Colloquium: Feeling through Film: The Open Memory Box and the Intimate Social History of the GDR

  • Date: May 14, 2019
  • Time: 05:00 PM (Local Time Germany)
  • Speaker: Laurence McFalls
  • Location: Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Lentzeallee 94, 14195 Berlin
  • Room: Small Conference Room
  • Host: Center for the History of Emotions
  • Contact:

The Center for the History of Emotions at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development, led by Prof. Ute Frevert, cordially invites all interested to attend its summer semester 2019 colloquium:

Laurence McFalls, Université de Montréal

Feeling through film: The Open Memory Box and the Intimate Social History of the GDR

The Open Memory Box is an online (anti-)archive of over 400 hours of home movies from the GDR. It offers insight into the emotional universe of everyday life in the GDR. This talk will explore the challenges of curating the at-once touching, banal, boring and extraordinary family histories captured on 8mm film between 1947 and 1990. Rarely do families film the tragedies, conflicts, and platitudes of daily life, yet the memories that family films elicit ultimately do reveal the shadows of betrayal and shame that underlie personal and political histories. The talk will explain how digital techniques can actually enrich (and not just can) the humanities by suggesting new interpretive and emotional linkages between images and narratives and how home movies can provide historians with documentation that speaks to the heart.

Laurence McFalls is Professor of Political Science at the Université de Montréal, where he directs the Canadian Centre for German and European Studies and the International Research Training Group “Diversity: Mediating Difference in Transcultural Spaces”. His research spans questions of German reunification, the social theories and epistemologies of Max Weber and Michel Foucault, and the political theory of post-liberalism. Alberto Herskovits is a visual anthropologist and award-winning documentary filmmaker whose works also span issues from German reunification to global migration, gender, and the arts and memory.

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