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Abstract: The talk reflects the very early stage of a project that aims at a framework to interpret modern German history since the late 18th century. The project understands the construction of imagined identities as a basic structure of modern German society and asks how (and which) notions of Self impacted and framed the development of politics and institutions. That involves discussing processes of gendering (and un-gendering?) the history of modern Germany.

Martina Kessel is Professor of Modern History and Gender History at Bielefeld University, Germany. In 2020-21, she is the Gerda Henkel Visiting Professor at the German Historical Institute London and the London School of Economics and Political Science. Her research interests include German cultural and gender history from the enlightenment to the present. Her most recent book is entitled Gewalt und Gelächter. ‘Deutschsein’ 1914-1945 (Violence and laughter. ‘Germanness’ 1914-1945), Stuttgart: Steiner, 2019.

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