The 52nd Meeting of German Historians at the University of Münster from 25 to 28 September will deal with “Divided Societies”. Some 3,500 scientists from Germany and abroad will exchange views on current research topics in more than 90 sections at Europe’s largest humanities congress. It is the second time that the event will be held in Münster in September.

Organisers are the Association of German Historians (VHD), the Association of German History Teachers (VGD) and the University of Münster (WWU). The convention dates back to the “First Meeting of German Historians” in Munich in 1893, is held every two years and is devoted to pressing questions in history and society. This year’s partner country is the Netherlands.

Programme highlights

The President of the German Bundestag, Wolfgang Schäuble (CDU), and his Dutch colleague Khadija Arib, Speaker of the House of Representatives, will be among those who speak at the opening of the Meeting of German Historians on Tuesday evening, 25 September. In his lecture on Thursday, the director of the German Literary Archives in Marbach, Prof. Ulrich Raulff, will talk about loneliness and freedom. Dutch author Geert Mak, the most successful author of historical accounts of Dutch history, will speak on Thursday evening about his path to history, his way of working, his choice of topics and his recipe for success. Australian historian Prof. Christopher Clark will speak about cultural struggle as social disunity.

The public closing lecture will be given on Friday, 28 September, by sociologist and migration researcher Prof. Aladin El-Mafaalani on divisions and radicalisation in social networks. Preceding that on Monday evening, political scientist Prof. Herfried Münkler will speak at a Körber Foundation event in the Rathausfestsaal about cohesion and democracy in the crisis, taking a look backwards towards the future. In the section she heads, Prof. Birgit Schäbler, director of the Orient Institut Beirut, will debate the controversially discussed question of how divided Middle Eastern societies are.

© /Holtkötter

“Divisions in society are nothing new historically”

According to historians, societies have repeatedly experienced deep divisions in history, not just since the current refugee crisis. At the 52nd Meeting of German Historians, in more than 90 sections, some 3,500 scientists from Germany and abroad will deal with current research on the multifaceted phenomena of social divisions.

© TU Dresden

“In ancient Rome, insults in politics knew hardly any boundaries”

Political debates in ancient Rome were conducted with great harshness and personal attacks, which were in no way inferior to some of the hate speech on the Internet. “The attacks, also known as invectives, were an integral part of public life for senators of the Roman Republic,” explains ancient historian Prof. Dr. Martin Jehne of Technische Universität Dresden.

© Reinhold Eckstein, Universität Marburg/Milette Raats, Universität Utrecht

“The Peace of Westphalia also had its dark side”

According to historians, the Peaace of Westphalia 1648 also had its dark side. At Historians’ Convention in Münster historians discuss global historical dimensions, such as an intensive phase of colonization as a result of peace in Europe and debate whether the successful negotiations in Münster and Osnabrück can serve as a model for today’s peace processes in the Middle East.

© Thorsten Marquadt, Studio Wiegel