Looking Across the Channel
The HU’s Centre for British Studies celebrates its 25th anniversary.
When the Centre for British Studies (GBZ) at Humboldt Universität zu Berlin (HU) was founded 25 years ago, no one could have foreseen how Great Britain’s role would shift in the European structure. In 1995, the Centre was an initiative of Berlin’s parliament, the House of Representatives, in recognition of the UK’s important role in Germany and in Berlin after World War II and during the Cold War. It was set up in order to undertake research into the politics, society, law, literature, culture and history of the UK and of German-British relations. The fact that public lectures were already part of the programme at the time of its foundation was a trend-setting feature at the time.
The M.A. British Studies course, which opened in 1999, has so far been attended by almost 500 students from all over the world. Early on, the Centre for British Studies began to situate its UK-focused research and teaching in European and global contexts.
Brexit therefore means more than just a historical experience for the Centre’s staff. „In a way, it is an application of our knowledge,“ explains director Prof. Christiane Eisenberg, a historian. Brexit has a direct impact on the Centre: „On the one hand, it stimulates our business. On the other hand, it hinders the conduct of this business at all levels – in research organization, in studies and in exchange with British institutions. However, we are unwavering in our vigour!“
This is demonstrated, among other things, by a joint Oxford-Berlin project. In cooperation with the Bodleian Library, the Stephen Spender Foundation and the John Fell Fund Oxford, the Literaturhaus Berlin, and the Gay Museum the GBZ is working on the exhibition „I am a Camera. Berlin Through the Eyes of English Writers“, which will open in the summer of 2021 and be accompanied by an extensive programme of events.
Online exhibition on the anniversary: Britons in Berlin
Already on July 3 this year, just in time for the anniversary, the exhibition „100 Years of Britons in Berlin: From the Golden Twenties to the 2020s“ will go online. The exhibition shows how Britons experienced Berlin over the last century – and how they in turn influenced Berlin society. The exhibition was curated entirely by students of the GBZ. It will be shown from 3 July at https://british-berlin.com/
Due to the Corona situation, the actual celebration of the anniversary has been postponed until next year.
Sonya Permiakova, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Centre for British Studies, Tel: 030. 2093-99043, e-mail: email@example.com