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Lectures

I give lectures on topics that interest or inspire me. My topics come from these areas:

My focus is on English cultural history and classical modernism.

As far as possible, I incorporate multimedia sources into my lectures, which last between 30 and 90 minutes, depending on the topic, and are accompanied by a Power Point presentation. The lectures are aimed at a general audience and require no prior knowledge.

If desired, the lectures can also be given in English.

If you are interested in a lecture, please write to info@dirk-weil.de

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Oerview

Society / Politics:
New: The Second Elizabethan Age Details
New: No Power for Nobody - History and Future of Anarchy Details
The Transformation of the World - The Story of Migration Details Details
Feeling at home - An integration evening for indigenous people on german signs and symbols Details
What was once thought - Digitisation: What is it and what does it do? Details
The Twenties - Looking back on a decade Details
The Sound of the 20th Century - Part I: 1914 – 1945 Details

Biographical:
Sir Winston Spencer-Churchill - Never surrender Details
I am a freak user of words - An Evening with Dylan Thomas Details
Bertolt Brecht: Proposals in dark times. Details
I want to be a lighthouse - Wolfgang Borchert Details
I am Nobody - The world of Emily Dickinson Details

Culture:
New: The Meaning of Reading: An Invitation. Details
Very British! A reflection on British culture and way of life Details

New: virtual Walks (30 - 60 minutes):
London: Along the Southbank from Westmister to Tower Hill Details
Edinburgh: Along the Royal Mile from the Castle to Holyrood Palace Details
Orkney: A visit to 5000 years of history Details
Amsterdam: A walk through the history of the city Details


planned for autumn 2022:
The history of the library and reading
Future in Northern Ireland - The story of the Good Friday Agreement and its future





Neu The Second Elizabethan Age

No ruler has been in office longer than Elizabeth II Windsor. She succeeded her father in 1952 and was crowned in 1953. Most Britons, including the last five prime ministers, cannot remember any other monarch. How has society changed in these 70 years? Where are there continuities and where changes? Is the (British) world still the same as it was in 1952? And what will happen after the death of Elizabeth II? After the Empire, will the United Kingdom also break apart, because her person is the last solid bracket that holds the English, Welsh, Scots and Northern Irish together?

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Neu No Power for Nobody - History and Future of Anarchy

For many people, anarchists are lazy bombers who want to destroy society. But anarchy has other things to offer in its theory than violence. Its goals are much more prosperity for all and the greatest possible freedom for everyone. Can the ideas and concepts of anarchy enrich democracy? In times when more and more people doubt politics and democracy, when radical renewals are needed and more and more people realise that the ecological turnaround can only be achieved in a just society, it is worth taking a look at the history of ideas of anarchy as radical democracy.

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The Transformation of the World - The Story of Migration Details

According to the UN, an estimated 258 million people no longer live in their country of birth. And the trend is rising. But migration is not a phenomenon of the 21st century. The lecture explores the questions: What is migration anyway and what is not? What are the reasons? What migration movements have there been in the past? Is it a problem that needs political regulation? Why is emigration a human right, but not immigration?

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Feeling at home - An integration evening for indigenous people on german signs and symbols

Since 2005, there have been integration courses for immigrants in Germany, offered by the educational providers Land auf Land ab. But what about the natives? What is German? Many other nations derive their name from a tribe, but the "Germans" never existed. Are we Germans at all? Or North Rhine-Westphalians first? Or even Europeans? What is homeland? What are our symbols? A search for clues between Richard Wagner and the Brothers Grimm, between order, diligence and thrift.

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What was once thought - Digitisation: What is it and what does it do?

During the Corona pandemic, when many people had to move their work to the home office, this was seen as a further step in digitalisation. Digitalisation will have a massive impact on our lives in the future. The new technologies will change our lives more than industrialisation. There is a chaos of terms in the discussion and it is often not clear what we are talking about: Big Data, artificial intelligence, blockchain, robots, crypto-currencies, etc. This lecture sheds light on the whence and whither of digitalisation, shows where digitalisation is already intervening in our lives today, and attempts to assess and evaluate possible developments.

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The Twenties - Looking back on a decade

The fifteen years of the Weimar Republic are often considered a time of political destabilisation and rising National Socialism, a failed experiment in democracy. But at the same time they were a heyday of culture, even if they were the least time and in the fewest places "golden". After the First World War and the revolution in Russia, the superpowers of the 20th century emerge, both still uncertain about their position. In the colonies, the first resistance to the mother countries arises. In Europe, the first pan-European ideas emerge. Today, many see parallels between the 2020s and the 1920s. Reason enough to look back on a "long" decade.

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The Sound of the 20th Century - Part I: 1914 – 1945

The 20th century is the first from which sounds have been recorded: From speeches to music and street noise to the noise of war, everything has been handed down. Thus, the history of this century can be told in its sounds. In this lecture, we want to listen to the first half of the 20th century and recognise the familiar and discover the unknown.

