English Articles

This is our section for English articles.

Academic Freedom under Threat in India

Since coming to power in 2014, India’s Hindu nationalist regime has been steadily shrinking the spaces of political and academic freedom. Its latest moves show a continuing tendency to silence critical voices and to further its narrow views of history and society.

Pheno­mena of the Irra­tional. On wonder doctors, witches and conspi­racy theories

From 1945 until the late 1950s, a wave of accusations of witchcraft swept through Germany, and tens of thousands of people flocked to wonder healers. But why? And what links these phenomena to today's conspiracy theories? A conversation with the US-American historian Monica Black.

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Contested Memory. The ‘Comfort Women’ Statue in Berlin and Dealing with Sexual Violence in War

The unveiling of a statue in memory of the victims of sexual violence committed by the Japanese Army in World War II has led to diplomatic tension between Berlin and Tokyo. But there are good reasons for the statue to have a place in Germany.

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Compa­ring Compa­ri­sons: From the “Histo­ri­ker­streit” to the Mbembe Affair

In the late 1980s, mostly German intellectuals discussed the question of the “uniqueness” or “comparability” of the Holocaust. In the Cause Mbembe, the fronts, the participants and the course of the discussion have changed fundamentally – but the political and ethical stakes remain the same.

Like: Memetic Analo­gies in Social Media

Memes circulating on the net articulate simple comparisons with political intent, for example as an analogy between the USA today and "Weimar" back then, or between German and American coming to terms with the past. But as catchy as such analogies are, they also hide a lot of contexts.

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Inade­quate, yet Indis­pensable: The WHO and the History of Global Health

The USA sharply criticizes the WHO: President Trump accuses it of lacking distance from China. But this attitude is nothing new. On the contrary, since the founding of the UN, the USA has mostly been at odds with the political internationalism of the WHO and its health programs.

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Unmasked: Covid-19 and the Cultural Dimen­sions of the Debate on Manda­tory Face Masks

In the context of the covid-19 pandemic, Germany witnesses debates on whether masks could help contain the spread of the virus. This article argues the controversy may be rooted in the deep-seated suspicion of facial covering in Europe since the nineteenth century.

Was ist los in Erfurt? The East German Past and the Demo­cratic Crisis of the Present

Are the “East Germans” just bad democrats who mourn the GDR? And is the “West” completely blameless in the Erfurt debacle? Not at all — while Thüringen’s politics are indeed rooted in the memory of the GDR, the current far-right scandal is more than just a state-socialist hangover.

Divided Collec­tives. Iden­tity and Its Discon­tents in Samir’s Baghdad In My Shadow

A progressive “identity politics” pursued in the name of resistance to nationalist retrenchment depends on the mobilization of various disparate “collective identities” around a common aim. But what if those collectives are themselves fragmented? A new film explores this conundrum.

Science for a Plastic Cube. Poly­pore Academia rede­fi­ning the Rules of Science

Hungary is currently witnessing the emergence of a state-sponsored scientific pseudo-world in which the criteria of academic quality control no longer apply, but rather political loyalty. This raises serious questions for European research funding and academic cooperation with illiberal states.

The Colour of Coffee: Racism, Gender and Coffee Consump­tion in 19th Century Algeria

Today, coffee is consumed everywhere in the world. Despite its neo-colonial forms of production, it is a drink which brings people together, but the consumption of coffee in 19th century Algeria tells a very different story.

The ‘After­lives’ of Deve­lo­p­ment Inter­ven­tions: ‘Failure’ as an Opportunity

Ambitious and well planned development projects fail for various reasons. The afterlife of such "interventions" receives little attention. But local communities try to make sense of the remains in the form of rumours and stories. A plea for listening.

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