1933 (2001), European Others: Queering Ethnicity in Postnational Europe (2011) and Undeutsch. Die Konstruktion des Anderen in der postmigrantischen Gesellschaft (2016) and numerous articles on the interactions of race, gender, sexuality, religion and nation.

Dr Maria Alexopoulou is a principal investigator at the Research Institute for Social Cohesionat the Center for Research on Antisemitism, at the Technische Universität Berlin and an unaffiliated lecturer at the Chair for Contemporary History at the University of Mannheim. She studied history and philosophy at Heidelberg University and holds a PhD in modern history from the Free Universität Berlin. Her main fields of research are the history of migration, the history of racism, and contemporary German and US history. Her habilitation ‘Rassistisches Wissen in der Transformation der Bundesrepublik Deutschland in eine Einwanderungsgesellschaft 1940–1990’ [Racist Knowledge in the Transformation of the Federal Republic of Germany into an Immigration Society 1940–1990] will be published in autumn 2024 by Wallstein Verlag.

Select publications:
Deutschland und die Migration: Geschichte einer Einwanderungsgesellschaft wider Willen (Ditzingen, 2020).
‘Ignoring Racism in the History of the German Immigration Society: Some Reflections on Comparison as an Epistemic Practice’, Journal for the History of Knowledge, 2/1 (2021), 1–13 (Read here)
‘Non-Citizens Protests in Germany since the 1980s’, Moving the Social, 66 (2021), 63 –87 (Read here)

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