Meet the Researchers Open Lecture Series (for schools and public): "Modern Dictatorships? Museums and Heritage at National Socialist Sites in Eastern Germany"
|Starts:||17:30 18 Nov 2015|
|Ends:||18:30 18 Nov 2015|
|What is it:||Talk|
|Organiser:||School of Arts, Languages and Cultures|
|Who is it for:||University staff, Adults, Alumni, Current University students, General public, Post 16, Secondary schools|
|Speaker:||Dr Matthew Philpotts|
A talk by Dr Matthew Philpotts (Department of German Studies) - part of the School of Arts, Languages and Cultures open lecture series "Meet the Researchers".
In this lecture, I will present my research into the way museums select and present the German experience of dictatorship at three former National Socialist sites in eastern Germany:
1.Prora: the vast and now largely derelict holiday resort on the Baltic island of Rügen that was built in the mid-to-late 1930s by the National Socialist regime as part of its mass leisure programme, ‘Strength through Joy’ (Kraft durch Freude)
2.Peenemünde: the rocket-testing site and forced labour camp on the Baltic coast near the present-day Polish border where the V2 weapon was designed and a rocket first launched into space in October 1942
3.Alt-Rehse: the small village and country estate near Neubrandenburg that housed the training facilities for the National Socialist Medical Association and where instruction in theories of racial hygiene was delivered from May 1935.
As well as their geographical location in the eastern German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, the sites share three important features. Firstly, in all three cases the original purpose of the site advanced not only the specific aims of the Nazi regime and its ideology, but also an aspect of social or scientific modernity: mass tourism (Prora); rocket technology and space travel (Peenemünde); and medicine and applied genetics (Alt-Rehse). Secondly, the surviving infrastructure at all three sites was re-used after 1945 in the German Democratic Republic (GDR), the subsequent East German socialist dictatorship. And, finally, at all three sites the original buildings and their remains are now being preserved or commemorated in some form of museum and related heritage practices. These shared features make these sites an intriguing case study through which to examine how museums and heritage construct narratives about the German past. My research explores the construction of those narratives through a variety of media and on a variety of levels: the personal narratives of individual perpetrators, victims, and witnesses; the public narratives of German ‘collective memory’; and the conceptual narratives (e.g. totalitarianism, resistance, modernisation) through which historians have sought to make sense of the twentieth-century German dictatorships and their relationship to our modern, democratic present.
Free of charge, but please book a place via our website: http://man.ac.uk/9mTV30
Dr Matthew Philpotts
Role: Senior Lecturer
Organisation: Department of German Studies
Travel and Contact Information
Main Lecture Theatre
Samuel Alexander Building