Online podium discussion: „The Germans and the Atlantic: a forgotten relationship?“

May 7th, 2021, 5 p.m. – 6 p.m., online on the DSM YouTube channel:

Looking at the ocean is not necessarily an integral part of German historiography. The ocean has a hard time being perceived as an integral part of cultural identity in Germany.
Experts from Germany and the UK will debate online with the public about the role of the Atlantic, emigration and identity.

On the panel: The executive director of the German Maritime Museum (GMM/DSM) and professor of maritime history and maritime archaeology Sunhild Kleingärtner; Apl. Prof. Dr. Jochen Oltmer, historian at the Institute for Migration Research and Intercultural Studies (IMIS) at the University of Osnabrück; Prof. Dr. William O’Reilly, historian at the University of Cambridge (UK) and the Leibniz Chair at the Museum; a representative from the German Emigration Center and Museum migration historian Christina Ziegler-McPherson.

Migration across the Atlantic, as well as close economic ties, shaped the history of the German Holy Roman Empire in the 18th century. In addition, the northwestern German region around the Hanseatic cities of Bremen and Hamburg has a diverse culture of remembrance that is linked to the Atlantic. However, the relationships of seafaring and transatlantic trade to colonization and slavery in North and South America and Africa have been little studied to date.

Atlantic history as an academic field has focused primarily on the empires of Spain, Portugal, Britain, and France and their relations with Africa and the Americas, often ignoring or downplaying smaller colonial powers such as Denmark and the Dutch Republic and trading cities such as Bremen and Hamburg.

Currently, there are efforts by scholars to discover the activities of German-speaking people in the Atlantic Basin between the 15th and early 20th centuries, focusing on both trade (including the slave trade) and migration and settlement.

An important but still unanswered question concerns the periodization of the Atlantic world and thus of the German Atlantic: did this period of empires, trade, and slavery extend into the 19th century, and if so, how far? The role of Bremen in the German Atlantic has been examined. However, the question of Bremerhaven’s role in the German Atlantic remains to be addressed.

The panel discussion aims to engage with an interested public about how and why the Germans’ relationship with the Atlantic is relevant to our present and future, and how we can draw attention to it in the German Maritime Museum in the future.

The format will be a virtual ‘Fish Bowl’. In a virtual ‘Fish Bowl,’ the event will begin with the microphone muted and the video on. The moderator will make a brief introduction and then ask everyone to turn off their videos. First, the invited speakers pause their video and have an opening dialogue to introduce the topic (5 minutes each).

Registration & information: Christina Ziegler-McPherson, ; T +49 0471 482 07 81

Press contact: Thomas Joppig, director, Communications,; T +49 471 482 07 832

Similar Posts