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Sir Winston Spencer-Churchill - Never surrender

Winston Churchill was one of the most influential politicians of the 20th century. He was British Prime Minister during the Second World War and played a decisive role in determining the post-war order. He was a talented painter and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. Films such as Darkest Hour bear witness to the continuing interest in Churchill. Who was the man, what kind of person was hidden behind the often grumpy politician? How important were his decisions really?

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I am a freak user of words - An Evening with Dylan Thoma

Today, Dylan Thomas is considered one of the most important English lyricists of the 20th century. With "Under Milkwood" he wrote one of the most famous radio plays in radio history. Nevertheless, Elke Heidenreich calls him the "world-famous great unknown". Always short of money and often drunk, he was always on the lookout for the right word, the successful rhyme and the most beautiful sound. In his stories he described the life of his childhood in Wales. He repeatedly appeared on BBC programmes and recited his poems. Many of these recordings have survived. The evening will recount his short life, partly in his own stories and poems, partly in short film and sound recordings performed by himself.

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Bertolt Brecht - Proposals in dark times

Bertolt Brecht is one of the most important German-language poets of the 20th century. He wrote against war and for social justice early on. For his plays he wrote songs that were set to music by famous composers such as Kurt Weill and Hans Eisler. He fled from the National Socialists to the USA. After his return he settled in the GDR. But here, too, he increasingly caused trouble. Of his poems, everyone knows the Mackie Messer Song from the Threepenny Opera. Brecht is hardly ever performed in the theatre today. Not only, but even more so in times that are becoming darker again, we need someone like Bertolt Brecht.

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I want to be a lighthouse - Wolfgang Borchert

Wolfgang Borchert was only 26 years old. Nevertheless, he left behind a body of work that is still read in schools today, more than seventy years after his death, e.g. Die Hundeblume and Nachts schlafen dei Ratten doch. His Dann gibt es nur eins is one of the best-known German anti-war texts and his drama Draußen vor der Tür (Outside the Door) about the war returnee Beckmann is one of the most performed German plays worldwide. The audio collage paints an acoustic picture of Wolfgang Borchert's life and work.

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I am Nobody - The world of Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson was born in Amherst / Massachusetts in 1830. Except for a short trip to Washington and Philadelphia, she never left her hometown. First as a nurse for her sick mother, then voluntarily, she rarely left the house where she lived, on many days she did not even leave her room. Nevertheless, she was interested in the world and the things that were going on inside it. She maintained numerous lively correspondences. Her main influences were the works of William Shakespeare and the Bible. Her sceptical, almost existentialist view of the world and her experiments with language and verse make her downright modern. Often inspired by the rhythm of church hymns and psalms, she strings together intense images, dispensing with syntactical structure. She sent many of her poems with her letters to friends and acquaintances. When she died in Amherst in 1886, only seven of the 1,799 poems she left behind had been published.

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The Meaning of Reading: An Invitation.

Telling stories and listening to stories is a basic human need. You could almost say that gossip is an essential engine of civilisation. Today, most of our stories are told on television. Who still has time for thick novels today? And yet ... Reading books enriches life like hardly any other activity. The lecture wants to be an invitation to read again or even more.

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Very british! A reflection on British culture and way of life

The decision to leave the European Union has left many things in flux. Reason enough to take a closer look at British culture. Great Britain is considered the home of eccentricity and cultivated spleens. What is typically British? What makes being British so special? An evening with well-known and unknown literary and journalistic texts about life between Full English Breakfast and ale in the pub, from Shakespeare to Brexit, about big politics and life in miniature. An evening for all Anglophiles and those who want to become one, supplemented by numerous film and sound recordings in English.

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London: Along the Southbank from Westmister to Tower Hill

On the south bank of the Thames, you can walk past numerous historic buildings, from Westminster to Tower Hill.

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Edinburg: Along the Royal Mile from the Castle to Holyrood Palace

The Royale Mile in Edinburgh connects Edinburgh Castle on the hill with Holyrood Palace in the valley.The little more than 1.5 km is the central axis of the old town and leads past many places of Scottish history.

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A visit to 5000 years of history Ein Besuch auf den Orkneys

Even in the Stone Age, Orkney had as many inhabitants as it does today. What became of them is not known. The Orkneys have always remained populated, the natural harbour in their centre was the starting point of James Cook's circumnavigations and central naval support in the First and Second World Wars. Thus, 5,000 years of history can be viewed in Orkney like in a burning glass.

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Amsterdam: A walk through the history of the city

Amsterdam is one of the most important metropolises in Europe and has always been the scene of important historical events. Across the city of canals and canals, we travel through Europe's history.

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