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The wreck of the Highland Fling: tragedy and ballast at sea

paul blickle

Port side view of 'Highland Fling' (1889), from the break in the hull, looking aft along dock. People can be seen in the cross-section of the hull. Credit line: © National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, Gibson's of Scilly Shipwreck Collection Object: G14156 Artist: Gibson's of Scilly Shipwreck Collection Date: unknown Medium: glass negative Size: 254 mm x 305 mm

  This photograph of a shattered hull hides a rare sight. It is not the shipwreck. The ship in question is the British steamer Highland Fling and the picture was taken at the Falmouth drydocks early in 1907.[1] A terrible disaster has sundered the ship in half, and all that remains is an almost anatomical cross-section of the ship. Labourers are interrupting their work to pose for the photographer. They are in the process of clearing ballast from the ship’s hold before its engines and parts can be salvaged and the rest of the Highland Fling scrapped. The Highland Fling had been a mighty ship, almost a hundred metres long, first launched 17 years previously from a Newcastle shipyard. The ship boasted a modern steel hull and was fitted with electric lights as well as refrigeration machinery (the purpose of which remains obscure). Originally named the Duke of Portland and later the Morayshire, the steamer became the Highland Fling around 1905, when it joined the fleet of the Nelson Line of Liverpool (which christened all their ships with names beginning in ‘Highland’). The new owners employed the Highland Fling for trade with South America.[2] It was on one such voyage that disaster struck. According to the London Times, the steamer ran aground near the Cornish coast in thick fog on the night of 7 January 1907. It had left London only days before carrying several thousand barrels of cement to Buenos Aires. An inquest by the Liverpool Board of Trade later ruled that the ship had exceeded safe speed too near the coast. The ship’s master, a Captain Purvis, was held responsible for this navigational error and his captain’s licence was suspended for a year. This was a light punishment, given that the newspapers valued the Highland Fling at £25,000 (nearly £3.2 million today), excluding the value of its cargo. At least, no loss of life was reported, and the vessel was sufficiently insured. On 10 January, the Times reported a first, unsuccessful attempt to tow the steamer from the rocks after several hundred tons of cargo had been jettisoned. A second attempt, undertaken two days later, also failed and left the bow section of the vessel badly damaged. After repeated attempts to free the Highland Fling had proved futile, the London Salvage Association tried to retrieve at least part of the cargo and the ship’s most valuable parts (its engine and refrigeration machinery, which were located in the rear). Engineers planted dynamite along the hull with the aim to separate bow from stern by force, but heavy waves interrupted this plan. After being stuck on the rocks for two weeks, the sea finally achieved what the engineers had failed to do and smashed the ship in half, after which the rear was towed by tugboats to the nearby port of Falmouth. The bow section of the Highland Fling was left on the rocks, until it was smashed into oblivion by a storm on the night of 23 January. At Falmouth the Highland Fling was documented in a series of dramatic photographs by the local studio of Gibson & Sons. The Gibsons ran a multigenerational business and hailed from the Scilly Isles — an island group southwest of Cornwall long associated with maritime disasters. Exactly 200 years before the calamity of the Highland Fling, another series of navigational errors had sunk four ships of the Royal Navy and killed 1500 sailors as well as an admiral on the cliffs of the Scillies. The disaster of 1707 famously sparked the eighteenth-century quest for more precise longitudinal measurements, and it was perhaps this piece of local history that had given the business’s founder, John Gibson (a sailor turned photographer in the 1860s), and his sons their taste for maritime tragedy. Pictures of the wrecked Highland Fling were probably taken by John’s son Herbert, who, over the course of his career, photographed countless ships in varying degrees of destruction.[4]

Port side view of 'Highland Fling' (1889), from the break in the hull, looking aft along dock. People can be seen in the cross-section of the hull. Credit line: © National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, Gibson's of Scilly Shipwreck Collection Object: G14156 Artist: Gibson's of Scilly Shipwreck Collection Date: uknown Medium: glass negative Size: 254 mm x 305 mm

  Tragic as it was, the fate of the Highland Fling was by no means unusual. Surviving images of the shattered ship bear witness to the dangers of seafaring even at the dawn of the twentieth century. The dimensions of the remaining half of the hull are impressive, dwarfing the men labouring in its shadow, yet the advances of the industrial age were no match for the violence of wind and sea. Yet the apparent catastrophe of the shattered Highland Fling conceals something as mundane as it is invisible. Strewn across the lowest point of the hull lie sand and rocks, which the labourers are slowly removing by means of their shovels and wheelbarrows. These are not the remains of the cement cargo the ship was transporting to South America, which was packaged into barrels, some of which are still visible. What the labourers are removing is in fact the ship’s ballast. The word ‘ballast’ is used almost exclusively as a metaphor today. But ballast was an integral part of seafaring. Its purpose was to lower a ship’s centre of gravity and to stabilise it at sea. This was done by loading cheap and heavy materials like sand, small stones and rubble into a ship’s hold, which lowered its waterline and reduced its tendency to pitch and roll. As ships travelled to the farthest corners of the globe, they carried ballast from and to ports all over the world. Ships needed the most ballast when they were running empty, but even fully loaded ships carried it. Especially during the winter months, shipmasters took care to load additional ballast. Looking at ships of similar size and displacement, the Highland Fling (which sailed in January) would have easily carried between 200 and 500 tonnes of sand and stones as ballast.[6] Ballast was evidently necessary for safe travel at sea, but at the same time it routinely disrupted trade. Purchasing ballast and paying for the labour of loading and unloading it was a recurring expense, but what made ballast particularly vexing were the lengthy delays while ships waited to be ballasted. Shipping was a highly competitive industry in which the priority was to keep ships profitably at sea with cargo rather than wasting precious days in port. Waiting for ballast-men to load ballast after stevedores had unloaded cargo (or vice versa) considerably extended the time in port to the point where captains opted not to unload all their cargo rather than to wait for ballast. While global economic connections intensified, the necessity to carry ballast weakened and sometimes severed such connections. As a mundane nautical component, ballast was deeply ingrained in the everyday practice of seamanship. As such, it is almost invisible in pictorial records. There are some depictions showing how it was loaded or unloaded, as well as a few anaemic photographs taken by archaeologists of ballast recovered from sunken ships. The images from Falmouth are a rare exception because they show ballast while it was in its proper place —in situ at the deepest point of a ship’s hold. This is important because whether any amount of sand and shingle counted as ballast or not was wholly determined by the nautical context: only their use at sea transformed sand and shingle into ballast. The very same materials could later be used to pave roads or build houses without a second thought given to their erstwhile nautical purpose.[7] Another interesting aspect of the photographs is that the cross-section shows neither a double bottom nor double hull. Towards of the end of the nineteenth century, many ships had adopted double hulls, which made them more durable. The space in-between was waterproofed and used as a tank that could be filled with seawater. Water is less dense than sand and stone, but it is free and could be loaded and unloaded much more quickly. This solved some of the disconnective issues associated with solid ballast. Today, water ballast is used on almost every ship and has contributed significantly to the spread of invasive micro-organisms around the world.[8] Not all water ballast was kept in double hulls. On board the Highland Fling, the water was most likely carried in large tanks located at the bow and stern of the ship and is therefore not visible in the cross-section. While it is often argued that solid ballast, like sand and stone, was quickly replaced by water, the images of the Highland Fling demonstrate the persistence of solid ballast. At the turn of the century, most steamers still used a mixture of water and solid ballasts, as well as the weight of their fuel, to stabilise the ship.[9] The stranding of the Highland Fling might be a cautionary tale of navigational incompetence or the persisting dangers of maritime mobility a century ago. But what makes this image of tragedy exceptional is that it documents an otherwise almost invisible and forgotten aspect of seafaring. [1] Gibson & Sons of Scilly, A View of the Stern Section at the Break in the Hull, of the Cargo Steamer Highland Fling (1890) in Drydock at Falmouth, c. 1907, Photograph, G14156, National Maritime Museum Greenwich, London, Gibson’s of Scilly Shipwreck Collection, https://www.rmg.co.uk/collections/objects/rmgc-object-1113561. [2] Lloyd’s Register of British and Foreign Shipping. From 1st July, 1906, to the 30th June, 1907. Volume 1 – Steamers (London, 1906). [3] ‘The Marine Insurance Market’, The Times (London), 9 January 1907, 13; ‘The Marine Insurance Market’, The Times (London), 10 January 1907, 13; ‘The Marine Insurance Market’, The Times (London), 14 January 1907, 15; ‘The Marine Insurance Market’, The Times (London), 15 January 1907, 15; ‘Shipping Disasters’, The Times (London), 21 January 1907, 9; ‘Wrecks, Casualties, &c.’, The Times (London), 24 January 1907, 10; ‘The Marine Insurance Market’, The Times (London), 4 March 1907, 14. [4] John Fowles, Shipwreck, repr. ed. (London: Jonathan Cape, 1979). [5] Gibson & Sons of Scilly, A View Directly into the Hull of the Cargo Steamer Highland Fling (1890), c. 1907, Photograph, G14155, National Maritime Museum Greenwich, London, Gibson’s of Scilly Shipwreck Collection, https://www.rmg.co.uk/collections/objects/rmgc-object-1113560. [6] S. J. P. Thearle, ‘The Ballasting of Steamers for North Atlantic Voyages’, Transactions of the Royal Institution of Naval Architects 45 (1903): 118–33. [7] Mats Burström, Ballast. Laden with History, trans. Charlotte Merton (Lund: Nordic Academic Press, 2017), 51–59. [8] James T. Carlton, ‘Attack of the Invasive Species!’, in The Ocean Reader. History, Culture, Politics, ed. Eric Paul Roorda (Durham: Duke University Press, 2020), 473–82. [9] B. Martell, ‘On Water Ballast’, Transactions of the Royal Institution of Naval Architects 18 (1877): 336–48.  
Burström, Mats. Ballast. Laden with History. Translated by Charlotte Merton. Lund: Nordic Academic Press, 2017. Carlton, James T. ‘Attack of the Invasive Species!’ In The Ocean Reader. History, Culture, Politics, edited by Eric Paul Roorda, 473–82. Durham: Duke University Press, 2020. Fowles, John. Shipwreck. Repr. ed. London: Jonathan Cape, 1979. Gibson & Sons of Scilly. A View Directly into the Hull of the Cargo Steamer Highland Fling (1890). c. 1907. Photograph. G14155. National Maritime Museum Greenwich, London, Gibson’s of Scilly Shipwreck Collection. https://www.rmg.co.uk/collections/objects/rmgc-object-1113560. ———. A View of the Stern Section at the Break in the Hull, of the Cargo Steamer Highland Fling (1890) in Drydock at Falmouth. c. 1907. Photograph. G14156. National Maritime Museum Greenwich, London, Gibson’s of Scilly Shipwreck Collection. https://www.rmg.co.uk/collections/objects/rmgc-object-1113561. Lloyd’s Register of British and Foreign Shipping. From 1st July, 1906, to the 30th June, 1907. Volume 1 – Steamers. London, 1906. Martell, B. ‘On Water Ballast’. Transactions of the Royal Institution of Naval Architects 18 (1877): 336–48. The Times (London). ‘Shipping Disasters’, 21 January 1907: 9. The Times (London). ‘The Marine Insurance Market’, 9 January 1907: 13. The Times (London). ‘The Marine Insurance Market’, 10 January 1907: 13. The Times (London). ‘The Marine Insurance Market’, 14 January 1907: 15. The Times (London). ‘The Marine Insurance Market’, 15 January 1907: 15. The Times (London). ‘The Marine Insurance Market’, 4 March 1907: 14. Thearle, S. J. P. ‘The Ballasting of Steamers for North Atlantic Voyages’. Transactions of the Royal Institution of Naval Architects 45 (1903): 118–33. The Times (London). ‘Wrecks, Casualties, &c.’, 24 January 1907: 10.  
citation information
Blickle, Paul. ‘The Wreck of the Highland Fling: Tragedy and Ballast at Sea’. Institute Website. Blog, Global Dis:Connect (blog), 7 May 2022. https://www.globaldisconnect.org/07/05/the-wreck-of-the-highland-fling-tragedy-and-ballast-at-sea/?lang=en.
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‘Without You’: ‘German coffee’ and the politics of dis:connection

christina brauner

Healthy and wealthy without you...

