As part of the Year of German-American Friendship 2018/19 (Deutschlandjahr USA), the German Historical Institute Washington (GHI) is cooperating with the Deutsches Auswandererhaus, Bremerhaven, on a joint project entitled Crossing the Atlantic/Bridging the Divide. Co-sponsored initiatives include a digital exhibition of maps of Germany and America; workshops on German-American family history in three U.S. cities; and the launch of an English-language online portal for documenting German-American family history. These planned initiatives align with the primary themes of Deutschlandjahr, which include German heritage and German language, and digitization and innovation.
Last month, the GHI began work on its core contribution to the joint project: an online exhibition provisionally entitled Mapping Germany and America. The exhibition is being developed in partnership with Vanderbilt University’s Center for Digital Humanities, which is led by Prof. Helmut Walser Smith. Beginning with Martin Waldseemüller’s world map of 1507, the exhibition will feature approximately sixty maps: thirty maps of America by Germans and thirty maps of Germany by Americans.
The GHI benefits tremendously from the help of its many talented interns. The following post was written by GHDI project intern Milena Kagel, who first learned of this website at the Defining Black European History conference at the GHI in June 2018. — Editorial note, Href
By Milena Kagel
Every spring, Kira Thurman teaches an undergraduate course on “Germany and the Black Diaspora” at the University of Michigan. Since 2016, this course has included a digital history component – Thurman and her students have worked to construct a visual representation of the history of Black people in Central Europe by recording figures, objects, and events related to that history. Each student is required to contribute five entries to an online mapping project entitled Mapping Black Central Europe.
The map currently features around two hundred pins, each of which is connected to a detailed profile on a person, object, or event. The pins are geographically widespread, with the greatest concentration appearing in Germany.
One of the contributors to our new German History Intersections project brought our attention to this important project, which touches upon many areas of current research at the GHI, including the histories of migration, knowledge, and religion. We thank our colleagues in Halle for this article. — Editorial note, Href
By Wolfgang Splitter
The Francke Foundations in Halle are currently at work on a DFG-funded project entitled Halle Pastors in Pennsylvania, 1743–1825. A Critical Edition of Sources Relating to Their Ministry in North America. The editors are Mark Häberlein, Thomas Müller-Bahlke and Hermann Wellenreuther.
Whereas research on the history of the Lutheran Church in North America up to the early nineteenth century has concentrated so far on the journals and correspondence of Heinrich Melchior Mühlenberg (1711-1787), this project will transcribe and edit the extant curricula vitae, journals, and correspondence of Mühlenberg’s pastoral colleagues – i.e.
The Marx-Engels-Gesamtausgabe (MEGA, for short) is a project whose goal is to publish the complete legacy of Karl Marx (1818–1883) and Friedrich Engels (1820–1895) through producing a complete critical edition of their publications, manuscripts and correspondence.
MEGA consists of four sections denoted by roman numerals: the first and second sections offer works, articles and drafts, with the second section focusing on Marx’s magnum opus Capital. The third section comprises the correspondence between Marx, Engels and their many correspondents all over Europe and North America; the fourth section presents Marx’s and Engels’ excerpts and notes. MEGA started as a series of printed volumes, with each MEGA-volume consisting of two books: the first presenting the texts from Marx and/or Engels and the second offering extensive commentaries on these texts.
Mass digitization of cultural heritage objects is an urgent need: In Germany, this is the common ground on which stakeholders from multiple fields have formulated a “wake-up” call to political decision-makers. Whether perceived as the last chance for the preservation of soon-to-be-lost culture, as in Syria (e.g. the Syrian Heritage Archive Project), or as an opportunity for education and inspiration through free access to museum objects (e.g. Europeana), digitization enables people to see and use cultural material beyond its physical limitations.
As research on these objects is a key factor in achieving these goals, digitization methods should meet academic quality standards and the large scale of the work to be done demands coordination. Within the humanities research community, the combination of digitized sources and digital technologies has propelled innovations and led to new methods which have been grouped under the term digital humanities.
