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 firstname.lastname@example.org
New: Katherine Mansfield - A child of the sun Details
New: Willy Brandt's Ostpolitik - recipe for success or failure? Details
New: The Second Elizabethan Age 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
Sir Winston Spencer-Churchill - Never surrender Details
I am a freak user of words - An Evening with Dylan Thomas Details on the 70th year of his death
Bertolt Brecht: Proposals in dark times. 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
Katherine Mansfield was only just over 34 years old. Her few stories belong firmly to the
canon of classical modernism.
Originally from New Zealand, she went to England alone as a young woman, determined to become a writer. She became friends with D.H. Lawrence and met Virginia and Leonard Woolf. She often talks about her childhood in New Zealand. Again and again she looks for the moment when a deeper truth reveals itself in a gesture, a thoughtless word, a small action.
Again and again she looked for the freedom of the bohemian world on the one hand and the - above all economic - protection of a traditional relationship on the other. She found both to some extent, both never quite, neither in the way she had wished. She tells of this in her numerous letters and in her diaries.
With his Ostpolitik (=eastward politics), Willy Brandt defused the Cold War in the late 1960s and early 1970s and prepared its end. For this he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
Today, at least since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, there is constant talk that the attempt at "change through trade" has failed and that Foreign Minister Baerbock wants to ruin Russia.
What was that about Ostpolitik back then and what can we learn from it today?
No ruler was in office longer than Elisathe II. Windsor. She succeeded her father in 1952 and was crowned in 1953.
When Elizabeth II was crowned, a message was sent by runner on the same day; when she dies, the world learns of it within MInutes. When she is crowned, the British Empire falls apart; when she dies, there are regional parliaments in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, the Scots are about to vote on their independence for the second time in a short time, and Northern Ireland is separated from Britain by a trade border.
Nevertheless, in obituaries there is always talk of continuity and constancy, which Elizabeth II embodied. Even before her funeral, voices are already multiplying questioning precisely this continuity of imperialism, rule and class. What has changed in the 70 years of your reign? How has society become different?
And how will it continue?
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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. But what happens in your head when you read, and why is it fun? The lecture wants to be an invitation to read again or even more.
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.
On the south bank of the Thames, you can walk past numerous historic buildings, from Westminster to Tower Hill.
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.
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.
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.