The lure of paradise, the hint of distant yet accessible fortunes, the promise of exotic luxuries available right here and now – these are commonplaces in the long history of commodity advertising.[1] Yet, there is also a long history of rejecting them in favour of promoting local goods. Take the trademark depicted above from the 1770s: through an expressive gesture, the peasant, busy sowing his field, turns away the ship arriving from an exotic shore. The inscription acerbates the gesture, which reads: ‘Healthy and rich without you’. This implies the rejection of colonies and colonial goods in general – coffee in particular – in favour of what is called ‘German coffee’, a drink made from chicory roots instead of coffee beans.[2] As a substitute for ‘real’ or ‘foreign’ coffee, ‘German coffee’ comes with connective and disconnective features simultaneously. It was part of what some contemporaries had already identified as ‘diet revolutions’ – the sometimes slow, sometimes quite quick establishment of ‘new’ foods and consumables such as tea, coffee, chocolate, and – with a somewhat longer history – sugar and spices in European kitchens and on European tables.[3] Alongside other substitutes, such as herbal tea (in place of imported Asian tea), ‘German coffee’ signals both the growing popularity of ‘global goods’ and the attempt to domesticise them and limit the impact of world trade on the domestic economy. While others merely deplored the demise of good olde German beer and published verbose condemnations of the new luxuries, Christian Gottlieb Förster and fellow champions of the chicory coffee business actively responded to the new consumables, sometimes by even promoting a new product to replace them.[4] Drinking chicory coffee in place of imported coffee, the trademark suggests, protects both health and wealth. The act of consumption apparently connects the physical body to the body politick, the wellbeing of the individual to that of the political economy at large. In Förster’s 1773 treatise about the history of chicory coffee, clearly written with an intention to advertise, this connection is established through metaphors, relying on images of circulation and sickness, as well as through statistics. In line with the contemporary fashion of assessing the world through numbers, the treatise features a considerable amount of data on coffee imports and prices. They call upon the individual consumer to relate their own foodways to the economy at large and think about their personal share in the harmful currency drain.[5] Aligning imports and incorporation, Förster ties together health and wealth, the individual and the collective. (Image courtesy of the Bavarian State Library digital collection) Consequently, numbers come with emotions and a call for action. Förster describes his personal reaction to the results from his accounting work in very corporeal terms: ‘…I felt queasy. I turned to bloodletting, drank a lot of water, took a lemon laying before me, yet, as it was foreign, threw it away again with some force, shattering my punch bowl’.[6] Yet, he continues, ‘the Fatherland and our body (sic!) still are strong enough to recover; but it is time, high time’.[7] Förster directs this urgent appeal, above all, to German women as caretakers of house, home and husbands. While blaming Germany’s exposure to outlandish influences mainly on men and male weaknesses, he calls upon female wisdom and virtues to replace foreign fashion and food with authentic and healthy German goods – even by means of withholding their kisses.[8] There was a very physical element involved in relating individual consumption to the ‘Fatherland’ and its political economy – namely, the specific nature of German bodies. Such a notion was by no means an eighteenth-century invention; rather, it emerges from a centuries-long tradition of thinking about bodies through their interaction with the environment and climate, with ways of life and, not least, with foodways. This tradition, known as humoral pathology, was rooted in difference, in different complexiones that were shaped by and at the same time required different ways and conditions of living. Bodies were different, but they were also malleable, and this was what made food both so powerful and so dangerous.[9] What Talal Asad and others have suggested regarding ‘Europe’ as a whole also holds true for ‘Germanness’ in particular: these concepts were shaped through expansion and entanglements.[10] Studying practices of natural history in early modern German lands, for instance, Alix Cooper has shown how notions of the ‘domestic’ emerged through the encounter with the world at large.[11] This goes back to the dawn of the so-called ‘European expansion’. Indeed, while humoral pathology was rooted in ancient medical discourse, by the late Middle Ages, it had changed. Complexio had always been an individual issue, yet, increasingly, a tendency towards collectivisation of complexiones and essentialisation of skin colour emerged – a development inextricably tied to colonial expansion and slave trade.[12] Protecting ‘German bodies’ from foreign influence, thus, was linked to the racialisation of bodies elsewhere. Moreover, through the nexus of the German body, both individual and politick, Förster also envisages Germany as an entity of political economy at a time where no such thing existed, at least in terms of political institutions. To put it bluntly: Germany was threatened by global connections prenatally. At the same time, the market was the place where the ‘Fatherland’ could be rescued, through patriotic acts of purchase and consumption. Whether chicory coffee indeed helped to decrease the consumption of ‘real’ coffee is still open to debate. Some scholars have even suggested that the cheaper substitute inadvertently prepared the ground for the latter establishment of ‘real’ coffee throughout German society, as it allowed non-elite consumers to acquire respective drinking practices.[13] Throughout the world of the twenty-first century, the trope of protecting the nation, its borders and its economy has come back with a vengeance – if indeed it ever left. Studying the global history of nationalism, thus, seems to be a timely endeavour for historians interested in dis:connectivity. Doing so means exploring dis:connections in terms of dialectics rather than dichotomies, studying the interplay of connections and disconnections both in terms of unintended effects and deliberate politics.[14]   [1] Cf., e.g., Paul Freedman, ‘Spices and Late-Medieval European Ideas of Scarcity and Value’, Speculum 80, no. 4 (2005): 1209–27; Catherine Molineux, ‘Pleasures of the Smoke: “Black Virginians” in Georgian London’s Tobacco Shops’, William and Mary Quarterly 64, no. 2 (2007): 327–76. [2] For an explanation of the trademark, see Christian G. Förster, Geschichte von der Erfindung und Einführung des Cichorien-Caffee (Bremen, 1773), 51; the 1864 edition of Grimm’s dictionary mentions ‘German coffee’ as a synonym for ‘chicory coffee’: ‘cichorienkaffee ein surrogat (auch deutscher kaffee genannt)’, see Jacob Grimm and Wilhelm Grimm, Deutsches Wörterbuch. Fünfter Band. K (Leipzig, 1873), 21f. [3] Johann G. Leidenfrost, ‘Revolutionen in der Diät von Europa seit 300 Jaren’, in August Ludwig Schlözer’s Briefwechsel, meist historischen und politischen Inhalts, vol. 8, iss. 44 (Göttingen, 1781), 93–120; for an overview, see Anne E. C. McCants, ‘Global History and the History of Consumption: Congruence and Divergence’, in Global History and New Polycentric Approaches. Europe, Asia and the Americas in a World Network System, ed. Lucio de Sousa and Manuel P. Garcia (Singapore: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018), 241–53; and the respective contributions in Frank Trentmann, ed., The Oxford Handbook of the History of Consumption (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012); while this debate long focused on Western Europe and its colonial empires, Central European entanglements with global trade and consumption have only recently become the subject of extensive systematic study, cf., e.g., Jutta Wimmler and Klaus Weber, eds., Globalized Peripheries. Central Europe and the Atlantic World, 1680-1860 (Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 2020). [4] See Förster, Geschichte von der Erfindung und Einführung des Cichorien-Caffee; for the trademark and the respective enterprise, see Peter Albrecht, ‘Die Erschließung neuer Absatzwege durch Braunschweiger Firmen in der zweiten Hälfte des 18. Jahrhunderts’, in Innovationsgeschichte. Erträge der 21. Arbeitstagung der Gesellschaft für Sozial- und Wirtschaftsgeschichte, 30. März bis 2. April 2005 in Regensburg, ed. Rolf Walter (Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 2007), ill. 181; despite Förster’s claims to the contrary, there were earlier propagators of chicory coffee, see Christian Hochmuth, Globale Güter - lokale Aneignung. Kaffee, Tee, Schokolade und Tabak im frühneuzeitlichen Dresden (Konstanz: UVK Verlag, 2008), 71f.; on substitutes and ‘domestication’, see Julia A. Schmidt-Funke, ‘“Eigene fremde Dinge”. Surrogate und Imitate im langen 18. Jahrhundert’, in Präsenz und Evidenz fremder Dinge im Europa des 18. Jahrhunderts, ed. Birgit Neumann (Göttingen: Wallstein Verlag, 2018), 529–49; and Anne Gerritsen, ‘Domesticating Goods from Overseas: Global Material Culture in the Early Modern Netherlands’, Journal of Design History 29, no. 3 (2016): 228–44. [5] For an insightful take on the emotional and moralising usages of statistics, see David Kuchenbuch, ‘“Fernmoral”. Zur Genealogie des glokalen Wissens’, Merkur 70, no. 807 (2016): 40–51. [6] Förster, Geschichte von der Erfindung und Einführung des Cichorien-Caffee, 12: ‘…mir ward schlimm. Ich ließ mir die Ader öfnen, trank viel Wasser, ergrif eine vor mir liegende Citrone, doch, da sie ausländisch war, warf ich sie mit Ungestüm weg, und zerschmettere damit meine Punsch-Schale.’ [7] Ibid. 14: ‘…das Vaterland und unser Körper haben noch Kräfte, um sich erholen zu können; es ist aber Zeit, und zwar die höchste.’ [8] Ibid. 15: ‘…geben sie ihm keinen Kuß, wenn er ihnen nicht monathlich einen Entwurf, oder auch nur einen gesunden Gedanken zur Verbesserung des Vaterlandes opfert’. The history of eighteenth-century consumer boycotts has recently drawn some attention but mainly in the context of the abolitionist movement. The case of Förster’s chicory coffee demonstrates, once more, the different political usages such early practices of ‘global responsibilisation’ could be put to. [9] For an introduction, see Steven Shapin, ‘“You Are What You Eat”: Historical Changes in Ideas about Food and Identity’, Historical Research 87, no. 237 (2014): 377–92; and David Gentilcore, Food and Health in Early Modern Europe. Diet, Medicine and Society, 1450-1800 (London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2016). [10] Talal Asad, ‘Muslims and European Identity: Can Europe Represent Islam?’, in The Idea of Europe. From Antiquity to the European Union, ed. Anthony Pagden (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), 220. [11] Alix Cooper, Inventing the Indigenous. Local Knowledge and Natural History in Early Modern Europe (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007); see also Peter Hess, ‘Protest from the Margins: Emerging Global Networks in the Early Sixteenth Century and Their German Detractors’, in Other Globes. Past and Peripheral Imaginations of Globalization, ed. Simon Ferdinand, Irene Villaescusa-Illán, and Esther Peeren (Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 2019), 41–62; and Bethany Wiggin, ‘Globalization and the Work of Fashion in Early Modern German Letters’, Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies 11, no. 2 (2011): 35–60. [12] See Gentilcore, Food and Health in Early Modern Europe. Diet, Medicine and Society, 1450-1800, chapter 4; Rebecca Earle, The Body of the Conquistador. Food, Race and the Colonial Experience in Spanish America, 1492–1700 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012), esp. chapter 2; Valentin Groebner, ‘Haben Hautfarben eine Geschichte? Personenbeschreibungen und ihre Kategorien zwischen dem 13. und 16. Jahrhundert’, Zeitschrift für Historische Forschung 30, no. 1 (2003): 1–17, esp. 12-17; for the ongoing debate on racism in the Middle Ages, see Vanita Seth, ‘The Origins of Racism: A Critique of the History of Ideas’, History and Theory 59, no. 3 (2020): 343–68. [13] See Hans J. Teuteberg, ‘Kaffeetrinken sozialgeschichtlich betrachtet’, Scripta Mercaturae 14, no. 1 (1980): 41f.; Hochmuth, Globale Güter - lokale Aneignung. Kaffee, Tee, Schokolade und Tabak im frühneuzeitlichen Dresden, 71f. Hochmuth links the decreasing volume of coffee imports in Dresden after the 1760s to the rising consumption of coffee substitutes (88f.). [14] Cf. Cemil Aydin et al., ‘Rethinking Nationalism’, American Historical Review 127, no. 1 (2022): 311–71; Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing, Friction. An Ethnography of Global Connection (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2005).
Albrecht, Peter. ‘Die Erschließung neuer Absatzwege durch Braunschweiger Firmen in der zweiten Hälfte des 18. Jahrhunderts’. In Innovationsgeschichte. Erträge der 21. Arbeitstagung der Gesellschaft für Sozial- und Wirtschaftsgeschichte, 30. März bis 2. April 2005 in Regensburg, edited by Rolf Walter, 175–89. Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 2007. Asad, Talal. ‘Muslims and European Identity: Can Europe Represent Islam?’ In The Idea of Europe. From Antiquity to the European Union, edited by Anthony Pagden, 209–27. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002. Aydin, Cemil, Grace Ballor, Sebastian Conrad, Frederick Copper, Nicole CuUnjieng Aboitiz, Richard Drayton, Michael Goebel, et al. ‘Rethinking Nationalism’. American Historical Review 127, no. 1 (2022): 311–71. Cooper, Alix. Inventing the Indigenous. Local Knowledge and Natural History in Early Modern Europe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007. Earle, Rebecca. The Body of the Conquistador. Food, Race and the Colonial Experience in Spanish America, 1492–1700. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012. Förster, Christian G. Geschichte von der Erfindung und Einführung des Cichorien-Caffee. Bremen, 1773. Freedman, Paul. ‘Spices and Late-Medieval European Ideas of Scarcity and Value’. Speculum 80, no. 4 (2005): 1209–27. Gentilcore, David. Food and Health in Early Modern Europe. Diet, Medicine and Society, 1450-1800. London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2016. Gerritsen, Anne. ‘Domesticating Goods from Overseas: Global Material Culture in the Early Modern Netherlands’. Journal of Design History 29, no. 3 (2016): 228–44. Grimm, Jacob, and Wilhelm Grimm. Deutsches Wörterbuch. Fünfter Band. K. Leipzig, 1873. Groebner, Valentin. ‘Haben Hautfarben eine Geschichte? Personenbeschreibungen und ihre Kategorien zwischen dem 13. und 16. Jahrhundert’. Zeitschrift für Historische Forschung 30, no. 1 (2003): 1–17. Hess, Peter. ‘Protest from the Margins: Emerging Global Networks in the Early Sixteenth Century and Their German Detractors’. In Other Globes. Past and Peripheral Imaginations of Globalization, edited by Simon Ferdinand, Irene Villaescusa-Illán, and Esther Peeren, 41–62. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 2019. Hochmuth, Christian. Globale Güter - lokale Aneignung. Kaffee, Tee, Schokolade und Tabak im frühneuzeitlichen Dresden. Konstanz: UVK Verlag, 2008. Kuchenbuch, David. ‘“Fernmoral”. Zur Genealogie des glokalen Wissens’. Merkur 70, no. 807 (2016): 40–51. Leidenfrost, Johann G. ‘Revolutionen in der Diät von Europa seit 300 Jaren’. In August Ludwig Schlözer’s Briefwechsel, meist historischen und politischen Inhalts, 8, iss. 44:93–120. Göttingen, 1781. McCants, Anne E. C. ‘Global History and the History of Consumption: Congruence and Divergence’. In Global History and New Polycentric Approaches. Europe, Asia and the Americas in a World Network System, edited by Lucio de Sousa and Manuel P. Garcia, 241–53. Singapore: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018. Molineux, Catherine. ‘Pleasures of the Smoke: “Black Virginians” in Georgian London’s Tobacco Shops’. William and Mary Quarterly 64, no. 2 (2007): 327–76. Schmidt-Funke, Julia A. ‘“Eigene fremde Dinge”. Surrogate und Imitate im langen 18. Jahrhundert’. In Präsenz und Evidenz fremder Dinge im Europa des 18. Jahrhunderts, edited by Birgit Neumann, 529–49. Göttingen: Wallstein Verlag, 2018. Seth, Vanita. ‘The Origins of Racism: A Critique of the History of Ideas’. History and Theory 59, no. 3 (2020): 343–68. Shapin, Steven. ‘“You Are What You Eat”: Historical Changes in Ideas about Food and Identity’. Historical Research 87, no. 237 (2014): 377–92. Teuteberg, Hans J. ‘Kaffeetrinken sozialgeschichtlich betrachtet’. Scripta Mercaturae 14, no. 1 (1980): 27–54. Trentmann, Frank, ed. The Oxford Handbook of the History of Consumption. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012. Tsing, Anna Lowenhaupt. Friction. An Ethnography of Global Connection. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2005. Wiggin, Bethany. ‘Globalization and the Work of Fashion in Early Modern German Letters’. Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies 11, no. 2 (2011): 35–60. Wimmler, Jutta, and Klaus Weber, eds. Globalized Peripheries. Central Europe and the Atlantic World, 1680-1860. Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 2020.
citation information
Brauner, Christina. ‘“Without You”: “German Coffee” and the Politics of Dis:Connection’. Institute Website. Blog, Global Dis:Connect (blog), 21 June 2022. https://www.globaldisconnect.org/06/21/german-coffee-and-the-politics-of-disconnection/?lang=en.
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Past:present represent. Imaging dis:connected Mediterranean bodies