The bilingual (German/English) online source edition “Key Documents of German-Jewish History” (http://jewish-history-online.net/), which is published by the Institute for the History of German Jews (IGdJ) in Hamburg (http://www.igdj-hh.de/IGDJ-home.html), uses primary sources, so-called key documents, to highlight central aspects of Hamburg’s rich and multifaceted Jewish past from the early modern period to the present. The project currently includes seventy-five sources with new materials being added on a regular basis. The project focuses on Hamburg but is outward- rather than inward-looking. Put differently, the project uses the city as a case study to examine topics and trends whose significance is not just local but also national, transnational, and even global. Generally speaking, the “key” sources featured in the project are meant to “open doors” to understanding larger developments and issues in (German-) Jewish history.
The digital revolution has, without doubt, changed the way that young people research history. Previously, students pored over books and printed encyclopedias; today, with Google, Wikipedia, and YouTube, access to a broad range of historical source materials – including multimedia files – is only a mouse click away. On the one hand, this makes it easier for students to research topics that would have been difficult to investigate only twenty years ago; on the other hand, it also raises completely new questions.
During my internship at the German Historical Institute Washington DC (GHI), I conducted work relating to the review and expansion of the digital volume Nazi Germany, 1933-1945, which is the seventh volume in the website German History in Documents and Images (known as GHDI). Presently, the volume includes transcriptions of German historical documents (with English translations), images, and maps. As part of the GHDI relaunch, document facsimiles will be added to the Nazi Germany volume for the first time, along with audio and video clips. Adding facsimiles and recordings to the existing document transcriptions will ultimately make the site livelier and more attractive to users, particularly for younger researchers like myself.
Articles from historical newspapers typically play an important role in primary-source document collections in both printed and digital form. GHDI is no exception: it presently includes hundreds of texts from German newspapers dating from the early nineteenth to the twenty-first centuries. During the course of the relaunch, scores of new German newspaper articles will be added to this existing base. Likewise, newspaper articles will feature prominently in the German History Intersections project.
Many German research libraries have recently completed ambitious newspaper digitization projects, often with the support of the German Research Council (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft or DFG). These projects offer new access to German historical newspapers and thus make it possible for students, scholars, and researchers from all over the world to work with these sources firsthand. To spread the word about these efforts, we recently asked GHI librarian Anna Maria Boss to point out some key newspaper digitization projects based in German libraries and other institutions.
Published by the German Historical Institute (GHI), Washington, DC, Href is a new blog dedicated to the use of digitized primary source materials in studying, teaching, and researching German and global history. The name Href points to the blog’s dual purpose, which is to spread awareness about source-based digital projects in German and global history (in HTML code, href is the attribute used in an <a> tag to generate a hyperlink reference), while serving as a general history reference.
The launch of the blog coincides with the start of the DFG-funded relaunch of German History in Documents and Images, the GHI’s flagship source-based digital project. This being the case, Href will report on interesting developments as work on the project proceeds. Additionally, it will highlight the contributions of various project participants, both inside the GHI and within the broader profession. The blog will also introduce other GHI digital initiatives, such as the new German History Intersections project and the up-and-coming German History Portal for Online Research and Teaching. Interesting projects by other institutions will feature prominently as well.
The focus of Href is broad: some blog posts will offer practical tips on locating and accessing digitized historical sources; others will discuss issues regarding translation, reproduction, and provenance; and many will pose critical, case-specific questions relating to the use of digitized source materials in historical interpretation.
Vom 21.-23. Oktober 2015 fand am DHIP unter dem Titel “Antisemitismus im 19. Jahrhundert aus internationaler Perspektive” die erste stiftungsweite Konferenz der Max Weber Stiftung statt. Diese war von allen Instituten gemeinsam mit dem Zentrum für Antisemitismusforschung der TU Berlin organisiert worden. Ausgewählte Beiträge der Konferenz werden nun nach und nach auf dem Tagungsblog der interessierten Fachöffentlichkeit in einem Open Peer Review zur Diskussion gestellt. Bis Ende Januar 2017 können die Beiträge in einem moderierten System über die Kommentarfunktion des Blogs diskutiert werden. Im Anschluss an das Open Peer Review werden die Autorinnen und Autoren ihre Beiträge auf der Grundlage der Kommentare überarbeiten. Die überarbeiteten Versionen werden dann zeitgleich auf perspectivia.net im Open Access und im Verlag Vandenhoek & Ruprecht in gedruckter Form veröffentlicht.