Germany and the Idea of Belonging in Colonialism and Human Rights Activism

Lecture by historian Lora Wildenthal as part of the series “Empire, identities and belonging”

This lecture by historian Lora Wildenthal from Rice University traces themes of belonging, gender, and rights in two arenas of German interaction with the world: colonialism and human rights activism. Debates among Germans in the era of Germany’s colonial empire about how to classify people in terms of “race” rested on ideas of gender. These are briefly compared to racial classification ideas in the French colonial case.

The Cluster of Excellence “Religion and Politics” at the University of Münster focuses in the winter term on the implications of colonial legacies for social, cultural and religious affiliations and identity contructions of subject populations, past and present. Featuring speakers such as the political scientist Herfried Münkler and the historians Brigitte Reinwald and Lora Wildenthal, the lecture series “Empires, Identities and Belonging” deals with case studies from antiquity to the 20th century, including the history of the Jews in Ancient Rome, the multi-confessional Fatimid dynasty in the Middle Ages, and the life of West African soldiers deployed in the French army in Europe during the two world wars. The lecture series is the prelude to the Cluster of Excellence’s first annual theme, “Belonging and Demarcation. Dynamics of social formation”, which deals with social identity formations and related cultural and religious dynamics and struggles.

Die Resonanzsensibilität von Kulturen
Wolfgang Reinhard, Freiburg

Zwischen Zugehörigkeit und Abgrenzung. Juden im Imperium Romanum
Lutz Doering, Münster

Was ist ein Imperium? Die Differenz zwischen Imperialismus- und Imperiumstheorien
Herfried Münkler, HU Berlin

CANCELLED: Imperiale Grenzgänge/r – Erfahrungsmuster und Gruppenprofile westafrikanischer Soldaten und Veteranen der französischen Kolonialarmee
Brigitte Reinwald, Hannover

Multiple Zugehörigkeiten? Die Vielschichtigkeit von belonging in einem Vielvölkerreich (Russland ca. 1850–1917)
Malte Rolf, Oldenburg


CANCELLED: Imperium und Religion im multikonfessionellen Fatimidenreich: Die Experimente des Kalifen al-Hakim (996-1021) in Kairo
Almut Höfert, Oldenburg

Germany and the Idea of Belonging in Colonialism and Human Rights Activism
Lora Wildenthal, Houston, Texas (USA)