hanni geiger
  Italy chooses the past headlined the Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper in February 2013, shortly after the Milan Fashion Week.[1] It was referring to the colourful and pompous Dolce & Gabbana Spring/Summer Collection, significantly titled Italianità: the designers‘ homage to the ‘old values’ of the crisis-ridden European country on the Mediterranean.[2] The PR campaign celebrated the stereotype of dolce vita in various photographs and glorified tradition and its revival. Buon cibo, café and vino, luxurious craftmanship and materials of the highest quality, a southern Italian landscape flanked by well-dressed people in a cheerful mood against a sunny seaside backdrop — imagined, constructed and narrated from the nation‘s own perspective. In one of the following campaigns, too, the timelessness of the ‘Italian lifestyle’ characterised the designs of both clothes and people. Under the title Italia is Love (2016), the designers gathered all conceivable set pieces thought to represent an Italian maritime passata quotidianità,[3] referring to a Eurocentrically Mediterranean image of everyday life that transposes a one-sided version of its past into the global present. The particular asymmetry of past and present on the Mediterranean is evident in the distinctly staged and narrated embodiments and (image) practices from a solely Western gaze. Against the backdrop of globalisation’s multidimensionality and complexity, the images reveal marginalised bodies, relativise proximity and distance and disrupt a supposedly universal narrative, thus showing the Mediterranean from its socially, politically and economically dis:connective side.  

Visible Invisibilities

The highly controversial title of Dolce & Gabbana‘s Spring/Summer Collection 2013 Italianità, that is ‘Italianity’ or ‘being Italian’ can be traced back to the pan-Italian movement in the nineteenth century and nationalist ideologies of the twentieth century.[4] These tendencies were associated with the forced Italianisation and the formation of a large Italian state, silencing voices on the east and south of the Mediterranean.[5] Under this colonial policy, the term stood for a unified identity comprehending the essence, nature and character of the country and its inhabitants[6] in their formative linguistic, cultural and political dominance in the region.  

Dolce & Gabbana, Spring/Summer Advertising Campaign 2013. In: Dolce & Gabbana. 2013. „Spring/Summer Advertising Campaign 2013.“ Maria Speaks Prada, January 16, 2013. https://www.msf.org/five-things-know-about-search-and-rescue-crisis / © Dolce & Gabbana.

  However, this repressive part of Italian history is largely hidden behind the images of Dolce & Gabbana‘s press campaign, which circumscribes this problematic term in marketing and everyday life. Since the 1950s Italianità has stood for a broadly applicable Mediterranean culture of ease, ‘sea, sun and love’, familiar since the tourism boom and the labour migrations from Italy to the European north.[7] So what the designers present to us is a red-and-white fishing boat on a Sicilian beach, with attractive women and men draped in front of it, models as well as amateurs from the area, who are indulging in sunbathing and serene togetherness. Amongst other model-stars, we recognise celebrities, such as Monica Bellucci — Italian acting icon and global epitome of the dark-haired, pale-skinned ‘Mediterranean beauty’.[8] Fabricating a universally valid maritime imaginary, these sensual bodies in classic, tight-fitting dresses in vivid colours, patterns and ornamentation against a deep blue seascape recall the formation of a Mediterranean topos that was dominated by Italy's imperial politics in the 1930s[9] and the entertainment industry in the 1950s and 1960s. Design has always played a major role here. The industrialised states on the Mediterranean shaped their colonies in the region and around the globe by strategically disseminating their own brands, such as Fiat or Vespa, which featured in movies, billboards and ads.[10] Even today, Dolce & Gabbana design the single valid Mediterranean universe based on a Eurocentric selection of bodies dressed up in Italy‘s glorified (design) past. To this day, design testifies to power and claims on territories and people, substantiating them with Western narratives. As a child of industrialisation, design follows capitalist and post-imperial principles, thus reflecting the region’s dis:connectivity in its economic and social imbalances. These and other visual representations of a unified Mediterranean under Western control go hand in hand with its theoretical constructions, which mostly draw on its past as a European model of civilisation that can still be felt today. Concepts of a romanticised Méditerranée or Mediterraneitá influenced by the imperial and, later, fascist regimes played leading roles as both abstract ideas of colonial dominance and of unification strategies that also imposed themselves aesthetically.[11] In its production, dissemination and narrativisation, the photo from Dolce & Gabbana‘s press campaign inevitably reveals what should remain hidden: the many layers of unacknowledged histories that have shaped and continue to shape the Occidental frame. The one-sidedness resulting from the Western gaze turned on itself must therefore be understood as the practice of hegemonic knowledge production that is always accompanied by the disconnective absence of other images and (body) narratives.  

The ir:regular Mediterranean

The inevitability of apprehending the globalised Mediterranean with its bodies in anything but universal terms becomes evident in the social, political and economic dis:connectivity of the region and its people. The wars in south-eastern Europe in the 1990s, the Arab Spring, migrations from Africa and the so-called ‘Balkan route’ travelled by refugees that runs through countries along the Mediterranean represent the errors, frictions, deviations and disorder of multiple Mediterranean realities. The press photographs of refugees off the same Italian coast where Dolce & Gabbana staged their campaign illustrate these dis:connectivities.  

Hannah Wallace Bowman, Migrant Boat off the Sicilian Coast, August 2020, Photograph, August 2020, https://www.msf.org/five-things-know-about-search-and-rescue-crisis.

