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The Performative Family: How a Family Made Itself in Exile and at Home

November 16, 2023 @
5:00 p.m.
- 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time
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Albert M. Tapper Annual Lecture

Keynote: Performing Exile: New Approaches to the Study of Refugees from Nazi Europe

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Michael Geyer (Samuel N. Harper Professor Emeritus of German and European History and former Faculty Director of the Human Rights Program, now the Pozen Center for Human Rights at the University of Chicago) researches Modern German and European history, history and theory of human rights, international and transnational history, globalization, and war and genocide. His work links together the most basic concerns of contemporary society, from war-making and human rights to globalization. He has received numerous awards including the Axel Springer Berlin Prize, Humboldt Prize, and a Guggenheim fellowship. He is currently working on a family history, which he plans to write as an intimate history of twentieth century Germany.

 The Performative Family: How a Family Made Itself in Exile and at Home

To make and maintain a German Jewish family and home in twentieth-century Central Europe and beyond required extraordinary efforts. The Bratus looked like the perfect family. Yet, what moved the daughter of Zionist parents, born in Tel Aviv in 1923, to settle in Darmstadt in 1949 – and stay? What does it take for a German proletarian antifascist, interrogating German POWs for British Military Intelligence in World War II, to find recognition in a town firebombed by the British? How do their children cope with the legacy of belonging to the “good Germans”? What brings and holds them together as a family? What they do is as common as it is extraordinary. They talk, write, and fight – and this everyday “performativity” makes them at home in a postwar German town. Forget the smiley nuclear family. Migrations make the hard-knocks home-making of elective families the norm rather than the exception.

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Sponsored by the Albert M. Tapper Charitable Foundation






November 16, 2023
5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.