Rethinking Memory and Knowledge during Times of Crisis

Elisabeth Engel's picture
September 15, 2020
District Of Columbia, United States
Subject Fields: 
American History / Studies, German History / Studies, Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies, Modern European History / Studies, Race / Ethnic Studies

Part 1 of Virtual Panel Series Racism in History and Context

Panelists: Ana Lucia Araujo (Howard University), Manuela Bauche (FU Berlin), Norbert Frei (Universität Jena), and Michael Rothberg (UCLA)

Moderated by Akasemi Newsome (UC Berkeley) and Francisco Bethencourt (King’s College London)

Tuesday, September 15, 2020 | 9 a.m. PDT | 12 pm EDT | 6 pm CEST

Register Here



The Black Lives Matter protest movement and the accompanying e­­fforts to topple monuments to colonialism and slavery on both sides of the Atlantic have put the issue of racism back on the agenda in the United States, Germany, and beyond. Much of the public debate invokes racism as a shorthand for long and complex histories of inequality and oppression that resurface, rather than originate, in our momentous present.

The German Historical Association (Verband der Historiker und Historikerinnen Deutschlands e.V., VHD), the German Historical Institute Washington with its Pacific Regional Office, and the Institute of European Studies at University of California, Berkeley, have invited scholars from the United States and Europe to explore recent assertions of historical understandings of racism by scrutinizing how current debates construct and represent this history in a two-part virtual panel series this fall. On September 15, the panel will focus on conflicting memory cultures to shed light on  narratives and practices of racist inequality which gained particular relevance as a framework for understanding the consequences of the current epidemic. The second panel on October 29 will discuss protest movements, state power, and violence. The panels will be held in English via Zoom. The audience will have the chance to ask questions via chat.

Akasemi Newsome (University of California, Berkeley) and Francisco Bethencourt (King’s College London) will moderate the first panel on September 15 with Ana Lucia Araujo (Howard University, Washington DC), Manuela Bauche (Freie Universität Berlin), Norbert Frei (Universität Jena), and Michael Rothberg (University of California, Los Angeles). More information

Ana Lucia Araujo is a professor of history at Howard University in Washington DC. She has authored seven books, including Slavery in the Age of Memory: Engaging the Past (2020), Reparations for Slavery and the Slave Trade: A Transnational and Comparative History (2017), and Shadows of the Slave Past: Heritage, Memory, and Slavery (2014). In 2017, she joined the International Scientific Committee of the UNESCO Slave Route Project. She also serves on the board of editors of the American Historical Review (the journal of the American Historical Association) and the editorial board of the British journal Slavery and Abolition. In addition. She is a member of the executive board of the Association for the Study of the Worldwide Diaspora (ASWAD), the editorial review board of the African Studies Review, and the board of the blog Black Perspectives maintained by the African American Intellectual History Society.

Manuela Bauche is a postdoctoral fellow at the Otto Suhr Institute for Political Science at the Freie Universität Berlin and the director of the project “History of Ihnestraße 22,” which aims to develop a concept for remembering the history of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Anthropology, Human Heredity and Eugenics at the historical site of Ihnestraße 22. Her research focuses on the history of colonialism and of the life sciences of the 19th and 20th centuries. Her dissertation, published in 2017, examines the relationships between state rule, racism, classism, and the fight against malaria in Cameroon, German East Africa, and East Frisia around 1900. She also has several years of experience in historical-political education and is one of the initiators of the project DEKOLONIALE Memory Culture in the City, which highlights traces and repercussions of histories of (anti)colonialism in Berlin. Foto: Kerstin Kühl

Norbert Frei is one of the most distinguished German scholars of the Third Reich. He holds the Chair of Modern and Contemporary History at the Universität Jena and leads the Jena Center of 20th Century History. Frei's research work investigates how German society came to terms with Nazism and the Third Reich in the aftermath of World War II. His books include Vergangenheitspolitik. Die Anfänge der Bundesrepublik und die NS-Vergangenheit (1996; american edition: Adenauer's Germany and the Nazi Past. The Politics of Amnesty and Integration, 2002) and Der Führerstaat. Nationalsozialistische Herrschaft 1933 bis 1945 (1987, 2013; english edition: National Socialist Rule in n Germany. The Führer State 1933-1945, 1993). Norbert Frei is the editor of Die Deutschen und der Nationalsozialismus (2015 ff)Foto: Louisa Reichstetter

Michael Rothberg is the 1939 Society Samuel Goetz Chair in Holocaust Studies and Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Los Angeles. He works in the fields of Holocaust studies, trauma and memory studies, critical theory and cultural studies, postcolonial studies, and contemporary literatures. He is on the editorial board of the journals Memory Studies and Studies in American Jewish Literature. He is a founding member of the advisory board of the Memory Studies Association and a partner of the Network in Transnational Memory Studies and Mnemonics: Network for Memory Studies. Rothberg’s books include Traumatic Realism: The Demands of Holocaust Representation (2000), Multidirectional Memory: Remembering the Holocaust in the Age of Decolonization (2009), and The Implicated Subject: Beyond Victims and Perpetrators (2019). Currently, Rothberg is completing a book with Yasemin Yildiz that focuses on the intersections between migration, citizenship, and confrontation with National Socialism and the Holocaust in contemporary Germany.

Contact Info: 

Dr. Elisabeth Engel

German Historical Institute

1607 New Hampshire Ave NW

Washington DC 20009


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