  Although the photographs of Libyan migrants are subject to other practices and contexts than in design, they are shot from the same Eurocentric perspective, disseminated and narrativised through the media, threatening a Mediterranean attributed exclusively to Western nation-states. In contrast to the expensively outfitted and digitally altered white bodies of an economic elite from the global North, the news images of the unembellished dark bodies breaking out from the southern shores of the region represent a disruption and destabilisation of hegemonic beliefs as they diffuse throughout the internet. The bodies marked by the arduous flight merge into one undifferentiated mass of otherness without individual dignity. Uniformed in orange life jackets on a roaring dark sea, the bodies made alien threaten the geo-political, cultural, linguistic and religious borders that demarcate Europe. These bodies do not always reach the Northern beach staged in fashion advertising alive. The disconnective side of globalisation finds expression here. The sea, naturally fluid and moving but which law renders frozen and static, becomes the dividing wall behind which the imperial past and its excluded masses lie buried.[12] With the immigration of the disconnected bodies marked as illegal, the ghosts of the colonial mare nostrum are awakened, against which only a politically practised selection of bodies seems effective. Accordingly, Dolce & Gabbana‘s summer 2016 collection — ironically presented shortly after the first reports of migrant boats sinking off the Italian coast — celebrates Italianità, this time under the motto amore.[13] A love that, as the campaign reveals, is only granted to the privileged migrating bodies of the shopping and consumption-hungry ‘[…] foreign tourists, who have landed in their much-loved Italy […]’.[14] Belonging coincides with the exclusion of uninvited guests and their bodies, bodies carrying not only the past, but the colonial constitution of the Mediterranean present.[15] These disturbing bodies are never to be declared problems of the ‘others’ or as flaws of globalisation, but understood as an essential part of Western hegemonies. Iain Chambers aptly captures this, seeing in migration neither an external event, nor an overflow of otherness onto European shores nor even a crisis, but rather ‘the building block of European modernity’.[16] The exclusion of the unwanted dead and live bodies washed up on the European shores is rooted in a dis:connective globalisation based on unequal power relations — management of the Mediterranean solely from the northern shores.[17] Chambers pleads for a critical gaze towards the Occident and demands confrontation with unacknowledged histories that have shaped and continue to shape the ‘Western archives’.[18] Grasping the past in the present[19] enables narration of the dis:connective Mediterranean, referring to neglected actors, artefacts and their practices, from other perspectives and with reference to other critical theories. The Portuguese postcolonial writer Hélia Correia finds a fitting image for this comprehension of past in the present when she speaks of Europe as a lady wearing haute couture, whose expensive dresses hide the body of a dirty, scabby and sick Europe.[20] Mediterranean imperialism, veiled under precious Dolce & Gabbana clothes, is exposed by snapshots of migrants off the same coast. The vaunted ‘old values’ — the Occidental humanistic definitions of locality, home, national identity, tradition and belonging — become worthless. The point to remember is the fundamental importance of visual and haptic artefacts for the formation of images and meanings, as seen in the prototypes of a simultaneously connected and disconnected Mediterranean (body). Instead of the monolithic dualism in the Western construction of the self and ‘other’, the absent, so-called Mediterranean ‘rest' is to be recalled. Its cultural and creative diversity as well as its indefinability according to dominating concepts can be traced through design practices dis:connected to and from the West. Instead of the Eurocentric production of aesthetics and narratives, it is necessary to create a new framework in which the hegemonically perceived defectiveness, the deviant and the ambiguous of (Mediterranean) societies becomes susceptible to research and ‘world-building’ beyond nations. [1] Alfons Kaiser, ‘Italien Wählt Die Vergangenheit’, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 26 February 2013, https://www.faz.net/aktuell/stil/mode-design/mode/mailaender-modewoche-italien-waehlt-die-vergangenheit-12095449.html. [2] ‘Colourful Dolce & Gabbana Spring / Summer 2013 Ad Campaign’, Global Fashion Report, 2013, https://globalfashionreport.com/colourful-dolce-gabbana-spring-summer-2013-ad-campaign-photos. [3] ‘Italia Is Love. CAMPAGNA PUBBLICITARIA ESTATE 2016’, Italia is Love, 2016, https://world.dolcegabbana.com/it/discover/dolce-gabbana-estate-2016-italia-is-love-ispirazione-campagna-pubblicitaria/. [4] Gualtiero Boaglio, Italianità: Eine Begriffsgeschichte, 1., 2008. [5] Boaglio. [6] Boaglio. [7] ‘Italianità in Der Schweiz – Caffè, Vespa Oder Bagnino: Sechs Schweizer Fotografen Mit Italienischem Blut Zeigen, Was Bei Ihnen Heimatgefühle Auslöst.’, Migros-Magazin, 8 March 2015. [8] ‘Monica Bellucci, Il Make up Dell’icona Di Bellezza Mediterranea’, LetteraF, 30 September 2014, https://www.letteraf.com/monica-bellucci-make-dellicona-bellezza-mediterranea/. [9] ‘Als Die Moderne Noch Geholfen Hat’, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 7 October 2017. [10] Anthony Downey, ‘Dissonant Archives: Contemporary Visual Culture and Contested Narratives in the Middle East’, 16 July 2015. [11] Andreas Eckl, ‘Méditerranée? Mediterranistische Diskurse Um Mittelmeerwelten Und -Räume Aus Forschungsgeschichtlicher Perspektive’, in New Horizons Mediterranean Research in the 21st Century, Mittelmeerstudien 10 (Paderborn, 2016), 109–53; Jean-Francois Lejeune and Michelangelo Sabatino, ‘The Politics of Mediterraneità in in Italian Modernist Architecture’, in Modern Architecture and the Mediterranean (London: Routledge, 2009), 41–63. [12] Imaginaries of Europe. Rethinking Identity, Belonging and Sovereignty Europe: From Hope to Disaffection (Barcelona, 2018), https://www.cccb.org/en/multimedia/videos/imaginaries-of-europe-rethinking-identity-belonging-and-sovereignty/229536. [13] Hannah Marriott, ‘Dolce & Gabbana Shares the Amore in Milan with Jolly 50s Italy Collection’, 27 September 2015, https://www.theguardian.com/fashion/2015/sep/27/dolce-gabbana-shares-the-amore-in-milan-with-jolly-50s-italy-collection. [14] ‘Italia Is Love. CAMPAGNA PUBBLICITARIA ESTATE 2016’. [15] Imaginaries of Europe. Rethinking Identity, Belonging and Sovereignty Europe: From Hope to Disaffection. [16] Iain Chambers, ‘Postcolonial Interruptions, Unauthorised Modernities’, in Postcolonial Interruptions, Unauthorised Modernities (New York/London: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2017), 37–60. [17] Lidia Curti, ‘Diasporic Female Narratives: Crossing the Mediterranean, Rewriting Italy.’ (Mediterranean Mediations with Iain Chambers and Lidia Curti, John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute at Duke University, 20 March 2019), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=czr5N4oFBAY&t=6846s; Iain Chambers, ‘Mediterranean Blues – Thinking with the Diver.’ (Mediterranean Mediations with Iain Chambers and Lidia Curti, John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute at Duke University, 20 March 2019), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=czr5N4oFBAY&t=6846s. [18] Chambers, ‘Postcolonial Interruptions, Unauthorised Modernities’. [19] Chambers, ‘Mediterranean Blues – Thinking with the Diver.’ [20] Hélia Correia, ‘Portugal lesen!’, Video, 3sat-Kulturdoku (3sat, 19 March 2022), https://www.3sat.de/kultur/kulturdoku/portugal-lesen-100.html.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. ‘Als Die Moderne Noch Geholfen Hat’, 7 October 2017. Boaglio, Gualtiero. Italianità: Eine Begriffsgeschichte. 1., 2008. Chambers, Iain. ‘Mediterranean Blues – Thinking with the Diver.’ Presented at the Mediterranean Mediations with Iain Chambers and Lidia Curti, John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute at Duke University, 20 March 2019. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=czr5N4oFBAY&t=6846s. ———. ‘Postcolonial Interruptions, Unauthorised Modernities’. In Postcolonial Interruptions, Unauthorised Modernities, 37–60. New York/London: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2017. Global Fashion Report. ‘Colourful Dolce & Gabbana Spring / Summer 2013 Ad Campaign’, 2013. https://globalfashionreport.com/colourful-dolce-gabbana-spring-summer-2013-ad-campaign-photos. Correia, Hélia. ‘Portugal lesen!’ Video. 3sat-Kulturdoku. 3sat, 19 March 2022. https://www.3sat.de/kultur/kulturdoku/portugal-lesen-100.html. Curti, Lidia. ‘Diasporic Female Narratives: Crossing the Mediterranean, Rewriting Italy.’ Presented at the Mediterranean Mediations with Iain Chambers and Lidia Curti, John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute at Duke University, 20 March 2019. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=czr5N4oFBAY&t=6846s. Downey, Anthony. ‘Dissonant Archives: Contemporary Visual Culture and Contested Narratives in the Middle East’, 16 July 2015. Eckl, Andreas. ‘Méditerranée? Mediterranistische Diskurse Um Mittelmeerwelten Und -Räume Aus Forschungsgeschichtlicher Perspektive’. In New Horizons Mediterranean Research in the 21st Century, 109–53. Mittelmeerstudien 10. Paderborn, 2016. Imaginaries of Europe. Rethinking Identity, Belonging and Sovereignty Europe: From Hope to Disaffection. Barcelona, 2018. https://www.cccb.org/en/multimedia/videos/imaginaries-of-europe-rethinking-identity-belonging-and-sovereignty/229536. Italia is Love. ‘Italia Is Love. CAMPAGNA PUBBLICITARIA ESTATE 2016’, 2016. https://world.dolcegabbana.com/it/discover/dolce-gabbana-estate-2016-italia-is-love-ispirazione-campagna-pubblicitaria/. ‘Italianità in Der Schweiz – Caffè, Vespa Oder Bagnino: Sechs Schweizer Fotografen Mit Italienischem Blut Zeigen, Was Bei Ihnen Heimatgefühle Auslöst.’ Migros-Magazin, 8 March 2015. Jean-Francois Lejeune, and Michelangelo Sabatino. ‘The Politics of Mediterraneità in in Italian Modernist Architecture’. In Modern Architecture and the Mediterranean, 41–63. London: Routledge, 2009. Kaiser, Alfons. ‘Italien Wählt Die Vergangenheit’. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 26 February 2013. https://www.faz.net/aktuell/stil/mode-design/mode/mailaender-modewoche-italien-waehlt-die-vergangenheit-12095449.html. Marriott, Hannah. ‘Dolce & Gabbana Shares the Amore in Milan with Jolly 50s Italy Collection’. 27 September 2015. https://www.theguardian.com/fashion/2015/sep/27/dolce-gabbana-shares-the-amore-in-milan-with-jolly-50s-italy-collection. LetteraF. ‘Monica Bellucci, Il Make up Dell’icona Di Bellezza Mediterranea’, 30 September 2014. https://www.letteraf.com/monica-bellucci-make-dellicona-bellezza-mediterranea/.  
citation information
Geiger, Hanni. ‘Past:Present Represent. Imaging Dis:Connected Mediterranean Bodies’. Institute Website. Blog, Global Dis:Connect (blog), 6 July 2022. https://www.globaldisconnect.org/06/07/pastpresent-represent-imaging-disconnected-mediterranean-bodies-by-hanni-geiger/?lang=en.
This post has also appeared in issue 1.1 of our in-house journal, static.
Geiger, Hanni. ‘Past:Present Represent. Imaging Dis:Connected Mediterranean Bodies’. Static. Thoughts and Research from Global Dis:Connect, 2022.
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Approaching dis:connections: a conference report

anna sophia nübling
  Scholars have recently turned to aspects of disconnectivity for a better understanding of globalisation. global dis:connect, the latest Käte Hamburger Research Centre, has been established to further explore these aspects and especially the dynamics between processes of connectivity and disconnectivity in globalisation. To emphasise this relationship, we speak of dis:connectivity. But what does this term really mean, and how can the concept nourish globalisation research and, with it, a better understanding of the present? One opportunity to discuss this question occurred on 2 December 2021 when global dis:connect hosted a self-consciously exploratory workshop on infrastructures with participants from its own ranks as well as from the German Historical Institute in Washington DC. When we think about globalisation, we imagine Earth as a space where people, commodities and ideas are on the move. Such mobility would be impossible without transportation and communications infrastructures. Globality clearly consists of material connections between spatially remote elements as well as the ideas and perceptions our forebears had and we continue to have about them. Since the 19th century, experts, politicians and corporations have extended global infrastructures to achieve greater speed, freedom and prosperity. Being connected has long carried a predominantly positive connotation. Networks, which have penetrated the lexicon of everyday life and the conceptual toolkit of historiography, are one example of connectivity’s good reputation. But as Christoph Streb stressed while looking at the Begriffsgeschichte of the term network until the 18th century, its connotation was negative. It invoked notions of closed (and therefore rather suspicious) circles or of being trapped in a net. This changed in the 19th century when the idea of infrastructure came into play. Network became closely connected to positive notions of movement and the flowing that it was thought to enable. This notion survived into the 20th century when network increasingly came to refer to interpersonal connections, much as we use the word today.  

Networks can trump geography. (Image: Schmid via Drewes & Ádám)

  Tom Menger discussed this positive (Western) notion of infrastructure-based connectedness on a different level. Using the examples of the pioneering colonial oil infrastructure in British Burma (1880s) and German military units in the Ottoman vilayet of Mosul (1917), he showed that what Western observers perceived as proof of civilisation and their own technical prowess was more of a joint venture. The Western fantasy of bringing civilisation to the uncivilised was just that: a fantasy. How those infrastructures actually worked refutes this illusion. They did not run with modern Western technology alone, but with the help of local means and knowledge. Indeed, each contribution problematised the Western view of infrastructure by taking a closer look at concrete circumstances. In contrast to predominant historical and contemporary narratives, they all drew attention to the failures as well as the successes. Infrastructure, the contributors argued, always disables and excludes just as it enables and includes. All agreed that infrastructure planning and building was densely entangled with dynamics of exclusion, as when modes of transportation and their spatial manifestations could become sites of exclusion and boundary-drawing. Carolin Liebisch’s presentation on Migration and immobility at the airport is a stellar illustration. She told of the Jewish Grünwald family, who fled from Nazi Germany by airplane in the 1930s, to show the interplay between mobility-enabling infrastructures and restrictive mobility regimes. Because the required transit visa was denied, the family first went to Italy by train. From there they flew to London by plane, which at that time had to stopover in Germany. There, mother and daughter were taken from the plane and mistreated by Germans. On the one hand, this case shows how aviation is very fundamentally bound to Earth in the form of national control. On the other hand, the plane became a means of protection and humanitarianism: the pilot refused to leave the airport without the Jewish family members.  

