The Project

German History Intersections is a source-based digital project that examines three broad topics – migration, knowledge and education, and Germanness – from 1500 to the present. By charting these topics across centuries, the project offers an alternative to traditional histories that focus on discrete historical periods.

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The Topics

Migration
Drawing on the personal stories of individuals and the collective experiences of migrant groups, this module examines the movement of people across and within the shifting borders of Central Europe from the Early Modern period to the present.
Knowledge and Education
Education, ideas, and the history of knowledge are the focus of this module, which explores the construction, negotiation, circulation, and organization of various types of “expert” and popular knowledge in Germany over five centuries, from the Reformation to the Digital Age.
Germanness
This module describes the complex and ever-changing meaning of Germanness from the Holy Roman Empire to present-day Europe. One central theme is the intersection of Germanness with other markers of identity, such as gender, ethnicity, religion, and social class.

Focus

“Our Editorial Team at Work (Reportage)” Landsberger Lager-Cajtung (January 18, 1946)

This caricature shows European states after the liberation struggles of 1848/49 were suppressed –comparable to the present-day situation in Syria. The continental states, personified as big men, sweep out the little people. The states deny civil rights; state and population are not identical. The Habsburg monarchy, oppressing people of non-German speaking cultures, is shown being harassed by various “nationalities,” officially termed “minorities” – similar to how the Kurds and others are resisting in the present. England seems to be an exception. The only woman in the cartoon, Queen Victoria, is seated. She is not active No one seems to leave the core of her empire. Yet, English, Irish, Welsh, and Scottish families emigrated during this period – famine drove migration from Ireland just as it does in today’s drought-stricken regions . The imperial state, for its part, dispatched soldiers and administrators into an imperial diaspora, who literally setting in motion forced migrations within the colonies.

Dirk Hoerder, Arizona State University & University of Bremen, member of the “Migration” working group

Image credit: First published in the Düsseldorfer Monatshefte.