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Conference on “Cultures of Conservatism”

From 14 to 16 September 2017 the GHI hosted a conference on the “Cultures of Conservatism in the United States and Western Europe between the 1970s and 1990s”, organised by  Martina Steber (Institut für Zeitgeschichte München-Berlin), Anna von der Goltz (Georgetown University, Washington, DC) and myself and was funded by the Thyssen Stiftung. The conference did not directly deal with nostalgia but the question if nostalgia is indicative of a conservative mindset or, vice versa, if conservatives are more nostalgic than liberals or the left has … Continue reading Conference on “Cultures of Conservatism”

Brexit, Trump etc.: The Politics of Nostalgia?

This is the beginning of a paper I gave in June at the conference “The Trump Presidency: A Historical Assessment from Europe” at St Antony’s College Oxford, the complete paper can be found here. Did voters vote for Brexit and Donald Trump because of nostalgia? Does nostalgia help us to understand Brexit and Trump? And what does nostalgia mean? Is it a useful analytical term in this context at all? These are some of the questions I want to address in this paper. I should, however, … Continue reading Brexit, Trump etc.: The Politics of Nostalgia?

New Publication: Rückkehr der Geschichte? Die „Nostalgie-Welle“ in den 1970er und 80er Jahren

Als Karl Heinz Bohrer im Herbst 1975, ein Jahr nachdem er durch einen Coup seinen Posten als Literaturchef der Frankfurter Allgemeinen Zeitung an Marcel Reich-Ranicki verloren hatte, als FAZ-Korrespondent nach London kam, stellte er fest: „London swingt längst nicht mehr“[1]. In den fünfziger Jahren hatte der jugendliche Bohrer einige Zeit in der britischen Metropole verbracht und dabei deren kosmopolitische Kultur schätzen gelernt[2]. Trotz Kriegsschäden und anhaltender Austeritätspolitik hatten die Briten damals optimistisch in die Zukunft geblickt. Nun hingegen fand Bohrer überall Symptome einer „Saisonkrankheit“, … Continue reading New Publication: Rückkehr der Geschichte? Die „Nostalgie-Welle“ in den 1970er und 80er Jahren

New publication: “Nostalgia and the Historians” in IHJE

“Is there a trend of nostalgia in our culture today?”, asks Arja Virta. Her essay suggests that she thinks so and she is far from the only one. Indeed, her diagnosis is shared by many observers, especially when it comes to popular culture. Every sequel, every remake triggers complaints about a widespread sense of nostalgia, a yearning for the past. No one has made this case more eloquently than the British music critic Simon Reynolds, whose 2011 book Retromania forcefully argued that pop culture … Continue reading New publication: “Nostalgia and the Historians” in IHJE

Fellowships 2017to2018

Visiting Fellowships for New Delhi (ICAS:MP) in 2017/18    (as pdf file) Closing date: 31 March 2017 “Metamorphoses of the Political: Comparative Perspectives on the Long Twentieth Century” is the first M.S. Merian – R. Tagore International Centre for Advanced Studies … Continue reading

Kynren — a Brexit spectacle

Anyone interested in Britain’s post-Brexit mood would have done well to visit Bishop Auckland this summer. A small, sleepy market town of about 16,000 inhabitants between Newcastle and Durham, Bishop Auckland seldom makes it into the national news. Between July and September this year, however, it twice weekly attracted an audience of 8,000 with a spectacular outdoor show called Kynren: An epic tale of England. We, too, followed the call of Kynren, curious how its makers had chosen to re-enact the history of England. What … Continue reading Kynren — a Brexit spectacle

« In Schrift und Wort (…) gegen alle antisemitischen Angriffe auftreten » : Der Kampf gegen den erwachenden Antisemitismus in der Allgemeinen Zeitung des Judentums und den Archives israélites (1879-1900)

[This article is part of the Open Peer Review-Publication series “Nineteenth-Century Anti-Semitism in International Perspective”] von Heidi Knörzer <1> Anlässlich der zehnten Auflage von Theodor Fritschs Antisemiten-Catechismus zu Beginn des Jahres 1891 erklärt der damalige Chefredakteur der Allgemeinen Zeitung des Judenthums Gustav Karpeles, dass es « die Aufgabe der Juden » sei, « in Schrift und Wort offen und ehrlich gegen alle…

The Tiszaeszlár Blood Libel: Image and Propaganda

[This article is part of the Open Peer Review-Publication series “Nineteenth-Century Anti-Semitism in International Perspective”] von Daniel Véri <1> This study aims to reconstruct and analyse the anti-Semitic visual reception history of the Tiszaeszlár blood libel case from the time of the affair (1882–83) up until today. It examines images created in connection with the blood libel together with their…

Pop nostalgia workshop programme online

The Programme for the Workshop “Pop Nostalgia. The Uses of the Past in Popular Culture” is now online. The workshop is organised by organised by BSSH South Sport and Leisure History Network and the German Historical Institute London and takes place at the GHIL from 10 to 11 November 2016. Conference_20161110_programme

Review: “Fashioning Memory” by Heike Jennss

In early summer last year I found myself in Newark-on-Trent watching an English Civil War battle re-enactment. Afterwards I interviewed several of the participants. They enthusiastically spoke about their life as re-enactors, their interests and motivations and what it is like to take part in a staged battle. Clothes came up in every conversation: what garments they were wearing, what they meant to them, if they had made them themselves or where they had bought them, how much they had cost and how comfortable—or … Continue reading Review: “Fashioning Memory” by Heike Jennss

Review: Michael Dwyer, “Back to the Fifties” and Gary Cross, “Consumed Nostalgia”

On 21 October 2015 people all over the world got together to celebrate the arrival of two time-travellers from the year 1985—this was the day when Marty McFly and Doc Brown arrive in 2015 in the film Back to the Future II.1 As with Orwell’s 1984 and Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey it was another instance of yesterday’s future turning into the past before the very eyes. In not just a few cases those eyes were doubtlessly glazed over with nostalgia, nostalgia for the … Continue reading Review: Michael Dwyer, “Back to the Fifties” and Gary Cross, “Consumed Nostalgia”

Talk on “pop nostalgia” at IHR, 16 May

I’ll be talking popular culture and nostalgia, American Graffiti and Life on Mars at the Sport and Leisure History Seminar at the Institute of Historical Research on Monday, 16 May, 5:15pm.

CfP: Pop Nostalgia: The Uses of the Past in Popular Culture

Pop nostalgia, we are told, is everywhere. Our current golden age of television—from Mad Men to Vinyl, Downton Abbey to Call the Midwife—lovingly recreates earlier periods of the twentieth century, while club nights devoted to the 1980s or 1990s allow us to return to our youth. What is more, popular culture is, in the words of music journalist Simon Reynolds, addicted to its own past. It not only reminisces, it revives, reissues, remixes earlier forms and styles instead of coming up with genuinely new. … Continue reading CfP: Pop Nostalgia: The Uses of the Past in Popular Culture

High-Rise Nostalgia

Recently I went to a preview of Ben Wheatley’s new film High-Rise at, fittingly enough, the Barbican. High-Rise is based on J. G. Ballard’s 1975 novel of the same title. Both the novel and the film take place in a forty-storey tower block, a microcosm of the British class society, whose inhabitants begin to wage war against one another. This narrative—civilisation plunging headlong (and not without enjoyment), into chaos—was a favourite of Ballard. It is the narrative most of his novels are based upon. Luckily it offers so many … Continue reading High-Rise Nostalgia