Tempelhof - named after a temple but built like a fortress. (Image: Walt Jabsco)

  Nevertheless, Liebisch stressed that the drive to control and restrict the kinds of mobility that airports and aviation enable has a long history. In this example the airport figures as a national border post and a global place that is entangled in international relations at the same time. The airport serves as a fulcrum to explore uneven mobilities, which are regulated by viapolitics, which denotes the power to determine what forms of mobility are desirable and especially who may use them and go where. These differences are clearly depicted in the airport’s topography, which strictly separates the welcome from the outcasts. Examining the Pan-American Railway, an important infrastructure project that – though never realised – fueled discussions for decades, Mario Peters confirmed this observation. Here, too, the question of desired and undesired connections was crucial. As elsewhere, the mobility of goods was usually welcomed, while the mobility of people was perceived as much more problematic. Moreover, uneven power relations and the fear of connectivity that could result might also have prevented the project’s fruition. Though Peters argued that this explanation might be too simplistic and those involved in the project were often divided along other lines, the planning commissions often were seen as divided between expansionist North Americans and South Americans wary of US imperialism. Infrastructure’s potential use as a means of control was even more plainly stressed by Andreas Greiner. He showed that colonial powers in the 1930s saw aviation as a ‘tool of empire’, as a means of linkage and control in the face of mounting disintegration. Small wonder that the expansion of a network of flight connections followed imperial axes and relied on transimperial interactions. Greiner emphasised that those networks had material as well as immaterial aspects. While juridification and cooperation was organised through international organisations, aviation was very much anchored on the (local) ground. For example, transcontinental flights had to stop repeatedly, and the locals who performed maintenance and repair on the ground helped to create and preserve important knowledge and served as cultural brokers. These actors influenced globalisation very concretely by, for example, shaping global routes that integrated new aerial connections into their own mobility networks. But just as aviation enabled inclusion by connecting previously inaccessible spaces, it could exclude, as when previously connected regions were excised from the network. Boris Belge provided another example of this sort of dis:connection. He observed that the history of the Port of Odessa defies common narratives of globalisation: when globalisation gained momentum in the second half of the 19th century, a discourse of crisis emerged that eventually contributed to the port city’s decline. Ironically in this case, the opening of one transportation infrastructure — the Suez Canal in 1869 — dis:connected another. The new canal warped Odessa’s trade routes as some trade flows dropped markedly. But new ones, like the tea trade, also blossomed.  

It would hardly be the final challenge the Port of Odessa would face. (Image: Wikimedia)

  With ballast, one of the backbones of global shipping in the 19th century, Paul Blickle showed that dismantling infrastructure could go hand in hand with more flexible connections. In an important shift in the second half of that century, the long-favoured sand, stone and iron ballast were replaced by sea water. This move also marked a change from a shoreline-ballasting infrastructure towards individual installations on ships. Blickle further pointed out what might count as a particular case of dis:connection: despite widespread demand for ballast, it never developed into a commodity. The language of flows, networks, connections and the historical baggage this language carries often hide uneven power relations that were established or maintained through infrastructure. Networks, again, provide a clear demonstration. The common image of ‘flat’ networks suggests equality. Accordingly, in historiography network is often used to tell stories of equality or participation. Hierarchies and power relations fade into the background. But our exploration of concrete infrastructure projects with an eye to dis:connection suggests that such relations may be obscure, but they do not disappear. All case studies presented made this point very plainly. The contributions demand greater attention to how infrastructures reflect uneven power relations, ignore specific people and places, and replace existing infrastructure systems. But just as infrastructures can be tools of power, they can also be tools of resistance, subversion and appropriation by marginalised actors. Many of the participants agreed on the importance of (local) agency. While Belge remarked that actual people are often absent in the classical economic histories of Odessa’s rise and decline, Menger recalled how oil infrastructures relate to human mobility and how the global oil-based connections cut other, pre-existing connections. Liebisch stressed that, as much as airports are sites of migration control, they are also sites of individualised resistance against such control.  
citation information
Nübling, Anna Sophia. ‘Approaching Dis:Connections: A Conference Report’. Institute Website. Blog, Global Dis:Connect (blog), 24 May 2022. https://www.globaldisconnect.org/05/24/approaching-disconnections-a-conference-report-by-anna-sophia-nuebling/?lang=en.
This post has also appeared in issue 1.1 of our in-house journal, static.
Nübling, Anna Sophia. ‘Approaching Dis:Connections A Conference Report by Anna Nübling’. Static. Thoughts and Research from Global Dis:Connect, 2022.
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Imperial margins take centre stage: a conference report

mikko toivanen & ben kamis
Together with the Munich Centre for Global History, global dis:connect recently had the privilege of hosting a stimulating workshop titled Re-examining Empires from the Margins: Towards a New Imperial History of Europe, organised by the inimitable Bernhard Schär and Mikko Toivanen. The event was held on 22-23 October 2021, and — thanks to the pandemic — some of the internationally renowned participants were attending remotely. The purpose was to explore the history of imperial entanglements involving those beyond the typical cast of European imperial powers. In other words, what did Nordic imperialism look like? What were the imperial strategies and practices of Central and Eastern Europe? Bernhard and Mikko opened the conference themselves, remarking how research into imperial histories of ‘marginal’ European powers has been gaining momentum and how this tack can expand and improve our understandings of atypical European colonial history. However, they also noted that much existing research on the subject has focused on individual case studies to the neglect of the underlying global networks and structures. They also added the important caveat that, despite its relative neglect, this research must be wary of recentring Europe in histories of global imperialism and colonisation. The conference’s first panel dove right in, tackling political and diplomatic engagements with empire from three different perspectives. First, Arne Gellrich discussed the participation of Sweden and Norway in the League of Nations in the interwar years. Gellrich argued that these neutral countries were able to influence colonial policy and promote their governments’ social democratic ideals thanks to the League’s structure, but they ultimately could not overcome the discrimination of colonialism. Focusing on the same two countries in his talk, Aryo Makko described their efforts to profit from colonial trade through proactive diplomacy around the turn of the twentieth century. These efforts largely rested on a transnational network of citizens of third-party states. Third, Elise Mazurié examined the international feminist congress held in Algeria in 1932, and how the Swiss delegation pursued a policy of ‘maternalist imperialism’. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the event stopped short of meaningfully criticising French imperialism. The second panel opted to investigate the creativity involved in transimperial occupations. Andrew Mackillop described how mercenaries, as a professional group, enabled Switzerland to participate in the activities of the largest European imperial powers, following their navies from its landlocked European redoubt out into the oceans of Asia. Despina Magkanari’s work touched a little closer to home, as she examined how Julius Klaproth, an 18th-century German orientalist, navigated academia in imperial Russia with the help of professional networks of scholars. Andreja Mesarič brought us back to the familiar historical turf of missionaries, describing how Slovenian Catholic proselytisers in 19th-century Sudan influenced ideas in Slovenia and the broader Austro-Hungarian Empire about race and colonisation. She also analysed these figures’ recent revival in modern Slovenian discourse. John Hennessy concluded the panel with a more general, conceptual contribution. He argued for the analytical utility of occupational groups rather than nationalities as an organisational principle. The workshop went meta in the third session, which featured a transnational group of scholars discussing transimperial academic networks in history. Katherine Arnold opened the session by relating how German naturalists in British Southern Africa were unavoidably implicated in the physical and environmental violence of colonisation. Naturally, representations always say as much about the representers as they do about the represented, as the next three papers in the panel showed. Corinne Geering illustrated precisely this intuition with museum collections in Vienna, Moscow, Warsaw and Prague and how they informed perceptions of European cultures by displaying artefacts from outside Europe. Similarly, Szabolcs Laszló examined the special case of Hungary and how Hungarian orientalists presented Hungarians’ ostensibly Asian roots in a way that diverged from the broader orientalist movement. Continuing the primordialist theme, Kristín Loftsdóttir reflected on busts made in Iceland by a 19th-century French expedition and how they were used as indicators of Iceland’s rank in the contemporary racial hierarchy. The fourth panel also revisited familiar territory for global historians: travellers. But the participants did so in novel ways. Evaluating over 100 travel authors, Tomasz Ewertowski devised four categories of empathic solidarity displayed by Polish and Serbian travellers in colonial contexts. By contrast, Anna Karakatsouli focused on a single Greek explorer — Panayiotis Potagos — who found an idiosyncratic niche in the writings of ancient Greek geographers and historians, preferring their representations to the imperial politics of his own time. Of course, some colonial actors are not only disinterested in imperial politics, but unapologetic. Valentina Kezić described the case of Carl Lehrman, a Croatian explorer who served both under Henry Morton Stanley as well as the Belgian administration in the Congo. According to Kezić, Lehrman remained staunchly and simultaneously loyal to his Croatian home and the Belgian colonial system that he served. And Janne Lahti showed how historical actors could practice imperialism in their own backyards. Specifically, Finnish travellers to the Petsamo region on the Arctic Sea in the 20th century would often reproduce discursive tropes from other colonial contexts, especially with regard to the indigenous Sámis. The fifth panel examined intra-European cases. The first contribution by Lucile Dreidemy and Eric Burton focused on the Paneuropean Union, an initiative launched by Austria in the 1920s. Contrary to the popular view that this union was an instance of proto-European integration, Dreidemy and Burton discuss its aims of imperial management in Africa and possibly even to become the new face of the Habsburg Empire. Returning to the Finnish context, Rinna Kullaa demonstrated that forced labour migration under Russian rule in the 19th century was sadly a two-way street: Central Asian labourers were used to build tram tracks in Helsinki, while Finns were sent to colonise Siberia. Sarah Schlachetzki closed the panel with a paper on Prussian architecture in Poland in the 18th and 19th centuries, arguing that standardised settlement farms display colonial aims and serve imperial purposes just as representational architecture is known to do. The workshop’s final session featured three invited discussants, who each commended the quality of the research presented while also reminding the participants not to ignore those at the margins of their margins. Gunlög Fur recalled that margins are always drawn by someone, and women and non-European actors are often left on the outside. Zoltán Ginelli greeted the attention to Central and Eastern Europe, but he warned the authors not to neglect those beyond Europe, nor those who were marginalised within Europe under post-war communist rule. Closing the workshop, Felicia Gottmann cast her gaze upon the papers’ temporal margins, suggesting that comparison with early modern empires can inform and enrich analyses of their modern successors. Re-examining empires from the Margins was an important event for global dis:connect. It showed that we can hold stimulating, fruitful discussions with international participants even under difficult pandemic conditions. It was also one of the first events we had the privilege to host. As such, it evidenced the confidence the workshop’s illustrious participants have in a yet-young institution. We can only hope that they have profited from the experience as much as we have.
citation information
Toivanen, Mikko, and Ben Kamis. ‘Imperial Margins Take Centre Stage: A Conference Report’. Institute Website. Blog, Global Dis:Connect (blog), 5 October 2022. https://www.globaldisconnect.org/05/10/imperial-margins-take-centre-stage-a-conference-report-by-mikko-toivanen-ben-kamis/?lang=en.
This post has also appeared in issue 1.1 of our in-house journal, static.
Toivanen, Mikko, and Ben Kamis. ‘Imperial Margins Take Centre Stage. A Conference Report by Mikko Toivanen & Ben Kamis’. Static. Thoughts and Research from Global Dis:Connect, 2022.
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Images of dis:connectivity: Ascension Island Manned Space Flight Network Station

roland wenzlhuemer

NASA image G-66-9145

The visual archive of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center contains countless fascinating images, among them photographs of the first men on the moon and dozens of variations of the ‘blue marble,’ which never cease to amaze. Even among this fascinating collection, image G-66-9145 stands out. The painting depicts NASA’s Manned Space Flight Network Station[1]on Ascension Island, which — thanks to its important role in the Apollo missions — is referred to as Integrated Apollo & Deep Space Network Station on the painting itself. The credits inform us that the 1966 painting was commissioned by Miami architects Rader and Associates, who designed several missile-tracking stations for the US government at that time. The painting shows a number of cuboid, single-story buildings connected via roads to two huge antennae and supply facilities. All buildings and facilities are painted white. By itself, it is not a particularly bright white. Set against a mostly ochre, dark background, however, the network station almost seems to shine. Indeed, the entire landscape that surrounds the station is almost surreally barren and desolate. Even the mountain that rises in the background is hardly inviting. Behind the barren scenery, a small glimpse of the sea betrays that the setting is coastal or, indeed, insular. It is safe to assume that the intention behind the painting was strictly functional. It probably served to inform the contracting authorities about how Rader and Associates envisioned the station and where exactly it was to be set. Still, the image tells an eloquent story about the remoteness of Ascension Island, its tracking station and the dis:connectivity in which it was immersed.  

