Leibniz Research Alliance
Historical Authenticity

© MfN/Carola Radke

Fellows 2018

Dr. Dirk Rose

Authenticity as a reflex of medial communication: Johann Gottfried Herder

Institute: IEG Mainz | August to October 2018

Dirk Rose is a historian of literature and media, holding a PhD in German Literature from the University of Munich (LMU). He is affiliated with the Department of German and Comparative Literature at the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg. He is currently working in the section of literature und media at the University of Innsbruck (Austria). His research interests are located in the fields of media history, polemical discourses, and the theory of literature and culture. His habilitation thesis explores the history and the function of polemics in German thinking from the late 18th century to nowadays focusing on the connection between concepts of modernity and polemical discourses in different fields of communication (such as philosophy, literature, politics).

The current project at the IEG is part of a research project concerning media criticism and its impact on the history of ideas in German culture. In this context, Johann Gottfried Herder is an outstanding figure. He has not only criticised technical media communication as "suspect" in a theological sense but has also given impulses to a new understanding of "true" practices of culture. For example, he outlines the interaction of bodies (for instance while singing chants every Sunday in church) as an "authentic" communication that needs no technical or media support instead of publishing and reading poetry. The main research questions that should be worked on during the Fellowship are the theological impact of this thinking as well as the consequences for an understanding of media as ontologically "bad" still alive in recent discussions about the "Lügenpresse".


Dr. Alina Laura Tiews

Arrival on the Radio: Flight and Expulsion in West and East German Radio Programmes 1945-1961

Institute: ZZF | January to March 2018

Alina L. Tiews is a historian and museum practitioner, holding a PhD in Modern History from the University of Münster. She is affiliated with the Hans-Bredow-Institut for Media Research in Hamburg, where she has been working for the department of Media History since 2013. Besides, she has worked for several museums, among them the German Historical Museum in Berlin and the Willy-Brandt-Haus in Lübeck. Alina's research interests lie in the fields of media history, migration history, public history and popular culture. Her PhD thesis explored how feature films have portrayed German refugees and expellees after 1945. The project was funded by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media and the DEFA Stiftung; the following book "Fluchtpunkt Film" was shortlisted for the Volkswagen Stiftung "Opus Primus" prize.

Alina's current postdoc-project "Arrival on the radio" is a media historical project about the German refugees and expellees after the Second World War as well. This time, she investigates radio broadcasting as key tool in the manifold communicative processes that have helped shaping the refugees' arrival. German refugees and expellees were frequent parts of radio programming in the late 1940s and 1950s, especially in the Federal Republic, but to some degree also in the GDR. The broadcasts did not merely inform people about the refugees' status, but captured and conveyed audio images of their lost homes. They envisioned different time layers of the past, acoustically, and functionalised them for current Cold War frames. Certain journalists, who were expellees themselves, became key actors in these communication processes: Professionally and autobiographically they turned into authorities to create what was perceived as authentic sound spaces of the old homes left behind.


Fellows 2017

Dr. Lesley Nicole Braun

The Dancing Past: The role of dance in Mobutu's Authenticité program in Zaire

Institute: ZZF | August to October 2017

Lesley Braun is an anthropologist specializing in African in popular dance performance, with a focus on Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo. She is interested in the ways in which dance, in its embodied and symbolic forms, participates in the construction of an urban experience, as well as in the production of memory. She holds a PhD in Anthropology from Université de Montréal. Braun is recipient of the Joseph-Armand Bombardier Doctoral Award (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council), and her research has been funded by the Wenner-Gren Foundation. She recently completed postdoctoral fellowships in the Department of Comparative Human Development at the University of Chicago (2014-16), and in the Art Histories and Aesthetics Practices, at the Forum Transregionale Studien in Berlin (2016-2017).

Based on eighteen months fieldwork in Kinshasa, her book manuscript, "Dancing Double Binds: Women and Work in Kinshasa" investigates how changing notions of gender and sexuality impact and shape women's economic and social activities in the public sphere. These issues are attended to through the lens of popular concert dance. Specifically, it explores the ways in which professional dancers challenge the status and roles of women in Congolese society through increased visibility.

Her current project examines Mobutu Sese Seko's authenticité cultural policy called animation politique. In the 1970s, Mobutu, former dictator of Zaire, promoted images of what an "authentic" postcolonial African nation ought to look like through the staging of elaborate dance performance televised on national TV. This project explores memories of the Zairian state through embodied movement practices, and considers the ways in which the authenticité policy shaped people's relationship to dance.


Dr. des. Caner Tekin

Conceptualising the Ottoman History within the Education Programmes of the Contemporary Turkey

Host Institute: GEI | February to March 2017

Caner Tekin completed his PhD at the Ruhr University Bochum by defending his thesis on comparative European and Turkish histories. Between 2014 and 2016, he wrote his doctoral dissertation on the role of history in contemporary European discussions about Turkey, and he taught two seminars on the history of Europe and the history of the Ruhr region. He is currently affiliated with the Centre for Mediterranean Studies (RUB) and also working at the Georg Eckert Institute for International Textbook Research as a short-term postdoctoral fellow.

