English Articles

This is our section for English articles.

The century of pande­mics. A conver­sa­tion with Mark Honigsbaum

Medical historian Mark Honigsbaum speaks of a "century of pandemics" that stretches from the Spanish flu of 1918 to our Corona-related present. In an interview with Philipp Sarasin, he explains why we only ever prepare for the pandemic that has just passed.


The German Catechism

For many, the memory of the Holocaust as a break with civilization is the moral foundation of the Federal Republic. To compare it with other genocides is therefore considered a heresy, an apostasy from the right faith. It is time to abandon this catechism.

Unloved Monu­ments. On Confe­de­rate War Memo­rials and Monu­ments to the Expellees

Many monuments no longer fit into our political landscape – in the US as well as in Germany. They celebrate the wrong heroes or tell of injustices suffered in order to conceal the suffering inflicted on others. Should they be removed for that reason?

Clamp­down. How Turkey’s New Internet Law Threa­tens Journalists

The free use of the internet has been subject to growing censorship pressure in Turkey for years. However, the new internet law that came into effect in 2020 now directly targets social media - and thus threatens journalistic work and freedom of information head-on.

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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.


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.


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.


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.