Ascension Island

Comparing the painting to contemporary photographs of the station and its surroundings, which, by the way, carry the telling name of ‘Devil’s Ashpit’, it emerges that this depiction of barrenness comes surprisingly close to reality. Ascension is a small, remote, volcanic island in the South Atlantic. When the Portuguese first landed in 1501, they found an unwelcoming place. They never settled. Two hundred years later, the Dutch had little more interest in the island. Once, in 1725, they used it to maroon the seaman Leendert Hasenbosch as a punishment for alleged sexual misconduct. They left Hasenbosch to starve to death.[2] Only in 1815 did the British Navy establish a small station on Ascension. Napoleon had been exiled to neighbouring (though still 1.300 km distant) St Helena, and the British wanted to keep an eye on him. Over the following decades, Ascension developed into a shipping waystation, but constantly suffered from the lack of local supplies and freshwater. Practically all supplies had to be brought in from elsewhere — a complicated and expensive endeavour. This is what Charles Darwin found and documented when he visited the island on his return journey on HMS Beagle in 1836. Seven years later, Joseph Dalton Hooker, on his way home from a four-year expedition to the Antarctic, also called at Ascension. The botanist, who would later become the director of the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew, was asked by British officers whether he saw any way to improve Ascension’s environment in terms of its habitability. Hooker thought about the matter and came up with the idea of importing trees and other plant species to generate a natural freshwater supply and better soil conditions on the island. After his departure for England, the Navy started to implement Hooker’s plans, importing seeds and seedlings in massive quantities from all over the world —Argentina, South Africa and Kew Gardens.[3] Hooker’s plan worked better and faster than expected. Within two decades, Ascension developed a diverse ecosystem and a more favourable microclimate. What had been a barren rock began to flourish. The island’s highest peak was soon referred to as Green Mountain.  

Remoteness and connectivity

In the second half of the nineteenth century and Hooker’s wake, Ascension Island became the scene of an experiment in terraforming avant la lettre. This enterprise could only work thanks to the isolation of the island. The experiment was generally successful, but it did not convert the entire island into Eden. The peak in the background of our painting is a less-lush part of Green Mountain, and the region of Devil’s Ashpit itself remained uninviting, which was one of the reasons why NASA selected it as the setting for the tracking station. There was no other activity in the area. Or, as it says in the official booklet on the station that NASA had prepared in 1967, ‘This ensures maximum protection from noise or interference’[4] from other communications facilities on the island. So, the Devil’s Ashpit tracking station was located in a remote corner of an already extremely remote island. In the 1960s and early 1970s, between 50 and 100 NASA personnel were working there. ‘There were 16-hour workdays, no TV, and Ascension was the only site where employees couldn’t bring their families. It was that remote’. And yet, precisely because of its remoteness, Ascension occupied a central role first in terrestrial, then in extra-terrestrial, communication. Already in 1899, the island became the site of a relay station in the emerging global telegraph network, as its location conveniently completed the telegraphic connection between Europe, South America and southern Africa. During the Second World War, the American Air Force had an airfield built on Ascension to refuel its bombers. And in the 1960s, the tracking station at Devil’s Ashpit played a central role in NASA’s Apollo missions. It was part of a network of 17 tracking stations distributed around the entire globe to secure constant communication with Apollo spacecraft.[5] Rumours have it that the staff at the Ascension Island station were the first people on Earth to hear that “the Eagle ha[d] landed”. During the crucial phase of Apollo 11, however, the station was in Earth’s radio shadow and could neither have seen nor heard Neil Armstrong make his ‘small step’ — not even on regular television, as most of the world did on 20 July 1969. There was no terrestrial television signal on Ascension.  

Global dis:connectivity

In 2010, the BBC unearthed the remarkable story of Ascension’s ecosystem. BBC science reporter Howard Falcon-Lang was clearly impressed by the terraforming experiment. ‘By a bizarre twist, this great imperial experiment may hold the key to the future colonization of Mars’, he wrote and quoted a contemporary ecologist who is convinced that much can be learned from Ascension for the future establishment of human colonies beyond earth. This is, quite clearly, too bold a claim. Nevertheless, Ascension Island did play an important role in imperial history, in environmental engineering and in extra-terrestrial exploration — if only to the moon. This role was defined by the island’s peculiar mixture of remoteness and centrality, the interplay of disconnection and connectivity. Taken together, this created a specific setting that NASA image G-66-9145 ingeniously captures and highlights: a setting of global dis:connectivity.   [1] National Aeronautics and Space Administration, ‘Ascension Island. Manned Space Flight Network Station’ (Goddard Space Flight Center, November 1967). [2] Peter Agnos, The Queer Dutchman (New York: Green Eagle Press, 1976). [3] Menno Schilthuizen, The Loom of Life. Unravelling Ecosystems (Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer, 2008), 125. [4] National Aeronautics and Space Administration, ‘Ascension Island. Manned Space Flight Network Station’. [5] National Aeronautics and Space Administration.  
Agnos, Peter. The Queer Dutchman. New York: Green Eagle Press, 1976. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Ascension Island Manned Space Flight Network Station, Goddard Space Flight Center, November 1967. Schilthuizen, Menno. The Loom of Life. Unravelling Ecosystems. Berlin-Heidelberg: Springer, 2008.  
citation information
Wenzlhuemer, Roland. ‘Images of Dis:Connectivity: Ascension Island Manned Space Flight Network Station’. Institute Website. Blog, Global Dis:Connect (blog), 26 April 2022. https://www.globaldisconnect.org/04/26/series-images-of-disconnectivity-ascension-island-manned-space-flight-network-station/?lang=en.
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Images of dis:connectivity: Leon Trotsky on Büyükada

burcu dogramaci

Trotsky at his desk, Büyükada/Prinkipo, 1931, in: Robert Service. Trotzki. Eine Biographie. Berlin: Suhrkamp, 2012, ill. 18.

  [1] In his exile on Büyükada/Prinkipo, one of the largest of the Princes' Islands off the Asian side of Istanbul, Russian politician Leon Trotsky was equally connected and disconnected to the world. This photograph shows him at his desk. He is reading the newspaper The Militant and taking notes. An open book lies in front of him, with other daily newspapers underneath. The photograph is taken at close range and portrays the exile as an intellectual worker who keeps himself informed − not as an outcast cut off from political events. Trotsky’s island exile lasted a total of four years. Banished by Stalin, Trotsky and his entourage were sent to Istanbul by ship in 1929. Trotsky relocated several times in the city on the Bosporus before he settled down on Büyükada/Prinkipo, which seemed to offer Trotsky protection. From Istanbul, the island could be reached only by boat, so arrivals were easy to observe. The banished politician lived in constant danger of attempts on his life because he feared attacks by Stalin’s agents.  

Being off, being on

Although Trotsky’s freedom to act, in his insular seclusion, was limited, and he hardly left the island, he participated in world events. On Büyükada/Prinkipo, Trotsky subscribed to international daily papers and political pamphlets, which arrived with a two- or three-day delay.[2] The author Georges Simenon, who visited Trotsky on the island in 1933 for an interview, writes: "On the desk there is a chaos of newspapers from all over the world. Paris-Soir lies at the very top of one pile. Doubtless Trotsky has skimmed through the paper before I arrived. [...] The rest of the time he stays in his study, which is so far from the world outside and yet at the same time so close to it. ‘Unfortunately I get the papers with several days’ delay’." [3] Moreover, photos of his desk, which also evidence his self-presentation as a yet-influential politician, show international newspapers such as The New York Times or the American Trotskyist paper The Militant. Also, Trotsky regularly read the French daily Le Temps, the staunchly conservative Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, received Turkish daily papers, whose headlines he was able to decipher even without knowing the language, and he had locally printed international purchased for him in the shops on the jetty.[4] Trotsky thus consumed a geographically and politically broad spectrum of media. This is probably what enabled him to preserve a relatively nuanced view of the world even from his island exile. Trotsky was highly productive there, wrote newspaper and magazine articles and authored several books. During his time on the Princes’ Island Trotsky published a history of the Russian Revolution and his autobiography. .[5] Furthermore, he wrote about fascism in Europe and National Socialism in Germany, and he published articles on the political situation in Austria, on the Spanish Revolution and on Stalinism in the Soviet Union.[6] The library he had brought with him, archival material brought from the Soviet Union and his own memories formed the basis for his publications.[7] Moreover, Trotsky was regularly visited by supporters and exchanged letters with like-minded political friends and Trotskyist followers, family members and intellectuals.[8]  

Island exile

Reflecting on Trotsky’s life and work on Büyükada/Prinkipo, some initial thoughts arise about exile as an insular space of experience. Islands can signify both isolation and protection as well as banishment and refuge. In Byzantine times, Büyükada/Prinkipo was a place of banishment that offered undesired princes and princesses coerced shelter.[9] For Büyükada/Prinkipo, which is an archipelago, one can adapt Ottmar Ette’s distinction between Insel-Welt (‘island world’) and Inselwelt (‘archipelago world’). An island world is ‘an island that is self-contained, has clear-cut boundaries and is dominated by a clear internal order [...], forming in itself and for itself a unit that is delimited from the outside’.[10] On the other hand, an Inselwelt is associated with .[11] From the largest Princes’ Island, one can see not only the surrounding islands, inhabited and uninhabited alike, but also the mainland − the proximate Asian and distant European parts of Istanbul.  

Dis:connectivity and archipelagic thinking

Büyükada/Prinkipo is part of an island community, connected to both Europe and Asia, to both halves of Istanbul and their respective histories. Between them is the sea, which is always an intermediary and a boundary or barrier.[12] Independence, isolation, but also participation and a kaleidoscopic view of the world − or at least of two continents − result from island exile. Despite the distance of the island, Trotsky managed to participate in world events through publications, reading daily newspapers and visits by political supporters. He was able to productively counteract the (enforced) seclusion of island life and from his exile to develop a keen and sympathetic eye for world history. Consequently, Trotsky’s work in exile is not far removed from the kind of archipelagic thinking Édouard Glissant describes .[13] Archipelagic thinking is to not only see the island, but to be aware of the connection of the particular to the larger whole.[14] While in Exile on Büyükada/Prinkipo, the Russian exile became highly productive. The island life of Trotsky was an exile within exile.   [1] The ideas in this post derive from Burcu Dogramaci Burcu Dogramaci, 'Arrival City Istanbul: Flight, Modernity and Metropolis at the Bosporus. With an Excursus on the Island Exile of Leon Trotsky', in Arrival Cities. Migrating Artists and New Metropolitan Topographies in the 20th Century, hg. von Burcu Dogramaci (Leuven: Leuven University Press, 2020), 205–25. [2] Jean van Heijenoort, With Trotsky in Exile. From Prinkipo to Coyoacán. (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1978), 20. [3] George Simenon, 'Besuch bei Trotzki (Paris-Soir, 16./17. Juni 1933)“, in Das Simenon-Lesebuch. Erzählungen, Reportagen, Erinnerungen. Briefwechsel mit André Gide. Brief an meine Mutte, hg. von George Simenon (Zürich: Diogenes Verlag, 2002), 223. [4] Heijenoort, With Trotsky in Exile. From Prinkipo to Coyoacán., 20. [5] Robert Service, Trotzki. Eine Biographie. (Berlin: Suhrkamp Verlag, 2012), 500. [6] Isaac Deutscher, Trotzki. Der verstoßene Prophet 1929–1940 (Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 1972), 97–152. [7] Service, Trotzki. Eine Biographie., 500. [8] Catherine Pinguet, Les îles des Princes. Un archipel au large d’Istanbul. (Tharaux: Empreinte, 2013), 117. [9] Pinguet, 29–33. [10] Ottmar Ette, 'Insulare ZwischenWelten der Literatur. Inseln, Archipele und Areale aus transarealer Perspektive.', in Inseln und Archipele. Kulturelle Figuren des Insularen zwischen Isolation und Entgrenzung, hg. von Anna Wilkens (Bielefeld: Transcipt Verlag, 2011), 26. [11] Ette, 26. [12] Anna Wilkens, 'Ausstellung zeitgenössischer Kunst: Inseln – Archipele – Atolle. Figuren des Insularen.', in Inseln und Archipele. Kulturelle Figuren des Insularen zwischen Isolation und Entgrenzung, ed. Anna Wilkens (Bielefeld: Transcipt Verlag, 2011), 64. [13] Édouard Glissant, Kultur und Identität. Ansätze zu einer Poetik der Vielheit (Heidelberg: Wunderhorn, 2005), 34. [14] See: Marsha Pearce, 'Die Welt Als Archipel /The World as Archipelago.', Kulturaustausch/Cultural Exchange: Journal for International Perspectives, Nr. 2 (2014): 18 f.
Deutscher, Isaac. Trotzki. Der verstoßene Prophet 1929–1940. Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 1972. Dogramaci, Burcu. „Arrival City Istanbul: Flight, Modernity and Metropolis at the Bosporus. With an Excursus on the Island Exile of Leon Trotsky“. In Arrival Cities. Migrating Artists and New Metropolitan Topographies in the 20th Century, herausgegeben von Burcu Dogramaci, 205–25. Leuven: Leuven University Press, 2020. Ette, Ottmar. „Insulare ZwischenWelten der Literatur. Inseln, Archipele und Areale aus transarealer Perspektive.“ In Inseln und Archipele. Kulturelle Figuren des Insularen zwischen Isolation und Entgrenzung, herausgegeben von Anna Wilkens, 13–56. Bielefeld: Transcipt Verlag, 2011. Glissant, Édouard. Kultur und Identität. Ansätze zu einer Poetik der Vielheit. Heidelberg: Wunderhorn, 2005. Heijenoort, Jean van. With Trotsky in Exile. From Prinkipo to Coyoacán. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1978. Pearce, Marsha. „Die Welt Als Archipel /The World as Archipelago.“ Kulturaustausch/Cultural Exchange: Journal for International Perspectives, Nr. 2 (2014): 18–19. Pinguet, Catherine. Les îles des Princes. Un archipel au large d’Istanbul. Tharaux: Empreinte, 2013. Service, Robert. Trotzki. Eine Biographie. Berlin: Suhrkamp Verlag, 2012. Simenon, George. „Besuch bei Trotzki (Paris-Soir, 16./17. Juni 1933)“. In Das Simenon-Lesebuch. Erzählungen, Reportagen, Erinnerungen. Briefwechsel mit André Gide. Brief an meine Mutte, herausgegeben von George Simenon, 215–31. Zürich: Diogenes Verlag, 2002. Wilkens, Anna. „Ausstellung zeitgenössischer Kunst: Inseln – Archipele – Atolle. Figuren des Insularen.“ In Inseln und Archipele. Kulturelle Figuren des Insularen zwischen Isolation und Entgrenzung, herausgegeben von Anna Wilkens, 57–98. Bielefeld: Transcipt Verlag, 2011.  
citation information
Dogramaci, Burcu. ‘Images of Dis:Connectivity: Leon Trotsky on Büyükada’. Institute Website. Blog, Global Dis:Connect (blog), 4 December 2022. https://www.globaldisconnect.org/04/12/leon-trotsky-on-bueyuekada-by-burcu-dogramaci/?lang=en.
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On the Ambivalence of Flags

