News

© Christine Hatzky

In the subcategories News and Events below, the Centre for Atlantic and Global Studies informs about current events, lectures, courses and other relevant news.

In the subcategories News and Events below, the Centre for Atlantic and Global Studies informs about current events, lectures, courses and other relevant news.

CONSISTENTLY PROCESSING AND IMPARTING COLONIAL HISTORY

– A statement of the CAGS concerning the Bundestag debate on November 19, 2020 regarding the processing of Colonial Injustice

For a long time, dealing with the German colonial past played a marginal role in the science of history. Even historians underestimated the relevance of the German colonial rule. They neither recognised to which extent the German colonial system and wars affected African societies, nor did they see the long term effects in cultural, political and economic respect. Only in the last two decades a turn seems to emerge.
The fact that the Bundestag addresses the topic of appropriate handling of the own colonial past and of an adequate culture of memory for the second time this year, shows that a long overdue change of perspective is imminent on a political level as well. This gradual turn is primarily owed to victims' associations in Africa which were able to build international pressure, but also to civic movements which have been involved in efforts to overcome structural racism and xenophobia in Germany for some time. Another important factor in this development are cultural and social science as well as history, which all are an indispensable resource on an academic and socio-political level. Even though chronically underfinanced and declared as “minor disciplines”, for about 50 years they contribute to the processing of the colonial past and its long-term impact as well as to the promotion of a global societal awareness through fundamental research as well as through teacher training.

The Centre for Atlantic and Global Studies (CAGS) appreciates the Bundestag addressing the German colonial past and supports the majority of the representatives’ demands to

·       research and to process the German colonial past

·       support and finance a thorough provenance research and restitution dialogues at eye level

·       impart German colonial history through textbooks, teaching materials and school education.

Especially the latter is indispensable in order to sensitise young people for global societal contexts and to prepare them for solving global issues. This educational task takes account of the diversity of everyday life in this country. This means that it recognises that a substantial part of pupils and students have an educational and linguistic background which require the global south to receive a more prominent position in the educational system.

In order to handle international problems but also to open up new global perspectives, the African continent plays an essential role, as the representatives of the Bundestag determined. Global challenges and crises can only be tackled through international dialogue. This requires professional expertise and a profound knowledge of societal, historical and cultural contexts of the partner countries.
The CAGS sees its task since its establishment in developing this professional knowledge and to pass it on to future teachers, humanities scholars and social scientists.

Against this backdrop, the members of the CAGS consider it indispensable that historical, socio-scientific and cultural expertise in Atlantic relations is consolidated in the structural and developmental planning of the LUH in the long run. This is vital, especially since this focus in research and teaching can be considered a unique attribute, not only for Niedersachsen but also nationwide.
To preserve this attribute, it is crucial to sustain the field of African History at the LUH. Not only is African History a fundamental part of the research and teaching focus ‘Atlantic World’, but also does it represent an indispensable resource for the provenance research regarding both colonialism and postcolonialism in cooperation with museums and ethnological collections in Niedersachsen.


STATEMENT OF SOLIDARITY

In response to the police murder of the African American George Floyd in May 2020, and in support of the subsequent global protests of the Black Lives Matter Movement against racist violence, members of the Centre for Atlantic and Global Studies (CAGS) at Leibniz University Hannover declare their solidarity with all people subjected to systemic racism, including all forms of racist violence and discrimination and with the peaceful protesters against racism.

The CAGS appreciates and supports the European Parliament’s 19 June 2020 ‘Resolution on the anti-racism protests following the death of George Floyd’, which:

Calls for the EU institutions and the Member States to officially acknowledge past injustices and crimes against humanity committed against black people, people of colour and Roma; declares slavery a crime against humanity and calls for 2 December to be designated the European Day commemorating the Abolition of the Slave Trade; encourages the Member States to make the history of black people, people of colour and Roma part of their school curricula (European Parliament, 2020/2685(RSP), § 14).

The CAGS and its predecessor working groups have researched and taught black history and contemporary thought for more than four decades. This not only includes the history of slavery and its legacies, but also African history beyond European intervention. The Centre’s members resolve to strengthen their efforts to integrate this knowledge into all of the study programmes in which they participate, into the academic and public events that they organise, and into the wide range of publications that they produce.

Hannover, 10.07.2020