Upcoming Events At This Venue
March 25, 2018
After unsure beginnings, West and East German foreign cultural policy took on a harder edge in the 1960s. The construction of the Berlin Wall and Cold War tensions provided essential background for the divided German states to define themselves against each other and within their respective systems. This resulted in a series of conflicting images of themselves and their rival that offered foreign audiences a view in to life in divided Germany. The presentation explores both West Germany and East Germany’s confrontational foreign cultural policy during the critical 1960s when they responded to profound challenges to their states’ international image and each sought to outdo the other up to the emergence of Ostpolitik and détente.
Lorn Hillaker is a doctoral candidate in the Department of History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he is writing his dissertation entitled, Promising a Better Germany: Competing Cultural Diplomacies between West and East Germany, 1949-1990.
April 15, 2018
Simone Lässig, ‘Religion as Agent of Change: Jewish and Other Responses to Modernity in Germany, 1780-1860’
The presentation explores the ambivalent role of Judaism and religiosity during the Sattelzeit, when German Jewry was confronted with deep reaching, sometimes threatening social change. The presentation sheds new light on Jewish coping strategies and the transformation of a socio-cultural system shaped by religious practices and knowledge orders in response to modernity. It will show how a new group of Jewish “movers and shakers” used religion and tradition to translate innovation and to make change socially relevant. Focusing on lived experience in communities beyond the centers of the reform movement, the presentation offers a fresh perspective of this astonishing transformation.
Simone Lässig is the director of the German Historical Institute in Washington, D.C. and professor of modern history at the University of Braunschweig.