sabine sörgel

Ukrainian Flag on top of Residenztheater, Munich, March 2022.

[1] Flagge zeigen in German means to speak up for yourself in a situation of conflict. It’s a form of solidarity, but it’s also an announcement of your own ethical beliefs and convictions. In other words, Flagge zeigen is a declaration of politics, and as such it has been used and abused in many ways throughout history. In English, we might say that ‘to fly the flag’ is advocating for a good cause, like freedom for example. During the COVID-19 pandemic especially, ‘freedom days’ have been used and abused far too often in political rhetoric. The contrast to our widespread disconnection throughout the various lockdowns and isolations, witnessing far too many deaths of people we love around the world, was simply too glaring. And so it is that I wonder about the ambivalence of flags these days. So many have been flying them as a declaration of solidarity with those who suffer from a war that seems to be penetrating our living rooms and smart phones from those on the front lines. This time, however, they are not healthcare workers, but the families and president of the Ukraine who have been attacked by a disease much more lethal than COVID, namely Vladimir Putin’s military aggression. Flags in yellow and blue have suddenly sprouted like spring blossoms everywhere in support and solidarity with the Ukraine. Yet whether we are taking a stand for nationalism, freedom, independence, war, or peace is less clear in such symbolic gesturing than it was when we were collectively clapping for the bravery of healthcare workers only two years ago. Isn’t that the beauty of such performative gestures in the twenty-first century, though, that they are so easily distributed and shared around the globe via internet memes and hashtags? The ambivalence of national flags, it strikes me, is that they evoke myths of nationalism and defence that are always tied to the imagery of war and exclusion. As David Frum articulates this binary conundrum in his recent contribution on the Ukraine war in The Atlantic: "In Ukraine a new national myth is being created. It’s a myth of collective resistance to violent foreign tyranny of a citizen army fighting for European liberal and democratic values. Wars almost always make societies more tribal, more authoritarian, more violent, and more inhumane. But sometimes – as with the Western Allies in World War II, the North in the U.S. Civil War, and perhaps now in Ukraine – a war for ideals and principles can challenge a society to become what it says it is fighting for, even if it does not yet wholly live up to the ideals it espouses. If Ukraine survives and prevails, this new myth will propel the country toward a better future." [2] And indeed, in hope for such a better future we wave our Ukrainian flags collectively. But what if it gets worse? If waving flags for freedom, does not bring the hoped-for changes in search for a better life for all of us? To the extent that we are willing to stand with these liberal values in the West then, we are happy to fly the Ukrainian flag and hope for this future. Though the flag itself carries almost always the burden of this ambivalence of not knowing whether war itself can ever bring such a future or rather the danger of eternally returning to the same fraudulent promises of liberation that, so far in history, have never liberated us from war, but only created more violence, trauma and retaliation elsewhere. Flags as such therefore remain problematic national symbols for me, because whether they are raised in mourning or remembrance of the dead, their symbolic waving in the wind doesn’t quite cost us as much as giving our own lives joining the army or even just whole-heartedly embracing the full consequences of an economic embargo on Russian gas. At the same time flags are meant to spur us somewhat militaristically, if only in our entrenched and polarised opinions on the political issues at stake. The flag, indeed, is a powerful theatrical prop. It permits us to indulge in the hope and glory of victory. Flags have been dear to us ever since we stood and waved as children, cheering a military parade of horses and glorifying the cavalry. In those moments of global flag solidarity, it strikes me then, that those deep unquestioned childhood memories are invoked so that we seem too quick to identify with the Ukraine, as if we were fighting alongside those who suffer, feeling good about our shared liberal values in the West and defending an idealized notion of Western democracy we gained after the Second World War rather than questioning our own contribution to this war. In this gesturing for solidarity do we not forget how we ourselves are deeply implicated in these conflicts by buying into Putin’s resurrection of military aggression in this brutal showdown of old wounds and horrors we only wanted to believe had been overcome in 1989 by counting ourselves morally superior and on the right side of history — somehow?

Flags and Illumination on top of Residenztheater Munich, March 2022.

As I wander Munich these days, Ukrainian flags are blowing everywhere with these thoughts and questions arising on every step I take. Like the answers we once wanted to give, as we came of age, listening to the songs by Bob Dylan. Swearing off war forever, again. I watch out for these flags. On top of the theatre buildings. Flags. Hanging from the cathedral at Marienplatz. More flags. In the same colours illuminating the façade of the Munich Museum for Egyptian Art and when I turn on my computer in the morning to browse the online catalogue of the Bavarian State Library. Suddenly, the Ukrainian flag became so ubiquitous in only a week that I started reading every instance of blue and yellow as a national symbol, and yet I struggled to decipher the meaning of these colours. What do these flags stand for in a public debate about war and peace in Europe? The Ukrainian flag at Marienplatz, for example, hangs right next to the European flag, which is also blue but adorned with too-familiar little yellow stars, one of which we sadly lost in another public debate — or referendum rather — only a few years ago. But God and country forbid, we just add the Ukraine as another little star to replace our former friend in arms, rule Britannia. There must be more debate than that.

EU and Ukrainian Flag at Marienplatz, Munich 2022.

Farther down the road, next to those pretty blue and yellow flags, the German flag waves in gold (not yellow!), black and red. It is the most ambivalent for me, as it drapes right next to the Bavarian flag of sky blue and white that decorates every beer and sausage here, in a wave of happy or not so happy flags swinging synchronised in the sunshine of early spring. The more of them there are in any city, the merrier is their palette of colours. Flags. Yet, how moody they are, as well, when there is suddenly no wind at all, and the rain just hammers them down into unrecognizable, sopping rags. Flags in the rain, like odourless plastic flowers. And if flags had a scent, who knows of what they might stink of? Walking through Munich, traces of the Nazi past linger everywhere, even today. This memory will haunt any flag of any colour for all time in Hitler’s city. This is especially true in our so-called ‘Europe’, a mythic geography haunted by the history of flags as signs of supposed liberation. Flags have always emblazoned its political movements, their long histories of bitter wars, and the violence in their colonies and at home.            

Illumination Munich Museum of Egyptian Art, March 2022.

The same rhetoric the Nazis used has returned uncannily in the way that Putin is playing the eternal Wiedergänger of history.[3] Whilst we can easily demonise Putin, the former KGB agent, as we must, it was the former German chancellor who made the deals and all of us happily burning the oil and gas in a scramble for resources following the fall of the Berlin Wall. And are we not concerned for the state of human rights in Qatar as Germany’s first Green Minister of Economic Affairs sells his innocence? ‘Death is a master from Germany’: we recall the words of Paul Celan, as we might all soon be struck dead by nuclear weapons once and for all. I walk past the Munich Kammerspiele and read No War in Europe, wondering about our amnesia towards all the other wars we’ve been forgetting. We’ve been trading the politics of war in every weapon sold to foreign countries, which have in turn become warzones at the borders of Europe, closing in on us with every wave of refugees. Never mind that we forgot to buy more weapons ourselves here in Germany, blind-sided in our hope for peace, forgetting the cost of our peace in the wars elsewhere. Or so the news says. The ambivalence of flags is the politics of nationalism they represent under an EU or NATO banner. How can we dis:connect the flags we wave from the problematic politics of nationalism and its ambivalence? Is it by disconnecting their invented traditions and traumatic memories of wars of us versus them, which leads unavoidably to renewed imperialism and war on both sides? If history ever taught us anything, it would be this.  

Welcome Screen Bayerische Staatsbibliothek Munich, March 2022.

It seems to me the flag of solidarity is the perfect symbol of global dis:connect. It suggests a togetherness and connection that always comes at the cost of violence such imagined communities unleash by default. After all, the innocence of flags cannot be won without war and weapons that destroy lives and countries. Ultimately, the ambivalence of flags is such that every life lost under the flag is a life that ended too soon. And the ‘we’ who wave flags, must never forget this as we continue to hope for peace.   [1] All images by Sabine Sörgel. [2] Why Ukraine Is a Nation Worth Fighting For - The Atlantic [3] A Wiedergänger means literally, ‘one who walks again’ — a zombie. Echoes of Nietzsche’s eternal return are no accident.
citation information
Sörgel, Sabine. ‘On the Ambivalence of Flags’. Institute Website. Blog, Global Dis:Connect (blog), 29 March 2022. https://www.globaldisconnect.org/03/29/on-the-ambivalence-of-flags-by-sabine-soergel/?lang=en.
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Abdulrazak Gurnah and the afterlives of German colonialism in East Africa

tom menger
  (This text appeared previously in the Frankfurter Allgemeine (German) and on Africa Is a Country.)   When Abdulrazak Gurnah was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in October 2021, the jury honoured ‘his uncompromising and compassionate penetration of the effects of colonialism. With East Africa being central to much of Gurnah’s work, German colonialism is a regular presence in his novels, more precisely the colony of German East Africa, the biggest German colony of all, which comprised modern Tanzania, Burundi and Rwanda. Although the history of this territory has been thoroughly studied, it still very much stands in the shadow of contemporary public debates on the German genocide perpetrated against the Herero and the Nama, as well as the debate on the continuities between that genocide and the Holocaust.  

German colonial volunteer mounted patrol, 1914. Image via Bundesarchiv, Bild 105-DOA3114, credit Walther Dobbertin CC-BY-SA 3.0 de.