Tekin's interests revolve around the linkage between nationalisms and representations of the past. Since his late doctoral years, he is actively working and publishing on the politics of historiography at the EU and Turkey. He has recently co-edited (with Professor Stefan Berger) a collection entitled Creating Identity of History: Representations of the Past in Contemporary European Politics on an agreement with the Berghahn Books (in review process), which discusses the uses of historical narratives in contemporary discussions about European and national identities.

His current project investigates the changing discourses on historical authenticity in contemporary Turkey and scrutinises the contemporary curricula for history education and the practices of official memory politics. Owing to the fellowship provided by the Alliance for Historical Authenticity, Tekin began the first part of his research project at the Georg Eckert Institute for International Textbook Research in Brunswick and pre-structured the rest of his study in the longer term. During his research stay, he is working on the Turkish history curricula and textbooks, preparing a contribution to the Journal of International Textbook Research, and collaborating with the faculty on the organisation of a workshop.


Fellows 2016

Dr. Susannah Eckersley

Affective Authenticity? Museums, Objects and Memories of Historical and Contemporary Migration

Host Institute: ZZF | October to December 2016

Susannah Eckersley is a bilingual British-German dual national, who is currently a lecturer in Museum, Gallery & Heritage Studies at Newcastle University. She has a PhD and MA in Museum Studies, both from Newcastle University, an MA (Hons) in German and History of Art from Edinburgh University and spent an Erasmus year at Leipzig University. She worked on the EC FP7 funded project, MeLA: European Museums in an Age of Migrations from 2011-2014, and is deputy project co-ordinator of CoHERE: Critical Heritages - performing and representing identities in Europe, funded by EC Horizon 2020.

Her research interests are in dark heritage; memory, identity and belonging; the heritage of migration and displacement; cultural policy; the politics of the past within the present. Publications include: Museums, Migration and Identity in Europe, (Ashgate 2015); Placing Migration in European Museums: Theoretical, Contextual and Methodological Foundations, (DPA Press 2012).

Her current project, which she is working on at the ZZF, is 'Affective authenticity? Museums, objects and memories of historical and contemporary migration'. This analyses the responses of museums and their audiences to migration, in connection with material traces of these pasts, linking traumatic memory theories with material culture theories. It explores the potential affective power of 'authentic' objects in the museum context in influencing how contemporary audiences situate themselves in relation to constructions of the past.


PD Dr. Sylvia Kesper-Biermann

The (in-)visible Torture in 19th Century Europe. The Torture Museum in Nuremberg

Host Institute: GNM | October to December 2016

Sylvia Kesper-Biermann received her PhD from the University of Gießen, did postdoctoral research at the Universities of Bayreuth and Paderborn and wrote her second book on criminal law in 19th century Germany. Between 2011 and 2016 she was a Visiting Professor at the Universities of Gießen, Cologne and Munich (LMU).

She has written on criminal and legal history, the history of education, the history of demography and population policy as well as history in popular culture, esp. comic books. Her recent publications include Between Passion and Senses? Perspectives on Emotions and Law, special issue of Interdisciplines. Journal of History and Sociology vol. 6 No 2 (ed. with D. Ellerbrock) and Verflochtene Vergangenheiten. Geschichtscomics in Europa, Asien und Amerika, special issue of Comparativ vol. 24 No 3 (2014), (ed. with B. Severin-Barboutie).

Her current research project '(In)visible Torture in 19th century Europe' intends to historicize the ban on torture as an essential element of European identity. Instead of examining where and when torture has (allegedly) been used, the emergence and persistence of an (anti-)torture discourse are analysed. Its mechanics can be characterised by five guiding principles which will serve as research perspectives: emotionalisation, visualisation, historisation, actualisation and orientalisation. During her stay at the GNM Nuremberg she focuses on the visualisation of torture in 19th century museums with respect to the significance of historical authenticity.


Dr. Tino Mager

Neither Past nor Present. Authenticity and late 20th Century architectural Heritage

Host Institute: IRS | Oktober to December 2016

He studied media technology in Leipzig, and art history and the communication sciences in Berlin, Barcelona, and Tokyo. He graduated with a Diplom in 2004 and a Magister Artium in 2009. He received his PhD in 2015 from the Berlin Institute of Technology where he was an Elsa Neumann fellow. After research terms in Japan and at the University of California, Los Angeles, he held lectureships at the Berlin Institute of Technology and Istanbul Technical University. Since 2015, he has been a research associate at the Chair of History and Theory of Architecture at the Technical University in Dortmund.

His main research interests are authenticity in relation to architectural heritage, the preservation discourse of late modernity, and architectural reconstruction. His recent publications include the following: Schillernde Unschärfe - der Begriff der Authentizität im architektonischen Erbe (De Gruyter 2016), Architecture RePerformed: The Politics of Reconstruction (Routledge 2015), and Architektur denken. Neue Positionen zur späten Moderne (Neofelis 2016).

His current research as a post-doc fellow at the IRS-Neither Past nor Present: Authenticity and Late 20th-Century Architectural Heritage-touches on questions of authenticity with regard to late modern heritage. It focuses on special issues of objects that are not yet historic. Thereby, it also touches on questions of historicism.