Transatlantic Partnership on Memory & Democracy: 2019

Charlottesville, VA: From April 8 - 16, 2019, the UVA Center for German Studies and the Heinrich Böll Foundation Washington, DC, will host five visiting fellows from Germany as part of the Transatlantic Partnership on Memory & Democracy.

Created in response to the white supremacist attacks in Charlottesville on August 11th and 12th, 2017, this Partnership provides UVa faculty and students with the opportunity to work with visiting fellows from Germany on common projects that explore how societies teach, memorialize, and engage with the past. Through hands-on projects in art, activism, and scholarship, teams of faculty and students address difficult chapters of history from slavery and segregation in the United States to colonialism, dictatorship, and genocide in Germany. Visiting fellows will also learn about Charlottesville’s complex history through conversations with curators at Monticello and the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center.

The Visiting Fellows. This year, Christine Umpfenbach, a prominent theater director from Munich, will return to work with UVA Drama students to produce a documentary theater piece on the legacy of racial oppression in Charlottesville. The performance will be held on the evening of Tuesday, April 16th, at 7:30 pm in the Rotunda Multipurpose Room.

The German public historian Leonard Schmieding will explore the tradition of counter-memorials with History students studying nationalism and authoritarianism. Students will produce a postcard exhibit of Charlottesville, questioning current memorials by suggesting other aspects of Charlottesville history that offer a different narrative.

Afro German scholar-activist and artist Natasha A. Kelly will work with students in the German and Political Science departments to curate a Cabinet of Curiosities, illustrating how racism, xenophobia, sexism, and other forms of discrimination are manifest in everyday objects and language.

Kelly will show her debut film, “Milli’s Awakening,” in the Vinegar Hill Theater on Wednesday, April 10th, at 7pm. The film explores the reality of black German women artists and will be followed by a Q&A with the director. For more details on the event, see the event’s description here.

Author and activist Armin Langer, who is the co-founder of the Jewish-Muslim Salaam-Shalom initiative in Berlin, will lead a dialogue project that challenges students of the history of National Socialism to get out of their comfort zones and filter bubbles, and to expand their horizons beyond the various boundaries that have come to define us.

Noa Ha directs the Center for Integration Research at the Technical University of Dresden, focusing on the sociology of urban space from a postcolonial, decolonizing, and anti-racist perspective. She will explore the politics of public space with graduate students in the school of Architecture.

The Transatlantic Partnership on Memory & Democracy is co-sponsored by the Center for Global Inquiry and Innovation. This year’s collaborators also include the European Studies Program and the Religion, Race and Democracy Lab of the University of Virginia.

The Heinrich Böll Stiftung Washington, DC is a non-profit organization is headquartered in Berlin, with international offices in Washington, DC, and more than thirty countries around the world. We are part of the global Green movement and seek to advance democracy and human rights, protect the environment and climate, and promote the peaceful resolution of conflicts.

The UVA Center for German Studies is a community of scholars, students, professionals, and friends brought together by a wide range of interests connected to the German-speaking world. We serve as a hub for interdisciplinary outreach and exchange with the aim to broaden and deepen the long and significant history of transatlantic and German-American relations.