Atid Presents: Will "Vergangenheitsbewältigung" become the next German loanword in American English? (It means "working through the past," and yes, it's one word)
In Henning Schroeder's home country of Germany, there have been just as many different reinterpretations of history as there have been regime changes. The “national story” is anything but linear and has none of America’s fairy tale qualities of exceptionalism. It’s more crowded with lessons about what you should never do again. How Germans today think about their history frequently depends on whether they grew up in East or West Germany. The Iron Curtain is long gone but has a lingering effect on people's mind – just like the Mason Dixon line. Working through the past is an ongoing project in Germany and has often been as controversial as it is in the US right now. Here are some questions we will discuss during the program: How has Holocaust education and remembrance developed in Germany since the 1960s? What did the student revolt of 1968 have to do with it? Why did it take 23 years of debate before Universität Düsseldorf changed its name to Heinrich-Heine-Universität…and who got to decide?
Henning is a former vice provost and dean of graduate education at the University of Minnesota. His current teaching in the Department of German, Nordic, Slavic & Dutch focuses on cross-cultural comparisons between the United States and Europe. He grew up in West Germany in the 60s and 70s and received his doctorate in natural sciences and pharmacology from Heinrich Heine University in Düsseldorf. After a postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford University and the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 he returned to Europe and joined the faculty at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg in former East Germany. He has been living in Minnesota since 2007 and has recently published articles on how societies in Europe and the United States are dealing with history and heritage.
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