German East Africa is especially prominent in two of Gurnah’s novels: the early Paradise (1994) and the recent Afterlives (2020). They invoke several themes. The first, perhaps unsurprisingly, is colonial violence. Though such violence is not always in the foreground of Gurnah’s books, it is always present. When Gurnah’s characters refer to the Mdachi, the Germans, and their African soldiers, the askari, they often use terms like merciless, viciousness and ferocity. German colonial rule in East Africa began with violence, when Hermann von Wissmann waged war on the coastal populations from 1889 to 1890, after these had resisted the attempt of the German East Africa Company to run the colony as a private enterprise. The hanging in 1889 of one of the revolt’s leaders, Al Bushiri, which the Germans orchestrated as a grand spectacle, recurs as an incisive event in Afterlives.   As recent research has made apparent, European perpetrators of colonial violence employed such ‘spectacles’ of brutal violence as they believed these would send a message to what, in British colonial discourse, was frequently referred to as ‘the native mind’. However, the colonial masters seldom stopped to consider what constituted this so-called ‘native mind’, which they perceived to be monolithic and unchanging. This theme is also evident with Gurnah. While German violence frequently indeed shocks the local population, it remains equally incomprehensible: Paradise relates for instance how the Germans ‘hanged some people for reasons no one understood’. At times, however, Gurnah’s references to such German ‘spectacle’ of violence also reveal some irony. The over-the-top braggadocio of an askari in Afterlives, who boasts that everyone should fear the ‘merciless angry bastards’ of the Schutztruppe colonial force and that its German officers are ‘high-handed experts in terror’, is unable to make much of an impression on Pascal, an African belonging to a local mission.   Once the Germans had subjugated the coast in 1890, they turned their attention to wresting control of the Arab-dominated caravan trade that ranged from the sea to the Congo. The end of this caravan trade serves as the backdrop for Paradise: ‘There will be no more journeys now the European dogs are everywhere,’ one experienced caravan guide bemoans at some point. But this was only the beginning of German conquest. German rule continued to penetrate inland territories until the turn of the 20th century. The wars that ensued were characterised by especially destructive violence. Indiscriminate targeting of fields, harvests and villages was part of the colonial wars’ standard repertoire (not only that of the Germans) to starve the evasive enemies into submission. Weaving in German epithets, Gurnah explains through an askari character: ‘That was the way the schutztruppe worked. At the slightest sign of resistance, the schwein were crushed and their livestock slaughtered and villages burned’.   The most devastating episode in this mode of warfare was the Maji Maji War of 1905-1907, when several ethnicities simultaneously revolted against the forced labour and punitive taxation of colonial rule. The war provides the initial setting for Afterlives, even if the East African coast was largely unaffected by fighting and the events thus only appear in the background. Still, Gurnah is unambiguous about the gruesomeness of the war: ‘the Germans have killed so many that the country is littered with skulls and bones and the earth is soggy with blood’. Research estimates that the war cost up to 300,000 lives, principally due to the starvation that resulted from the scorched-earth tactics.   When the First World War reached the shores of East Africa, Europeans for the first time battled other Europeans in this region. As Gurnah emphasises, though, the armies that faced off on this theatre were mostly composed of Africans and Indians, who constituted the rank-and-file of colonial forces on both sides. On the German side, the commander Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck, who saw himself outnumbered by British, Belgian, and Portuguese forces, pursued a guerrilla-like fighting retreat, which he maintained until the war’s end. This campaign earned him renown in Germany for decades thereafter. However, the post-war glorification of the commander masked the brutal reality of the retreat, whereby Lettow-Vorbeck’s troops ruthlessly confiscated the stores of the local population to feed themselves, and then proceeded to burn everything in their wake to stall their enemies. The result—once again—was desperate hunger. Moreover, tens of thousands of African civilians were conscripted as porters and died of exhaustion. Local populations that resisted faced severe reprisals, as in Afterlives, where a corporal executes a village elder with a bullet to the head. The trauma induced by the horrific German retreat is a recurring theme in the book. Current research suggests that several hundred thousand lives were lost in East Africa during the First World War, and many hundreds of thousands more after the Spanish Flu descended on an already emaciated and devastated population.   Reading these novels as but a literary treatment of colonial violence, however, would not do them justice. They also provide a rich view into the lives of colonised people. Gurnah, who himself was born under British colonial rule on the island of Zanzibar, pays particular attention to the lives of the coastal population and its African, Indian and Arab influences. In this cosmopolitan milieu, Islam, as religion and worldview, and Swahili, the lingua franca, were most often the connective elements. Precisely this worldliness has recently brought this region to the attention of global history, as it shows globalisation as not driven exclusively by Western actors. A dense net of connections across the Indian Ocean, the East African coast, the Horn of Africa, Madagascar, the Comoros, the Arabian Peninsula, and the west coast of India prevailed here centuries before European colonisation. Traders in Zanzibar could activate networks to take out loans in India, and Islamic scholars moved freely between the various poles in this cosmos.   With great sensitivity and sometimes a fairy-tale atmosphere, Gurnah explores this world of caravans and coastal cities, warts and all. Gurnah’s characters live their lives in spite of colonialism. They grow up, gather experience, enjoy wealth or suffer poverty, and fall in love. Sometimes the colonial masters are relegated to the background. Thus, these novels tell stories of resilience in which the colonised are not merely victims.   Toward the end of Afterlives, Gurnah engages with the question of continuities between German colonialism and Nazism, though in his very own way. It turns out that Ilyas, an askari whose whereabouts after 1918 long remain obscure in the book, relocated to Germany in the 1920s. There he found work as a singer, performing at propaganda events with a revisionist-colonial bent. Due to an affair with a white woman, he was interned in a concentration camp in 1938, where he died in 1942. As unbelievable as it may sound, similar life stories of actual former askari in Germany are recorded. Many Germans of African descent spent the war in concentration camps, but some remained in Germany after the war. They represent a different kind of continuity: that of an enduring Black community in Germany.
citation information
Menger, Tom. ‘Abdulrazak Gurnah and the Afterlives of German Colonialism in East Africa’. Institute Website. Blog, Global Dis:Connect (blog), 15 March 2022. https://www.globaldisconnect.org/03/15/abdulrazak-gurnah-and-the-afterlives-of-german-colonialism-in-east-africa/?lang=en.
This post has also appeared in issue 1.1 of our in-house journal, static.
Menger, Tom. ‘Abdulrazak Gurnah and the Afterlives of German Colonialism in East Africa’. Static. Thoughts and Research from Global Dis:Connect, 2022.
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Crisis and dis:connectivity

roland wenzlhuemer

(Image: Anna Shvets)

Crises and globalisation

Etymologically speaking, crises are dramatic — perhaps even life-threatening — phenomena.[1] They are inflection points. And as such, they are supposed to be temporary. So far in this still-young 21st century, individual crises might seem temporary, but the state of crisis that plagues society more broadly seems all too permanent. For years now, we have been enduring a constant, deeply transformative state of emergency, consisting of overlapping economic and social crises.[2] Think back. Not long after the horrific attacks of September 11th and the subsequent global war on terror, much of the world suffered a dire financial crisis. Just as the global economy gradually started to recover, public consciousness began to grasp the reality of climate change, whose socio-economic effects are becoming ever harder to ignore. As people slowly started engage with the climate crisis, it was overshadowed in the mid-2010s — at least in Europe — by the ‘refugee crisis’ and the fears it evoked. While both of these issues remain with us, they have faded into the background, outshined by the ominous and mercurial COVID crisis. For all their overlap and interrelations, these crises, of course, display important differences: they all move at their own paces and in their own temporalities; they all affect different regional epicentres, which can change over time; they all manifest themselves in our everyday lives in their own ways; they all engage particular collective and individual fears; and each one poses its own range of ethical dilemmas. There is one thing, however, that all these crises have in common: they are deeply embedded in processes of globalisation, past and present. Politically and religiously motivated terrorism, for example, is nourished by a complex global web of geopolitical ambitions and cultural antagonisms extending back at least to the days of triumphant European imperialism.[3]

(Image: Tomas Ryant)

In economics, the subprime mortgage crisis in the USA in 2008 permeated global capital markets along countless reciprocal ties. A regional real-estate bubble rapidly induced a global banking crisis. In ecology, human-induced climate change is inseparable from the history of industrialisation and consumerism. Rapid growth, interregional mobility and the global division of labour are what fuels it. Climate change pays no heed to human boundaries, national or otherwise. It is among the few literally global phenomena. Another, surely, is COVID-19. In early 2020, the virus spread, well, virulently around the entire planet along the routes of global mobility networks. Dense, interconnected, global networks are what all these crises share. They would be unthinkable without processes of worldwide exchange that have grown over the last 200 years or so. These crises make the scope and depth of global networks uniquely palpable.  

Ripples of disconnection

Another common characteristic, however, is an often-overlooked aspect of globalisation: disruptive phenomena that corrode networks. Connection and *dis*connection, linkage and isolation, entanglement and disentanglement in constant oscillation. Each is unthinkable without the other. Such co-relations have become undeniably tangible in the COVID crisis. In the early days of the pandemic, many borders were closed and tight regulations were imposed on interregional travel. Curfews and access restrictions became common, and large gatherings were outright forbidden. Schools have done their best with ‘distance learning’. Cultural events have sought refuge in cyberspace. Quarantine rules curtailed the production and transportation sectors, which has hamstrung global supply chains. The permeation of global networks into daily life is what makes the COVID crisis so disruptive. The interplay between entanglement and disentanglement is apparent beyond the COVID crisis. Other recent events, like the Brexit process and the Ever Given, that fateful ship that ran aground in the Suez Canal and interrupted a key global shipping thoroughfare, are of the same stripe. Even the overwhelming global cataclysms I mentioned above display dynamics of entanglement and disentanglement on closer inspection. The Great Recession began when the US real-estate bubble popped. Thus, there is an immediate tension between immobile, local objects (ie, buildings) and their valuation in volatile, deeply interconnected financial markets. The interplay is even more pronounced when considering the cause of the crisis. Trust — a primal type of connection — evaporated, and its lack rippled throughout the dense network of capital flows. The climate crisis, whose creeping, surreal progress unmistakably carries a disconnective element within it, is similar. Attempts to combat climate change have been thwarted principally by insufficient will and the ineffectuality of international cooperation. In the face of the inherently global character of climate change, parochial interests and structures have largely trumped global initiatives. Global refugee migrations exemplify more than just human mobility. They are also characterised by prejudicial treatment, closed borders, long delays, strict asylum regimes and even brutal ‘pushbacks’.  Here, too, connective and disconnective aspects reciprocally constitute each other. These crises are stories not only of global linkages; they also reveal disruptive, disconnective aspects of globalisation. It’s the interplay between them that defines such processes. At global dis:connect, our focus is precisely this interplay, which we refer to as dis:connectivity. This concept enables new perspectives on past and current processes of global interlinkage, and it might even help us to better understand the crises that result.

Global crises touch everyone. Us too.

We certainly hope that dealing with global dis:connectivity on a scholarly level will help us to cope with all the challenges we face in trying to found an international research centre in the middle of the COVID pandemic. There is indeed a certain irony in the fact that the Centre’s administration regularly confronts the interplay of connection and disconnection. Though we strive to make the Centre a locus of collaborative research and dialogue, we haven’t been able to meet in recent months as much as we’d like. We also endeavour to foster conversations between our international fellows and our in-house researchers, but travel restrictions have forced us to delay some fellows’ visits or to declare parts of their visits strictly ‘remote’. We are trying to engage with the broader public, which is no small trick when large gatherings are inadvisable or prohibited. We’re trying to offer our fellows the best possible working conditions, which is not easy when the requisite articles and devices have been on order for months. And yet, we converse. We research. We share. And we organise. But we must also adapt. Even in the everyday life of the Centre, a new and fascinating interplay between global linkage and disruption manifests itself. So, dis:connectivity is something we’re not only researching at the Centre; we’re actively experiencing it.  

[1] Reinhart Koselleck, ‘Krise’, in Geschichtliche Grundbegriffe: Historisches Lexicon zur politisch-sozialen Sprache in Deutschland, vol. 3, 8 vols (Stuttgart: Klett-Cotta, 1972), 617–50.

[2] Thomas Macho, ‘Krisenzeiten: Zur Inflation eines Begriffs’, Geschichte der Gegenwart (blog), 31 May 2020, https://geschichtedergegenwart.ch/krisenzeiten-zur-inflation-eines-begriffs/.

[3] Sylvia Schraut, Terrorismus und politische Gewalt (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2018); Carola Dietze, Die Erfindung Des Terrorismus in Europa, Russland Und Den USA 1858-1866 (Hamburg: Hamburger Edition, 2016).

Brunner, Otto, Werner Conze, and Reinhart Koselleck, eds. ‘Krise’. In Geschichtliche Grundbegriffe. Historisches Lexikon zur politisch-sozialen Sprache in Deutschland. Band 3: H-Me, 617–50. Stuttgart: Klett-Cotta, 1982. Dietze, Carola. Die Erfindung des Terrorismus in Europa, Russland und den USA 1858-1866. Hamburg: Hamburger Edition, 2016. Macho, Thomas. ‘Krisenzeiten: Zur Inflation eines Begriffs’. Geschichte der Gegenwart (blog), 31 May 2020. https://geschichtedergegenwart.ch/krisenzeiten-zur-inflation-eines-begriffs/.
citation information
Wenzlhuemer, Roland. ‘Crisis and Dis:Connectivity’. Institute Website. Blog, Global Dis:Connect (blog), 3 January 2022. https://www.globaldisconnect.org/03/01/crisis-and-disconnectivity/?lang=en.
This post has also appeared in issue 1.1 of our in-house journal, static.
Wenzlhuemer, Roland. ‘Crisis and Dis:Connectivity’. Static. Thoughts and Research from Global Dis:Connect, 2022.
Continue Reading